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U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
JAMES J. DAVIS, Secretary

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
ETHELBERT STEWART, Com missioner

B U L L E T IN O F T H E U N IT E D S T A T E S )
B U R E A U OF LA B O R S T A T IS T IC S )
RETAIL

PRICES

AND

COST

K L
................ llO.

OF

LIVING

0 £ A

SERIES

THE USE OF CO ST-O F-LIVING
FIGURES IN WAGE ADJUSTMENTS




B y E L M A B. C A R R

MAY, 1925

WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
1925




ADDITIONAL COPIES
OF THIS PUBLICATION MAY B E PROCURED FROM
THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
W ASHINGTON, D . C.
AT

65 CENTS PER COPY

CONTENTS
Pag*
Introduction------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1-6
Scope and purpose of present report----------------------------------------------5,6
Chapter I.— Federal boards and commissions--------------------------------------7-96
Introduction------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7,8
Coal-mining industry______________________________________________ 1—
9-23
United States Anthracite Coal Strike Commission------------------9,10
United States Bituminous Coal Commission----------------------------10-15
Case of central competitive field____________________________
12-15
United States Anthracite Coal Commission------------------------------15-23
Miners’ argum ent--------------------------------------------------------------17-19
19-21
Operators’ argum ent--------------------------------------------------------A w ard of the commission____________________________________
22,23
Basis of aw ard -----------------------------------------------------------------23
Meat-packing in du stry------------------------------------------------------------------23-33
Labor adm inistrator_________ .____________________________________
23-33
A w a rd of M arch 30, 1918____________________________________
24-26
A w ard of February 15, 1919________________________________
26,27
A w ard of December 1, 1919----------------------------------------------28,29
A w ard of A p ril 26, 1920_____________________________________
29
A w ard of December 7, 1920----------------------------------------------29-31
A w ard of July 14, 1921-----------------------------------------------------31-33
National W a r Labor B oard------------------------------------------------------------33-51
A w ard s in industrial cases_______________________________________
35-47
40,41
Minimum wages fo r p la n t___________________________________
Minimum wages for particular occupations in plant-.____
41-47
A w ard s in street-railway cases------------------------------------------------47-51
Shipping industry---------------------------------------------------------------------------52-64
Shipbuilding L abor Adjustment B oard-----------------------------------52-56
Policies and procedure-----------------------------------------------------53-56
National Adjustment Commission-------------------------------------------56-60
Factors governing decisions__________________________________
57,58
North Atlantic aw ard ________________________________________
58, 59
Discontinuance of commission------------------------------------------59, 60
Board of Arbitration, N ew York H arbor W age Adjustment—
60-62
Industrial relations division of United States Shipping Board.
62-64
R a ilro a d s _______________________________________________________________
65
United States Railroad Administration-----------------------------------65-73
R ailroad W age Commission__________________________________
65-68
' Board of R ailroad W ages and W orking Conditions---------69-73
United States R ailroad L abor B oard____________________________
73-93
Decision No. 2________________________________________________
75
Decision No. 147______________________________________________
75,76
Decision No. 1036— The shopmen’s case_____________________
77-87
Decision No. 1028— Maintenance-of-way employees’ case—
87,88
Decision No. 1267— Maintenance-of-way employees’ case—
88-93
Army, Navy, Public Health Service, etc_____________________________
93,94
N avy yards________________________- _______________________________ ____
95,96
Chapter II.— State and municipal agencies_______________________________
97-128
C a lifo rn ia_______________________________________________________________ 97-109
Fam ily budgets____________________________________________________ 99-106
Budgets fo r unmarried clerks______________________ 1____________ 106-109
Cleveland, O h io _________________________1______________________________ 109-111
Dallas, T ex_______________________________________________________________ 111-114
Milwaukee, W is __________________________________________________________ 114-116
N ew York, N. Y __________________________________________________________ 116-120
Philadelphia, P a _________________________________________________________120-126
St. Paul, Minn___________________________________________________________ 126-128




m

IV

CONTENTS

Page
Chapter I I I .— State arbitration boards______________________________________129-155
Introduction------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 129,130
C olorado_________________________________________________________________ 130-139
Cost-of-living study o f the commission___________________________131,132
Use of cost-of-living figures________________________________
132
Analysis of wage decisions of thecommission____________________ 132-139
Kansas____________________________________________________________________ 139-147
Topeka Edison Co. case___________________________________________ 141,142
Joplin & Pittsburg R ailw ay Co. case_____________________________ 142,143
144
Firemen and oilers’ case_________________________________________
W olff Packing Co. case________________________________ ’__________ 144-146
Other cases before the court______________________________________146,147
Maine____________________________________________________________________ 147,148
Massachusetts_________________________ :
__________________________________ 148-153
Brockton Shoe Manufacturers’ case______________________________ 149-151
Eastern Massachusetts StreetR ailw ay case_____________________ 152,153
Oregon____________________________________________________________________ 153-155
Chapter IV .— Minimum wage boards_______________________________________156-199
Introduction______________________________________________________________ 156-166
Arkansas_________________________________________________________________ 166,167
California_________________________________________
167-169
District of Columbia____________________________________________________ 169-173
K ansas________________________________
173-177
Creation o f Court of Industrial Relations_______________________
174
Cost-of-living survey _______________________________________________ 174-176
H earings and action in 1922------------------------------------------------------ 176,177
Massachusetts----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 177-182
Powers and procedure--------------------------------------------------------------- 177-179
W age orders------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 179-182
Minnesota________________________________________________________________ 182-184
North Dakota____________________________________________________________ 185,186
Oregon____________________________________________________________________ 186-190
W ashington______________________________________________________________ 190-194
Powers and procedure---------------------------------------------------------------- 190,191
W age orders of 1914 and 1915---------------------------------------------------- 191-193
W a r emergency orders------------ :------------------------------------------------193
Action since 1920-------------------------------------------------------------------------193,194
Wisconsin------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 195-199
Powers and procedure------ ,
------------------------------------------------------195
Survey of 1913-14--------------------------------------------------------------------- 195,196
W age orders of 1919------------------------------------------------------------------ 197,198
Survey and w age revision o f 1921-------------------------------------------- 198,199
Chapter V.— Industrial agencies------------------------------------------------------------- 200-338
Agreements between employers and employees------------------------------- 200-229
Introduction----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 200-202
Cost of living sole factor in wage revision-------------------------<
----- 202-215
Cost o f living and economic condition o f the industry to gov­
ern in wage revision______________________________________________ 216-228
Other cost-of-living provisions------------------------------------------------- 228,229
Industrial arbitration boards-----------------------------------------------------------229-269
Introduction_______________________________________________________ - 229-233
Decisions of boards________________________________
233-269
Cost of liv in g _________________________________________________ 233-251
The living w a g e ----------------251-262
Standards of living----------- 1
-------------------------------------------------262-264
Other factors----------------------------------------------------------------------- 265-269
Cost-of-living arguments of employers-------------------------------------269-285
Against an increase in wages--------------------------------------------- 269-271
F o r a decrease in wages---------------------------------------------------- 271-285
Cost-of-living arguments o f employees---------------------------------------286-333
For an increase in wages------------------------------------------------- 286-321
Against a reduction o f wages-------------------------------------------- 321-333
Conferences between employers and employees------------------------------ 333-338
Philadelphia building industry---------------------------------------------------333,334
Youngstown, Ohio, building industry--------------------------------------334
Pressed and blown glass manufacture-------------------------------------- 334,335




CONTENTS

V

Chapter V.— Industrial agencies— Continued.
Conferences between employers and employees— Continued.
^age
China and earthen ware manufacture------------------------------------- 835,336
Detroit printing industry (book and j o b ) ------------------------------336
Seattle shipping industry---------------------------------------------------------- 336,337
Fourdrinier w ire weaving industry_____________________________ 337,338
Grass Valley, Calif., gold-mining industry------------------------------338
Chapter V I.— Individual companies--------------------------------------------------------339-430
Introduction------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 339-341
Establishments computing their own cost-of-living figures__________ 341-381
Application of figures by definite plan------------------------------------ 343-376
Periodic studies_____________________________________________ 343-365
Studies at irregular intervals------------------------------------------- 365-376
Application of figures in general w ay only------------------------------- 376-381
Periodic studies______________________________________________ 376,377
Studies at irregular intervals------------------------------------------- 377-381
Establishments using existing cost-of-living figures------------------------- 381-430
Application of figures by definite plan___________________________ 381-426
Figures used regularly------------------------------------------------------ 381-398
Figures used on specific occasions only--------------------------- 398-426
Application of figures'in general w ay only------------------------------- 426-430
Chapter V II.— Conclusion---------------------------------------------------------------------- 431-444
Extent of use of cost-of-living figures in wage adjustments---------- 431,432
D ata used----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 432-435
General conclusions____________________________________________________ 436-444
Selected bibliography---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 445-476
Appendix A.— Fam ily conditions of miners______________________________ 477-479
Appendix B.— Comparison of cost o f living, and retail and wholesale
prices^------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 480,481







BULLETIN OF THE

U. S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
no . 369

WASHINGTON

M«y, 1925

THE USE OF COST-OF-LIVING FIGURES IN W AGE
ADJUSTMENTS
INTRODUCTION1
Statistical studies o f the cost o f living reach back into remote
times, but it is only within the last 25 or 30 years that they have
been made on a sufficiently accurate basis to be a primary factor
influencing the amount o f wages paid to industrial workers. Be­
ginning as early as 1910, several cases in the United States involving
the adjustment o f railway wages were based on the cost o f living.2
P rior to the European war, however, cost-of-living figures were not
sufficiently comprehensive to be used effectively. During the war
period more satisfactory figures on the cost o f livin g were made
available, and they became the controlling factors in wage deter­
minations not only in the United States but in most foreign coun­
tries. Since the war the cost o f livin g has continued to be a definite
factor in the adjustment o f wage disputes.
The first extensive experiment o f research by the statistical method
into the cost o f living was made by Gregory K ing, who lived in
England during the last half o f the seventeenth century. H is work
was the outgrowth o f studies relating to population statistics. H e
attempted to show how many families had increased the wealth o f
the population by an income in excess o f their expenditures. K in g ’s
work was published in 1698.3
Nearly half a century later Arthur Young, another Englishman,
became interested in the study o f the cost o f living. H is work was
published in 1767.4
The work o f Edward Ducpetiaux, a Belgian, was also a great con­
tribution to the subject, in that his research was a study o f actual
incomes and expenditures instead o f estimated budgets as prepared
by K in g and by Young.5 Ducpetiaux submitted to the first statistical
1 History of development in foreign countries is based on Die Teuerung in Hamburg
(Statistische Mitteilungen uber den hamburgischen staat. No. 12). Hamburg, 1921.
51 pp.
2 The following cases have been cited by J. Noble Stockett as having been determined in
a large measure on cost of living: Chicago Switchmen’s Arbitration (1919) ; Denver &
Rio Grande Arbitration (1919) ; Western Firemen & Enginemen (1919) ; Missouri Pacific
Arbitration (1919); “ Big F our” Arbitration (1919); Eastern Conductors and Train­
men’s Arbitration (1913) ; Southern Railway Arbitration (1913) ; Chicago & Western
Indiana Belt Railway Co. Arbitration (1913) ; Wheeling & Lake Efie, etc., Arbitration
(1914); “ Nickel P la te ” Arbitration (1914); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (1914);
Western Engineers & Firemen’s Arbitration (1915). (Stockett, J. Noble: The Arbitral
Determination of Railway Wages. Boston and New York, 1918, pp. 84, 92.)
3 King, Gregory: Natural and Political Observations and Conclusions upon the state
and condition of England. 1699. London [Lancaster Herald], new ed.„ 1819. Sum­
mary given in Palgrave’s Dictionary of Political Economy, Vol. II, pp. 595. 596.
* Young, Arthur: The Farmer’s Letters to the People of England, 1797.
London,
2d ed., 1768; 3d ed., 1777.
5 Ducpetiaux, Edouard: Budgets 6conomiques des classes ouvribres en Belgique. Sub­
sistences, salaires, population. Brussels, 185*5. 340 pp.




1

2

INTRODUCTION

congress in session in Brussels in 1853 a program fo r the investiga­
tion o f expenditure o f Belgian workers’ families. Questionnaires
were distributed to typical Belgian families composed o f man, wife,
and four children, selected from among the agricultural and indus­
trial workers. The investigation covered a period o f one week.
Ducpetiaux obtained budgets from 85 urban workers and 104 rural
workers, and on the basis o f these computed th^ annual income and
expenditure o f the individual families.
The research work o f the Frenchman, Frederic le Play, was o f a
distinctive character. H e also based his investigations on actual
household accounts. H e studied in detail the |
household accounts,
over as many years as possible, o f a small nuipber o f families and
drew conclusions as to the living conditions of;th e working classes
o f the entire country. H e studied these “ fami' y monographs ” not
only in France but in other European countrie 3 and published the
results o f his work in two books, Les Ouvriers Ebropeens, 1855 6 and
Les Ouvriers des Deux Mondes, 1856.
Other early research workers contributed to;the information on
the cost o f livin g by fam ily monographs, for ;which studies were
made o f the records o f a few families over a period o f years, but
these investigators were not able financially to'make cost-of-living
studies on a large scale, and accurate cost-of-living statistics covering
a large number o f families were not available until the latter part
o f the nineteenth century, when these investigations were undertaken
by government statistical offices.
The first comprehensive government investigation o f the cost o f
livin g was the Belgian study in which the household accounts o f 188
workers’ families for the month o f A p ril, 1801, were analyzed.7
The next investigation was made by the British Board o f Trade
from 1905 to 1908, and was based on the weekly expenses o f a large
number o f families in Great Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, and
the United States.8 The sixth ana seventh animal reports o f the
United States Bureau o f Labor, published in the years 1890 and
1891, respectively, contained data relative to the cost o f living. In
the sixth annual report, the information relating to the cost o f livin g
covered 3,260 families, the heads o f which weife employed in the
iron, steel, and related industries, while the seventh annual report
covered 5,284 families, the heads o f which were employed in the
cotton, woolen, and glass industries.9 In 1901 the United States
Bureau o f Labor Statistics made an investigation o f the income,
expenses, and composition o f 25,440 families located in the principal
industrial centers in 33 States.1 In 1907 an investigation was made
0
e Le Play, Pierre Guillaume Fr6d4ric. Les Ouvriers Eur<j>p€ens. Etudes sur les
travaux, la vie domestique, et la condition morale des populations ouvrifcres de l ’Europe.
Paris, 1855. 301 pp.
7 Belgium. Salafres et budgets ouvriers en Belgique au mois d’avril 1891. Brussels,
1892 578 pp.
8 The investigation covered 1,044 families in Great B ritain; 5,( 46 in Germany; 5,605 in
France; 1,859 in Belgium ; and 7,616 in the United States.
Great Britain. Board of Trade. Cost of living of the workii g classes. Report of an
inquiry by the Board of Trade into working-class rents, housing and retail prices, e tc .:
United Kingdom towns (London, 1908, 669 pp.) ; German towns (London, 1908, 614
pp.) ; French towns (London, 1909, 484 pp.) ; Belgian towns ( London, 1910, 259 pp.) ;
American towns (London, 1911, 625 pp.).
9 U. S. Department of Labor. Annual reports of the Commissioner of Labor, 1890:
Sixth, Washington, D. C., 1891, pp. 605-1376; Seventh, Washington, D. C., 1892, p. 845.
10 U. S. Department of Commerce and Labor. Bureau of Labor. Eighteenth Annual
Report of the Commissioner of Labor, 1903. Washington, D. CM 1904, p. 11.




INTRODUCTION

3

in Germany pertaining to the income and expenditure o f 852 families
which had kept detailed records for a year.1 The commission on
1
the cost o f livin g created by the State o f Massachusetts in 19101 1
2
3
made an intensive investigation o f the cost o f livin g in that State
during the first h alf o f that year.1 A n investigation covering 119
8
households in Vienna, in which household books were kept during
the year 1912, was made by the Austrian Bureau o f Labor Statis­
tics.1 1 A t the instance o f the W ar Committee for Consumers’ Inter­
4
5
ests, the German Statistical Office compiled cost-of-living statistics
based on household books kept for A p ril and June, 1916, and for
A p ril, 1917 and 1918, by iamilies belonging to different social
classes.1
6
During 1918 the United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics col­
lected information on the cost o f living in 35 shipbuilding centers
primarily fo r the use o f the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment
Board,1 and in 1918 and 1919 collected information in 92 localities
6
for the use o f the National W ar Labor Board.1 A t the direction
7
o f Congress the bureau also compiled figures showing the amount
necessary in 1916 to maintain a self-supporting wage-earning woman
in the District o f Columbia.1 Also, for the Joint Reclassification
8
Committee o f Congress, it investigated the cost o f livin g o f Govern­
ment workers in Washington, D. C.,1 and published tentative quan­
9
tity and cost budgets fo r a fam ily o f five persons o f a Government
worker,2 and for a single man and single woman also in the Govern­
0
ment service.2 This information was used as a basis fo r all o f the
1
wage recommendations o f the Joint Reclassification Committee, and
while it was recognized by the committee that its recommendations
did not in most cases equal the amount o f the budgets, yet the cost
o f living was taken into consideration and the salaries recommended
were as near to the budget requirements as it was thought would be
approved by Congress. During 1920 and 1922 the Bureau o f Labor
Statistics made studies o f the cost o f livin g o f bituminous and anthra­
cite coal miners.2 Surveys o f the changes in the cost o f livin g were
2
made by the bureau for 19 cities, o$ce a year, beginning with 1914.
11 Germany. Statistiches Amt. Abteilung fiir Arbeiterstatistik. Erhebung von Wirtschaftsrechnungen minderbemittelter Famillen im Deutschen Reiche. Berlin* 1909.
2
Bonderheft zum Redchs-Arbeitsblatte.]
ia Massachusetts. Laws, statutes, etc. An act to create the Massachusetts Commission
on the Cost of Living. Acts of 1910, ch. 134.
1 Report of Massachusetts Commission on Cost of Living, May, 1910. Boston, 1910.
3
Austria. Arbeitsstatistisches Amt. im Handelsministerium. Wirtschaftsrechnungen
und Lebensverhaltnisse von Wiener Arbeiterfamilien in den Jahren 1912 bis 1914.
Vienna, 1916. [Sonderheft der Sozialen Rundschau.]
15 Germany. Statistisches Amt. Abteilung fiir Arbeiterstatistik. Reichs-Arbeitsblatt,
Berlin, Feb. 23 and Mar. 23, 1917, and Beitrhge zur Kenntnis der Lebenshaitung im
dritten und vierten Kriegsjahre, Berlin, 1918 and 1919. 17. und 21. L
’
Sonderheft zum
RcicliS‘*Arbcitsbl^'t-to 3
16 Monthly Labor Review, March, 1918, p. 112; April, 1918, p. T o l; June, 1918, p. 99;
August, 1918, p. 132; September, 1918, p. 115; October, 1918, p. 112; December, 1918,
P**Hdem, May, 1919, p. 147; June, 1919, p. 101; July, 1919, p. 75; August, 1919, pp.
1 117.
*18 Idem, January, 1918, p. 1 ; February, 1918, p. 1; March, 1918, p. 1; April, 1918,
p 41.
19 Idem, October, 1917, p. 1 ; November, 1917, p. 1; December, 1917, p. 1; September,
20 IJP’S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tentative quantity and cost budget necessary to
maintain a family of five in Washington, D. C., at a level of health and decency. Wash­
ington, D. C., 1919. 75 pp.
^
,
21 Monthly Labor Review, January, 1920, pp. 35-44.
22 United States Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Labor, Hearings on
H. R. 11022, Mar. 30, 31, Apr. 1, 3, 4, 1922, 67th Cong., 2d sess., Washington, D. C.,
1922; and Monthly Labor Review, April, 1922, p. 9 ; also Bulletin No. 316 of the Bureau
of Labor Statistics, July, 1922.




4

INTRODUCTION

In 1917 this work was expanded to include 32' cities. From 1919
until May, 1921, surveys were made semiannually, and since May,
1921, these surveys have been made quarterly. The results o f these
investigations have been published in the Monthly Labor Beview.
Because o f the dissatisfaction in the coal industry in 1921 and
1922 President H arding recommended to Congress that a commission
be appointed to make a study o f the condition^ affecting that in­
dustry.2 On September 22, 1922,2 an act was passed by Congress
3
4
creating the United States Coal Commission.2 * In reviewing the
5
studies that have been made o f the cost of livin g it seems desirable
to state here two o f the questions upon which the commission was
authorized to submit recommendations. These were to relate to—
(& ) Ascertaining and standardizing the cost of living fo r mine workers and
the living conditions which must be supplied or afforded in order to surround
the workmen with reasonable comforts, and standardizing also as fa r as
practicable the amount of work a man shall perform fbr a reasonable wage,
recognizing the value and effect of such surroundings in respect of their
efficiency.
(c ) Standardizing a basis of arriving at the overhead cost of producing
and distributing the coal, including delivery at the door of the consumer,
recognizing in this compilation that the standardized cost of living to the
miners should be the first and irreducible item of expense.2
8

T o meet these authorizations the United States Coal Commission
made a study o f the social status and cost of livih g o f both anthra­
cite and bituminous miners. T o obtain facts relative to the social
status o f the miners’ families agents o f the coijrimission compiled
much valuable information from the original schedules returned to
the Federal Bureau o f the Census by enumerators during the Census
o f 1920. In order to determine the cost o f livin g the commission
made a study o f retail prices from storekeepers’ records and also
secured budgets covering the principal items o f expense o f 712
anthracite miners’ families fo r six months beginning October, 1922.
F o r the bituminous workers studies o f prevailing retail prices and
o f actual fam ily expenditures were made in 10 representative min­
ing centers in West Virginia^ Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and
Alabama. The data were obtained from company records, stores,
mail-order houses, and by visits to 10 per cent o f Ijhe families livin g
in these centers. The incomes o f these same families were also
secured. In addition at the instance o f the commission sanitary
surveys were made by the United States Public Health Service in
19 anthracite and 123 bituminous mining communities.2 Surveys
7
were also made o f the livin g conditions in anthracite and bituminous
coal mining communities.
Cost-of-living surveys have been made by other organizations.
Thus, the National Industrial Conference Board, since August, 1918,
23 Congressional Record, vol. 62, p. 12579.
2 United States. Acts of 1921-22. 67th Cong., 2d sess. No. 347.
4
25 The members of this commission, appointed by the President, were ass follow s: John
Hays Hammond, former Vice President Thomas R. Marshall, Judge Samuel Alscliuler,
George Otis Smith, Charles P. Neill, Dr. Edward L Devine, and Clark Howell. Judge
r.
Alschuler, being a Federal judge, could not act as a member of the commission without
authorization by Congress. At the request of the President and the members of the
commission, he attended and advised with the commission, however, without qualifying
as a member.
^U nited States. Acts of 1921-22. 67th Cong., 2d sess. No. 347, p. 2.
27 United States Coal Commission, Report on Anthracite, July 5, 1923, pp. 6-12, 27, 28
(mimeographed) ; also, Bituminous Mine Workers and their Homes, Sept. 22, 1923, pp.
6-55 (mimeographed).




INTRODUCTION

5

has made monthly cost-of-living studies for the country as a whole.2
8
The Massachusetts Commission on the Necessaries o f L ife, which
was appointed by the Governor o f Massachusetts in 1919 to obtain
statistics on the cost o f livin g in that State,2 publishes reports on
9
this subject showing monthly changes since January, 1910.3 In
0
Waterbury, Conn., cost-of-living studies have been made, first by a
special committee appointed by the chamber o f commerce, and later,
quarterly, by the industrial relations section o f that body. In
Akron, Ohio, a group o f employers maintains the bureau o f munici­
pal research, which has computed quarterly since July, 1921, the local
cost o f the items (with a few modifications) listed in the minimum
quantity budget published by the United States Bureau o f Labor
Statistics in the Monthly Labor Review for June, 1920.3 In Roches­
1
ter, N. Y., the industrial management council o f the Rochester
Chamber o f Commerce since January, 1921, has made monthly sur­
veys o f the cost o f living in that city. The results are sent to the
members o f the council and later published in the Chamber o f Com­
merce Weekly. Beginning with November, 1921, cost-of-living sur­
veys o f W ood River, East Alton, and Alton, 111., have been made by
the Manufacturers’ Association of Alton. For a time these stirveys
were made every six weeks.3
2
In addition to the surveys made in the United States for the p ri­
mary purpose o f supplying information for the adjustment o f indus­
trial disputes, social studies have been made to show the living
conditions o f workers. The results o f some o f these surveys have
been frequently cited in wage adjustments.3
3
SCOPE A N D PU R PO SE OF PR ESENT REPORT

During the war the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics re­
ceived many requests from representatives o f labor unions, from
employers, and from arbitrators o f labor controversies relative to
the cost o f living, and at all times endeavored to meet these requests,
sending out each month many letters, telegrams, and press releases
givin g cost-of-living information. The desire naturally arose within
the bureau to know just how the figures obtained through these
requests were being used, just what other figures on the cost o f living
had been used, and just how valuable these figures actually were. I t
was fo r the purpose o f finding out these things that the investiga­
as National Industrial Conference Board. Research reports, Nos. 9, 14, 15, 19, 25, 28,
SO1 88, 36, 39, 44, 49, 54, 57, 60, 63 : Changes in the cost of living. New York.
,
^M assachusetts. General Acts of 1919, ch. 341, as amended hy General Acts of
1919, extra session, ch. 365.
30 Massachusetts. Commission on the Necessaries of Life. Reports. February, 1920;
January, 1921; January, 1922 ; January, 1923. Boston.
3 Letter of Dr. D. O. Sowers, director of bureau of municipal research, Akron, Sept. 5,
1
1922.
3 Statement of Mr. J. D. Broome, manager Manufacturers’ Association of Alton,
2
Aug. 17, 1922.
33 Social surveys made by the Visiting Housekeepers’ Association of Detroit, an orzanization supported by the Detroit Community Union, an association of local charitable and
civic agencies. This association sends visiting housekeepers into homes to teach sewing,
marketing, and planning and cooking of balanced meals. It also- attempts to teach those
visited to live by budgets, the items of which are priced locally three or four times a
year. The first budget was planned in the fall of 1916. Other social studies that have
been frequently cited a r e : The standard of living among workingmen’s families in New
York City, by Robert Coit Chapin, New York, 1909, 3t2 p p .; The standard of living
among the industrial people of America, by Frank Hatch Streightoff, Boston and New
York, 1911, 196 p p .; New York (State) Factory Investigating Commission, Fourth re­
port, 1915, Report on the cost of living, vol. 4, pp. 1461-1844; Wage earners' budgets ;
A study of standards and cost of living in New York City, by Mrs. Louise Rolard More,
New York, 1907, 280 pp.




6

INTRODUCTION

tion fo r this bulletin was undertaken. The bureau also desires to
have its figures on the cost o f livin g as accurate! valuable, and repre­
sentative o f actual conditions as it is possible to make them. A
statement was, therefore, made in the Monthly Labor Review and
in the principal trade papers requesting all risers o f cost-of-living
figures in wage adjustments to communicate wi|;h the bureau. Dur­
ing 1921 and 1922, 1,000 questionnaires were sept to all persons who
had made requests o f the bureau for information on the cost of liv ­
ing, and, through the cooperation of a large national manufacturers’
association, 7,000 additional questionnaires were sent to its members.
These questionnaires asked for the name o f the company, the prin­
cipal products, number o f employees, whether or not cost-of-living
figures were used in wage adjustments, and i f so, to what extent;
whether the cost-of-living figures o f the United States Bureau o f
Labor Statistics were used; what other figures pn the cost o f livin g
were used, i f any; why these were used in preference to those o f the
United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics; and what suggestions
could be offered to make the figures o f the TJnitfed States Bureau o f
Labor Statistics more useful. A similar questionnaire was sent to
labor unions. These questionnaires were followed by a visit o f the
writer in cases where further information seemetfl desirable.
Information was obtained from industrial arbitrators by corre­
spondence, by personal visits o f a representative! o f the bureau, and
from their rendered awards. The information! as to what figures
were used and to what extent these figures influenced the decisions
o f Federal boards, State arbitration boards, ind minimum-wage
boards was secured by personal visits o f the aikthor and from the
printed reports o f these boards.
O f the 1,000 questionnaires sent out by the bureau, 769, or about
77 per cent, were returned. O f the 6,000 questionnaires sent out by
the manufacturers5 association, 1,542, or about 26 per-cent, were re­
turned. This gave a total return o f about 33 per cent.
The purpose o f the present report is to show what cost-of-living
figures have been used in wage adjustments; how they have been
used; and, as nearly as it is possible to do so, the influence their use
has exerted on the wage established by the adjustment. The d if­
ferent uses o f cost-of-living figures shown and the opinions o f vari­
ous agencies set forth in this report should be o f value, to students o f
the question, in determining the relative importance which should
be given to the cost-of-living factor.
Throughout the report, unless otherwise noted, the Statements
made are based on original data secured directly from the persons
concerned, and are as o f November, 1923.




C H A P T E R I.— F E D E R A L B O A R D S A N D C O M M IS S IO N S
INTRODUCTION
Although, before the war, cost-of-living figures had been used to
some extent by Federal boards or commissions in the adjustment of
wages, as, fo r instance, by the United States Anthracite Coal Strike
Commission o f 1902 and by the Conciliation Division o f the United
States Department o f Labor, their general use began during the war
when they were employed by practically all o f the many adjustment
agencies that were organized by the Government.
Since 1913 the Department o f Labor has had a Division o f Con­
ciliation. In attempting to settle wage controversies, the Commis­
sioners o f Conciliation make use o f the cost-of-living figures o f the
Bureau o f Labor Statistics, although the conciliators do not as a
rule adjust wages, their work being more that o f mediation and
conciliation than o f arbitration.
The increase in the cost o f livin g was one o f the factors governing
the recommendations o f the Railway W age Commission in 1917 and
o f the Board o f Railway Wages and W orking Conditions in 1918
and 1919. Also, the decisions o f the United States Bituminous and
Anthracite Coal Commissions in 1919 and 1920 were in large meas­
ure based upon cost-of-living figures.
General Orders No. 13 o f the Quartermaster General, which were
recommendations to manufacturers executing orders fo r the W ar
Department, provided that “ The minimum wage should be made
in proper relation to the cost o f living. * * * ” 3 The cost o f
4
living was also considered by the various industrial service sections
o f the W ar Department established during the war and by the com­
missions created under those sections. Thus, a committee appointed
by the Secretary o f W ar to investigate the conditions under which
A rm y clothing was being made, advocated, on September 12, 1917,
a new contract with manufacturers which would provide, among
other things, the assurance o f “ a fair wage.” The report o f the
committee was approved by the Secretary and the members o f the
committee were named as members o f the Board o f Control for
Labor Standards in A rm y Clothing to carry out the recommenda­
tions made in the report. The work o f this board was later trans­
ferred to one administrator, who, in fixing wage increases fo r em­
ployees, took into consideration the cost o f living. The cost o f liv ­
ing was also considered an important factor by the National Har­
ness and Saddlery Adjustment Commission, to which were referred
for final settlement all labor disputes arising between contractors
making saddles and harness fo r the W ar Department and their
84 United States. War Department. Office of the Secretary. A report of the activities
of the War Department in the field of industrial relations during the war, Sept. 15,
1919, pp. 16, 21, 25, 78, 82. Washington, D. C., 1919. 90 pp.




7

8

CH A P. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COM M ISSIONS

employees. The commission’s decision o f October 20, 1917, effective
November 1, 1917, was based upon increases in the cost o f living,
and a. later decision granting an increase of 20 per cent was based
upon the request o f the union in July, 1918, for a further increase
because o f the increase in the cost o f livin g since November 1, 1917.
The work o f the industrial service section of the A ircra ft Bureau
(W a r Department), which dealt with all labor problems connected
with the production o f aircraft, was later placed under the direction
o f one man. Evidence that the cost o f living was a factor in these
decisions is shown in the decision o f July 22, 1918, o f the arbitrator
o f a dispute in several Buffalo plants which provided, among other
things, that “ the principles o f the National W a r Labor Board shall
govern the relations between employers and employees” and that
the question o f wage scale could be reopened “ whenever it shall
appear from official Government investigations that the cost o f
livin g in or about Buffalo has increased 10 per cent or more.” The
Arsenals and Navy Yard Commission, which was appointed by the
Secretaries o f W ar, Navy, and Labor to adjust the wage scales in
arsenals and navy yards granted increases effective November 1,1917,
May-1, 1918, and November 1, 1918, largely based on the increase
in the cost o f livin g and on the advances given by the Shipbuilding
W age Adjustment Board.
Figures on the cost o f living largely influenced the decisions o f
the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board and the National Adjust­
ment Commission and its various locals. This was also true o f the
decisions o f Judge Alsehuler, United States administrator for the
meat-packing industry, whose appointment was due to the efforts o f
the President’s Mediation Commission.
The right o f every worker to a livin g wage was one o f the prin­
ciples o f the National W a r Labor Board, and one o f the factors
specified in the transportation act, passed by Congress in 1920, to be
considered by the United States Railroad Labor Board was the rela­
tion o f wages to the cost o f living.
B y act of Congress, approved June 10, 1922, the subsistence and
rent allowances o f all commissioned and enlisted personnel of the
Arm y, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Coast and Geodetic Sur­
vey, and Public Health Service and the salaries o f all commissioned
officers o f the Regular Arm y and Marine Corps below the grade o f
brigadier general; o f the Navy, below the grade o f rear admiral; and
o f the Coast Guard, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, and the Public
Health Service below the grade o f surgeon general, are determined
fo r each fiscal year in accordance with changes in retail costs o f food
and housing as certified to by the Secretary o f Labor.
Instances o f the extent to which cost-of-living figures have been
used by some o f the more important Federal boards and commissions
are given below, as well as, in the case o f the Anthracite Coal Com­
mission and the Railroad Labor Board, examples o f what cost-ofliving figures were presented to these boards by parties to the con­
troversy.




CHAP. 1.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

9

COAL-MINING INDUSTRY
UNITED STATES ANTHRACITE COAL STRIKE COMMISSION8*
5
8

Because the anthracite coal operators in Pennsylvania were un­
w illing to meet representatives o f the United Mine Workers o f
America to- consider demands o f the workers for an increase in wages,
decrease in hours, and the payment fo r coal by weight instead o f by
carload, a strike was called May 12, 1902, which lasted until the
President’s appointment o f the United States Anthracite Coal Strike
Commission on October 23, 1902. The letter o f appointment author­
ized the commission to ascertain the causes o f controversy and to
endeavor, by its recommendations, to “ establish the relations between
the employers and the wage workers in the anthracite fields on a just
and permanent basis, and, as fa r as possible, to do away with any
causes for the recurrence o f such difficulties.”
The first o f the demands o f the union before the commission was
fo r “ A n increase o f 20 per cent upon the prices paid during the year
1901 to employees performing contract or piece work.” Nine reasons
were given fo r asking fo r this increase, o f which the follow ing three
relate to the cost o f livin g:
(6 ) The annual earnings of the mine workers are insufficient to maintain
the American standard of living.
(7 ) The increased cost of living has made it impossible to maintain a fair
standard of life upon the basis of present wages and has not only prevented
the mine workers from securing any benefit from increased prosperity, but has
made their condition poorer on account of it.
(8 ) The wages of the anthracite mine workers are so low that their children
are prematurely forced into the breakers and mills instead o f being supported
and educated upon the earnings of their parents.

The first two o f these points were denied by the operators.
The commission took into consideration the increase in the retail
cost o f certain articles o f food from 1900 to 1902 as determined by
an investigation o f the Department o f Labor. Retail prices o f
these foods were secured by agents o f the Department o f Labor from
58 retail stores in 13 cities and towns in the anthracite coal region
o f Pennsylvania. The average fam ily consumption o f these foods
was computed from information obtained from 424 families in the
same region. The average cost per fam ily was computed for each
year from 1898 to 1902. These food costs showed an increase from
1900 to 1902 o f 9.8 per cent.3
6
The commission stated that the evidence presented on the cost o f
livin g did not fully justify the statements made by the miners that
their earnings were insufficient to allow them an American stand­
ard o f living, that on the basis o f their wages they were prevented
from securing any benefit from the increased prosperity, and that
their children were forced early to work in the breakers and mills.
85 For a full history of the anthracite coal strike and of the findings of the commission,
see United States Anthracite Coal Strike Commission, 1902-3, report to the President on.
the anthracite coal strike of May-October, 1902, Washington, D. C., 1903, 257 p p .; United
States Department of Labor Bui. No. 42, Report to the President on anthracite coal
strike, by Carroll D. Wright, Washington, D. C., 1902, pp. 1147-1228; United States
Department of Labor Bui. No. 46, Report of the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission,
Washington, D. C., 1903, 683 pp.
88 The retail costs of these foods, together with their relative retail prices and amount
purchaseable for $1 were submitted by the commission as Appendix E of its report (pp.
199, 200).




10

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

I t held that no testimony had been produced to show that earn­
ings were less in the anthracite region than in the bituminous mines
for substantially similar work or lower than in other industries
requiring equal skill and training.
Summing up the bases upon which its award was given March
18, 1903, the commission said:
Reviewing the whole case, and acting upon the conviction produced by the
hearing of testimony, and the examination of statistics, the commission is
o f the opinion that, in view of the interruptions incident to mining operations,
the increased cost of living, the uncertainty as to the number of days during
the year presenting an opportunity for work, and the inequalities of physical
conditions affecting the ability to earn, and not overlooking the hazardous
nature of the employment, some increase in the rate of compensation to con­
tract miners should be made.

The commission awarded an increase o f 10 per cent “ over and
above the rates paid in the month o f A p ril, 1902, to all contract
miners for cutting coal, yardage, and other work for which standard
rates or allowances existed at that time,” effective November 1, 1902,
thus approximating the increase in the cost o f livin g as shown by
food costs.
UNITED STATES BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION *
*

On March 9, 1916, an agreement was entered into between the
United Mine Workers o f America and the bituminous coal operators
o f the central competitive field (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and
Illin ois) which provided fo r a slight increase in wages over the scale
set by the agreement o f A p ril 1, 1914. This agreement was to be
effective from A p ril 1,1916, to March 31, 1918.
In the fa ll o f 1916, however, the increased cost o f livin g began to
be felt, and in some sections the operators gave bonuses in order to
compensate fo r this increased expense and, because o f the growing
scarcity o f labor, to hold their men. A joint conference o f the cen­
tral competitive field met in New Y o rk City in A p ril, 1917, and con­
cluded an agreement, effective A p ril 16, 1917, to March 31, 1918, in
which the wage scales were increased.
Conditions in the coal industry remained unsatisfactory, however.
L iv in g costs continued to rise. Bonuses were again granted by some
operators and strikes occurred at mines where no bonus had been
iven. The selling price o f coal was advancing so rapidly that the
iouncil o f National Defense appointed a coal committee. This com­
mittee drew up a set o f prices fo r bituminous coal throughout the
United States which were accepted by the operators and were fixed
by the President under the Lever Food and Fuel Control Act.3 Dr.
8
H arry A . Garfield was appointed Fuel Administrator on August 21,
1917.
A joint conference o f operators and miners o f the central competi­
tive field met in Washington, D. C., in September, 1917, and on
October 6, 1917, entered into a new agreement, the so-called Wash-8
7

?

87 For a full account of the arguments presented to this commission and of the findings
and award of the commission see United States Bituminous Coal Commission. Award and
recommendations^ 1920, Washington, D. C., 1920, 120 p p .; United Mine Workers of
.America, The case of the bituminous coal mine workers as presented by the United Mine
Workers of America to the President's Coal Commission, appointed December, 1919.
Washington, D. C., 1920, 79 pp.
88 U. S. Stats., vol. 40, pp. 276-287,




COAL-MINING INDUSTRY

11

ington agreement.3 Because o f the increased cost o f living, wages
9
were to be increased, provided the Fuel Administrator would allow
the increase o f wages to be added to the selling price o f coal. I t was
provided that this contract should be in force during the continua­
tion o f the? war, but not to exceed two years after A p ril 1, 1918.
The increase in the selling price was allowed by the Fuel Adm in­
istrator, and the agreement was adopted by the miners in Janu­
ary, 1918.
In August, 1918, however, the miners made an unsuccessful appeal
to the Fuel Administrator fo r a further increase in wages because
o f the increase in the cost o f living.
In September, 1919, the miners in convention at Cleveland formu­
lated new demands, which were presented to the joint conference of
miners and operators o f the central competitive field at Buffalo on
September 23, but without result. Although this convention recon­
vened in Philadelphia in October, no agreement was reached, and
on October 15 a strike order, effective November 1, was sent out by
the president o f the United Mine Workers.
On October IT, 1919, Secretary o f Labor W . B. W ilson called a
conference o f operators and miners, but after four days an agreement
still could not be reached. A t this conference a letter was presented
from President Wilson to the effect that i f the miners and operators
could not reach an agreement it was incumbent upon them to refer
the matter to an arbitration board and to continue the operation o f
the mines pending the decision o f the board.
On October 25, 1919, the President issued a statement in which he
said that a strike would be unjustifiable and that he held himself
ready upon the request o f both or either side to the dispute immedi­
ately to appoint a tribunal to investigate all the facts and to aid in
the settlement o f the differences existing, and on October 30 he asked
Doctor Garfield, who had suspended restrictions on prices and dis­
tribution o f coal, to resume his duties as Fuel Administrator.
A t the direction o f the officers o f the United Mine Workers, the
strike began, however, on November 1, and about 400,000 men quit
work. A restraining order was issued by the court at Indianapolis
on November 8, 1919, in which the officers o f the United Mine
Workers were commanded to revoke the strike orders previously
given. The strike orders were later revoked, but the number o f the
miners who returned to work was not sufficient to produce the needed
amount o f coal.
On November 18, 1919, the Secretary o f Labor called a conference
o f operators and miners in all fields at Washington, at which he
made three suggestions, one o f which— that negotiations begin again
between the miners and operators in the central competitive field—
was accepted. A fte r both operators and miners had made proposi­
tions which were unacceptable to the other party, Secretary Wilson
proposed an increase o f 31.61 per cent in the wages o f miners.
On November 24 Doctor Garfield, with the approval o f the Cabi­
net, stated that a 14 per cent increase was all that was justified; he
stated his position as follows:
The arrangement entered into between the operators, the mine workers, and
the Fuel Administrator, with the sanction of the President o f the United

80 For full text of provisions of this agreement, see Monthly Labor Review, December,
1917, p. 110.
105715°—-25----- 2




12

C H A P. I.---- FEDERAL, BOARDS AND COM M ISSIONS

States in October, 1917 [W ashington agreement], was intended to equalize the
wages of all classes of mine workers and to be sufficient to cover the period
o f the w ar, but not beyond March 31, 1920; hence the only increase in cost of
living which can now be considered is the increase above that provided for by
the average increase in 1917; that is to say, the average total increase in pay
over the 1913 base, which w as the base considered in 1917, should not exceed
the present average increase in the cost of living over the same base. It is
also to be considered that the cost of living w ill fa ll rather than rise during the
next few years. * * *

Tw o days later lie said:
Applying the principles set forth in paragraph 2 of the statement of Novem­
ber 24, when the average increases in wages since 1913 for the various classes
of mine workers are deducted from the increase in the cost of living since that
time, we arrive at the amount of additional increase in wages justifiable at
the present time. I have taken the figures of the Bureau of Labor Statistics
for both cost of living and for the weighted averages of wage increase. Ac­
cording to these figures the cost of living has risen 79.8 per cent since 1913,
and the amount necessary to bring the average wages of mine workers up to
this point at the present time is 14 per cent.4
0

The miners agreed to the increase o f 31.61 per cent proposed by the
Secretary o f Labor, while the operators agreed to an increase o f 14
per cent as proposed by the Fuel Administrator. No mutual agree­
ment could be reached and the strike continued.
On December 6, 1919, the President issued a statement repeating
his offers to appoint a commission for investigation o f the coal in­
dustry and for the settlement o f the questions at issue after the
miners should have returned to work at a 14 per cent increase pend­
ing the decision o f the commission. These propositions were ac­
cepted by the miners’ organization, and the members of the United
States Bituminous Coal Commission were appointed by the Presi­
dent on December 19, 1919.4
1
CASE OF CENTRAL COMPETITIVE FIELD

The miners of the central competitive field, where the rates largely
determine what is paid in other fields, asked for a 60 per cent in­
crease upon all classifications by day labor, tonnage, yardage, and
daywork. The miners’ argument was summarized by President
Lewis as follow s:
1. A ll wage increases which the miners have received during the w a r period,
including the 14 per cent increase fixed in the Indianapolis agreement, do not
equal the increase in the cost of living since the outbreak of hostilities in 1914,
and the present wage of the miners is even more inadequate than the pre-war
wage.
2. The miners did not receive an adequate wage prior to the war, and an
increase proportionate to the increased cost of living would not place them on
a just economic basis to-day and would be unacceptable.
3. Increases of miners’ wages have not kept pace with wage increases in
other industries.

40 The table of the estimated cost of living in June, 1919, and of the average wage in
1919 furnished Dr. Garfield by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics appears in
the Monthly Labor Review for December, 1919, p. 76. The increase in the cost of living,
as estimated by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics from investigations in cer­
tain industrial centers was 79.80 per cent in June, 1919, as compared with December,
1914, or an index for the cost of living in June 1919', of 179.80 on the December, 1914,
base. The weighted average increase in wages to mine labor in the central competitive
field, as computed by the bureau from information secured in its industrial survey of 1919,
showed an increase in 1919 of 57.6 per cent over 1913, or an index number for miner’s
wa*ges in 1919 of 157.6, on the 1913 base. Mr. Garfield used these two figures and by
dividing 179.8 by 157.6 found that it would require an increase of 14 per cent in wages in
order to bring the wage index up to the cost-of-living index.
41 The members of this commission were Henry M. Robinson, chairman.; Rembrandt
Peale, representing the operators; and John P. White, representing the miners.




COAL-MINING INDUSTRY

13

4. The miners are entitled to a living wage, the principle that w as enunci­
ated by the National W a r Labor Board, proclaimed by President Wilson, and
affirmed by the labor guaranties of the peace treaty— a principle that is funda­
mentally just and that is universally sanctioned not only by the enlightened
opinion of our own country but by the civilized world.
5. Regularity and continuity of employment constitute an economic right of
the miners, and a practical application of this principle can be secured by a
shortening of the workday.
6. Punitive overtime w age rates will tend to insure more strict observance
of the standard workday and the opportunity for more uniform employment.
7. Increases in the cost of coal to the consumer have not been due to in­
creased labor costs growing out of wage advances allowed to the miners, but
have been caused by excessive profits demanded and taken by the operators
and the wholesale and retail coal dealers. The proportion of the selling price
o f coal absorbed by payments to labor is less now than it w as before the war.
8. Earnings and profits of the operators have been grossly out of proportion
to the increased costs of production, and the operators have not absorbed the
14 per cent w age increase fixed in the Indianapolis agreement, but instead have
passed it on to the public.
9. Earnings o f the mine workers have been overstated and misrepresented
by operators, who have cited exceptional cases. The pay rolls submitted by the
operators demonstrated that the annual earnings of the miners are not suffi­
cient to maintain the average fam ily on a mere subsistence level, not to men­
tion a standard of health and reasonable comfort.

I t was argued by Mr. Lewis: (1 ) That i f the wage rate kept pace
with the value o f the product a 61 per cent increase would be neces­
sary. (2 ) That i f wage adjustments were made only over long
periods o f time a rate in excess o f the cost o f living should be granted
to compensate the miners fo r the loss when their wages were falling
farther and farther behind the cost o f living. “ This would mean
that i f a new rate is set fo r the Pittsburgh district dating from
January 1,1920, the amount lost by the wage earners during the pre­
vious 27 months should be divided equally among the 24 months
during which the new rate is to be in effect. In other words, enough
to cover the amount lost should be added to the new rate. When this
is computed on a tonnage basis it shows that a 60 per cent increase
in present rates o f pay fo r the next 24 months is necessary i f the mine
workers are merely to be reimbursed for the losses they have sus­
tained as their old rate steadily fell behind the rising cost o f living.”
(3) That fo r the wage rate to show the same percentage increase
since 1917 as the cost o f livin g showed the rate would have to be
increased 36.5 per cent. This would establish a rate essentially the
same as that which would result i f the relationship existing prior to
1916 between the rate and the value o f the coal produced were main­
tained, and it would also give the same rate as would be established
by allowing fo r the losses suffered over a long period when wages
were not adjusted to meet the loss due to the increased cost o f living.
The rate established by any o f these methods would require a 60 per
cent increase over the rates established by the Washington agreement
o f October, 1917. H e also contended that pre-war wages were not
adequate, and that—
Under these conditions the need fo r a living wage is also apparent. I f the
earnings of the mine workers before the w ar were scarcely sufficient fo r a bare
subsistence level of living, adding the increased cost of living would only restore
the inadequate pre-war standards. W h at the mine worker needs and what the
interest of the country demands is that, irrespective o f increases in living costs,
the rates of pay should be increased sufficiently to assure him a living wage.




14

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

The miners based their argument for a livin g wage upon the fo l­
lowing two principles: (1 ) The pre-war economic status o f the wage
earner must be guaranteed; and (2 ) every worker is entitled to rates
o f pay which under the working conditions o f his locality w ill guar­
antee him a livin g wage. Various budgets were presented in order
to show the amount o f money considered necessary as a livin g wage.
I t was stated that the question o f a living wage was o f particular im­
portance to the miner because o f the irregularity o f his employment.
The counterclaims o f the operators made no specific mention o f the
cost o f living, although it was the contention o f the operators that
the miners did not work all the time when the mine was in operation
and that those who worked at least three-fourths o f the time made
adequate earnings.
The Coal Commission, in its letter o f March 10,1920, transmitting
its report to the President, said:
The increase in wages to the miners amounts approximately to 27 per cent;
that is, the 14 per cent average increase granted by the Fuel Administrator
when the strike w as threatened has been eliminated and a 27 per cent average
increase substituted.
*

*

*

*

*

*

*

E very effort w as made to ascertain the actual increase in the cost o f living
to the miners. M any different figures and opinions were presented.
Our
award, as the result o f careful scrutiny of all the evidence submitted by the
parties in interest and otherwise obtained, grants the miners an advance in
w ages larger than the percentage of increase in the cost of living submitted
by their representatives.
Tonnage workers w ill have received, under this award, an average increase
in w ages since 1913 of 88 per cent, and daymen, part o f whose previous ad*
vance w as based on existing inequalities in compensation rather than on in­
creased living costs, w ill have received an average advance o f 111 per cent.

The commission in its award made the following statement with
reference to wages:.
W e have decided to aw ard as a substitute fo r the 14 per cent increase
authorized by Doctor Garfield a w age increase that is considerably higher.
In arriving at the present wage award, we were guided by the principle that
every industry must support its workers in accordance with the American
standard of living.
W ith this principle in mind, we have considered the fact that the cost of
living has advanced greatly from the pre-war level. Estimates o f this advance
in the evidence before the commission have ranged from the 80 per cent, sub­
mitted by the operators, through the last official import of the Bureau of Labor
Statistics which w as 83 per cent fo r October, 1919,4 and the 86 per cent claimed
2
b y the miners in their brief with which they stated they would be satisfied
as a basis o f the award, to an even higher figure provisionally estimated by
the Bureau o f Labor Statistics fo r December, 1919, on the basis o f returns
which are as yet incomplete.4
3
In addition, w e have taken into consideration increases in wages received
by workers in other industries, as well as other factors herein set forth. * * *
W e hope that there w ill be a decline in the cost of living in the next two
years, but w e realize that the miners have borne an increase above their ad-

43 Monthly Labor Review, January, 1920, p. 98. Estimate by the United States Bureau
of Labor Statistics of the increase in the cost of living from 1913 to October, 1919.
48 Letter from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to the United States
Bituminous Coal Commission, March. 2, 1920. Based upon data on the cost of living col­
lected by agents of the bureau in a few cities, the bureau estimated the increase in the
cost of living in the United States from June, 1919, to December, 1919, as 11.4 per cent.
This percentage increase over the figure for June (Monthly Labor Review, November,
1919, p. 193) gave an increase since 1913 of 97 per cent. Assuming the change in the
cost of living to be the same in coal-mining towns as that in the United States as a
whole, except as to rents, and assuming rents to be unchanged in coal-mining towns, the
bureau estimated the increase in the cost of living in coal-mining towns to be 93 per
cent from 1913 to December, 1919.




COALrMINING INDUSTRY

15

vance o f wages and consider the possible future decline in living costs as an
offset fo r these losses.

A t the request o f the commission, the Bureau o f Labor Statistics
had sent to eight representative coal-mining towns in Pennsylvania,
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia agents who obtained
from local stores retail prices o f food, clothing, rents, fuel, and
furniture. The quantities consumed o f these articles were obtained
from miners’ families in these towns. The items and quantities o f
the budget fo r a Government worker in Washington, previously
prepared by the bureau, were modified and the local retail prices ob­
tained in the mining towns applied. This budget showing costs in
mining towns was then submitted to the commission by the bureau.
Actual costs o f food and o f clothing for husband and w ife in these
eight coal-mining towns as compared with the average cost in the
United States and retail and wholesale prices o f coal in various
cities were also furnished- the commission by the United States
Bureau o f Labor Statistics.
B y weighting the average rate fo r each State in the central com­
petitive field by the tonnage for each State the commission found
that the average rate fo r machine work in 1913 was 48.56 cents, and in
1919, before the application o f the 14 per cent increase, 72.03 cents.
The average rate fo r pick mining was found to be 63.19 cents in
1913 and 85.53 cents in 1919. These averages were then weighted
according to the proportion o f coal machine mined and pick mined
and an average rate was obtained fo r tonnage workers o f 53.53 cents
in 1913 and 76.62 cents in 1919, or an increase o f 43.1 per cent. F or
day workers the commission found that there had been an increase
in the rate between 1913 and 1919 o f 76.1 per cent.
On the basis o f the award o f the commission tonnage workers were
to receive an average increase over 1919 o f 31 per cent and day work­
ers an average increase o f 20 per cent. The average wage advance
made by the commission amounted to an increase o f 27 per cent over
the rates prevailing before October 31, 1919 (the last day before
the strike). These increases were to be applied to the rates estab­
lished by the Washington agreement o f October 6, 1917, and to be
effective from A p ril 1, 1920, to March 31,1922.
UNITED STATES ANTHRACITE COAL COMMISSION4
4

From 1903 to 1920 wages and working conditions in the anthracite
coal industry were regulated in accordance with the award o f the
Anthracite Coal Strike Commission o f 1903 and by subsequent agree­
ments made by arbitration committees as suggested by that commis­
sion. The last agreement had been made on May 5,1916, and was to
terminate March 31,1920. The anthracite operators and mine work­
ers met in conference in New Y ork City on March 9, 1920, to agree
u For details of the hearings before the commission see United Mine Workers of
America, Hearings before the United States Anthracite Coal Commission, 1920, “ Exhib­
its of the employees/’ Washington, D. C., 1920, and Opening Statement and Closing
Argument of Philip Murray, vice president of the United Mine Workers of America, be­
fore the United States Anthracite Coal Commission, 1920 [Baltimore], 1920, 95 p p .;
Reply of the Anthracite Operators to the Demands of the Anthracite Mine Workers
before the United States Anthracite Coal Commission, 1920, Scranton, 1920, 57 p p .;
Exhibits of the Anthracite Operators [Nos. 1-18] in Reply to Exhibits Presented by the
Anthracite Mine Workers before the United States Anthracite Coal Commission, Scranton,
1920; United States Anthracite Coal Commission, Report, Findings, and Award, 1920,
Washington, D. C„ 1920, 48 pp,




16

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

upon a new wage scale. Demands fo r increases in wage rates and
fo r certain changes in conditions o f employment were made by the
representatives o f the employees. These demands were referred to a
subscale committee composed o f four operators and four mine work­
ers, but this committee was unable to reach an agreement. The Sec­
retary o f Labor then invited the committee to meet with him in
Washington and submitted to it the draft o f an agreement the wage
clauses o f which were as follows:
( a ) The contract rates at each colliery shall be increased 65 per cent over
and above the contract rates at each colliery, effective April, 1916, as established
by the agreement of M ay 5, 1916.
( b ) The day rates of outside and inside men receiving $1,545 or more per
d ay under the agreement of M ay 5, 1916, shall be increased 65 per cent, plus
$1.20 per day, or per shift, above the rates established in said agreement of
M ay 5, 1916, it being understood that the new rate so established shall be not
less than $4 or more than $6 per day or per shift.
. ( c ) The day rates of employees receiving less than $1,545 per day under the
agreement of M ay 5, 1916, shall be increased $1.50 per day, o r per shift, above
the rates established in said agreement of M ay 5, 1916.
(d) The rates paid contract miners’ laborers and consideration miners’
laborers shall be increased above the rates established under the agreement
o f M ay 5, 1916, to the same amount per day as the increase to company
laborers, at the respective collieries, under the provisions of Clause B hereof;
it being understood that, in the case of contract miners’ laborers, the miners
are to assume and pay so much of said increase as shall be represented by the
application o f 65 per cent to the rate per basic shift as established under the
agreement of M ay 5, 1916, and the difference between said amount and the
total increase to the contract miners’ laborer shall be assumed and paid by
the operator.
(e) Monthly men coming under the agreement of M ay 5, 1916, shall be paid
an increase of 65 per cent, plus $36 per month, over the monthly rates estabUshed in said agreement of M ay 5, 1916; it being understood that the increase
thus made shall be not less than $20 or more than $30 per calendar month
over the rates now in effect.
( f ) The employees of stripping contractors shall be paid an increase per
day, or per month, corresponding in amount to the difference between the rates
in effect March, 1920, and the rates established under this agreement fo r
employees of the operators in similar occupations at the same colliery.
( g ) The employees of tunnel contractors shall come within the terms of
this agreement and the day rates of their employees shall be increased 65 per
cent plus $1.20 per day, above the rates established under the agreement of
M a y 5, 1916.

This agreement was rejected by the workers, who submitted the
follow in g proposition with reference to wages:
First. Contract miners’ rates to be increased 65 per cent over the 1916 basis.
Second. Twenty per cent increase on all day rates, with a minimum increase
o f 75 cents per day and maximum o f $1 per day increase.
Third. Boys to receive 20 per cent increase.

T o the above wage proposition the operators made the follow ing
r e p ly :
Item No. 1: The miners’ suggestion w as that contract miners’ rates be in­
creased 65 per cent over the 1916 agreement.
Our answer to that w a s : “ There is no difference between us on that item.”
On item 2, namely, demand on their part fo r an increase of 20 per cent in
d a y rates, we stated our position as fo llo w s :
“ O ur position is that a 15 per cent advance, calculated in the manner in which
we have presented it to you, is eminently equitable. W e are, however, willing
to accept a 17 per cent proposition, similarly calculated, on a basis of 65 per
cent plus $1.20 per day, or shift, with a minimum of $4 a day and maximum
of $6 a day which you have suggested to us. W e are further willing to adjust
a n y class which it can be shown is unfairly compensated under this scale, to




COAL-MINING INDUSTRY

17

which you may call our attention. W e definitely decline the basis of ad­
justment proposed by the mine workers.”
Third. W e decline to increase the adjustment 30 cents per day, which we
understand you agree established a fa ir wage rate for boys.
In other words, w e subscribed to the proposition made by the Secretary of
L abor of 30 cents per day fo r boys. The miners asked at that time an increase
of 20 per cent. The Secretary's suggestion w as 30 cents per day and we
subscribed to that proposition.

I t was evident that the wage scale committee would not be able to
come to an agreement, and on M ay 21, 1920, President W ilson sent
a letter to the committee stating that i f it was unable to reach an
agreement he would insist that the matter be referred to a commis­
sion, the members o f which would be appointed by him, and which
would be similar to that appointed in 1919 for the settlement o f the
differences in the bituminous coal industry.
Both the operators and the miners agreed to accept the award o f
such a commission, and on June 3,1920, the President, by proclama­
tion named the members o f the Anthracite Coal Commission,4 and
5
outlined its jurisdiction.
The commission began its hearings on June 24, 1920, in Scranton,
Pa. Evidence was presented before the commission by mine workers
and operators, 32 exhibits being presented by the workers, o f which
13 dealt with the increased cost o f living, comparison o f wage rates
and the cost o f living, standards o f living, and the sanction for a
livin g w a ge46; 5 o f the 18 exhibits o f the operators were on these
same subjects.4
7
MINERS’ ARGUMENT 4
8

The workers asked that increases in wages be granted which would
correspond to increases granted by the Bituminous Coal Commis­
sion to bituminous coal miners and argued that to base a wage rate
on the changes in the cost o f livin g over some specific earlier date
would not give a livin g wage. They contended that $6 per day was
the least that should be paid fo r common labor and that other rates
should include differentials fo r skill, efficiency, and experience, hold­
ing that, owing to the irregularity o f employment, a rate o f $6 per
day would afford only a subsistence level and that the miners should
not be expected to live on this level permanently. They held that
the principle o f the livin g wage was the only just principle on which
the decision should be based and presented a study made by the
mine workers5 organization o f the cost o f livin g o f 371 anthracite
mine workers5 families in various communities o f the anthracite
region for the months o f December, 1919, and January and Feb­
45 The members of this commission were Dr. W. O. Thompson., chairman; Hon. W. L.
Connell, representing the operators; and Mr. Neal J. Ferry, representing the miners.
46These exhibits were as follows: No. 8, Changes in cost of living and prices,
1914-1920'; No. 9„ Monthly Labor Review, February, 1920, p. 05; No. 10, Food prices in
Scranton, Pa., compared with prices in other c ities; No. 11, Income and expenditures of
anthracite mine workers’ families in Scranton, Pa., 1920; No. 12, Relationship between
rates of pay and the cost of living in the anthracite industry of Pennsylvania; No. 13,
The sanction for a living w age; No. 16, Workmen's standard of living, in Philadelphia;
No. 17, A living w age; No. 18, Standards of living—A compilation of budgetary studies;
No. 19, Cost of living in coal tow n s; No. 20, What a living wage should b e ; No. 21, The
piacticability of a living wage; No. 29, Food prices in Scranton, Pa.
47 These exhibits were as follow s: No. 10; m reply to miners’ Exhibit No. 11 ; No. 11,
in reply to miners’ Exhibit No. 12; No. 12, in reply to miners’ exhibits Nos. 8, 11, 13, 14,
17-21; No. 16, in reply to miners’ Exhibit No. 10; No. 17, in reply to miners’ Exhibit
No. 29.
48 Except where otherwise specified, data are from The Case of the Anthracite Coal
Mine Workers, by Philip Murray; and Opening Statement and Closing Argument before
the United States Anthracite Coal Commission, Baltimore, 1920.




18

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

ruary, 1920. They also presented a compilation o f practically all
the budgets made up to that time and the cost o f these budgets
brought up to date. I t was contended that the granting o f a living
wage was sanctioned by public opinion and was practical in the
anthracite industry i f the excessive profits resulting from monopoly
were eliminated.
The miners’ spokesman, Mr. P h ilip Murray, vice president o f the
United Mine Workers o f America, argued that the wage should not
be based on the percentage increase in the cost o f livin g because
wages had never kept pace with the cost o f livin g and because even
i f the base rate were sufficient, it would force the workers to remain
in a static position. A chart was submitted which showed the trend
in the cost o f livin g and in wage rates o f a contract miner.
Outlining the argument that would be made, by the miners and
which was presented in exhibits Mr. Murray said:
1. In the first place, w e shall show by an exhibit based on data from official
and authoritative sources that the retail prices of commodities entering into
the budgets of families o f mine workers, or, in other words, the cost of living o f
anthracite mine workers, has advanced on a conservative estimate 104 per cent
during the period since the outbreak of the W orld W ar, from July, 1914, to
M ay, 1920.
2. In the second place, increases in rates of pay granted* to anthracite
workers during the w a r period have not kept pace with these advances in
living costs. W e shall show by exhibits that an increase in rates of 36 per
cent is now necessary to restore the pre-war purchasing power of anthracite rates
o f pay, not to mention the losses which have been incurred by the workers
through the failure of w age rates to keep pace with living costs.
3. Third, as a basis of wage adjustment, however, w e shall hold and show
that the principle of increased Uving costs should now be abandoned fo r
the reason that it w as an emergency measure temporarily sanctioned fo r the
period of the w ar. The acceptance of this principle affords in our opinion
po basis or hope of progress or greater economic welfare to our members. On
the contrary, it simply means the perpetuation of deplorable and unacceptable
pre-w ar rates of pay and standards of living.
4. Fourth, w e shall submit further evidence relative to wages, to prove that
not only the earnings but the rates of pay o f bituminous mine workers are
greater than those in the hard-coal fields. It w ill be our position that the
minimum which w e should be expected to accept in the w ay of wage advances
should be the rates of pay which now prevail in the bituminous areas—
both the minimum rates fo r day workers and the percentage of increases
granted tonnage employees by the former Bituminous Coal Commission.
5. W e shall next submit evidence to show that the old theory o f fixing
wages by the unhampered law s of supply and demand has been universally
condemned, and as a substitute a new conception of w age standards has been
developed which proceeds from the basis that all workers, including unskilled
w age earners, should receive rates of pay which would permit them to sup­
port their families on the basis of health and decent comfort, or according to
accepted American standards of living, and above this minimum living rate fo r
the lowest grade of workers, differentials should be established corresponding
to skill, hazard, training, responsibility, and productivity.
6. Our next step w ill be to prove that the establishment of rates of pay
upon these bases— which have received the sanction of the enlightened opinion
o f our country and of the world— can be practically done by the commission,
and every consideration, not only o f economic justice, but also of wise in­
dustrial statesmanship, requires that this should be done at the present time.
[<Pp. 28, 29.)

In the final argument, Mr. Murray said:
The outstanding development of the hearings which are now being brought
to a close is the establishment for all time in this industry of the principle
o f the living wage, fo r which w e have contended from the outset. The oper­
ators have declared repeatedly their acceptance of this principle and their




COAL-MINING INDUSTRY

19

purpose to adhere to it, and have stated that the sole point of difference with
us is one of fact, as to what constitutes a living wage and how it should be
determined. (Pp. 40-42.)
W e repudiate entirely, as I pointed out in my opening statement, the prin­
ciple of the increased cost of living as a basis for the adjustment of our de­
mands. W e have shown in our exhibits that, measured by any reasonable
standard and by actual investigation, the wages of anthracite mine workers
were entirely inadequate before the war. The operators have corroborated
our claim by showing even in their summary of maximum earnings (E xh ibit
No. 1, p. 22) in 1914, that the average annual earnings for inside men w as
only $615, of outside men only $643, and of laborers only $524 to $549. W e,
therefore, ask the commission to disregard entirely the principle o f the in­
creased cost of living in fixing our wages, as we do not feel that the commis­
sion should do us the injustice of perpetuating the deplorable conditions which
existed before the w a r by adding the increased cost o f living to pre-w ar rates
of pay. This method is fundamentally unsound, anyhow, and w as acceded to
by labor during the w a r for the common good and because labor did not wish
to profit through the national emergency. (Pp. 48, 49.) * * *
* * * I t is also futile to hold that the principle of the living w age is
impracticable. Under the circumstances of this arbitration, it is the only
principle that has been suggested, or can be suggested, as the basis of a just
decision. The principle is not wholly satisfactory to the mine workers, but
it is the only one under which, in this arbitration, even a measure of justice
can be obtained. (Pp. 62, 63.) * * *
In asking for a minimum w age scale of $6 per day the mine workers are
doing so in the belief that this is the absolute minimum amount upon which
an adult man can support himself and his fam ily in decency and health. To
receive a lesser w age means either (1 ) to discourage marriage, or (2 ) to make
necessary the labor of wives and young children, or (3 ) to bring about a steady
deterioration of the health and moral qualities of the families affected.
(P . 60.) * * *
The exhibits o f the mine workers on this subject are all directed to a single
point, namely, the support of their contention that a wage of $6 per day is the
barest minimum amount upon which an employee in the anthracite industry
and at prices now prevailing in the anthracite region can support a fam ily at
a level of decent living. (P . 70.)

OPERATORS1 ARGUMENT

The operators claimed 4 that in order to determine whether or not
9
wages in the anthracite field were fair, the following elements
should be considered: (1 ) Opportunity for continuous employment;
(2) annual earning capacity; (3 ) increase in annual earning ca­
pacity, 1914 to 1919, as compared to the increase in cost o f livin g;
(4) daily wage; and (5 ) comparison o f rates in effect with rates
paid in occupations requiring like skill in other industries.
They contended that the demand o f the miners for an increase
in wage corresponding to that given by the Bituminous Coal Com­
mission would be unfair because the anthracite industry afforded
more days o f employment; that the anthracite industry was on prac­
tically a full-time basis; that the annual earnings o f the men were
sufficient to provide an American standard o f livin g; and that the
daily earnings in nine o f the largest companies averaged $3.40 per
day in 1914 and $0.54 per day in 1919, showing an increase o f 92.4
per cent in average daily earnings and, i f the increase in working
time were considered, o f 109.6 per cent in annual earnings.
The operators presented a table giving, by occupations, the earn­
ings o f all employees whose names appeared on each semimonthly
pay roll o f nine companies producing 75 per cent o f the total anthra-4
0
40 Reply of the Anthracite Operators to the Demands of the Anthracite Mine Workers
before the United States Anthracite Coal Commission, Scranton, 1926, pp. 16, 17, 22, 28.




20

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL. BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

cite output in the years 1914 and 1919. This table showed that the
average annual earnings were as follow s:
1914
Contract
Average,
Average,
Average,

miners-------------------------------------------------------------- $820
inside daymen__________________________________
615
outside daymen----------------------------------------------- 643
705
all occupations_________________________________

1919
$1,719
1,334
1,409
1,509

The operators pointed out that, according to these figures, the an­
nual earnings o f contract miners had increased 109.6 per cent since
1914, those o f inside daymen 116.9 per cent, and those o f outside day­
men 119.1 per cent, and contended: “ In comparison with the in­
creased living cost, it is apparent that the increased earning capacity
o f aU groups o f employees has been more than suflicient to meet
increased livin g expenses, and that there has been an increased
opportunity to save as well as an opportunity to attain to a higher
and better standard o f living.” 5 They also claimed that there was
0
no justification fo r an increase because o f the increase in wages in
November, 1918, which more than covered the increased cost o f
livin g at that time.5 *
1
T o the exhibits o f the miners relative to a livin g wage and to the
budgets submitted by them in substantiation thereof the operators
offered the follow ing re p ly :
1. The anthracite operators have been and are paying Uving wages to their
employees.
2. Due consideration has been given in all wage agreements with the mine
workers since the w age adjustment of November 1, 1902, to conditions of
living, the maintenance of health and comfort, and the general trend o f wages
in other industries.
3. The establishment of a wage scale based on the “ budget p la n ” is im­
practicable, due to individual differences in capacity and requirements and the
necessity for equal compensation for equal service.
4. However desirable it may be that every worker shall be paid a w age
commensurate with his reasonable needs for the support o f himself and his
fam ily, the value o f the services performed must ever be an essential factor in
the preparation of a w age scale.
5. Finally the only fa ir and practical test o f the w age status of employees
in a given industry is the actual facts bearing upon—
( a ) The general prosperity of the employees where the industry is a
dominant one.
( b ) The financial status o f the banks, particularly savings banks and banks
having savings departments.
(c ) The patronage given to places o f amusement and the time taken fo r
recreation.
(d) The general evidence o f comfort that prevails among the workers in
that industry.
I t is clear from the position taken by the representatives o f the anthracite
mine workers, on the one hand, and by the committee of the anthracite opera­
tors on the other, that on the general proposition that every industry should
pay its employees a living w age there is no difference o f opinion. Further­
more, so fa r as the question before this commission is concerned, there is no
issue regarding the ability of the operators to pay such wage as may be
determined, because the anthracite operators have agreed to pay and the
miners have agreed to accept the w age rate set by the commission. The
entire problem in this connection, therefore, is narrowed down to (a) a
matter of interpretation of terms, and (b) a question of facts in the light of
this interpretation.

80 Exhibits of the Anthracite Operators in Reply to Exhibits Presented by the Anthra­
cite Mine Workers before the United States Anthracite Coal Commission. Scranton, 1920.
Exhibit 11, p. 13.
51 Reply of the Anthracite Operators to the Demands of the Anthracite Mine Workers
before the United States Anthracite Coal Commission. Scranton, 1920, p. 25,




COAL-MINING INDUSTRY

21

The matter o f interpretation of terms has to do with the meaning of “ a
living wage.” There is here a disagreement between the anthracite operators
an*d the miners’ representatives, both as to the method of arriving at a practical
meaning and as to the practical application of the interpretation given the
term by the miners’ representatives.
The question of fact follows from the difference in interpretation. The con­
tent of fact given the term “ a living wage ” by the representatives of the
miners purports to show that such a wage has never been paid to miners in
the past and is not now being paid them. The term as translated by the
anthracite operators into actual living conditions among the mine workers is
demonstrated to be and to have been an actual result from the wages paid.
In view of these issues it is proposed to show that the wage demands of
the anthracite mine workers, in so fa r as they are founded upon arguments
dealing with a living w age and the cost of living, should not be granted by the
commission because:
(1 ) The methods employed by the anthracite mine workers’ representatives,
in arriving at a so-called living wage, are unsound and impracticable.
(2 ) The cost of living calculated fo r anthracite mine workers on the “ budget
plan ” is too high.
(3 ) No consideration is given to the arguments offered by the anthracite
mine workers to one essential factor in the preparation of a wage scale, i. e.,
the value of the services performed.
(4 ) In reality, the anthracite operators have been and are paying living
wages to their employees.6
2

In conclusion, the operators’ spokesman, Mr. Warriner, stated
with reference to the cost o f liv in g :
(1 ) That conditions in the anthracite and bituminous industries are not the
same, either as to the character of the work or opportunity fo r employment,
and that the increase granted the bituminous worker should not control as a
basis o f adjustment in the anthracite field.
(2 ) That the anthracite mines are on a basis of full-time operation. The
average days worked were 285 in 1917, 298 in 1918, and 273 in 1919. The lesser
working time in 1919 can be attributed entirely to the readjustment of markets
following abrogation of Government contrpl on February 1. A s soon as this
w as accomplished and in the coal year April, 1919, to March, 1920, the mines
operated fu ll time.
(3 ) That, based on a comparison of rates paid in other industries in the
same territory, for occupations requiring like skill and effort, no w age increase
is warranted.
(4 ) That, based on annual earnings, the increase in the cost of living has
been fully met, and no further wage increase is warranted.
(5 ) That, taking daily earnings instead of annual earnings as the basis of
comparison, it would be necessary to increase contract miners only 1.3 per
cent over present wages, or 2.5 per cent over the 1916 scale, to parallel a 95
per cent increase in the cost of living.
(6 ) That, taking the daily rates of daymen instead of annual earnings as
the basis of comparison, it would be necessary to increase the highest-paid
day labor 14.9 per cent over present rates, or 24.6 per cent over the 1916 scale,
to parallel a 95 per cent increase in the cost of living. The lowest-paid day
labor is now receiving a wage much in excess of the increase in the cost of
living. The relationship of daily wage' to increase in the cost of living for
any rate is clearly set forth in the tabulation on page 26 hereof.
(7 ) That, in case any increase or adjustment is determined upon, it should
be based on the 1916 scale, so that occupations paid similar rates at that
time may receive similar rates under any new scale that may be established.
(8 ) That, in case any increase or adjustment is determined upon, it should
be on a percentage basis, and not a flat increase of the same amount per day
to all classes of day labor. A flat increase, under present conditions, narrows
the differential between the different classes of labor, giving due considera­
tion to the purchasing power of the dollar, and lessens the incentive to ad­
vance from the lower-paid occupations to those requiring greater skill and
training.6*
3
8
5
& Exhibits of the Anthracite Operators in Reply to Exhibits Presented by the Anthra­
cite Mine Workers before the United States Anthracite Coal Commission. Scranton,
1920. Exhibit No. 12, pp. 4, 5.
58 Reply of the Anthracite Operators to the Demands of the Anthracite Mine Workers
before the United States Anthracite Coal Commission. Scranton, 1920, pp. 35, 36.




22

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL BOARDS- AND COMMISSIONS

AWARD OF THE COMMISSION

The United States Anthracite Coal Commission in making its
award o f August, 1920, said in p a rt:5
4
The public interest in the aw ard centers chiefly around the wages determined
upon and the effect of these wages upon prices. The commission has sought
to be conservative in the aw ard while making provision for a substantial
improvement in the situation of the miner. The aw ard is made with the
prim ary purpose of making the position of the men performing common, ordi­
nary labor more tolerable and of preserving the differentials between the
several classes of labor. The commission declines to commit itself to an
aw ard which could justly be considered as an encouragement to the so-called
“ vicious spiral ” in prices. This award, while providing improved conditions
for the employees, offers no justification for any advance in the retail prices
of coal, but, on the other hand, is consistent with a decline in prices. The
aw ard has not passed a great burden along to the consumer of coal. Any
sharp advance in the retail price of coal could not be charged to the operators,
the miners, or the award.
* * * Much emphasis in the hearings w as given to the statement that
the anthracite industry had become substantially a continuous industry. It
is important that this statement be realized in experience, as it affects both
the annual earnings and the annual production. In one of these the miner
is vitally concerned and in the other the public is profoundly interested.
* * * This aw ard is made upon the assumption of increasing regularity
of the mines and of the miner. If, for any reason, or for a number of reasons
combined, this regularity should fail the aw ard w ill be disappointing. The
commission indulges the hope that the improved opportunity w ill result in
developing regularity of employment, greater earnings for the miners, and a
low er cost of production for the operators. This points the w ay to a reduced
cost of coal to the consumer while maintaining the earnings of the miner
and the reasonable profits o f the operator.

W ith regard to demand No. 2 o f the workers, asking that the wages
o f the anthracite mine workers be increased to correspond to the in­
creases granted the bituminous mine workers, the commission made
the following decision:
(a) The contract rates at each colliery shall be increased 65 per cent over
and above the contract rates at each colliery, effective April, 1916, as estab­
lished under the agreement of M ay 5, 1916.
(& ) The hourly rates of outside and inside company men receiving $1,545
or more per day under the agreement of M ay 5, 1916, shall be increased 17
per cent, said increase to be applied to the total rate now in effect, namely, the
base rate established under the agreement of M ay 5, 1916, plus the w ar allow ­
ance granted under the supplemental agreement of November 15, 1918; it being
understood that the new rate so established shall be not less than 5 2 ^ cents
per hour for those employed on the basic eight-hour day. In the case of com­
pany men employed on the shift basis the shift rate shall be increased 17 per
cent, said increase to be applied to the rate now in effect, it being understood
that the new rate so established shall be not less than $4.20 per shift.
(c ) The hourly rates of outside and inside employees receiving less than
$1,545 per day under the agreement of M ay 5, 1916, shall be increased 4 cents
per hour over the rates now in effect, namely, the base rate established under
the agreement of M ay 5, 1916, plus the w ar allowance granted under the sup­
plemental agreement of November 15, 1918.
(d) The rates paid consideration miners shall be increased 17 per cent, said
increase to be applied to the total rate now in effect, namely, the base rate
established under the agreement of M ay 5, 1916, plus the w ar allowance
granted under the supplemental agreement of November 15, 1918.
(e ) The rates paid contract miners’ laborers and consideration miners’
laborers shall be increased above the rates established under the agreement of
M ay 5, 1916, to the same amount per day as the increase to company laborers
at the respective collieries under the provisions of Clause B hereof, it being
understood that in the case of contract miners’ laborers the miner is to assume
54 United States Anthracite Coal Commission.
Washington, D. C., pp. 22-25.




Report, Findings, and Award, 1920.

MEAT-PACKING INDUSTRY

23

and pay so much o f said increase as shall be represented by the application of
65 per cent to the rate per basic shift as established under the agreement of
M ay 5, 1916, and the difference between said amount and the total increase to
the contract miners’ laborer shall be assumed and paid by the operator.
( f ) Monthly men coming under the agreement of M ay 5, 1916, shall be paid
an increase of 17 per cent, said increase to be applied to the total rate now in
effect, namely, the base rate established under the agreement of M ay 5, 1916,
plus $54 per calendar month in the case of outside employees, and the base rate
under said agreement plus $60 per calendar month in the case of inside
employees.
(g) The increases herein provided shall become effective A pril 1, 1920.

BASIS OF AWARD

W ith reference to the basis upon which the decision was made,
Dr. W . O. Thompson, chairman o f the commission, said:
The principle in my own mind all the while w as that the public interest
would be served i f aU industries operated fo r what may be termed a substantial
year of time. In the anthracite industry this appeared to be somewhere from
270-280 days a y ear; in the bituminous industry it w as much less. In my
thinking on the question I desired to raise the pay to be such as would yield
a fa ir annual income provided the men were employed for the year as above
suggested. I regarded this both from the economic and the social point o f view.
I w as altogether out o f sympathy with the idea of a high rate of wages and a
short period of service. I believed in an annual income quite as earnestly as I
believed in a daily wage.
* * * In arriving at a final decision I had under consideration a special
report prepared by one o f my colleagues here in the faculty and the agreements
referred to above. I also had the estimates of cost of living as prepared and
submitted in a number of documents. I also made a brief review of the finance
o f the Roosevelt Commission in 1903 and the estimated cost of living at that
time, making an effort to find the cost o f living as indicated above in 1913.
I then allowed fo r doubling the cost o f living from 1913 to the time o f the war.
I found that upon my own estimates, assuming pretty steady employment, the
ordinary common laborer would earn somewhere between $1,500 and $1,600.
Another factor that interested me w as that the classification of labor seemed
to be altogether too simple. A n ordinary farm hand would be competent to
earn [perform ?] a good deal of labor that w as classified under w hat is known
as ordinary labor. It seemed to me, therefore, that in allowing the scale a
considerable amount of the labor would earn beyond the minimum award.
From all the computations I could make or that were suggested to me it
seemed that the contract miner could not w ell fa il i f he worked a reasonable
time to earn an annual income in excess o f that set out as a standard living in
the exhibits.
* * * The d raft previously offered by the Secretary o f Labor seemed to be
acceptable to one party, the operators, but unsatisfactory to the miners. The
question, therefore, as a practical issue w as whether the aw ard could go
beyond that amount, and i f so, how much beyond it, and be both a just aw ard
and reasonably satisfactory to both parties.
In the second place it is my opinion that so fa r as I w as concerned in the
issue there w as no attempt to give the anthracite workers the same percentage
increase as had been given to the bituminous workers. M y reason for that was
that the anthracite industry w as much more stabilized while the bituminous
industry w as less w ell stabilized and employed the men for very many days less
during a year than the anthracite industry.

MEAT-PACKING INDUSTRY .
LABOR ADMINISTRATOR

On December 24, 1917, an agreement5 was entered into between
5
the President’s Mediation Commission and Armour & Co., the
Cudahy Packing Co., Morris & Co., S w ift & Co., and Wilson & Co..
55 Agreement between. President’s Mediation Commission and Armour & Co., Cudahy
Packing Co., Morris & Co., Swift & Co., and Wilson & Co., Dec. 24, 1017. (Typewritten.)




24

CHAP. I.*— FEDERAL BOARDS* AND COMMISSIONS

4 with a view to a settlement for the duration o f the war o f all exist­
4
in g differences and o f differences that may hereafter arise, in order
that there may be no interruption, cessation, or curtailment in the
supplies and services furnished by the companies essential to the suc­
cessful prosecution o f the war and the military activities o f the Gov­
ernment.”
The agreement provided for certain wage increases
effective January 1, 1918, and further provided that all other pend­
ing or future disputes between these companies and their employees
involving wages, hours, or conditions o f employment which could
not be settled between the parties themselves should be referred to
Mr. John E. W illiam s as United States Administrator. Because o f
illness Mr. W illiam s was unable to act, and Judge Samuel Alschuler
was appointed administrator by the Secretary o f Labor, with the ap­
proval o f the Council o f National Defense and after conference with
the employers and employees, as provided for in the agreement.
The agreement was to apply to the companies’ plants in Chicago;
Kansas C ity; Sioux City, Iow a; St. Joseph, M o.; St. Louis; East St.
Louis, 111.; Denver; Oklahoma C ity; St. Paul; Omaha; and F ort
Worth, Tex., and was to continue fo r the duration o f the war.
I t w ill be seen, from the extracts given below from the awards o f
Judge Alschuler, that in reaching the conclusions expressed in his
awards he found the cost-of-living figures presented to him helpful
and, though not accepting any specific budget, drew his own con­
clusions as to how much o f an increase or decrease there had been
in the cost o f livin g between specific dates and accepted the prin­
ciple o f the livin g wage. In his award o f March 80, 1918, he held
that the workday 4 should under normal conditions afford to the
4
workman a day’s livin g wage fo r himself and fam ily,” and that
4 while so-called market price o f labor, as evidenced by what other
4
industries pay fo r it, should have some influence, yet, in any event,
it should be a livin g wage.” H e also held in this award that this
livin g wage surely meant more than what a fam ily could manage to
subsist on, and that 4 while it might generally be understood to be
4
a wage affording a livin g suited to one’s condition in life, it could
hardly be said that i f because o f an unreasonably low wage the con­
dition in life o f the employee sinks low, but that his fam ily manages
to subsist thereon, that the condition in life o f this fam ily is thereby
established and that the wage paid is suited thereto.” Although he
did not set a certain amount as being necessary, he said on March
30, 1918, that the hourly rate o f 27y2 cents which was being received
by the workmen in the packing industry, and which yielded $825
per annum, was not sufficient to meet the ordinary needs o f the aver­
age workingman’s fam ily in the cities involved, and his awards were
largely based on what he considered to be the change in the cost o f
livin g as well as on what rate o f pay would yield a livin g wage.
AWARD OF MARCH 30, 1918

On March 30, 1918, Judge Alschuler rendered an award relative
to the six questions concerning wages, hours, and conditions o f em­
ployment that had been submitted to him fo r arbitration. In the
preliminary statement givin g his reasons fo r the conclusions reached
in his award, the administrator said with reference to wages:
T he evidence for the employees, and employers as well, is unanimous to
the effect that whatever the economic workday is found to be (number of




25

MEAT-PACKING INDUSTRY

hours w orked), it should under normal conditions afford to the workman a
day’s living wage for himself and family of average size, generally consid­
ered to be w ife and three children of about school age. The proposition
itself is too clear to require elaboration. The superintendents agreed that
while so-called market price of labor, as evidenced by what other industries
pay fo r it, should have some influence, yet, in any event, it should be a living
wage.
W hile it might seem that the term ‘‘ living w a g e ” should itself fix its
boundaries and convey its significance, it is one of those phrases not capable
o f exact definition, but is quite dependent on the viewpoint of the one who
employs it. W hile it might generally be understood to be a w age affording a
living suited to one’s condition in life, it could hardly be said that if be­
cause' of an unreasonably low wage the condition in life of the employee sinks
low, but that his fam ily manages to subsist thereon, that the condition in life
of this fam ily is thereby established, and that the w age paid is suited thereto.
A living w age surely imports something more than this. On the other hand
the common laborer’s living wage can not under the existing order of things
be said to include extravagances and superfluities which only those o f large
means can afford.
On behalf of the employees various so-called “ living
budgets” were presented. W ith the best o f intent these must, it seems to
me, reflect more or less the point of view of those who gathered the data, or
those who compiled them. W here they are made from observations of what a
given number of families has actually required to maintain them, they may
not afford just guide fo r those families whose earnings are customarily
sufficient to w arrant better living, or for families whose earnings were un­
duly low but which nevertheless have been compelled to subsist thereon, de­
prived of many things which they ought to have had but could not, fo r lack
of means, procure. A s to whether or not the man with the low w age has been
compelled unduly to so deprive himself and his family, and, i f so, to what
extent affords room fo r wide divergence of opinion depending in large meas­
ure upon the personal views and experience of those who make or interpret
the budgets. Those used to better living might include more, and those not
so accustomed, less.
The budgets presented at the hearing varied from
about $800 to about $2,000. W hile budgets are helpful, there is difficulty in
reconciling them to each other, and to the actual conditions with which we
have to deal.
That cost of living, from the humblest to the highest, has greatly and pro­
gressively increased since shortly after the w a r in Europe began to the pres­
ent time is too w ell known to require more than the statement. Price tables
may with some approximation convey an idea of percentages, but we know
that it is the common and most generally used articles which have increased
most in price. I shall not undertake to prescribe a specific living budget fo r
workingmen, nor to indicate with mathematical exactness the percentage of
increased living costs for the average workingman’s family, as between the
present time and some supposedly normal period when the wages received
might have been considered adequate— if indeed as to some of these employees
such time there was. The raises given the employees in the last two years
have been considerable, but at least in the case of the laboring men they
supplemented a w age rate which in my judgment was, fo r a considerable
time before any of these raises, quite inadequate.
I f the 10-hour workman receiving 27% cents per hour, o r the 8-hour work­
man at correspondingly increased rate, worked 800 days a year, his wages
would be $825. I have no hesitation in saying that I do not believe under
existing conditions this sum is adequate to the ordinary needs o f the aver­
age workingman’s fam ily in the cities involved: It should be materially in­
creased, and, in my judgment, there should be a similar increase fo r all those
employees whose wages are lower and even somewhat above that rate and
an increase though not as much, fo r all those whose wages are considerably
more. This distinction is, I believe, warranted from the fact that those
receiving the higher wages do not stand so greatly in need of the increase as
the lower rate workers, because with their fa r higher rate they are' much
better provided, although their plane o f living is no doubt higher.

*

♦

*

*

*

♦

*

In fixing the rate o f increase, as w ell as in the overtime rate, I feel that it
is my duty to take into consideration the likelihood that under present condi­
tions overtime w ill be served. * * *




26

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

So fa r as I have been advised or know, there is no scientific method for
accurate w age fixing. In view of all the facts and conditions, I can only
exercise my best judgment, and so guided I have concluded that beginning
January 14,1918, the w age rates shall be increased over those in force December
31, 1917, by adding 4% cents an hour to the pay of all employees then receiving
up to and including 30 cents per hour, 4 cents per hour to those then receiving
from 30 cents up to and including 40 cents per hour, and 3
cents per hour
to all those receiving over 40 cents per hour, piecework rates to be adjusted
in like proportion according to earnings; that on and after M ay 5, 1918, when
the basic 8-hour day takes effect, the increased hourly wage rates then in force
shall be readjusted, so that thereafter the fu ll 8-hour day shall yield the same
w age to the employee as did the 10-hour day immediately theretofore, and that
piecework rates be adjusted on like principle. (Pp. 10-12.)

The above rates were awarded March 30, 1918, retroactive to Jan­
uary 14,1918. The stockyards later became parties to the agreement
providing for an administrator, and they adopted most o f the
above award, though they were not at this time under the adminis­
tration.
AWARD OF FEBRUARY 15, 1919

Early in October, 1918, the employees asked for an increase in
wages averaging somewhat more than 25 cents per hour. The de­
mand was made because o f the increased cost o f livin g and the
asserted insufficiency o f wages, irrespective o f the increased livin g
cost. The employers considered the demands unreasonable and
refused to confer with the employees, saying that i f the demands
were insisted upon they would have to be submitted to the adminis­
trator. This was done on November 12, 1918. W ith reference to
the cost o f living, Judge Alschuler in his findings and award o f
February 15,1919, said in p art:
That most articles entering into life’s reasonable necessaries have until
quite recently steadily advanced in their cost to the consumer is apparent not
only from the practically undisputed evidence on that subject but is as w ell in
accord with common experience and observation. In the nature of things, it
is quite impossible definitely to measure the precise percentage of such increase.
Minds w ill sharply differ as to what constitutes necessaries of life. Experi­
ences of different persons vary greatly, and to my mind the evidence afforded
by living budgets, although prepared under the direction of earnest, truth­
seeking economists and investigators, as w ell as by householders, does not
clarify the situation from the practical standpoint of wage fixing any more
definitely now than at the hearing o f last February and March.
Prices
charged consumers for similar articles vary greatly in the same community,
to say nothing of different localities; and lists fo r comparison of prices at
different periods may be based in part on articles sharply affected by the
season or on greatly varying grades of goods or on special circumstances which
may temporarily affect prices of particular items.
It w as shown that since March 30 some o f the items have advanced very
considerably, others not so much, and a few have remained practically sta­
tionary or have even declined in price. The difficulty grows when one reflects
that articles little used might advance very greatly without appreciably affect­
ing the general living cost while those in large proportionate use might advance
in much smaller ratio, with material influence on the fam ily expense. There is
besides the very geheral complaint that reduced price quotations do not find
adequate or ready reflex in the prices which the small consumer must continue
to pay. The advance has been most marked in food and clothing, which con­
stitute the large bulk of living cost, and less in rents, fuel, and some other
items. A fter careful study of the voluminous evidence and the fu ll and able
arguments presented, and consideration of available facts and circumstances
which seemed to shed light on the subject, I estimate that since March 30
there has been progressive advance in the price to consumers, reaching early in
November to about 12 to 15 per cent, which has since been substantially main­
tained, with a somewhat downward tendency manifesting itself from about the
middle of January.




MEAT-PACKING INDUSTRY

27

H o w to deal with such a situation as affecting the relation o f the employers
and employees presents a perplexing problem. For the employers it is insisted
that whatever relief may be afforded should have reference only to the future.
It w as freely conceded that if after the conclusion of this hearing there should
occur substantial rise in living cost, there might then properly be a practically
corresponding allowance to employees to meet it. I do not believe that the
consideration to be accorded employees in this respect is of logical necessity
limited to begin after the outcome of this hearing, but may in a proper case
have an earlier commencement. The contention is made that the wages as fixed
by the aw ard of M arch 30 should remain undisturbed fo r a reasonable time.
This may be conceded; but what is a reasonable time may depend on so many
varying conditions that, conceding the contention may not bring us much nearer
a solution. It is pointed out that the National W a r Labor Board in most of its
aw ards fixed about six months as the period during which the wage as fixed
should so remain. But this does not mean that whatever may be the rise in
living cost during the six months, the relief thereafter afforded should bear no
relation to such advance, but only to such advance as occurs after the end o f
that period.
I t is plain, of course, that not every change, up or down, in living cost,
however slight, would of itself w arrant revision of wages theretofore fixed. It
must have been contemplated that changes would occur, fo r well may it be
said that living cost is never exactly the same, even from day to day. So fa r
as change in living cost alone may require a wage revision, the change should
be so substantial as to affect materially the cost o f living. Here it has been
gradual, and appears to have reached its maximum in November, remaining
practically unchanged till about the middle of January. Some part of it the
worker must bear as his share of the common burden.
Everything considered, it is my judgment that at the time of the presentation
of the demands to the administrator a reasonable time had elapsed since the
fixing of the wages by the aw ard of M arch 30, and that the conditions as they
existed about the time the demands were so presented to the administrator
warranted as of about that time some fair measure of relief to the employees,
and that out of consideration of the progressive and substantial increase in
living cost since the aw ard of March 30, the employees should receive for each
week, in addition to the week's wages they have been paid, 10 per cent o f their
week's wages to $20, or less, from and after the tenth day o f November, 1918,
to and Including the date hereof, and payment in like proportion to those
paid on other than weekly pay days. F o r example, an employee receiving
$18 fo r the week, to be paid 10 per cent, or $1.80 additional fo r such week, and
those earning $20 or over in a week to receive $2 for the week. This w ill result
in a somewhat larger proportion of payment fo r those whose weekly earnings
have been $20 and under, but as increase in living cost bears more severely on
lower-paid employees I feel that this proportionate advantage to them is
justified. (Pp . 4-6.)

The above rates were awarded on February 15, 1919, “ out o f con­
sideration o f increased living cost since the award herein o f last
March 30 * * * ” and were retroactive to November 10, 1918.
F or future revisions, Judge Alschuler provided in the award:
* * * A s general living cost shall hereafter materially and substantially
increase or decrease, the foregoing percentage may on application to the adminis­
trator by either side, from time to time be correspondingly raised or lowered.
Such application may be made at intervals not shorter than 30 days after the
last fixing of the percentage. (P . 15.)

The award provided that the employees designated as “ laborers ”
should receive special consideration. Those who, prior to the award
o f March 30, had been receiving 27% cents per hour and since M ay 5
had been receiving under the award a wage o f 40 cents per hour were
to receive an increase o f 2% cents per hour and those receiving over
40 cents but less than 42% cents were to be increased to 42% cents. It
was stated that in the big concerns, workers receiving about 40 cents
an hour numbered over h alf the total and were quite generally hard
workers with families or other dependents.
105715°— 25----- 3




28

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

AWARD OF DECEMBER 1, 1919

Requests fo r wage increases were made by a large part o f the pack­
ing-house employees at Chicago in the latter part o f July, 1919, and
by other employees at Chicago, and by packing-house employees in
other cities in September, 1919. The increases requested ranged from
30 per cent to over 75 per cent above the rates fixed in the award o f
March 30 with the additions granted by the award o f February 15.
Judge Alschuler, although believing that conditions warranted a
further consideration o f wages, felt these requests to be excessive.
H is award o f December 1,1919, contained the follow ing statement o f
his position:
It seems to me that these wage-increase demands in their general application
jnust be considered largely with reference to changes in the cost o f living.
Again, as before, much evidence was presented upon this and related subjects.
Livin g budgets were submitted, experts, investigators, householders, merchants,
and others examined, published treatises, articles, and comments, tables o f prices,
index numbers, and statistics presented— all, of course, helpful to a proper esti­
mation of living needs and costs; but not alone controlling in fixing wages fo r
a single industry. W ithout here undertaking analysis of this mass of evidence,
which has been carefully studied, but viewing it all in the light o f common ex­
perience and common sense, I conclude that since the hearing o f last fa ll and
winter there has been such an advance in living cost as w ill w arrant some fu r­
ther general advance in wages.
It seems that, as stated in the aw ard of last February 15, about that time there
had set in a rather sharp decline in prices of quite a number o f articles. This
w as more or less the case for several months, although I am fa r from satisfied
that the benefits of the decline accrued in any large measure to the small con­
sumer. But soon again an upward price tendency w as manifested, reaching an
altitude in about September somewhat higher than ever before, and, in my
judgment, from 5 to 10 per cent above the maximum of the previous winter. A l­
though a number o f weeks have passed since the close of the hearings herein I
see no indication o f material relief to the consumer in this regard in the very
near fu tu re ; indeed, the signs point rather to yet higher prices. It seems meats
have dropped in price, but this, I think, is more than neutralized by the rise in
sugar, butter, eggs, and fuel.
Fantastic stories are abroad in the land as to the fabulous earnings o f stockyards workers. There may be some instances where skilled pieceworkers, work­
ing at high speed and sometimes for abnormal hours, may show w hat looks like
abnormally large pay check results; but such are quite exceptional. A n ex­
amination o f actual pay rolls w ill dispel any apprehension that the rank and file
o f these workers are now traveling the royal road to riches.
In this industry a considerable majority o f the male employees are so-called
“ common laborers.” These, with males under age, and females, doing presum­
ably lighter work, and generally receiving considerably less wages, constitute
probably well over 75 per cent of all the plant employees. (P p . 5, 6.)

A fte r reviewing the wage rates fo r common labor before the ad­
ministration and under the different awards, Judge Alschuler said:
* * * I do not think that the employees as a rule wiU, under present
conditions, be unduly burdened with surplus funds even if, because mainly of
increased living cost, somewhat further advance be made, nor do I feel that the
“ vicious circle” in which wage rates and living costs are so frequently de­
scribed as pursuing each other, should deter from making some further provi­
sion fo r meeting the increased living cost, fo r which it seems plain higher
wages are fa r from being alone responsible.
I find and aw ard that independently of, and additionally to any increases
made in any other sections hereof, the 10 per cent increase as fixed in section
18 of the aw ard of February 15, 1919, be, and it is hereby increased by 7% per
cent for all employees within the administration, making that percentage as
hereby increased 17% per cent to be computed on not exceeding $20 of each
week’s earnings. (P . 7.)




MEAT-PACKING INDUSTRY

29

The award was retroactive to September 1 , 1919.5
C
AWARD OF APRIL 26, 1920

The request for a 3-cent increase in hourly rates by certain groups
o f employees who did not participate in the benefits o f sections 2 or 8
o f the award o f December 1, 1919, was granted by an award made
A p ril 26* 1920. Section 2 had provided fo r advances to certain
o f the mechanical trades and section 8 fo r a 3-cent hourly ad­
vance to skilled and semiskilled workers o f the killing and cutting
gangs. Judge Alschuler said (p. 1 ): “ Without entering into de­
tailed discussion o f the reasons for the conclusion reached I am
satisfied that public conditions have become such as to justify this
further advance.” In his findings and award o f December 7, 1920,
the administrator in referring to this statement said (p. 6 ): “ The
public conditions referred to [in the A p ril 26 award] were o f course
largely the change in livin g costs brought about by the continuously
rising prices.” The employees also asked that the 10 per cent bonus
granted on February 15, 1919, and the 7y2 per cent additional
bonus granted on December 1,1919, be incorporated into the regular
wage. Judge Alschuler granted this request.
Another award o f A p ril 26, 1920, covering the stockyard em­
ployees granted to them the same increases as awarded to the pack­
ing-house employees.
AWARD. OF DECEMBER 7. 1920

In August, 1920, the employees o f both the packing houses and
stockyards asked for an increase in wage. As stated in the findings
o f Judge Alschuler on December 7,1920—
* * * the evidence for the employees was in the main directed toward
the establishment of two principal propositions, viz, that the cost of living
has materially advanced since September 1, 1919, which was in certain re­
spects the effective date of the general wage aw ard made December 1, 1919,
and that in any event, regardless of any such advance, the wages are fa r too
low in most cases to meet the American standard of living. (P . 4.)

O f the contention o f the employers, Judge Alschuler said:
The employers complain that already the wages in this industry have been
advanced in proportion considerably beyond the advance in living costs; but
where this is so I have heretofore maintained, and I believe, it w as justified
because of the lowness of the wages prior to the European war.
(P . 8.)

A 5 per cent increase in wages, effective from July 5 to December
5,1920, was granted on the basis o f increased cost o f livin g:
* * * the question o f commodity prices looms large as an influential factor
in the cost of living. It is too plain to require statement that the value of
the w age received depends upon how much it w ill buy, and that upon the same
money wage the employees’ actual compensation is greater when the prices
are down and less when they are up. That under our system prices should
alw ays remain the same is, of course, out of the question. Under even what *
5
4

56 Employees in the mechanical trades were increased 12% per cent, not only because
of the increase in the cost of living, but also because the pay in other industries for
similar work was higher than in the packing houses. The award of December, 1919,
also modified that of February 15 with reference to the lowest paid employees, so that
the increases would be more gradual. All those over 21 years of age then receiving 40%
cents were increased to 43 cents, while those receiving 44% cents were increased to
45 cents.




30

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

might be termed “ n o rm al” conditions there are constant fluctuations. Some
essential articles may rise while others fa ll without markedly affecting the
general cost o f living. It is plain that to the extent that the cost of living
is a factor in fixing w age rates it is not practical to reflect in wages every
change in the price of commodities which enter into living costs. This may
w ell be done where the change is general and substantial and appears to be
reasonably permanent. The experience of the last six years strikingly illus­
trates the influence of increased living costs upon wages. * * *
The general wage hearing in the fa ll of 1919, which resulted in the aw ard o f
December 1, 1919, found that there had been a general and steady increase o f
living costs from the last previous w age adjustment to that time, and a general
increase of 7% per cent upon the weekly pay up to $20 thereof w as then made,
effective from September 1. A s will be further pointed out, since September
1, 1919, there has been concededly a steady and substantial further rise in
living costs. B ut it is not wholly correct to say that since September 1 there
has been nothing done in this industry toward meeting the continued rise in
prices. Besides the 7% per cent increase from September 1 there w as awarded
12% per cent to the building tradesmen represented in the industry and 8 per
cent to their helpers, and 3 cents an hour to all those employed in the killing
and cutting gangs— all of these effective December 1, and additional to the 7%
per cent increase. The 3-cent hourly increase w as by some of the packers
voluntarily extended to certain jobs not included in the award, and w as sub­
sequently adjudged to include some others. On A pril 26, 1920, after a further
hearing a 3-cent hourly increase as o f A p ril 5, 1920, w as added to the rate
of every employee within the administration who had not received the 3-cent
increase under the aw ard of December 1, 1919, or the 12% per cent and 8
per cent increase to the building trades mechanics. This A pril aw ard affected
the large bulk of the employees by increasing their pay 3 cents an hour
from A pril 5, 1920— an increase of 6 per cent to that fa r most numerous class
considered in the industry as common laborers, who were then on a 50-cent
rate (including the then so-called bonuses). The percentage, of course, w as
proportionately lower to those whose wages Were of a higher rate, although
their increase w as the same. It thus appears that either on last A p ril 5 or
the prior December 1 every employee within the administration w as increased
in his pay rate beyond the 7% per cent general increase of the previous
September 1. * * *
* * * The undisputed experience has been that living cost has since the
fa ll of 1919 continued quite steadily and substantially to rise, reaching the
maximum in about the fore part of August. W h ile it appears that there were
some sharp declines in wholesale prices shortly before and quite steadily since
that time, retail prices o f the same commodities were not so immediately or
sharply responsive, but these remained at practically the same level for a con­
siderable time further. Indeed, taking into consideration the unaccountably
large advance in fuel, the continued higher cost of shelter and of butter and
eggs, it is my judgment that not until the last few weeks has there been mani­
fested any appreciable general decline in the cost of living, and only very
recently, if at all, has it approximated the level of last April.
I am of the opinion that the general rise in living cost from September 3,
3919, to the peak in early August w as from 12 to 15 per cent. This has to an
extent been taken care o f by the increases effective December 1,1919, and A pril
5, 1920. But the increase from A pril 1 has been too long and steady and pro­
nounced not to demand attention and some corrective action by the adminis­
trator. Indeed it seems that most of the other industries have recognized the
advance in prices during the present year in the making o f some increase in
wages during that time; and while, as stated, the advance in A p ril affected
most o f the packing-house employees, in my judgment it w as not sufficient ,to
care fo r the substantial advance in living costs with resultant depreciation
in w age value which w as thereafter experienced.
A s stated on other occasions, such matters are not capable of mathematically
exact adjustment, and approx;mations are the best that can be hoped for. A
painstaking study of the voluminous evidence and the able arguments thereon,
and careful consideration of conditions generally, bring me to the conclusion
that all the employees within the administration should be allowed an advance
in wages of 5 per cent of each week’s wages actually earned by them up to
$25 of such week’s wages, covering the period beginning Monday, July 5,
1920, and ending Sunday, December 5, 1920. (Pp . 4-7.)




MEAT-PACKING INDUSTRY

31

This increase was not extended beyond December because, in the
administrator’s opinion, “ a quite radical decline in living cost”
seemed imminent.
W ith reference to granting wage increases on the basis o f cost-oflivin g budgets, Judge Alschuler said:
It is needless to restate here what has been said in previous awards on the
subject of budgetary studies and their place in the intensely practical problem
of w age fixing. Suffice to say, that until the industries fa r more generally
conform themselves to such minimum wages as will, according to the budgets,
afford the workers subsistence in reasonable comfort conformable to American
standards of liv in g*(an amount now estimated by them at upwards of $2,000
per annum ), I can not, in my limited capacity as administrator fo r this one
industry, impose upon it such an exceptional wage minimum, placing it in
this respect in a class almost by itself.
(P . 4.)
♦ * * W hatever of influence the claimed disproportion of wages to fa ir
living standards may have toward maintaining existing rates in the face of
general and protracted fa ll in prices, I do not believe that under conditions
above pointed out, coupled with the now manifest tendency toward unemploy­
ment in industries generally, and even wage reductions in some of them, to­
gether with the very unusual and disturbed cond:tion of commerce and finance,
it would be wise or to the best interest of the employees or employers in this
industry just now to increase the rates fo r the immediate future, fo r the pur­
pose alone of more nearly approximating these living budgets. (P . 8.)

On February 21, 1921, the packers and the Union Stockyards &
Transit Co. served notice o f the termination o f the agreement pro­
viding fo r an administrator. Following this notice, they announced
that there would be a reduction o f 8 cents per hour to all their plant
employees. The employees protested and the Secretary o f Labor
held conferences in Washington with the “ big fiv e ” packers and
with representatives o f their employees. I t was agreed with the
Secretary that the cut should stand but that all other differences
should be referred to the administrator until September 15*
AWARD OF JULY 14, 1921

In reply to the request o f the employers for a further general wage
reduction o f .5 cents per hour, Judge Alschuler on July 14, 1921,
reviewed the principal wage changes in the industry since 1914, and
stated:
* * * Computation of the hourly pay rates of all the plant employees
as of June 1 in one plant (S w ift’s at Chicago) shows those receiving under
45 cents to be 11 per cent of the whole, those receiving 45 cents, 30.T per
cent, those above 45 cents, up to and including 47 cents, 27.3 per cent, those
above 47 cents up to and including 50 cents, 12 per cent, making 81 per cent
o f all these employees who are paid 50 cents and under. O f the remaining
19 per cent I think it would be safe to* say that two-thirds are receiving under
60 cents, and that the number now receiving over 70 cents is quite negligible.
This is fairly typical of all plants in the administration, save that the common
labor rate at Fort W orth and Oklahoma City has been and is 3 cents lower
than elsewhere.
Various reasons are urged to justify the requested further cut of 5 cents
hourly— the great and widespread depression in business, the radical decrease
in production, resulting in the reducing of forces in those plants of over half,
the great falling off in prices of by-products, such as hides, pelts, wool, lard,
beef fats, as well as marked reduction in the packers’ price of meats and
meat products, the slump in the market price of livestock^ salaries, overhead,
return on investment and profits, the decreased cost of living, the quite widely
prevailing unemployment, and trend toward substantial wage reductions in
industries generally.
I have tried to.weigh carefully what has been submitted on both sides, not
only at the time of submission but by w ay of subsequent study of the record




32

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

and briefs. To discuss all these propositions, commercial, financial, indus­
trial, and social, would require a large volume; and I am sure I could make
no worth-while contribution to the endless literature extant on the subjects.
Without therefore undertaking the task of preparing an analysis of the several
contentions and elements, I must be content with stating some of the impres­
sions, or describing the composite picture which the hearing and study leave
on my mind, and make practical disposition of the concrete questions presented
to the best of my understanding. * * *
So fa r as the cost of living is a factor, while there has undoubtedly been
considerable recession since last December, I am not convinced that, as
applied to the large majority of such employees, it has fallen as much as the
employers contend. W e know that in some very important respects it has
not declined at all. I f these employees have taxes to pay on any property
they may possess, they have found them constantly mounting, with reasonable
certainty of still higher rates. Most o f them use the street cars, and fares
remain stationary at 60 per cent above w hat they were. Gas and electricity
also remain at the highest price. Fuel, which all must have, is not apparently
lowered to these small consumers, while ice has become almost prohibitive in
price. Newspapers, a most general necessity, remain at the highest point,
from 100 per cent to 200 per cent above 1914 prices. Rents, which have not yet
receded from the high mark of 1920, but have in instances even mounted, show
no sign of abatement. Telephone and telegraph service remains at uppermost
level, likewise freight rates and passenger fa re s ; and while these may not
directly enter into the living cost o f the average packing-house employee,
they surely have their influence indirectly. True, there have been notable
reductions in some prices— sugar, vegetables, some canned goods and cereals;
and coffee, butter, eggs, flour, and many other articles o f food have been more
or less reduced, but such very essential articles as milk, bread, and bakery
stuffs, fruits and meats have not undergone very great reduction to the small
consumer.
W earin g apparel has decreased quite materially, although many of the
widely advertised reductions leave the public under the false impression that
they are typical o f the things which these people must buy. W h ile possibly
some of the workers bought silk shirts, silk stockings, etc., when these were
at their highest, it w as when, through higher w age rates and much overtime
and more employment, pay checks were materially larger than they now are.
W h ile most of the so-called luxuries have greatly declined, the average w age
earners, i f employed at all, must now content themselves with the more ordi­
nary things, in which the reductions have not been so marked fo r the small
buyer at retail. The much greater decline in wholesale than in retail prices is
often confusing in considering living cost.
The frequent great disparity
between the two is at times strongly suggestive o f arbitrary and unconscion­
able price maintenance by retailers. B ut whatever the cause or excuse, these
people must buy at retail, and generally in very small quantities, and must
pay the prices exacted, however extortionate. Though I am of the belief that
ere long there must be further material reduction in retail prices which such
persons must pay, it is my view that the prices they now must and do pay
do not at present w arrant the further reduction in pay rates which is de­
manded. N or does the condition of very considerable unemployment, the slump
in prices of materials, some of which are produced by the packers themselves,
nor the falling off in the packers’ profits fo r the last two years, nor the
present low price of livestock, convince me that these employees should just
now suffer a wage cut beyond that which has already come to them.
Employers generally, and these employers in particular, insist they do not
desire nor intend to put wages on the pre-war basis. This, o f course, does not
mean that existing wages must at all hazards be m aintained; but it does mean
that in the probably inevitable recession from w a r peak levels wages do not
recede to the same levels as all or some of the other elements. If, as seems
to be quite generally recognized should be the case, labor should be accorded
a larger proportion of the fruits of industry than it received in the days
before the w a r in Europe began, it must not, i f it can be avoided, be suffered
to drop in the same approximate proportion as other elements. I do not say
that the wages o f these and other employees may not have to be materially
further reduced— possibly even substantially more than here demanded. That
w ill depend on many other relative conditions, which, while lowering the
money wage, may leave it not less high in fact than it w as before the reduction.
Purchasing power is an important element. Tested by this,* the w age is not




NATIONAL WAR LABOR BOARD

33

just now so fa r above what it w as as the comparative w age figures alone
would indicate.
For the present, therefore, I feel compelled to deny the requested further
reduction, reserving, however, the right to make further reduction when and
as during the term of the administration conditions may seem to require.
(P p . 4-7.)

On September 15, 1921, in accordance with the agreement pre­
viously referred to, the administration o f labor conditions fo r the
packing-house industry was dissolved.
NATIONAL WAR LABOR BOARD
In January, 1918, the Secretary o f Labor appointed the W ar
Labor Conference Board for the purpose o f devising for the period
o f the war a method o f labor adjustment which both employees and
employers would accept. The members o f the board were nomi­
nated by the president o f the American Federation o f Labor and the
president o f the National Industrial Conference Board. In March,
1918, this board recommended that a national war labor board be
established and that it be directed to observe certain principles out­
lined in the report o f the Conference Board. On A p ril 8, 1918, the
members o f the W ar Labor Conference Board were, by proclama­
tion o f President Wilson, appointed members o f the National W ar
Labor Board, and the Conference Board principles were at that time
confirmed and approved as the principles to be observed by the
National W ar Labor Board.5 The principles were as follows:
7
Custom of localities.— In fixing wages, hours, and conditions of labor ^regard
should alw ays be had to the labor standards, wage scales, and other conditions
prevailing in the localities affected.
The living wage.— 1. The right of all workers, including common laborers,
to a living w age is hereby declared.
2. In fixing wages, minimum rates of pay shall be established which w ill
insure the subsistence of the worker and his fam ily in health and reasonable
comfort.

The board as originally appointed consisted o f 5 members, repre­
senting the employees, nominated by the American Federation o f
Labor; 5 members, representing the employers, nominated by the
National Industrial Conference Board; and 2 joint chairmen, rep­
resenting the public, one chosen by each o f the above groups. The
original joint chairmen were Hon. W illiam Howard T a ft and Hon.
Frank P. Walsh. Ten umpires were nominated by the President, to
whom cases were to be referred in case the board could not reach a
unanimous agreement.
The jurisdiction o f the board was exceedingly broad, as the Presi­
dent’s proclamation conferred upon it jurisdiction in all contro­
versies “ in fields o f production necessary fo r the effective conduct o f
the war or in other fields o f national activity, delays, and obstruc­
tions in which might, in the opinion o f the National Board, affect
detrimentally such production.
Cases came before the W ar Labor Board by appeal from another
adjustment agency, by reference from some other adjustment agency,
or by direct appeal o f employer or employees or their associations.
United States National War Labor Board. Proclamation by the President of the
United States creating the National War Labor Board. Its functions and powers.
Principles governing industry. * * * Washington, D. C., 1918, p. 9.




34

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

During the 16 months that the board functioned— from A p ril 8,
1918, to August 12, 1919— its awards and findings directly affected
more than 1,100 establishments employing approximately 711,500
persons, o f whom about 90,500 were employees o f street railways.*8
5
Many more employees were affected indirectly. In many cases estab­
lishments voluntarily adjusted wages to accord with those established
by the board fo r some other establishment doing a similar kind o f
work or situated in the same locality. Also many other adjustment
agencies adjusted wages on the same principles as followed by the
National W ar Labor Board.
The cost o f livin g was given consideration by the National W a r
Labor Board, and in many cases this was the basis fo r its decision,
the board endeavoring to grant a wage which would insure health
and reasonable comfort fo r the worker and his fam ily; the exact
amount o f a livin g wage fo r general application, however, was never
definitely decided upon. On July 11, 1918, the board said in the
case, Employees v. Certain Companies o f Waynesboro, Pa. (docket
No. 40), in which was established a minimum wage o f 40 cents per
hour:
The board hereby announces that it has now under consideration the matter
of the determination of the living wage, which under its principles must be the
minimum rate of wage which w ill permit the worker and his family to subsist
in reasonable health and comfort. That in respect to the minimum established
by this finding it shall be understood that it shall be subject to readjustment to
conform to the board’s decision when and as a determination shall be reached
in that regard.

On July 31, 1918, the board adopted a resolution containing the
follo w in g:
That the period of the w a r is not a normal period of industrial expansion
from which the employer should expect unusual profits or the employees abnor­
m al w ages; that it is an interregnum in which industry is pursued only for
common cause and common ends.
That capital should have only such reasonable returns as w ill assure its use
fo r the world’s and Nation’s cause, while the physical well-being of labor and
its physical and mental effectiveness in a comfort reasonable in view o f the
exigencies of the w a r should likewise be assured.
That this board should be careful in its conclusions not to make orders in this
interregnum, based on approved views of progress in normal times, which under
w a r conditions might seriously impair the present economic structure o f our
country.
That the declaration of our principles as to the living w age and an established
minimum should be construed in the light o f these considerations.
That for the present the board or its sections should consider and decide each
case involving these principles on its particular facts and reserve any definite
rule of decision until its judgments have been sufficiently numerous and their
operation sufficiently clear to make generalization safe.8
9

F o r the information o f the board the cost-of-living section o f its
staff analyzed data on the cost o f livin g and presented this analysis to
the board. This section q f the W ar Labor Board cooperated with the
Bureau o f Labor Statistics in its survey o f the cost o f livin g in
92 localities o f the United States during the year 1918-19, and the
figures so secured, together with the percentage change shown by the
Bureau o f Labor Statistics in certain o f these cities on different
dates, were considered by the board in making its awards. Also,
58 United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Bui. 287: The National War Labor Board,
Washington, D. C., 1921, p. 19,
58 Idem, p. 35,




NATIONAL WAR LABOR BOARD

35

general surveys o f the cost o f living in Philadelphia, New Orleans,
and Memphis were conducted by the board.6
0
A t the request o f the board the cost-of-living section prepared a
memorandum6 on the minimum wage and increased cost o f livin g
1
intended to guide the board in its determination o f a livin g wage,
but the armistice was declared soon after and no statement was ever
made by the board to apply to all cases, but the principle o f the
livin g wage was applied in individual cases according to conditions.
A large number o f awards o f the board provided for a reopening o f
the case and a revision o f the award at certain intervals to meet the
changed conditions; where it was found that there had been no
change in conditions other than in the cost o f living, an increase in
wages was granted corresponding to the increase in the cost o f living
since the first award.
AWARDS IK INDUSTRIAL CASES

In the following awards the board endeavored to establish a living
wage by granting a definite per cent o f increase in the wage—
(1 ) Which was the same fo r all employees affected.
Employees v. General Electric Co., Pittsfield works, Docket No. 19, July 31,
1918: “A ll day workers shall receive an increase over their present rates
of twenty (20) per cent. A ll piece-rate workers shall receive an increase
over their present rates of twenty (20) per cent.”
Franklin Local Union No. 4, International Printing Pressmen’s and A s­
sistants’ Union o f North America v. Franklin Division of Franklin
Typothetae of Chicago, Docket No. 105, September 27, 1918: “ The board
finds that the index of the Bureau o f Labor Statistics fo r cost o f living
in Chicago, 1 ., shows percentage increase since the date of the wage
11
adjustment between the parties to this controversy in December, 1917, is
16.2 per cent and the aw ard following is based solely upon this considera­
tion. * * * The wages of all members of Franklin Union No. 4 of
the International Printing Pressmen’s and Assistants’ Union employed
by the Franklin Division of the Franklin Typothetae of Chicago shall be
increased by the sum of three dollars and fifty cents ($3.50) per week.”
Grain Elevator W orkers’ Local No. 16198 v. J. A. McNulty, Minneapolis,
Minn., 261, A pril 11, 1919 (recommendation) : “ The trend in the cost of
living was upward for some months subsequent to the last wage increase
received by the men, and the request made, amounting to an increase of
10 per cent, seems reasonable as applied to December 1, 1918, and
thereafter.
“ That the coopers should receive 55 cents per hour and the door pullers
50 cents, effective on and after December 1, 1918, is recommended.”

Other awards in this class w ere:
5 per cent: Employees v. Standard Boiler & Plate Iron Co., Niles, Ohio, 325,
A pril 9, 1919.

10 per eent:%Federal Labor Union No. 15047 v. Union Carbide Co., Sault
Ste. Marie, Midi., 174, January 15, 1919; Employees v. Western Drop
Forge Co., Marion, Ind., 334 and 073, January 29, 1919; Employees v.
W alw orth Manufacturing Co., Kewanee, 1 1 274, March 6, 1919; Brush1 .,
makers’ Local No. 35 v. Chicago Brush Manufacturing Co., 754, March 26,
1919; Employees v. Matthews Engineering Co., Sandusky, Ohio, 542
and 542a, March 27, 1919.
15 per cent: United Textile W orkers of America v. Rhode Island Em­
ployers, 275, March 13, 1919. (Recommendation.)

60United States Department of Labor. National War Labor Board. Report of the
secretary of the National War Labor Board to the Secretary of Labor for the 12 months
ending May 31, 1919. Washington, 1920, p. 29.
61 United States National War Labor Board. Memorandum on the Minimum Wage
and Increased Cost of Living. Submitted by the secretary at the request of the board at
its meeting on July 12, 1918. Washington, D. C., 1918, 148 pp.




36*

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
20 per cent: International Association of Machinists v. Jackson & Church
Co. et al., Saginaw, Mich., 147, October 25, 1918; Machinists (Machineshop workmen) v. Baker Manufacturing Corporation, Saratoga Springs,
N. Y., 885, February 19, 1919; Local 125, International Brotherhood
Electrical W orkers v. Portland R ailw ay Light & Pow er Co., Portland,
Oreg., 567, February 19, 1919.
25 per cent: Employees v. St. Louis Car Co., 4a, October 11, 1918; Em ­
ployees v . St. Louis Coffin Co., 258, November, 19,1918.

(2)
Which was greater for the lower-paid employees than fo r the
higher paid.
Employees v. The W illys-Overland Co., Elyria, Ohio, 95, October 11, 1918:
“ It is found upon reviewing the evidence in this case that the men are
asking fo r a flat increase of 30 per cent for all classes of employees,
that the company contends that no increase other than the one granted
by the management on August 1, 1918, should be given.
“After carefully reviewing all the evidence in this case it is the de­
cision of the board that a 30 per cent increase be granted to all em­
ployees who were receiving under 45 cents per hour on M ay 1, 1918, and
that all employees receiving 45 cents and over on M ay 1, 1918, be granted
a 25 per cent increase.”
Machinists v. Niles-Bement-Pond Co., Plainfield, N. J., 339, December 10,
1918 (decision of Mr. John Lind, umpire) : “ From the data available
in this case I decide that those of the workmen who received more than
65 cents per hour on August 19, 1918, are entitled to an increase effec­
tive from that date of 5 per cent in addition to the rate per hour which
they are nowT receiving; those who on August 19, 1918, received 59 cents
an hour or more, not exceeding 65 cents per hour, are entitled to an
increase from that date of 7% per cent per hour in addition to the rate
per hour which they now receive; and those of the workmen included
in this proceeding who on August 19, 1918, received less than 59 cents
per hour shall receive an increase effective from that date of 10 per
cent in addition to the rate per hour which they now receive.”
Employees v. Benjamin Iron & Steel Co., Hazelton, Pa., 724, April 10, 1919:
“ The board aw ards an increase of 20 per cent to employees receiving
40 cents or less per hour, and an increase of 17% per cent to employees
receiving 41 cents or more per hour.”

Other awards in this class were :
10 and 15 per cent (m en), 20 per cent (wom en) : Employees v. General
Electric Co., Schenectady, N. Y., 127, July 31, 1918. 15 per cent (men,
clerical), 20 per cent (women, clerical), 127, November 22, 1918.
8, 10, and 15 per cent: Employees v. Reading Iron Co., Reading, Pa., 416,
November 19, 1918; Employees v. Cohoes Rolling M ill Co., Cohoes, N. Y.,
422, January 15, 1919 (recommendation) ; Employees v. Milton M anufac­
turing Co., Milton, Pa., 422a, January 15, 1919 (recommendation) ;
Employees v.. Pennsylvania Iron & Steel Co., Lancaster, Pa., 422b, Janu­
ary 15, 1919 (recommendation).
10, 17% per cent: Employees v. Yulcan Iron Works, et al., W ilkesBarre, Pa„ 638, February 20, 1919.
15, 20 per cent: International Holders’ Union Local 62 v. Brass Foundry
& Machine Co., Fort Wayne, Ind., 284, A pril 10, 1919 (recommendation) :
International Molders’ Union Local 420 v. Elkhart Iron W orks et al.,
Elkhart, Ind., 383, A pril 10, 1919.

In the following cases the board endeavored to establish a livin g
wage by increasing wages by a definite amount o f money—
(1 ) Which was the same for all employees affected:
Printers’ League Section, Association of Employing Printers o f the City
of N ew York v. Franklin Union No. 23 of the International Printing
Pressmen’s and Assistants’ Union of North America, 446, November 19,
1918: “ The wages of all members of Franklin Union No. 23 of the
International Printing Pressmen’s and Assistants’ Union shall be in­
creased six dollars ($6) per week over rates in effect September 1,
1918.”




NATIONAL WAR LABOR BOARD

37

Employees, members of International Tinsmiths and Metal W orkers’
Union v. Gem Metal Products Corporation, Brooklyn, N. Y., 591, Decem­
ber 17, 1918: “ A n increase in wages is awarded to take effect in the
following amounts and at the following dates, the first three advances
to be retroactive to the dates set opposite each: $2 per week to take
effect October 1, 1918; $1 per week to take effect November 15, 1918;
$1 per week to take effect December 15, 1918; and $1 per week to take
effect January 15, 1919.”
Employees of Denver Planing M ills v. Planing M ill Operators of Denver,
Colo., 513, June 6, 1919 (decision o f Rowland B. M ahaney; umpire) :
“ There shall be added to the wage rate received by each employee from
the employers in this case on September 17, 1918, when the complaint
w as filed with this board, the sum of 10 cents per hour in recognition
of the increased cost of living since the pre-war period.”

Other awards in this category w ere:
10 cents per hour: Painters’ .Union No. 47 and Painters’ District Council
No. 27 v . M aster Painters’ Association and Building Contractors’ As­
sociation, Indianapolis, 62, September 27, 1918.

$6 per week: N ew York Printing Pressmen’s Union No. 51 v. Printers’
League Section, Association of Employing Printers of the City o f N ew
York, 446a, December 11, 1918; N ew York Typographical Union No. 6
v. Printers’ League Section, Association o f Employing Printers o f the
City of N ew York, 446b, December 11, 1918; Paper Cutters’ Union No.
119 v. Printers’ League Section, Association of Employing Printers of
the City o f N ew York, 446e, February 12, 1919.
$3.50 per week: Bindery Women’s Local Union No. 43 v. Printers’ League
Section, Association of Employing Printers of the City of N ew York,
446d, December 6, 1918.
$2 per week: N ew York Job Press Feeders’ Union No. 1 v. Printers’ League
Section, Association o f Employing Printers of the City o f N ew York,
446f, December 6, 1918.
$6 per week: N ew York Photo Engravers’ Union No. 1 v. Publishers’ As­
sociation o f N e w York City, 892, March 12, 1919.
5 cents per hour; Hooven, Owens & Rentschlar Co, Hamilton, Ohio,
v. International Association of Machinists, Lodge No. 241, 978, A pril 10,
1919.

(2)
Which was greater fo r the lower-paid than fo r the higherpaid employees.
Federal L abo r Union No. 16104 v, Emerson-Brantingham Co. et al.,
Batavia, 111., 106, January 29, 1919, (recom m endation): “ Employees re ­
ceiving less than 35 cents per hour on July 15, 1918, should be given an
increase of 10 cents per hour in addition to the rate then in effect.
Employees receiving 35 cents per hour or more on July 15, 1918, should
be given an increase of 7y2 cents per hour.”

In the cases below the board endeavored to establish a livin g wage
by increasing wages to a definite amount o f money:
(1) Which was the same fo r all employees affected.
Chicago Foundrymen’s Association v. International Molders’ Union of
North America, 87, June 12, 1918: “ The wage shall be five and 50/100
dollars ($5.50) per day, to be in effect from and after M ay 1, 1918,
for a period of one year from that date. March 14, 1919: “ I t is the
decision o f the board that the rate of $6 per day shall be granted from
the date of this order and continuing fo r the life of the original aw ard.”
International Brotherhood of Electrical W orkers of America v. Northern
Indiana Gas & Electric Co.., Hammond, Ind., 45, November 22, 1918:
“A ll linemen employed by this company shall receive 70 cents per hour,
and the wages of the other employees shall be increased in the same
proportion.”
International Association of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Iron
W orkers, Local Union No. 10, v. Builders’ Association of Kansas City,
Mo., 526, M ay 9, 1919 (decision of Mr. John Lind, um pire) : “ On the
question of wages I find upon the evidence that 85 cents per hour is a
relatively fa ir and just w age in the circumstances.”




38

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

(2 )
Which gave a greater increase to the lower-paid than to the
higher-paid employees.
Employees v. Employers in Munition and Related Trades (sixty-odd manu­
facturers), Bridgeport, Conn., 132, August 28, 1918 (decision of Mr. Otto
M. Eidlitz, umpire) : “ In view o f this decision, and in order to deter­
mine the compensation the workers in Bridgeport plants should re­
ceive, I find that the employers have submitted a very comprehensive
report, including the pre-war wage scale, the scale as of June, 1918,
and the percentage of increase in cost of living, and I hereby rule that
the increases offered by the employers for the workers in Bridgeport
are fa ir and reasonable and should be accepted.” Graduated increases in
hourly rates were approved. Employees receiving 40 cents were to be
paid 46 cents per hour, while employees receiving 77 cents were to be
paid 78 cents per hour. N o increase w as granted to those receiving over
78 cents.
Employees v. American & British Manufacturing Co., Providence, R. I., 594,
February 12, 1919. Same aw ard as that in Docket 132.

Other awards o f this type were:
60 cents per hour: Local 426 of District Council 21, Brotherhood of
Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers of America v. Certain Manu­
facturers o f Interior W oodwork of Philadelphia, 230, November 19, 1918.

$6 per day: International Brotherhood of Electrical W orkers of America
v . Inter-mountain Power Co., Spokane, Wash., 440, November 22, 1918.
70 cents per hour: Linemen v. Erie Lighting Co. and E rie County Lighting
Co., Erie, Pa., 133, November 22, 1918.

71 cents per hour: International Molders’ Union No. 84 v. Lumen B earing
Oo. et al., 1116, July 29, 1919.

72, 56, 49 cents per hour: Machinists v. A . H . Petersen M fg. Co., M il­
waukee, 320, M arch 14, 1919.

$6.50 per day: Employees, members of Local 532, International Brother­
hood of Electrical W orkers v. The Montana Power Co., Billings, Mont.,
544, M ay 27, 1919.

In certain cases the board endeavored to grant a livin g wage by
establishing a minimum wage fo r all men or all women o f the plant,
or fo r certain employees who were doing designated types o f work.
In several o f the awards where a minimum wage was established, the
board or the umpire hearing the case stated rather definitely just
what cost-of-living figured had been considered, and by the award
it may be observed to what extent they have been an influence. A
few o f these cases are given below:
Employees v. Manufacturers of Newsprint Paper, 35, June 27, 1918:
“ The w age scale adopted herein is based upon the present cost of
living.
On January 1, and July 1 o f each year during the period
o f the w a r and fo r six months thereafter, there shall be an adjustment
o f wages which shall automatically take place on the above dates,
providing Government statistics show an increase in the cost of living
o f not less than ten (10) per cent in excess o f the cost on July 1, 1918,
in which case the employees shall receive an increase in wages equal
to said increase in cost of living. Should said statistics show a decrease
o f not less than ten (10) per cent in the cost of living, then the rate
o f wages shall be correspondingly decreased.”
This part o f the aw ard of June 27, 1918, was, on December 19,
1918, interpreted to m ean:
“ 1. That the ‘ Government statistics’ (a s to the increased cost of
living) referred to in section 6 o f the aw ard in the case of the employees
* versus manufacturers of newsprint paper shall be such statistics com­
piled by the Department o f L abo r as, in the judgment of the Commis­
sioner of L abor Statistics o f said department, are most fairly applicable
to the case.
“ 2. That the changes, if any, under section 6 o f the aw ard shall
be applied in the form of a percentage corresponding with the per-




NATIOK.1L w a r l a b o r b o a r d

39

eentag'G of increase or decrease shown by the statistics referred to in
said section.”
Employees v. Laundry Owners, Little Rock, Ark., 233, November 9, 1918:
“As to minimum wage.— The chief stress with respect to wages in this
case w as laid upon the wages paid to women.
“ It appears that the State of Arkansas has a minimum wage la w for
women fixing $6 per week for the first 0 months and $7.50 per week
thereafter, but this la w was passed a number of years ago under normal
conditions and therefore can not be taken as a fa ir standard under the
w a r conditions now existing. * * *
“ The commissioner of labor stated that in his judgment the cost of
living in Little Rock had increased about 40 per cent since the beginning
of the w ar. Exam iner Herkner, in her digest, summarized the budget
of one woman worker (from that woman’s testimony) at $8.60 per week,
and in view of the abnormally low rent included in that instance it may
safely be considered the absolute minimum in evidence in this case. A n ­
other case is mentioned at $9 per week. It is clear that these budgets
include only the absolute necessities of life.”
The minimum rate awarded for experienced workers was $11 per
week.
Employees v . Certain Employers in Florida, 680 to 691, 786, and 819, Feb­
ruary 18, 1919: “ The board finds in this case that the wages have not
kept pace with the increased cost of living; therefore recommend that a
w age scale be established that w ill allow the employees to maintain
themselves and families in health and resonable comfort.”
Machinists et al. v. Employers of Madison, Wis., 195, February 19, 1919:
The National W a r Labor Board failed to reach a unanimous decision in
this case, and it w as therefore referred to Mr. C. C. MeChord as umpire.
Mr. MeChord, in his decision, s a y s : “ * * * The workman, wherever
he may be, is worthy of his hire. W e are bound to take into considera­
tion the high cost of living when measuring his compensation for a day’s
work. * * * It appears that the increase in living costs in Madison
w as about 60 per cent greater in 1918 than in 1914. Certain workers
find it difficult to secure the ordinary comforts of life at the wages they
receive from some of the employers in Madison. Such a condition ought
not to exist anywhere. A worker is entitled, if he be sober and indus­
trious, as a matter of right, to something more than the bare living cost.
H is right is to receive a w age that shall insure to himself and depend­
ents those ordinary comforts of life that go to make up a happy home.
“ I t is j.vgued by the employers that because their employees have had
their wages increased from time to time, so that the wages now received
represent about the same percentage of increase as the increase in living
cost, they have done their full duty in the premises. This, of course,
must be based on the assumption that in 1914 the wages paid represent
all that the worker w as then entitled to, which assumption is not estab­
lished on this record. * * *
“ It is also argued by the employers that the wages now paid in the
factories of Madison are as high as, or higher than, are paid by the
State of Wisconsin and the city of Madison, and that therefore a wage
level is established which it would be unwise to change or disturb. This
argument has little force. Carried to its logical conclusion, workers
would alw ays be required to accept low wages, provided the majority
in the same community received low wages. It would alw ays mean a
reduction to the lowest level, which is neither just to the worker nor the
community as a whole. In any event, there is no just comparison be­
tween workers in factories and those employed by State or municipal
authorities. Certainly unduly low wages paid by the latter can not
rightfully constitute the just measure for the former. The test is not
so much w hat the level is as how that level measures up with the cost
of living. Workmen are entitled to comfortable living wages, and no
comparisons that might be presented are sufficient to overturn or out­
weigh that principle.”

For each o f the several companies involved it was awarded that
the minimum hourly rate for an eight-hour day should be 40 cents
for men over 21 years o f age and employed in the plant six months
or more and 85 cents for women, where employed.




40

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

F o r a general classification o f the industrial awards setting a mini­
mum wage, the digest o f the decisions o f the National W ar Labor
Board, as prepared by Mr. Kobert P. Keeder, an examiner on the staff
o f the board, has been accepted fo r this report and is riven below as
published in the report o f the National War Labor Board.6 The
2
minimum wages established by the board for street-railway em­
ployees are shown on pages 47 to 51 o f this report.
MINIMUM WAGES FOR PLANT

The minimum wage for men ranged from recommendations o f 30
cents an hour fo r common labor in San Antonio, Tex., and 35 cents
an hour fo r lumber company employees on the northern border o f
Maine, up to an award o f 50 cents to the employees o f the St. Joseph
Lead Co., Herculaneum, Mo., including unskilled laborers. And
in the case o f Hod Carriers’ Union o f Cleveland, Ohio, the
board decided that a rate o f 55 cents to building trades laborers,
including the unskilled, which was being paid by way o f com­
promise pending decision by the board, should remain in force. The
awards were usually around 40 or 42 cents in industrial cases.
80 cents: recommended in Building Trades of San Antonio, Tex., 216,
January 30, 1919.

35 cents: recommended in Van Buren Lum ber Employees, Van Buren, Me.,
21, 21b, January 15, 1919.

87 cents: recommended in Florida Fertilizer Manufacturers, 680, February
18, 1919, against the vote of some members of the board who thought
that the rate w as higher than should be established for that community.
88 cents: Newsprint Paper, 35, June 27, 1918. This w as apparently recom­
mended in Aroostook Pulp & Paper Co., Van Buren, Me., 21a, January
15, 1919.
40 cents to workers over 21 years of age who have been employed six
m onths: umpire’s aw ard in Madison Machinists, 195, February 18, 1919.
40 cents: Waynesboro cases, Waynesboro Pa., 40, July 11, 1918; Poliak
Steel Co., 102, August 21, 1918; St. Louis C ar Co., 4a, October 11, 1918;
W illys-Overland Co., Elyria, Ohio, 95, October 11, 1918; Reading Iron
Co., Reading, Pa., 416, November 19, 1918; recommended in American &
British Manufacturing Co., Providence, R. I., 594, February 12, 1919;
recommended in Carpenter Steel Co., Reading, Pa., 913, February 12,
1919; W ilkes-Barre cases, 638, February 20, 1919; umpire’s aw ard in
Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371, M arch 11, 1919; Matthews Engineering
Co., Sandusky, Ohio, 542, 542a, March 27, 1919; J. B. Stine, Osceola
Mills, Pa., 521, A pril 9, 1919. See also Commonwealth Steel Co., Granite
City, 111., 472, November 9, 1918.
42 cents: General Electric Co., Pittsfield, Mass., 19, July 31, 1918; General
Electric Co., Schenectady, N. Y., 127, July 31, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in
Bridgeport Munition Workers, Bridgeport, Conn., 132, August 28, 1918;
Pittsfield Machine & Tool Co., Pittsfield, Mass., 337, November 21, 1918;
umpire’s aw ard in Worthington Pump & Machinery Corporation, Cudahy,
W is., 163, December 20, 1918; Machinists, Hamilton, Ohio, 978, A pril 10,
1919. See also recommendations in the following cases: Remington
Arm s Co., Ilion, N. Y., 937, A pril 10,1919; Steacy-Schmidt M anufacturing
Co., York, Pa., 454, A p ril 11, 1919; Lancaster, Pa., cases, 873 to 877,
A p ril 11, 1919.
50 cents: St. Joseph Lead Co., Herculaneum, Mo., 16, July 31,1918.
55 cents: H od Carriers’ Union of Cleveland, Ohio, 104, January 15, 1919.
See also next section on wages o f laborers (p. 102).

88 United States Department of Labor. National War Labor Board. Report of the
secretary of the National War Labor Board to the Secretary of Labor for the 12 months
ending May 31, 1919. Washington, D. C., 1919, pp. 97-103.




NATIONAL WAR LABOR BOARD

41

W hile women were to be paid wages equal to those paid to men for
the same work,
See citations under Women in Industry (p. 69).

the board upon several occasions established lower minimum wages
for the woman employees in a plant than were established io r
the men employed in the same plant. These minimum wages have
ranged from 20 to 35 cents per hour.
$11 per week (about 20 cents per hour) except for apprentices: Little Rock
Laundries, 233, November 9, 1918. First three months, 21 cents, next
six months, 26 cents, after nine months, 82 cents: St. Louis Coffin Co.,
258, November 19, 1918.

SO cents for women 21 years of age or over: General Electric Co., Pitts­
field, Mass., 19, July 31, 1918; Pittsfield Machine & Tool Co., 337, No­
vember 21, 1918. SO cents for women 18 or over: W illy s-Overland Co.,
Elyria, Ohio, 95, October 11, 1918; St. Louis Car Co., 4a, November
11, 1918. 80 cents fo r women except new employees and apprentices:
Standard W heel Co., Terre Haute, Ind., 176, October 25,1918.
$15 per week (about 31 cents per h o u r ); nothing said as to age: General
Electric Co., Schenectady, N. Y., 127, July 31, 1918; Meat Cutters o f
East St. Louis, 1
11., 829, March 4, 1919.
82 cents fo r women 18 or over with 6 months’ experience in the plant:
umpire’s aw ard in Worthington Pump & Machinery Corporation, Cudahy,
Wis., 163, December 20, 1918; umpire's aw ard in Madison Machinists,
195, February IS, 1919.
85 cents fo r women 18 or over: umpire’s aw ard in Chambersburg, Pa.,
cases, 371, March 11, 1919. 85 cents fo r women 18 or over who have
worked in the plant for 3 months: M idvale Steel & Ordnance Co., Nicetown, Pa., 129, February 11, 1919. 85 cents for women 18 or over who
have worked in the plant fo r 6 months: Matthews Engineering Co., San­
dusky, Ohio, 542, 542a, March 27, 1919; Vim Motor Co., 853, A p ril 9,
1919. 85 cents for women 21 or over who have worked in the plant for
6 months: M idwest Engine Co., Indianapolis, Ind., 562a, M arch 26, 1919.

MINIMUM WAGES FOE PARTICULAR OCCUPATIONS IN PLANT

The board established minimum wages to be paid to workers
involved who were engaged in particular occupations. A few typi­
cal instances may be named. Thus, among metal workers it estab­
lished minimum wages for toolmakers,
80 cents: M idvale Steel & Ordnance Co., Nicetown, Pa., 129, February 11,
1919.

74 cents: recommended by board by majority vote in MinneapoUs Steel &
Machinery Co., 46, A pril 11, 1919; in St. P aul Foundry Co., 570, A pril
11, 1919; and in American Hoist & Derrick Co., St. Paul, Minn., 571,
A p ril 11, 1919.
72V2 cents: recommended in B. F. Sturtevant Co., Boston, Mass., 393, Jan­
uary 30, 1919.
72 cents: Worthington Pump & Machinery Corporation, E ast Cambridge,
Mass., 14, July 11, 1918; A. H. Petersen M anufacturing Co., Milwaukee,
W is., 320, M arch 14, 1919; Westfield Manufacturing Co., Westfield, Mass.,
968, A pril 11, 1919.
60 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases 40, July 11, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in
Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371, March 11, 1919.
Tool dressers, 70 cents: Poliak Steel Co., Carthage, Cincinnati, Ohio, 102,
August 21, 1918. 65 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 31, 1918;
umpire’s aw ard in Chambersburg, Pa., cases 371, M arch 11, 1919.

for machinists,
F irst class, 80 cents; second class, 70 cents: M idvale Steel & Ordnance Co.,
Nicetown, Pa., 129, February 11, 1919.

F irst class 27y2 cents; second class, 26y2 cents; recommended in B. F.
Sturtevant Co.? Boston, Mass., 393, January 30, 1919.




42

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL HOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
F irst class, 72 cents; second class, 65 cents: recommended by board by
m ajority vote in Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Co., 46, A pril 11, 1919;
in St. P au l Foundry Co., 570, April 11, 1 9 1 9 ; and in American Hoist &
Derrick Co., St. Paul, Minn., 571, A pril 11 , 1919 .
F irst class, 72 cents; second class, 62 cents: Worthington Pum p. & M a­
chinery Corporation, East Cambridge, Mass., 14, July 11, 1918.
F irst class, 60 cents; second class, Jj5 cents: by agreement in N ew York
Central Iron W orks Co., Hagerstown, McL, 297, September 26, 1918.
Bench tool machinists, 60 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918;
umpire's aw ard in Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 871, March 11, 1919.
Journeymen machinists, at least / years’ experience, 55 cents: Waynesboro,
/
Pa., cases 40, July 11, 1918; umpire's award in Chambersburg, Pa.,
cases, 371, March 11, 1919.
Machinists, 75 cents: National Refining Co., Coffeyville, Kans., 97, August
28, 1918. 72 cents: umpire's aw ard in Worthington Pump & Machinery
Corporation, Cudahy, Wis., 183, December 20, 1918; A. H. Petersen
Manufacturing Co., Milwaukee, W is., 320, March 14, 1919. 70 cents:
umpire’s aw ard in National Marino Engine Co., Scranton, Pa., 874,
M ay 7, 1919. 68 cents: Westfield Manufacturing Co., Westfield, Mass.,
968, A pril 11, 1919.
Machinists employed by newspaper publishers, 90 cents ($7.20 per day of
8 hours) : Newspaper Publishers, New York, N. Y., 637, January 15, 1919.

fo r specialists,
Specialists, 65 cents: M idvale Steel & Ordnance Co., Nicetown, Pa., 129,
February 11, 1919. 56 cents: umpire’s aw ard in Worthington Pump &
Machinery Corporation, Cudahy, Wis., 163. December 20, 1918; A. H.
Petersen Manufacturing Co., Milwaukee, Wis., 320, March 14; 1919. 52
cents: recommended in B. F. Stnrtevant Co., Boston, Mass., 393, January
30, 1919.

Specialists, tender two years9 experience, 40 cents; over two years, / cents;
}5
over three years, 50 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918;
umpire’s aw ard in Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371 . March 14, 1919 .

Specialists and handy men, 56 cents: recommended by board by majority
vote in Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Co., 46, A pril 11, 1919; in St.
Paul Foundry Co., 570, A pril 11. 1919; and in American Hoist & Derrick
Co., St. Paul, Minn.. 571, A pril 11. 1919.
Specialists and handy men, under 4 months9 experience, J}2 cents; over 4
months’ experience, 52 cents: Worthington Pump & Machinery Corpora­
tion, East Cambridge, Mass., 14, July 11, 1918.

fo r handy men,
See preceding note,

and for machinists’ helpers,
55 cents: Midvale Steel & Ordnance Co., Nicetown, Pa., 129, February 11,
1919.

49 cents: umpire's aw ard in Worthington Pump & Machinery Corporation,
Cudahy, Wis., 163, December 20, 1918; A. H. Petersen M anufacturing
Co., Milwaukee, Wis., 320. March 14, 1919; recommended by board by
majority vote in Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Co., 46, A pril 11, 1919;
in St. Paul Foundry Co., 570, A pril 11, 1919; and in American Hoist &
Derrick Co., St. Paul, Minn., 571, A pril 11, 1919.
48 cents: umpire’s aw ard in National Marine Engine Co., Scranton, Pa.,
674, M ay 7, 1919.
46 cents: Worthington Pump & Machinery Corporation, E ast Cambridge,
Mass., 14, July 31, 1918; recommended in B. F. Sturtevant Co., Boston,
Mass., 393, January 30, 1919.
42 cents: Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Co., Birmingham, Ala., 12, July 31,
1918.
40 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in
Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371, March 11, 1919.
65 cents: National Refining Co., Coffeyville, Kans., 97, August 28, 1918;
aw arded by board to men who were “ helpers of boilermakers, machin­
ists, and blacksmiths,” but the work of each of these helpers varied
from time to time and w as unusually heavy.




NATIONAL WAR LABOR BOARD

43

fo r pattern makers,
77% cents: umpire’s aw ard in Worthington Pump & Machinery Corpora­
tion, Cudahy, Wis., 163, December 20, 1918; recommended by board by
majority vote in Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Co., 46, A pril 11. 1919;
in St. Paul Foundry Co., 570, A pril 11, 1919; and in American Hoist &
Derrick Co., St. Paul, Minn., 571, April 11, 1919.
65 cents: Waynesboro. Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in
Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371, March 11, 1919.

fo r journeymen pattern makers,
$1.00: Detroit, Mich., 158, December 10, 1918.
$1.00 in jobbing shops; 90 cents in manufacturing shops: Buffalo, N. Y.,
604, March 14, 1919.
80 cents: recommendation in Midwest Engine Co., Indianapolis, Ind.,
562, March 14, 1919.
75 cents: recommendation in Columbus, Ohio, 670, 671, that this rate,
which had been agreed upon in June, 1918, should be continued.

for molders and core makers,
75 cents ($6.00 per 8-hour day) : umpire’s aw ard in Molders, W arren,
Ohio, 437, January 1, 1919; Molders, Chicago, 111., 87 sup., March 14,
1919, increased from $5.50 per 8-hour day, 87, June 12, 1918.
72% cents for fu lly skilled molders and core makers; 62Y2 cents for work­
men of less or limited skill: umpire’s aw ard in Hyde W indlass Co.,
Bath, Me., 354, A pril 9, 1919.
72 cents: recommended by board by majority vote in Minneapolis Steel &
Machinery Co., 46, April 11, 1919; in St. Paul Foundry Co., 570, A pril
11, 1919; and in American Hoist & Derrick Co., St. Paul, Minn., 571,
A pril 11, 1919.
70 cents: umpire’s aw ard in Parsons Co., Newton, Iowa, 831, April 9, 1919.
65 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; Molders, Ridgway, Pa.,
349, December 20, 1918; Molders, Williamsport Pa., 355, December 20,
1918; umpire’s aw ard in Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371, March 11, 1919.
$5.75 per 8-hour day: umpire’s award in Iron Molders, Elizabeth, N . J., 160,
December 17, 1918.
$5.64 Per 8-hour day: umpire’s aw ard in Baker Manufacturing Co., Sara­
toga Springs, N. Y., Davison-Namack Foundry Co., Ballston Spa, N. Y.,
403, A pril 8, 1919.
$5.80 per 9-hour day: Pero Foundry Co., Worcester, Mass., 757, March
26, 1919.
$5.64 gw 9-hour day: umpire’s award in Rochester Founders, Inc., Roch* ester, N. Y., 474, March 6, 1919.

for blacksmiths,
75 cents: National Refining Co., Coffeyville, Kans., 97, August 28, 1918.
65 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; umpire’s award in
Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371, March 11, 1919; by agreement in New
York Central Iron W orks Co., Hagerstown, Md,, 297, September 26, 1918.
60 cents: Poliak Steel Co., Carthage, Cincinnati, Ohio, 102, August 21, 1918.
55 cents: Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Co., Birmingham, Ala., 12, July 31.
1918.
Blacksmith's helpers, 4 5 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases 40, July 11, 1918:
Poliak Steel Co., Carthage, Cincinnati, Ohio, 102, August 21, 1918; um­
pire’s aw ard in Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371. March 11, 1919. See also
reference to National Refining Co. aw ard under “ Machinists’ helpers.”

fo r boiler makers,
72 cents: umpire’s aw ard in Worthington Pump & Machinery Corporation,
Cudahy, Wis., 163, December 20, 1918.

60 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in
Chambersburg, Pa„ cases 371, March 11, 1919.

Boiler maker specialists, 55 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11,1918;
umpire’s aw ard in Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371, M arch 11, 1919.

Helpers, 59 cents: umpire’s aw ard in Worthington Pump & Machinery
Corporation, Cudahy, Wis., 163, December 20, 1918. 45 cents: Waynes105715°— 25------ 4




44

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
boro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in Ohambersburg,
Pa., cases, 371, March 11, 1919. See also reference to National Refining
Co. aw ard under “ Machinists' helpers.”

and fo r kindred trades;
On laborers see note near the end of this section. On various other metal­
working occupations and other occupations in metal-working plants see
Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron
Co., 12, July 31, 1918; Poliak Steel Co., 102, August 21, 1918; agree­
ment in N ew York Central Iron W orks Co., Hagerstown, 297, September
26, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in Worthington Pump & Machinery Corp.,
Cudahy, 163, December 20, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in Chambersburg, Pa.,
cases, 371, M arch 11, 1919; umpire’s aw ard in National M arine Engine
Co., 674, M ay 7, 1919; layer-outs (76% cents) in recommendations by
board by majority vote in Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Co., 46, A pril
11, 1919; in St. Pau l Foundry Co., 570, A pril 11, 1919; and in American
Hoist & Derrick Co., 571, A p ril 11, 1919; ironworkers in Sexauer &
Lemke, 857, January 15, 1919; puddlers, finishers, etc., in Reading Iron
Co.. 416, November 19, 1918, and with 416, also recommendations in
419, 420, 421, 422, 422a, 422b.

and it has named the minimum wages to be paid to men engaged in
other occupations, as structural-iron workers,
85 cents: umpire’s aw ard in Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Iron
W orkers of Kansas City, Mo.. 526, M ay 9, 1919.

and bricklayers,
$1.00: recommended in Building Trades of San Antonio, Tex., 216, Jan­
uary 30, 1919.
In Tri-City Bricklayers’ Union, Rock Island, 1
11., n76, February 11, 1919,
however, the board refused to alter the aw aru of an umpire for the
parties who had decided in favor of 81% cents except for work taken
before January 1, 1918, which should be finished at 75 cents.
See also Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in
Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371, March 11, 1919.

and plumbers,
93% cents: recommended in Building Trades o f San Antonio, Tex., 216,
January 30, 1919.

Over 4 years’ experience, 60 cents: under 4 years’ experience, 50 cents:
Waynesboro, Pa., cases 40, July 11. 1918; umpire’s aw ard in Chambers­
burg, Pa., cases, 371, March 11, 1919.

and painters,
75 cents: recommended in Building Trades of San Antonio, Tex., 216,
January 30, 1919.

60 cents: Philadelphia Painters, 230, November 19, 1918.
Over
years ' experience, 60 cents; under 4 years’ experience, 50 cents:

4

Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 10, July 11 1918; umpire’s aw ard in Chambers­
burg, Pa., cases, 371, March 11, 1919.

and carpenters,
72% cents: National Refining Co., Coffeyville, Kans., 97, August 28, 1918.
50 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in
Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371, M arch 11,1919. See also recommendation
in J. A. McNulty, Minneapolis, Minn., 261, A pril 11, 1919, by vote of
m ajority o f board.
48 cents: Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Co., Birmingham, Ala., 12, July 31,
1918.
80 cents fo r employees ehgaged on ship joinery and millwork fo r ships
being built under control of Emergency Fleet Corporation; Philadelphia
Carpenters, 315, November 19 1918.

and metal lathers,
87% cents: recommended in Building Trades o f San Antonio, Tex., 216,
January 30, 1919.




NATIONAL WAR LABOR BOARD

45

and coopers,
65 cents: Sinclair Refining Co., Coffeyville, Kans., 395, November 20, 1918.
55 cents: National Refining Co., Coffeyville, Kans., 97, August 28, 1918.
This w as raised by the company to 65 cents; see discussion in 395.

and car coopers,
55 cents: Recommendation in J. A. McNulty, Minneapolis, Minn., 261, A pril
11, 1919, by vote of majority of board.

and electrical workers,
F irst class, 07% cents; second class 03% cents; helpers, 40 cents: Beth­
lehem Steel Co., Bethlehem, Pa., 22, July 3L 1918.

Electricians , 72 cents; helpers, 49 cents: uw pire’s aw ard in Worthington
Pump & Machinery Corporation, Cudahy, Wis., 163, December 20, 1918.

Electricians , over 4 years’ experience, 60 cents; under 4 years9 experience,
50 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in
Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371, March 11, 1919.

Linemen, 70 cents: Northern Indiana Gas & Electric Co., Hammond, Ind.,
45, November 22, 1918; Erie Lighting Co., Erie, Pa., 133, November 22,
1918.
Linemen, 50% cents; substation operators, $90.00 per month: United Gas
& Electric Co., N ew Albany, Ind., 725, M arch 4, 1919.
Journeymen electrical workers, 75 cents: Intermountain Pow er Co., Spo­
kane Wash., 440, November 22, 1918.
In Electrical W orkers of Municipal Gas Co., Albany, N. Y., 1041, A pril 30,
1919, the aw ard fixed wages for electrical workers in various occupa­
tions, including cable splicers, $5.75 to $640 per day; line foremen, $6.00
per d ay; linemen, $5.50 per day; linemen apprentices, $4-50 per day.
The day w as of nine hours.
In San Joaquin Light & Pow er Co., Taft, Calif., 368, January 16, 1919, the
Federal Oil B oard of California had established rates for electrical
workers based on experience, and the W a r L abor B oard approved that
aw ard as it felt that journeyman electrical workers should have four
years’ experience before receiving $7 for eight hours’ work (87% cents
per hour).

and laborers,
45 cents: Corn Products Refining Co., 130, November 21, 1918.
42 cents: recommended in Crown Cork & Seal Co., Baltimore, Md., 830,
February 11, 1919; recommended by board by m ajority vote in Min­
neapolis Steel & Machinery Co., 46, A pril 11, 1919; in St. P au l Foundry
Co., 570, A pril 11, 1919; and in American Hoist & Derrick Co., St. Paul,
Minn., 571, A pril 11, 1919.
40 cents: Waynesboro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; Poliak Steel Co.,
Carthage, Cincinnati, Ohio, 102, August 21, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in
Chambersburg, Pa., cases, 371, March 11, 1919; umpire’s aw ard in
National M arine Engine Co., Scranton, Pa., 674, M ay 7, 1919. See also
Commonwealth Steel Co., Granite City, 1 ., 472, November 9, 1918;
11
Carpenter Steel Co., Reading, Pa., 913, February 12, 1919.
38 cents: Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Co., Birmingham, Ala., 12, July 31,
1918.
37 cents: recommended in Florida Fertilizer Manufacturers, 680, February
18, 1919, by vote of majority of board.
30 cents: recommended in Building Trades of San Antonio, Tex., 216,
January 30, 1919.
Building trade laborers, 55 cents: H od Carriers’ Union. 104, January 15,
1919. This rate was being paid to unskilled and semiskilled laborers by
w ay of compromise pending the decision of the board and the hoard
decided that it should remain in force.

and in other lines o f work,
Paper makers: Newsprint Paper, 35, June 27, 1918, sup., January 28, 1919.
Teamsters, etc.: Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Co., 12, July 31, 1918; W aynes­
boro, Pa., cases, 40, July 11, 1918; umpire’s aw ard in Chambersburg, Pa.,
cases, 371, March 11, 1919; Municipal Gas Co., 1041, A pril 30, 1919.
Laundry tvorkers: Little Rock, Ark., Laundries, 233, November 9, 1918.




46

CHAP. 3.----FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
Clerical icorkers: General Electric Co., Schenectady, 127 sup., November
22, 1918.

Storeroom clerks and timekeepers, 52 cents:

recommended by board by
majority vote in Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Co., 46, A pril 11, 1919;
in St. Paul Foundry Co., 570, A pril 11, 1919; and in American Hoist &
Derrick Co., 511, A pril 11, 1919.
F ire fighterss Fire Fighters of Jackson, Miss., 747,,M arch 26, 1919.
Meat cutters, $25.00 per w e e k ; grocery clerks and drivers, $23.00 per w e e k :
Meat Cutters of E ast St. Louis. 1
11., 829, March 4, 1919.
Various employees of the National Refining Co., 97, August 28, 1918; Corn
Products Refining Co., 130, November 21, 1918; Waynesboro, Pa., 40,
July 11, 1918; Crown Cork & Seal Co., 830, February 11, 1919; Chambersburg, Pa., 371, March 11, 1919. In 830 there w as simply a recom­
mendation. See also Commonwealth Steel Co., 472, November 9, 1918.

The board has also named minimum wages to be paid to women
who were engaged in particular occupations.
Clerical workers aged 18 or over, $16.50 per week (about 34 cents per
h o u r ): General Electric Co., Schenectady, N. Y., 127 sup., November
22, 1918. .
Cashiers and other female help, $15.00 per week: Meat Cutters of East
St. Louis, 1
11., 829, March 4, 1919.
$10.50 per week for scrub icomen who worked two and a h alf hours early
in the morning and two and a h alf hours early in the evening: General
Electric Co., Schenectady, N. Y., 127, July 31, 1918.

In other industrial wage, cases6 the National W ar Labor Board
3
declared that the wages paid were too low and should be materially
increased (Dockets 521, 522); it made recommendations against
reductions (Dockets 1028, 1042); and in several cases said that the
award should operate in no case to reduce the wages o f any employee.
However, in a few cases the board denied wage increases, stating that
in its opinion the existing rates were reasonable (Dockets 452, 473,
482, 774). ^
In certain o f the board’s decisions the determining factor was the
wage paid by the Government or by other plants fo r similar work,
or by the same company in other cities where conditions were similar.
In a few cases it was understood that the readjustment o f wages was
to be in accordance with the market price o f the product. The board
in certain cases also granted a higher wage fo r a higher grade o f
work or granted a higher wage to compensate for the undesirable
character o f the occupation. Several cases were dismissed because
the existing means fo r arbitration had not been used or because there
was at that time an existing contract.
In several cases the board approved the wage scale agreed upon by
the employers and employees or left the determination o f the wage
to collective bargaining between committees to be appointed by the
company and by the employees. Such an award was that given on
January 15, 1919, in the case o f the Employees v. American Sheet &
T in Plate Co. (Docket 232), in which the board said:
The claims made by the employees would indicate that in some classes of
service the increased wages have not kept pace with the increased cost of
living. The company does not submit data to show rate increase or earnings of
employees.
The board therefore recommends that the company give consideration to
such claims, and that upon the election of shop committees provided for in sec­
tion 1 of this finding the company shall proceed to negotiate with said commit-6
8

68 For a classification of the awards named see Reeder, Robert P . : Analysis of the
Awards of the National War Labor Board <mimeograph copy), pp. 31-36; also published
as Appendix II to Report of the Secretary of the National War Labor Board to the Sec­
retary of Labor for the 12 months ending May 33, 1919, pp. 90-97. Washington, D. C„
1920.




NATIONAL WAR LABOR BOARD

47

tees and to endeavor to reach an agreement therewith, covering all of its
employees, relative to rates of wages, hours of labor, working and sanitary
conditions, and all other matters affecting the interests of said employees.

AWARDS IN STREET RAILWAY CASES

In most o f the street railway cases coming before the board the
main question was that o f wages. In fixing wages for motormen
and conductors the board set rates for the first three months, the
next nine months, and thereafter. The per cent o f increase in wage
granted to 4 other employees ” was usually the same as that granted
4
in the maximum scale for motormen and conductors, and it was
provided that i f in any case this percentage failed to bring the wage
o f any adult male up to a specified minimum, he should be paid this
minimum. In establishing this minimum the board often granted
to the lower-paid worker a larger percentage increase than to the
higher-paid employee. For motormen and conductors the rate for
the first three months as set by the board ranged from 36 cents on
four southern lines to 61 cents in Butte, Mont., and the maximum
scale set for these employees with over a year’s experience ranged
from 40 cents on the same four southern lines to 65 cents in Butte.
In fixing rates it was the object o f the board to set a livin g wage at
which these employees and their families could live 4 in health and
4
reasonable comfort,” and hence in these cases the cost o f livin g was
the most important consideration.
In several o f these cases it was stated that the increased wage was
due to the increased cost o f living and was no more than was f a ir :
Employees v. Chicago Surface Lines, Chicago Elevated Railways, 59a, July
31, 1918. Employees v. Chicago and W est Towns R ailw ay Co., 59b, July 31,
1918. Employees v. Detroit United R ailw ay Co., 32, July 31, 1918. Employees
v. Boston Elevated R ailw ay Co., 181, October 2, 1918.

In many cases the employers contended that they were financially
unable to pay an increase in wages and that the law prevented their
increasing fares. To this the board replied that it found the em­
ployees in this industry underpaid and that it considered the finan­
cial condition o f the company immaterial to the fact that a living
wage should be established. In the case o f the Michigan United
Bailways Co. v. certain divisions o f the Amalgamated Association o f
Street and Electric Railway Employees o f America (Docket 405),
in which, under the terms o f the joint submission, the joint chairmen
o f the board acted as arbitrators, Mr. T a ft said: 4 The National
4
W ar Labor Board, o f which we are chairmen, has held that the
financial condition o f the company is not a factor in determining
what a fair rate o f wages is on a joint submission like this.” The
board did recognize the financial condition o f the company to the
extent o f recommending that the proper authorities permit the fare
to be increased to meet the necessary added expense, but in most cases
the increase in wages was not conditional upon the company’s being
permitted to collect this extra expense from an increase in fares.
The clause most usually contained in the awards recommending that
an increase in fares be allowed was referred to as the 4 Cleveland
4
clause,” which was as follow s:
W e have recommended to the President that special congressional legislation
be enacted to enable some executive agency of the Federal Government to con­
sider the very perilous financial condition of this and other electric street
railw ays of the country, and raise fares in each case in which the circum­
stances require it. W e believe it to be a w a r necessity justifying Federal inter­




48

CHAP. I.,— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

ference.
Should this be deemed unwise, however, we urge upon the local
authorities and the people of the locality the pressing need for such an increase
adequate to meet the added cost of operation.
This is not a question turning on the history of the relations between the
local street railw ays and the municipalities in which they operate. The just
claim for an increase in fares does not rest upon any right to a dividend upon
capital long invested in the enterprise. The increase in fare must be given
because of the immediate pressure for money receipts now to keep the street
railw ays running so that they may meet the local and national demand fo r
their service. Overcapitalization, corrupt methods, exorbitant dividends in
the past are not relevant to the question of policy in the present exigency. In
justice the public should pay an adequate w ar compensation fo r a service
which can not be rendered except for w a r prices. The credit of these com­
panies in floating bonds is gone. Their ability to borrow on short notes is most
limited. In the face of added expense which this and other awards of needed
and fair compensation to their employees w ill involve, such credit w ill com­
pletely disappear. Bankruptcy, receiverships, and demoralization, with failure
of service, must be the result. Hence our urgent recommendation on this head.

W ith respect to the adjustment o f the street railway cases, Mr.
Charlton Ogburn, special examiner o f the board on street railway
cases, stated:
The wages to street railw ay employees awarded by this board have been
rather low in comparison with wages throughout the country generally. In
the first place, the board found the existing wages on the electric railw ay in­
dustry to be low and electric railw ay employees underpaid, as was pointed out
by Mr. T a ft in the B ay State case. The board has not endeavored to reclassify
the employees on this in du stry; what it has done is rather to bring the wages
up in accord with the increase in the cost of living. It might be said that this
board has not increased the wages of street railw ay employees at all, consid­
ering wages in the light of their purchasing power. In other words, the wages
aw arded by this board have practically the same purchasing power as the
wages which the employees were receiving prior to the war.
In fixing wages the board has been met by a condition which has not pre­
vailed in industrial cases generally, and that is the impaired financial condi­
tion of electric railw ay companies. W hile the joint chairmen have announced
that the financial inability of the company to pay wages could not be used as
an argument for the payment of less than a living wage to its employees, the
board has necessarily had to take somewhat into consideration this situation,
that the earnings of these public service companies are regulated by the public,
and when the public has, by its unwillingness to pay increased fares, kept the
earnings of the company down to a point where some of them were not earning
operating expenses the aw ards of this board on wages have necessarily been
somewhat influenced by that state of affairs.6
4

The duration o f most o f these awards was fo r the period o f the
war, but it was provided in practically all instances that the case
could be reopened at six-month intervals. Because the armistice was
signed such a short time after the awards were made, comparatively
few o f these contracts had expired and could be brought before the
board for readjustment. In such cases as were reopened, the board
held that in the readjustment o f the wage it was limited to such
changes in conditions as had taken place since the original award.
In these cases, the board found that the only change in conditions
that had been uniformly effective and o f which it could take cogni­
zance was the change in the cost o f living. I t therefore increased
the wage by the same percentage that the cost o f livin g had in­
creased since the summer o f 1918.
Employees, Members of Division 757, Amalgamated Association of Street
and Electric B ailw ay Employees of America v. Portland Railway, Light &
Power Co., Portland, Oreg., 72, August 12, 1919.0
4

04 United States Department of Labor. National War Labor Board. Report of the
Secretary of the National War Labor Board for the 12 months ending May 31, 1919.
Washington, D. C., 1920. Appendix I, pp. 46, 47.




NATIONAL WAR LABOR BOARD

49

Case w as opened for readjustment under the six-month provision of
previous award. The board stated: “ W e are limited in our action upon
this petition to the paragraph as to periodical readjustments. B y that
we must accept the standards of wages already fixed and alter it only
so fa r as changed conditions require. The only change of conditions
brought to our attention which has been uniformly effective is that of
the cost of living since the summer of 1918. The cost of living has in­
creased 12 per cent, as nearly as w e can fix it. Our aw ard is, therefore,
that until the ratification of the treaty of peace with Germany pro­
claimed by the President, the rates to be paid by the company to all
classes of labor included in the previous aw ard shall be increased 12 per
cent from and after June 25, 1919, the increase in each case to be made
in even cents per hour, all fractions to be considered as requiring an
increase to the next higher whole number of cents.”

Practically the same award was granted in the following cases:
Employees, Members of Division 805, Amalgamated Association of Street
and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America v. East St. Louis, Columbia
& W aterloo Railway, East St. Louis, 111., 175, August 12, 1919; A m alga­
mated Association of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America,
Members of Certain Divisions, v. B ay State Street R ailw ay Co., 634,
August 12, 1919; Employees, Members of Division 236, Amalgamated
Association of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America v.
the Alton, Granite St. Louis Traction Co., East St. Louis, 111., 1150,
August 12, 1919; D vision 125, Amalgamated Association of Street &
Electric R ailw ay Employees of America v . The East St. Louis & Subur­
ban R ailw ay Co. and The E ast St. Louis R ailw ay Co., 1151, August 12,
1919; Employees, Division No. 805, Amalgamated Association of Street
and Electric R ailw a y Employees of America v. The Alton, Granite &
St. Louis Traction Co. and The East St. Louis & Suburban R ailw a y Co.,
1152, August 12, 1919; Employees, members of Division 85, Amalgamated
Association of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America t\
Beaver V alley Traction Co. and Pittsburgh & Beaver Valley Street R ail­
w ay Co., 1158, August 12, 1919; Employees, Members of Division 268,
Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of
America v . The Cleveland & Chagrin Falls Railw ay Co. and the Cleve­
land Eastern Traction Co., 1159, August 12, 1919; Employees, Mem­
bers of Division 268, Amalgamated Association of Street & Electric R ail­
w ay Employees of America v. The Cleveland, Painesville & Eastern R ail­
w ay and The Cleveland, Painesville & Ashtabula Railway, 1160, August
12, 1919.

Increases in wages were refused in such cases as the following on
the ground that the wages being paid by the company were f a ir :
Employees, Members of Division 826, Amalgamated Association of Street
and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America v. San Diego Electric R ail­
w ay Co., 452, A pril 10, 1919; Savannah Electric Company v. Employees.
Members o f Division No. 856, Amalgamated Association of Street and
Electric R ailw ay Employees of America, 748, December 17, 1918; and
^Employees, Members of Division 811, Amalgamated Association of Street
and Electric R ailw a y Employees of America v. Reading Transit & Light
Co., Norristown Division, 550, February 4, 1919.

In other cases, the scale as agreed upon between employees and
employers was approved.
Employees o f Interurban Lines v. Portland R ailw ay Light & Power Co.,
Portland, Oreg., 210, January 15, 1919; members of Division No. 589,
Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of
America v. Boston Elevated Railw ay Co., 181, January 15, 1919.
In the review of the case of Employees v. Galesburg Railway, Lighting &
Pow er Co. (Docket No. 109), where the company asked for a reduction
in the amounts previously awarded, the board said : “ The rate of 42
cents per hour for motormen and conductors is the lowest rate fixed by
us for any street railw ay in the northern section of the country, and was
fixed after exhaustive studies by the staff of the board into the cost of
living. Under all circumstances we still think that the aw ard is a just
and fa ir one, and should not be changed at the present time.”




50

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

Wages granted in the street railway cases as representing a living
wage are shown in the following table:
WAGES OF STREET RAILWAY EMPLOYEES FIXED BY AWARDS OF THE NATIONAL
WAR LABOR BOARD
Hourly rates of wages
for—

Company
*

Motormen and
Dock­ Date of
conduc to r s Other
Date
et
award effective1 (passenger)
em­
No.
ploy­
ees—
First Next After mini­
12 mum
3
9
mos. mos. mos.

1918
1918 Cents Cents Cents Cents
38
42
Joplin & Pittsburg Ry. Co., Joplin, Mo..................
23 July 31 May 24
40
42
31 ___do___ May 1
43
48
Cleveland Ry. Co____________ ____ _________
46
32 —do....... June 1
48 «42H
43
Detroit United Ry.....................................................
46
42 —do....... June 2
41
43
45 42H
Scranton Ry. Co........................................................
43 —do....... June 1
41
East St. Louis Ry. lines............................................
43 345 42H
44; —do....... May 1
41
Schenectady Ry. Co..................................................
43 « 45 42y 2
57 —do....... Apr. 1
42 42
Cleveland, Southwestern & Columbus Ry. Co.......
38
40
Chicago Surface Lines and Chicago Elevated Rys._. 59a . —
do....... Aug. 1 843 846 848
242
Chicago & West Towns Ry. Co................................ 59b —do....... —do....... 43
48 42^
46
Evanston Ry. Co..................................................... . 59c —do....... —do....... 41
45 42H
43
69 —do....... June 7
41
Public Service Ry. Co. (of New Jersey)..................
43
45
96 ...do....... June 3
United Traction Co., Albany, N. Y_.......................
40
%
98 ...do....... July 1
38
42 442
New Orleans Railway & Light Co............................
40
38
42
Galesburg Railway, Light & Power Co.................... 109 ...do___ July 13
40
41
New York State Rys., Rochester, N. Y.................... 120 — do....... June 15
43 845 42M
38
42 42
Pennsylvania-New Jersey Ry. Co., Trenton............ 131 —do....... June 22
40
41
Columbus Railway, Power & Light Co.................... 146 ...do....... July 1
43
45 42H
43
International Ry. Co., Buffalo, N. Y ......................... 152 —do....... June 1
48 «42H
46
41
Omaha & Council Bluffs Street Ry. Co.................... 154 ...do....... July 17
43
45 42^
38
42
Cleveland & Eastern Traction Co............................ 167 ...do....... May 1
40
42
Cleveland, Painesville & Eastern R. R. Co. et a!_
_ 193 . . . do....... —do....... 38
40
43
48 42H
46
Rhode Island Co., Providence, R. I ................. ........ 180 Oct. 2 July 19
Boston Elevated Ry. Co........................................... 181 —do....... June 15 743 746 748 42y 2
Portland (Oreg.) Railway, Light & Power Co......... 72 Oct. 24 July 1 846 8 48 8 50 »44
42
40
Kansas City & Western Ry. Co............ -......... ....... } 93 —do___ Sept. 1 f 38
Kansas City Suburban....... .............................. .......
43
45
l 41
41
45 4 2 y 2
Dayton Street Ry. Co. etal...................................... J 150 —do___ June 24
43
Memphis Street Ry. Co............................................ 205 ...do....... Aug. 1
38
40 »36
36
Kansas City Rys. Co................................................. 265 ...do....... Aug. 17
43
48 42^
46
41
Philadelphia Rys. Co................................................ 442 ...do....... Oct. 1
43
45 (10)
48 42y 2
Denver Tramway Co. and Denver &Intermountain 173 Nov. 20 Aug. 24
43
46
R. R. Co.
41
Cumberland County (Me.) Power & Light Co___ 432 ...do....... Nov. 20
43
45 4 2 y 2
Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville Street Ry. Co....... 448 ...do....... ...do....... 39
41
43 42H
Charleston (S. O.) Consolidated Railway & Light­ 695 —do....... Nov. 16
36
38
40
ing Co.
East St. Louis, Columbia & Waterloo Ry............ .. 175 Nov. 21 July 15 li 41 H43 u 45 1142^
Auburn & Syracuse Electric R. R. Co.1
8.................. 203 —do....... Aug. 5
38
42 42
40
Portland (Oreg.) Railway, Light & Power Co.d__ 210 ...do....... July 17
54
54
54 (18)
Syracuse Northern Electric Ry. (Inc.)..................... 246 ...do....... Aug. 2
41
45 42
43
Butte Electric Ry. Co ........................................... 271 __d o _ Aug. 3
_
61
63
65
Syracuse Suburban R. R. Co .................................. 279 ...d o ___ Aug. 5
38
42
40
Empire State R. R. Corp.w....................................... 289 ...d o....... Aug. 12
38
40
42 42
<*By additional findings of Nov. 20,1918, effective June 1,1918.
b Interurban, 47 cents.
*Interurban, 46^ cents.
d Interurban lines.
1Award was to continue for period of war, but in practically all cases it was provided that either party
could reopen the"case at six-month intervals.
2 Rates are for surface lines; elevated lines—
motonnen, 50 cents, conductors, 43 cents, and guards, 40
cents.
3 For extra men first year, $17.50 per week; thereafter $20 per week.
4Award revised October 24,1918, granting minimum of 38 cents and increase of 10 cents per hour.
3Interurban lines, 47 cents; West Shore Railroad, 50^ cents.
6 Except for engineers, conductors, or brakemen on freight trains for whom rates were fixed by award.
7 Surface lines. Rates were also fixed for motormen, guards, and brakemen on the Rapid Transit lines.
8 Award revised August 12,1919, granting increase of 12 per cent, effective June 25,1919, based on increase
in cost of living from June, 1918, to June, 1919; effective until ratification of peace treaty.
9 Shop and bam. repair men increased 8 cents per hour.
1 Starters' wages increased by same percentage as maximum increase to motormen and conductors.
0
Wages also fixed for woman turnstile operators.
1 Award revised; 12 per cent increase granted, effective June 25,1919, based on increase in cost of living
1
from June, 1918, to June, 1919; effective until ratification of peace treaty.
1 City lines; wages also fixed for interurban lines.
8
1 Rates were also fixed for freight service. Award modified by afreemen t between parties, Jan. 15,1919.
8




51

NATIONAL WAR LABOR BOARD

WAGES OF STREET RAILWAY EMPLOYEES FIXED BY AWARDS OF THE NATIONAL
WAR LABOR BOARD—Continued
Hourly rates of wages
for—

Company

Motormen and
Dock­ Date of
Date
c o n d u cto r s Other
et
award effective
(passenger)
em­
No.
ploy­
ees—
First Next After mini­
3
12 mum
9
mos. mos. mos.
1918
1918
408 Nov. 21 Nov. 21
278 ...do...... Aug. 9
407 Nov. 22 Nov. 22

Cents Cents Cents Cents

Cincinnati Traction Co............................................
Rochester & Syracuse R. R. Co. (Inc.)...................
Cincinnati, Lawrenceburg & Aurora Electric Street
R. R. Co.
Cincinnati & Columbus Traction Co......................
Cincinnati, Milford & Loveland Traction Co..........
Bay State Street Ry. Co...........................................
Georgia Ry. & Power Co., Atlanta, Ga_________
Ottumwa (Iowa) Railway & Light Co........... .........
Toledo, Bowling Green & Southern Traction Co.12*
.
6
5
1
Buffalo & Lake Erie Traction Co..................... .......
Savannah Electric Co...............................................

409
410
634
159
268
527
628
748

....do----Sept. 1
Oct. 22
Sept. 23
Oct. 1
Aug. 16
Sept. 15
Dec. 17

Knoxville Railway < Light Co................................
&
Ohio Electric Ry. Co.:
Lima Interurban Lines.......................................
Zanesville Lines............................... ..................
Springfield Interurban Lines....................... .....
Newark Lines 12__.................. ..................... .....
Boston & Worcester Street Ry. Co.................... .....
Ohio Electric Ry., Lima, Ohio.................................
Louisville Ry. Co............... -....................................
Louisville & Interurban R. R. Co.12............... .........

...do......
...do......
Dec. 4
Dec. 5
...d o......
...d o___
— do......
Dec. 17
1919
251 Jan. 15

627 ...do......
627a — do......
627b —.do......
627c — do......
851 — do......
296 — do......
414
414a }Feb. 4

Reading Transit and Light Co. (Norristown Divi­
sion).
Cleveland & Erie Traction Co., Girard, Pa........... .
St. Joseph Railway, Light, Heat and Power Co__

631 — do......
950 — do-----

Oct. 21
...do......
— do......
— do......
Nov. 1
Oct. 21
Aug. 12 \f
1919
Feb. 4
1918
Sept. 15
Nov. 27
1919
Mar. 25
1918
Aug. 8

550 — do___

Washington (D. C.) Railway & Electric Co.20* . 1049 Mar. 25
6
2
.......

43
(“)
41

41
38

{Z: 4

43
40
1 43
6
38
40
40
43
38

16 4 i

Aug. 3

Spokane < Inland Empire R. R. Co........................ 503 Mar. 27
fc
San Francisco-Oakland Terminal Rys.:
Traction Division.............................................. . } 610 Apr. 10 Nov. l{
Key Division......................................................
1919
Pacific Electric Ry. Co., Los Angeles, Calif............. 214 — do- — Apr. 10
452 — do...... — do......
San Diego Electric Ry. Co.....................................
Los Angeles Ry. Corp.......... .......... ......... ............... 753 — do....... — do......
Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Sacramento, Calif___ 1125 — do....... Jan 1
Toledo Railway & Light Co.................................... . 1140 May 27
Pittsburgh Railway Co............................................ 1147 Aug. 12 May 1
Alton, Granite & St. Louis Traction Co., East St. 1150 — do___ ...do......
Louis.
East St. Louis Ry. Co......................... .................... 1151 — do...... ..-do......
Alton, Granite et al. and East St. Louis Ry. Co___ 1152 — do...... — do......
Beaver Valley Traction Co. and Pittsburgh & 1158 — do...... — do......
Beaver Valley Street Ry. Co.
Cleveland & Chagrin Falls Ry. Co. and Cleveland 1159 ...do....... June 12
& Eastern Traction Co.
Cleveland, Painesville & Eastern R. R. Co., and 1160 . . . d o ^ — — do......
Cleveland, Painesville & Ashtabula Ry.

46
(“)
43

36
38
38
41
38

48
(“)
45

42y2

1542

45
42

42H
42
!642H
40 36
42
42 42
45 42%
(11 (1 8 )
7
)
*
8
40 36

16 4 5

36

38

41
38
41
38
42
38
41
42

43
40
43
40
44
40
43
44

45
42
45
42
47
42
45
46

41-

42

43

39
38

41
40

43
42

43

46

48

41

43

45

43
45

46
48

48
50

41
40
41
42
42

43
40
43
44
44

45 (22)
45
45 42H
46
4
46 2 42^

(25)
(2 5 )

(2 5 )
(25)

(25)
(2 5 )

(2®)

(2 5 )

(2 5 )
(2 5 )
(2 6 )

G5
)

42
42
42
42X
40
40
42
42
(21)

(2 5 )
(25)
(2 5 )
(2®)

b )

\ )

(25)

(25)

(25)

(25)

(25)

(2 5 )

(25)

(25)

(*>

1 City lines; wages also fixed for interurban lines.
2
1 Rates for substation operators, $4.25 for 10 or 12 hours; $3.64 for 8 hours; apprentice of less than a year,
4
$3.45 for 8 hours; substation repair men, $4.25 for 10 hours.
1 Increase of 20 per cent.
5
1 Award revised; 12 per cent increase granted, effective June 3,1919.
6
1 Second year, 39 cents; third year, 40 cents; fourth year, 41 cents; after fourth year, 42 cents.
2
1 No change, as rates already higher than in other southeastern cities.
8
2 Agreement between company and men approved by board.
®
2 Rates for electrical workers, machinists, carmen, telegraphers, etc., fixed by General Order 27 and
1
supplements of the Railroad Administration.
22 Wages fixed for interurban passenger service and freight and work train service.
2 Increase of 8 cents per hour.
4
2 Award revised, granting increase of 12 per cent, based on increase in cost of living from June, 1918, to
8
June, 1919; effective until ratification of peace treaty.
2 Increase of 12 per cent granted, based on increase in cost of living from June, 1918, to June, 1919;
6
effective until ratification of peace treaty.




52

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
S H IP P IN G IN D U S T R Y

The United States Shipping Board was created in the fall of
1916. Largely through the efforts o f Vice Chairman R. B. Stevens,
who directed the labor policies o f the board, there were created dur­
ing the war certain arbitration commissions on each o f which the
Shipping Board was represented. These adjustment agencies were
the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board, which settled labor
issues with men engaged on the construction or repair o f shipbuild­
ing plants or o f ships; the National Adjustment Commission, which
controlled wages, hours, and conditions o f labor in the loading and
unloading o f vessels; and the New Y ork Harbor W age Adjustment
Board, which adjusted labor disputes o f employees engaged in the
operation o f harbor marine equipment for the port o f New York.
In addition, there was formed within the Shipping Board in 1918
a marine and dock industrial relations division for the supervision
o f all labor questions pertaining to the operation o f vessels and
marine equipment. This division was later renamed the industrial
relations division and its scope was enlarged in January, 1920, to
include all shipyard and repair yard labor. A fte r the dissolution
o f the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board and the New Y o rk
Harbor W age Adjustment Board and the withdrawal o f the
Shipping Board from the National Adjustment Commission in
October, 1920, all labor matters pertaining to the employees o f the
Shipping Board were handled by the industrial relations division o f
the board.
I t is difficult to estimate the number o f employees affected by the
decisions o f these various boards, but the number would probably
approximate half a million, since over 375,000 employees were em­
ployed in shipyards6 and over 40,000 were employed in loading and
5
unloading vessels at the port o f New Y o r k 6 alone.
6
SHIPBUILDING LABOR ADJUSTMENT BO A R D 67

The creation and purposes o f the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment
Board have been described as follow s:
The Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board w as created August 20, 1917,
composed of three members, one member being appointed jointly by the Emer­
gency Fleet Corporation and United States N avy Department, one representing
the public appointed by the President of the United States, one representing the
labor unions appointed by the president of the American Federation of Labor.
The Labor Adjustment Board was established for the purpose of adjusting
disputes which might arise concerning wages, hours, and working conditions of
labor engaged in the construction or repair of shipbuilding plants or of hulls
and vessels in the shipyards' under contract with the Emergency Fleet Cor­
poration or the United States Navy Department.
The aw ards and decisions of the adjustment board applied with equal force
to employees, shipbuilders, the corporation, and the N avy Department, related
to work in private yards and are binding on all parties unless appeal from
the decision rendered by the Labor Adjustment Board by any of the parties is
made. The purposes of the adjustment board have in general been stated as*
7
0
6

65 Journal of Political Economy, March, 1919, p. 147: “ Labor administration in the
shipbuilding industry during war time,” by P. H. Douglas and F. E. Wolfe.
6« Monthly Labor Review, December, 1919, p. 100: “ The strike of the longshoremen
at the port of New York,” by B. M. Squires.
07 Except where otherwise noted, data are from United States Shipping Board, Codifica­
tion of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board, awards, decisions, and authorizations.
Compiled by J. Caldwell Jenkins, Washington, 1921, 341 pp. (Contains awards, etc.,
from Aug. 1, 1917, to Mar. 31, 1919.)




SHIPPING INDUSTRY

53

the “ maximum production of ships without interruption by industrial dis­
putes.” In following out this general purpose the duties of the board have
been to standardize wages and conditions of employment, select district ex­
aminers, investigate conditions and disputes, hold hearings, and bring about
more stable conditions by their awards.
The board as finally constituted was composed of Mr. Y. Everit Macy, chair­
man, representing the public, Dr. L. O. Marshall, representing the United States
Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation and the N avy Department, and
Mr. Albert J. Berres, representing the American Federation of Labor. The
board’s secretary w as Dr. H. R. Seager. (P . 7.)

I t was originally provided0 that the basic wage established
8
should be equitable and that the question o f wages might be reopened
six months after the ratification providing that it could be shown
that there had been a general and material increase in the cost o f
livin g:
A s basic standards where such construction is being carried on, the board
shall use the wage rate prevailing in the district in which such plant or plants
are located, provided such wage rates have been established through agree­
ments between employer and employees and are admitted to be equitable.
Consideration shall be given by the board to any circumstances arising after
such wages, hours or conditions were established, and which may seem to
call for changes in wages, hours or conditions. W here no such agreements
exist, and where as in the case of new industrial districts a proper basis of
wages and conditions is difficult to determine, the board shall have the right
to put into effect the rates which were awarded after due investigation and
determination in other districts in which living conditions and cost of
living are substantially the same. The board shall keep itself fu lly informed
as to the relation between living costs in the several districts and their com­
parison between progressive periods of time. The decisions of the board shall,
under proper conditions, be retroactive, and it shall be the duty of the board
to make the decision effective. A t any time after six months have elapsed
following such ratified agreement or any such'final decision by the adjustment
board on any question as to wages, hours, or conditions in any plant or district,
such questions may be reopened by the adjustment board fo r adjustment upon
request of the m ajority of the craft or crafts at such plant affected by such
agreement or decision, provided it can be shown that there has been a general
and material increase in the cost of living.
(Pp. 10, 11.)

Although the original intention was that the board should have
jurisdiction only after disputes had arisen which could not be ad­
justed between employer and employees, the board gradually extended
its jurisdiction over the entire industry and began to intervene in
labor matters irrespective o f whether or not a strike had taken place.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURE

Extracts from the decisions o f the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment
Board fixing the minimum wage scales in the different districts are
given below. A s shown in the decisions and in the accompanying
memoranda, the primary factor considered by the board in fixing
the wage rates was the increased cost o f living. A secondary reason
in making wage changes was the board’s desire to stabilize wages in
all the shipyards in order to stop the shifting o f men from yard to
yard.
The memorandum creating the board indicates clearly the intention of the
signers that the principal basis of readjustment of wages should be the ascer­
tained changes in the cost of living. The source of information in reference to
changes in the cost of living upon which the board relied w as the Bureau of
Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor, the only depart-6
8

68 By agreement of August 20, 1917, and amended agreement of December 8, 1917.




54

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

ment of the Government qualified to make* comprehensive and authoritative
investigations into labor conditions. * * *
Only slightly less important in the view of the board as a reason fo r read­
justing wages than the increase in the cost o f living w as the need o f stabilizing
wages in all the shipyards of the country to put a stop to the shifting o f men
from yard to yard. W hen the decision w as rendered the w a r w as still in fu ll
progress, and the need for the maximum production of ships, not in one locality
but in the country as a whole, w as imperative. The board believed that this
result could best be achieved by a readjustment of wages on a national basis
without too much attention to variable local conditions. This view coincided
with the unanimous request of the officials of the international unions who
appeared before us for the uniform national rates for the different crafts. In
complying with this request the board believed that it w as contributing to a
constructive national policy which would cause a maximum production o f
ships on the one hand and confer a maximum benefit on American w age earners
on the other. (P . 229.)

In the decision o f November 4, 1917, fixing wages in the San
Francisco Bay and Columbia Biver and Puget Sound districts, the
board stated its attitude and policy as follow s:
W e believe that public opinion approved the intention of the Government to
protect, so fa r as may be possible, American standard of living. On the other
hand, we do not believe that advantage should be taken of the national
emergency to increase wages beyond a point corresponding to the increased
cost of living. Attracting workers to the shipbuilding industries of the Pacific
coast by establishing higher wages than are justified by the expense of living
would, we believe, instead of improving the national labor situation, cause even
greater disorganization than already exists. A s a national board we feel bound
to view our task nationally and arrive at decisions that w ill tend to increase
the production of ships and other essential commodities, not merely in one
locality, but in the whole country. (Pp . 167, 168.)

The policy o f establishing uniform rates throughout an entire
district was followed not only in the Pacific coast decisions but in
those affecting the Great Lakes, Delaware Biver, South Atlantic
and Gulf, and North Atlantic and Hudson B iver districts. In all
cases cost-of-living figures collected by its own experts or by the
United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics were used, the principal
aims o f the board as stated by Dr. Henry B. Seager, secretary o f
the board, being “ to adjust the rates fairly to the increase in cost
o f livin g and to establish uniformity o f rates and conditions in all
o f the yards o f the district.” 6 The board’s procedure in arriving
9
at its decision o f October 1, 1918 (issued October 24), establishing a
uniform rate o f 80 cents per hour for basic trades in all shipyards o f
the country— which is typical o f its general procedure— is described
as follows:
From the evidence submitted to the board by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
in reference to an increase in the cost of living in the 5 Pacific coast ship­
building centers and in 16 Atlantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes shipbuilding
centers, we conclude as foUows:
(а ) The average increase in the cost of living on the Pacific coast from
October, 1917, to October, 1918, w as 20 per cent.
( б ) Applying this average increase to the basic daily wage of $5.25 estab­
lished by our previous decision, the new basic wage for the $5.25 crafts would
become $6.30, or 78% cents an hour.
(c )
The average increase in the cost of living in the shipbuilding centers
of the Atlantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes fo r the eight months from
December, 1917, to August, 1918, w as 15 per cent. In the absence of statistics
for the precise period, February to October, since our first decision for these0
9

09 Bureau of Labor Statistics Bui. No. 283: History of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjust­
ment Board. 1917 to 1919, by Willard E. Hotchkiss and Henry It. Seager, p. 24. Wash­
ington, D. O., 1921. 107 pp.




55

S H IP P IN G IN D U STR Y

eastern shipyards w as rendered, we assume that the increase fo r these
eight months w as the same as for the overlapping eight months covered by
the bureau’s'investigations; that is, 15 per cent.
(d ) Adding 15 per cent to the basic hourly rate of 70 cents would make
the new rate 80% cents.
(e) In th e’interest of uniformity and to comply with the unanimous request
o f the international and local representatives of labor who appeared before
us fo r a national wage scale, we have made the basic hourly wage rate fo r
the principal skilled crafts 80 cents.
( f ) Owing to the diversity of conditions in the different sections of the
country it has not seemed practicable to establish a uniform scale for laborers.
Following precedents set by other departments o f the Government, which em­
ploy many more laborers than are engaged in shipbuilding, and in the interest
of a uniform national policy, we have fixed different rates of wages for labor­
ers and common laborers in the three districts, Pacific coast, North Atlantic and
Great Lakes, and South Atlantic and Gulf. In each district we have increased
the rates for laborers and helpers upon whom the burden of rising costs of
living falls most heavily, as much or more than is required by a strict appli­
cation of the increase in cost of living reported by the B ureau of Labor
Statistics.
iff) W e have not deemed it necessary or wise to apply this entire increase
in the cost of living to occupations already above the base rate of the scale
fo r the skilled trades.
As in assessing the income tax, the Government
exempts altogether small incomes while taking more than three-fourths of
the income of the multimillionaire, so in adjusting wages, while granting an
advance to laborers and helpers fully sufficient to offset the increase in the
cost of living, we have not considered it proper to grant the fu ll increase to
the more highly paid occupations.
Those whose hourly rates were more
than 70 cents have been increased by 10 per cent, except where by variations
from this rule it has been possible to establish a uniform national rate.
(Pp. 237-239, 309-311.)

The process by which the board arrived at its finding o f a 20 per
cent increase in cost o f livin g on the Pacific coast was as follow s:
( а ) Increase from October to December, 1917, in Seattle reported as 0.5
per cent. In the absence of data for this period for other centers this was
taken as the average for the coast.
(б ) Increase from December, 1917, to June, 1918:
Per cent
San Francisco and Oakland-------------------------------------------------- 8.44
P o rtla n d _________________________________________________________ 12.14
Seattle_____________________________________________________________ 13.85
Tacom a___________________________________________________________15.15
Los Angeles--------------------------------------------------------------------------9.23
Average for five centers-------------------------------------------------- 11. 76
(c ) In the absence of data for the increase from June, 1918, to October,
1918, the board assumed the same proportionate increase for these four months
as for the preceding six months, making the increase two-thirds o f 11.8 per
cent, or 7.8 per cent.
(d ) Adding together increases for the three periods makes the increase for
the year 0.5 per cent plus 11.8 per cent plus 7.8 per cent equals 20.1 per cent.
In similar manner the board concluded that the average increase in living
costs from February to October, 1918, for the shipbuilding centers of the A t­
lantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes was 15 per cent. (P . 235.)

The board also established certain principles which were to be
followed in the future with reference to the use o f cost o f livin g
figures:
Section II. Future increases in wages "based on chamges in the cost of liv ­
ing.— (1 ) A principal reason fo r the existence of this board and of the other
governmental wage-adjusting agencies is to promote stability in
tries by insuring just and reasonable readjustments in wages
tervals without the necessity of recourse to strikes or lockouts.
every readjustment of wages is of necessity itself a cause




the w ar indus­
at periodic in­
Unfortunately,
of widespread

56

C H A P. I.---- FEDERAL. BOARDS A ND COM M ISSIONS

unrest and loss in efficiency. The advance in shipyard wages which w e are
now making because of the ascertained increase in the cost of living, and the
advances which are being continuously made in other industries, w ill in­
evitably cause further increase in the cost of living. To prevent any possible
misunderstanding in reference to the position of this board with regard to
future readjustments of wages, we announce that we shall be guided by the
following principles:
(a ) Until such time as the President may determine that the national
interest requires suspension of the policy of advancing the wages of laborers,
helpers, and journeymen in the basic skilled crafts to correspond with “ gen­
eral and material increases in the cost of living,” we shall deem it our duty
to be guided in future readjustments by such ascertained increases.
(h ) The authority upon wdiich we shall continue to rely for information as
to changes in the cost of living is the agency of the National Government,
which has been created and is maintained to make statistical investigations
of labor conditions— the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States D e­
partment of Labor.
(c ) A fter conference with representatives of the other governmental wage­
adjusting agencies w e have decided that the dates at which it w ill be most
expedient* to make w age adjustments are October 1 and A pril 1. W e have re­
quested the Bureau of Labor Statistics to make the necessary investigations,
so that we may be advised of future changes in the cost of living in time to
announce on those dates whether readjustments are required and what re­
adjustments.
(d ) To give precision to the expression “ general and material increase in
the cost of living,” we rule that, as used in the memorandum this phrase
means an average increase in the cost of living in the shipbuilding centers of
the district to which any wage adjustment applies of not less than 10 per cent.
It is clearly our duty to relieve shipyard employees of the burden that “ ma­
terial ” and long-continued increases in the cost of living would impose upon
them, but w e deem it also our duty to relieve Government industries of the
unsettlement and loss that result from readjusments in wages, unless in­
creases in the cost of living that are really “ material ” have taken place.
(Pp. 239-241; 312, 313.)

In October and A p ril o f each year up to 1919, the Shipbuilding
Labor Adjustment Board had been making revisions o f rates on
the basis o f the increased cost o f living. In Ap ril, 1919, however,
it was found that there had been no marked changes in the cost o f
living, and the Emergency Fleet Corporation accordingly announced
that the October 1, 1918, award would remain effective until October
1, 1919.7 Before the expiration o f this period the Shipbuilding
0
Labor Adjustment Board was discontinued on A p ril 1, 1919.
NATIONAL ADJUSTMENT COMMISSION7
1

The National Adjustment Commission® was created in August,
1917, by a voluntary agreement among the International Longshore­
men’s Association, the principal shipping operators on the Atlantic
and G ulf coasts, the United States Shipping Board, the W ar De­
partment, the Labor Department, and the American Federation o f
Labor. The chairman o f the commission was appointed by the
Shipping Board, but all the other members represented either em­
70 Journal of Political Economy, January, 1921, p. 4 : “ The labor policy of the Shipping
Board,” by Horace B. Drury.
71 Except where otherwise noted, data are from United States Shipping Board, National
Adjustment Commission, chairman’s report for period ending December 31, 1918, Wash­
ington, D. C., 1919.
° The original membership of the National Adjustment Commission consisted of vice
chairman, Raymond B. Stevens, representing the United States Shipping B oard; Wal­
ter Lippmann, representing the War Department; P. A. S. Franklin and H. H. Raymond,
representing the deep-sea and coastwise shipping interests, respectively; and Thomas
V. O’Connor, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association, representing
that organization. Mr. Stevens was elected chairman of the commission and Mr. Louis
Levy was elected secretary.




S H IP P IN G IN D U STR Y

57

ployers or employees. The commission was created to adjust and
control wages, hours, and conditions o f labor in the loading and un­
loading o f vessels. The central office was located in Washington,
D. C., but local adjustment commissions were established in about
24 o f the important ports.
The National Adjustment Commission agreement, at first opera­
tive only on the Atlantic and G ulf coasts, was later adopted by the
Lumber Carriers’ Association o f the Great Lakes, and, with certain
modifications, by the principal shipping companies and contracting
stevedores at Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.
The scope o f the work o f the National Adjustment Commission
relative to longshore labor was thus described in the chairman’s re­
port fo r the period ending December 31, 1918:
On the Atlantic and G u lf coasts, therefore, the acceptance and adoption of
the National Adjustment Commission agreement w as substantially complete,
and as w ill be seen the commission has substantially controlled longshoremen’s
wages and conditions on these coasts.
On the Pacific coast and on the Great Lakes, on the other hand, the accept­
ance and adoption of the National Adjustment Commission agreement has been
limited and the control o f the commission has been confined to special cases
under circumstances which have precluded the exercise by the commission of
any predominating influence over the longshore situation. (P . 4.)

The chairman stated, however, that in addition to its jurisdiction
under the original agreement, the National Adjustment Commission
frequently exercised jurisdiction in cases not covered by that agree­
ment, “ in matters o f wages and working conditions on harbor craft
and harbor marine equipment, and also in certain instances o f dock
labor where conditions have oorne a definite relationship to long­
shore labor.” Jurisdiction by special agreement was also exercised
in longshore cases “ arising at points or between parties not covered
by the original agreement.”
FACTORS GOVERNING DECISIONS

The principles governing the decisions o f the National Adjustment
Commission were “ those announced by or with the authority o f the
President with respect to such matters, including the principles
announced by the W ar Labor Board and the W a r Labor Policies
Board.” The original agreement creating the National Adjustment
Commission provided that the union scale o f wages, hours, and con­
ditions in force August 1, 1917, in the various ports, should be
adopted as the basic standard with reference to each port.
Subject to these limitations, and as fa r as practicable within these limita­
tions, the aim of the commission has been equitably to adjust wages to accord
with changing conditions and to adapt organization and conditions of work to
the necessities of the war. In this connection it has been necessary to give
constant consideration to changes in the cost of living, to the prevailing wages
in corresponding or competitive trades, and the necessity o f keeping skilled
men from deserting to other trades. Notwithstanding the acceptance in the
National Adjustment Commission agreement of the standards existing
August 1, 1917, it has been impossible wholly to avoid a consideration of the
adequacy or inadequacy of wages previously existing as bearing upon the
severity with which the added burdens due to w ar conditions bore upon the
classes of employees in question. (P . 10.)

The cost o f livin g was given due regard by the local commissions
also. Thus, in its award o f June 29,1918, in the harbor craft marine




58

C H A P. I.---- FEDERAL BOARDS A ND COM M ISSIONS

engineers’ case, the New Orleans Local Adjustment Commission
stated:
In reaching this decision, we have given consideration to the following
points: First, the increased cost of liv in g ; second, the increased cost of oper­
ations, and the increased cost of all sorts and classes of supplies fo r tugboats,
steamboats, and ferryboats. (P . 119.)

There were, however, other factors which had to be dealt with.
Most o f the awards and agreements expired on October 1, 1918, and
after hearings at New York, New Orleans, and Savannah, the Na­
tional Adjustment Commission established new uniform scales o f
longshore wages for the North Atlantic ports on both coastwise and
ocean-going vessels, and a new uniform scale for longshore labor on
vessels o f the latter class fo r the G ulf o f Mexico, and fo r the South
Atlantic ports. In this connection the chairman said :
W ith reference to the general rate of increase, the commission believes that
the increases awarded compare favorably with those granted in other indus­
tries. In so fa r as they have exceeded the cost of living, it is to be noted that
arbitration boards have been hampered by the absence of any authoritative
statement widely published and commanding general public acceptance showing
the increase in cost of living in different walks of life and in different locali­
ties. The insistence of wage demands has been based in large part upon the
widespread and honest belief on the part of the men, supported by figures
which it has been difficult to disprove, indicating that their cost of living has
increased to an extent greater than would be indicated by available statistics.
The increase in the cost of living, ho^wever, has been but one of many con­
siderations with which the commission has had to deal. The longshore scale
has been substantially controlled by the commission only on the Atlantic and
G u lf coasts. The Pacific awards have been dominated by the scale prevailing
at San Francisco. A t that port employers refused to deal with the Interna­
tional Longshoremen’s Association, and since the National Adjustment Com­
mission was unable to exercise jurisdiction the wages there were fixed without
the intervention of any governmental agency. Notwithstanding that the in­
crease in cost of living on the Pacific coast during the w a r had been substan­
tially less than on the Atlantic coast, San Francisco led all ports in the
United States as to wage increases and reductions of hours of longshore labor.
It w as the first Pacific port to introduce the eight-hour day and to pay long­
shoremen 80 cents an hour, and the precedent thereby established not only
virtually controlled all subsequent awards in the Puget Sound district but
exerted a profound influence in bringing the eight-hour day to the North
Atlantic and G u lf ports, and made the increase in the base rate on the North
Atlantic and G u lf ports from 50 cents to 65 cents appear moderate in
comparison.
The wages prevailing in similar or competitive industries have also as has
already been pointed out, played an important part in determining the awards
of the commission with respect to longshore labor. (Pp. 22, 23.)
NORTH ATLANTIC AWARD

The work o f the National Adjustment Commission had been so
successful in averting strikes that shipping interests, especially in
the East, as well as employees and the United States Shipping
Board, were desirous o f continuing the machinery fo r labor adjust­
ment upon a peace-time basis, and in September, 1919, the commis­
sion was formally reconstituted on a permanent basis fo r the North
Atlantic district.7
2
In October, 1919, the commission made its North Atlantic award.
This affected over 40,000 men, working on ocean-going vessels, in
the port o f New Y ork alone. The men asked fo r an increase from
65 cents to $1 an hour fo r straight time and from $1 to $2 an hour
72 Journal of Political Economy, January, 1921, p. 8: “ The labor policy of the Ship­
ping Board,” by Horace B. Drury.




S H IP P IN G IN D U STR Y

59

for overtime, with certain differentials. Because o f the fact that
the President had requested, in August, 1919, that no wage in­
creases be granted until the Government could have an opportunity
to bring down the cost o f living, an advance o f only 5 cents per
hour was awarded fo r straight time and of 10 cents per hour for
overtime, with the promise that i f the cost o f living did not de­
crease or i f the men showed an improvement in efficiency the case
would be reopened on December 1. The per cent o f increase granted
by the award was about h alf that which had taken place in the
cost o f livin g during the year and was, o f course, very much less
than had been asked fo r by the men. The commission at the same
time issued awards affecting other longshore labor. W ith regard
to the coastwise longshoremen, whose case was heard after that
o f the deep-sea longshoremen, the preliminary statement accom­
panying the award o f October, 1919, stated :
AS to coastwise rates per hour, the men have presented as effective an
appeal for an advance to meet the present unprecedented high cost of living as
in deep-sea business, but the conditions surrounding this traffic are entirely
different. It is subject to direct competition with all-rail lines, and a large
share of the tonnage is already moving by such lines. The evidence is con­
vincing. Coastwise shipping is not only greatly depressed, it is threatened
with extinction as more and more traffic goes by land.
The coastwise lines, whether operated by private interests or by the United
States Government, are already running at a heavy loss. But this alone would
not convince us that the men ought to bear the entire burden of high prices.
W ages are rightfully a first charge on industry. The men must live. B ut this
case is peculiar. Terminal expenses are already prohibitive. A ny further
increase in the cost of loading and unloading coastwise ships would inevitably
put them quite out o f business. I f all the tonnage goes by rail, the boats w ill
simply be tied up. The men w ill have no work at all. There is but one
remedy, namely, a general increase of freight rates. Such an increase must
be granted by the proper authorities or the water lines w ill be forced into
bankruptcy.
Under these circumstances it is beyond our power to grant relief at this
time to these men, however deserving their claim may be. The men must
choose between some employment at present rates and greatly reduced
employment, if any remained at all, if an increase of pay were to be allowed.
W e can not vote to deprive the men of w o rk ; but we agree to reconsider the
case without prejudice if present high prices persist and if a general increase
•of freight rates should in course of time occur.7
8

The only strike that occurred within the jurisdiction o f the com­
mission after its organization in 1917 was called at the port o f New
Y ork in October, 1919, in protest against the October award. A ll
parties to the agreement, including the president o f the longshore­
men’s union, stood by the award, however, the strike being largely
the result o f a disagreement within the union, and the men. after
about a month, returned to work at the rate established oy the
award. The case was reopened in December, 1919, and an increase
o f 10 cents per hour granted.
A t the other North Atlantic ports the awards were accepted and
there was no interruption to shipping activities, except for a few
weeks at Boston.
DISCONTINUANCE OF COMMISSION

Upon the change in personnel in the Shipping Board in 1919 a
different attitude toward adjustment agencies was shown. The *
Monthly Labor Review, December, 1919, pp. 106, 107.
105715°-—25----- 5




60

C H A P. I.---- FEDERAL BOARDS A N D COM M ISSIONS

newly constituted board, not desiring to cooperate in any adjust­
ment agency, announced that it would withdraw from the National
Adjustment Commission on, October 1, 1920, and would deal with
its employees directly. W ith the United States Shipping Board
controlling the wT
ages o f most o f the employees coming under the
jurisdiction o f the National Adjustment Commission and refusing
to cooperate in any adjustment agency, there was no further service
that the commission could perform and it therefore dissolved on
October 1, 1920.
BOARD OF ARBITRATION, NEW YORK HARBOR WAGE ADJUSTMENT

The Board o f Arbitration, New Y o rk Harbor W age Adjustment,
was created by voluntary agreement on October 20, 1917, between
representatives o f New York, Harbor boat owners and employees and
the United States Shipping Board. B y this agreement the owners
and operators o f tugs, barges, lighters, ferryboats, and other harbor
marine equipment in the port o f New York agreed to submit to the
decision o f a Government board composed o f one representative
each from the United States Shipping Board, the Department o f
Commerce, and the Department o f Labor,7 all differences concern­
4
ing wages, or conditions o f labor involved in the operation o f such
marine equipment which could not be adjusted by employers and
employees.
The first award o f the board, made November 16, 1917, established
a minimum wage, effective November 1, 1917, and granted a sub­
stantial increase in wages. This award affected between 400 and 500
owners, operating approximately 6,500 crafts and employing about
14,000 men.
On March 20, 1918, the board made an award affecting certain
employees. Other employees, not covered by the award and not
satisfied with the decision o f the board that no further increases
would be granted them until September, 1918, when the whole case
would be reopened, appealed to the National W ar Labor Board.
Under the guidance o f the National W ar Labor Board, the agree­
ment creating the New Y o rk Harbor W age Adjustment Board was
modified on M ay 14, 1918, enlarging the board to include two addi­
tional members, one to be appointed by the representatives o f the
employers and one by the representatives o f the employees. In an
effort to solve the difficulties arising from the overlapping o f juris­
diction o f the Railroad Administration and the New Y ork Harbor
Board, the board was further enlarged by agreement o f June 8,
1918, and by supplementary agreement o f June 20, 1918, to include
two more board members, one representing the railroads and one
representing the railroad employees.7 This enlarged board made a
5
thorough study o f conditions and published its award on July 12,
1918. B y this award, which was to continue until M ay 31, 1919,
74 The members of the original board were Capt. William B. Baker, representative of
the Shipping Board; Ethelbert Stewart, of the Department of Labor; and George R.
Putnam, of the Department o'f Commerce.
75 The enlarged board was composed as follow s: W. B. Baker, representing United
States Shipping Board; G. R. Putnam, representing United States Department of Com­
merce \ B. M. Squires, representing United States Department of Labor; Frederick A.
Bishop, representing private boat owners; W. B. Pollock, representing Railroad Adminisitration; T. V. Conner, representing employees; T. L. Delahunty, representing railroad
employees.




S H IP P IN G IN D U S T R Y

61

unless, in the judgment o f the board, wconditions warrant a change
prior to the date thus fixed for expiration,” an average increase
o f 69 per cent over prevailing pre-war wages was granted.
In November, 1918, however, the unions presented demands for
an 8-hour day and for largely increased wages. Because o f the
unwillingness o f the Railroad Administration to cooperate with the
New Y o rk Harbor Board, the latter was unable to effect a satis­
factory settlement. The board therefore appealed to the National
W ar Labor Board, stating its inability to act and requesting the
W ar Labor Board to hear the case. The National W ar Labor Board
twice declined jurisdiction, and it was only after a strike began on
January 9, and upon the request o f the President on January 11,
1919, that it consented to hear the case. The members o f the W ar
Labor Board, however, could not agree upon a unanimous decision
and referred the case to Mr. V . E verit Macy, as umpire.
The employees demanded a livin g wage, and stated that fo r this
an income o f $1,500 per year was necessary. They stated that, ac­
cording to a budget prepared by P rof. W illiam F. Ogburn, $1,500
was the least amount upon which the worker’s fam ily could subsist,
and that to maintain a “ minimum o f health and com fort” $1,900
would be necessary. They presented a table showing what the wages
* o f the employees would be i f increased by 85 per cent (which was
the amount o f the increase in the cost o f living since 1914), and
stated that in many instances these wages were above the amount
they were asking for.
> In the hearings before Mr. Macy the employers contended that
the burden o f proving changed conditions sufficient to justify a
revision o f the award o f July 12, 1918, rested upon the employees.
They asserted that there had been no change in working conditions
and that the only other change which might affect the situation was
the change in the cost o f living. Between July and November,
when the men submitted their demands, the cost o f livin g had in­
creased between 8 and 15 per cent, and this slight increase must
have been considered in the July award; there was no justification
for its reconsideration and there was no relation between the increase
in the cost o f livin g and the demands o f the men. They also argued
that since November, 1918, there had been a decrease in the cost o f
living. The employers stated that the W a r Labor Board had often
awarded rates o f wages which would yield an amount below the
$1,500 asked fo r by the employees as a minimum subsistence wage,
and claimed that in some o f the cities covered by these awards
food costs were higher than in New York. They argued that the
rates the marine workers were then receiving compared favorably
with the rates that had been awarded by the W ar Labor Board,
stating that the lowest class o f marine worker (porters on ferry
boats) received 37.5 cents per hour and that the captains o f covered
barges and lighters, who lived on the boats, thus having no expense
fo r rent, and in many cases no fuel, were receiving from 36 to 49.8
cents per hour. Finally they declared that neither the shipping
industry nor industry in general could stand the payment o f a
minimum wage amounting to $1,500 or $1,900 a year.
Mr. Macy, the umpire, rendered his decision on February 25, 1919,
refusing any change in wages. H e stated that i f there had been any




62

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

change in the cost o f livin g since the last award o f the New Y o rk
Harbor Board, it had probably been in favor o f the employees. He
also said that although the armistice had resulted in a condition
which was favorable to an eight-hour day, it had also created a con­
dition unfavorable to an increase in wages. H e stated that it was
not brought out in the records that the men did not ask the New
Y o rk Harbor Board in June, 1918, for the full wage desired; that
it was a fair assumption that the wages established by unanimous
opinion o f the New Y ork Harbor Board and unanimous opinion o f
the Railroad Administration represented a proper wage scale, con­
sidering all conditions at that tim e; that representatives o f the men
were parties to these decisions, and that it was necessary now for
the men to show convincing proof that the increase asked fo r was
justified. H e held that industry could not be revived until wages
became stabilized and that wages could not be increased while at the
same time hours were decreased; and that the annual income o f the
marine workers was not out o f proportion with the annual income o f
workers in other occupations requiring equal skill and intelligence.
The decision o f the umpire to grant no further increases in wages
over the July, 1918, award came as a surprise to all. The Railroad
Administration had previously agreed to grant increases, but had
withheld the order. Private employers had been w illing to grant
increases in pay and leave the question o f hours to arbitration. The
employees were therefore dissatisfied with the decision. On Feb­
ruary 28, 1919, the marine workers at the port o f New Y o rk sent a
telegram to the National W ar Labor Board stating: “ W e vehemently
protest against this off-hand denial o f livin g wages to 16,000 work­
ingmen and their families by a man who has no comprehension o f
the matters on which he presumes to pass judgment.”
Although some o f the private employers proposed to grant 10
per cent increase in wages, with a provision that all other matters be
discussed with a view to reconciling differences, the employees re­
jected the proposal and a strike was called fo r March 4, 1919, which
resulted in an almost complete tie-up o f harbor traffic. A com­
promise was, however, reached in A p ril, 1919 and under a new agree­
ment wages were increased on an average o f 10 per cent by a newly
constituted committee o f boat owners and employees.
The Board o f Arbitration, New Y o rk Harbor W age Adjustment,
was dissolved in the early part o f 1919.
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS DIVISION OF UNITED STATES SHIPPING BOARD 7
6

The marine and dock industrial relations division o f the Shipping
Board was created by resolution o f the board on September 19, 1918,
“ to have the general supervision, subject to direction o f the board,
o f all labor questions pertaining to the operation o f vessels and
marine equipment, including loading and unloading.”
This division o f the Shipping Board at first dealt primarily with
the officers and crews o f ocean-going vessels, and le ft to the local
commissions which were affiliated with the National Adjustment
Commission the adjustment o f wages for harbor craft. The name o f 7
*
0
70 United States Shipping Board. Marine and Dock Industrial Relations Division.
Marine and dock labor, work, wages, and industrial relations during the period of the
war. Washington,. D, C., 1919, 203 pp.




SHIPPING- INDUSTRY

63

the division was changed in January, 1920, to that o f industrial re­
lations division and since October, 1920, the work o f this division
has included the handling o f labor questions affecting all marine
and dock workers as well as all shipyard and repair-yard employees.
The factors considered by the division in determining wages dur­
ing the year 1918 are stated to have been as follow s:
In the determination of wages the division gave consideration to the fol­
lowing points: (1 ) Changes in the cost of living; (2 ) wages in corresponding
trades; (3 ) necessity of keeping skilled men from deserting to other indus­
tries; (4 ) desirability of inducing men with former marine experience, and
at the time otherwise engaged, to return to marine w ork ; (5 ) special w ar
risk, where this existed; (6 ) whether wages were on a reasonable basis before
the w ar.7
7

During 1919 the cost o f liv in g continued to rise, as did also
wages in outside industries closely related to shipbuilding. In the
latter part o f 1919, therefore, there were many requests from both
employees and shipyards for an increase in the rates.
When the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board was dissolved,
in A p ril, 1919, it had been the plan o f the Emergency Fleet Cor­
poration to assist in the establishment o f wage-adjustment boards
made up o f representatives o f the shipbuilders and o f the employees’
unions. In the fall o f 1919, therefore, it was proposed to carry out
this plan, and the Atlantic Coast Industrial Board was set up, to
which about 60 per cent o f the shipbuilders o f the East became
parties. In August, 1919, however, the President requested that no
further increases in wages be granted to railroad employees until
the Government could make an attempt to reduce the cost o f living.
Also, changes had taken place in the personnel o f the Shipping
Board, and although the cost o f livin g continued to advance, the
chairman announced that the Shipping Board would not agree to
any advances over the rates established in October, 1918, fo r shipyard
labor.7
8
Most o f the agreements with the various marine labor unions ex­
pired in September, 1920. A t this time the Shipping Board con­
tinued the 1919-20 scales effective fo r deck hands till August 1,
1921; and fo r all the other marine unions till May 1,1921. On May
1 there occurred a strike o f all marine labor, except deck officers,
which continued until June 15, when the men returned at a 15 per
cent reduction in wages, effective until January 1, 1922. In August,
there was a similar reduction in the scale fo r deck officers. From
January 1 to June 30, 1922, there were further reductions.7
9
The National Adjustment Commission’s awards for longshoremen
were replaced in the principal ports by the Shipping Board, in
October, 1920, by agreements running to October 1, 1921. In the
main, the 1919-20 scales were retained. In 1921, in conferences
with private employers and with representatives o f the longshore­
men’s unions, changes in the wage scales and in working conditions
were agreed upon which effected decreases in wages ranging from 11
per cent in San Francisco, Portland, Oreg., and Seattle t o 27percent
77 United States Shipping Board
Marine and Dock Industrial Relations. Division.
Marine and dock labor, work, wages, and industrial relations during the period of the
war. Washington, D. C., 1019, p. 40.
78 Journal of Political Economy, January, 1921, p. 5: “ The labor policy of the
Shipping Board,” by Horace B. Drury.
70 United States Shipping Board. Report on Marine and Dock Industrial Relations.
June, 1021, to February, 1022. Washington, 1922, pp. 14-17. (Mimeographed.)




64

OHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

in Mobile, Pensacola, and Gulfport, Miss.8 These terms were effective
0
until October 1,1922, when new agreements were concluded for 1923
at practically the same rates.8 In New Y o rk the International
1
Longshoremen’s Association asked fo r a reconsideration o f the
wage rates under article 22 o f the New Y o rk general cargo agree­
ment. The question was referred to Gen. G. W . Goethals, as arbi­
trator, whose decision o f March 31, 1923, based mainly on the in­
creased cost o f living, allowed an increase o f 5 cents per hour for
straight time and 7 cents per hour fo r overtime over the rates in
the general cargo agreement. The same increases as awarded by
General Goethals in New Y ork were granted by the steamship in­
terests and employing stevedores in Philadelphia and Baltimore.8
2
On A p r il 1,1923, as provided for in the agreements, the wage scales
were opened and revised in Portland, Me., and Hampton Roads, at
which time the same increases were made to longshoremen as Gen­
eral Goethals had awarded in New York.8
3
The policy followed by the Shipping Board in making wage ad­
justments in 1921 and 1922 has been described as follow s:
W age readjustments by a Government institution usually have the effect of
a finality, and are generally regarded as having been based upon sound economic
justice. I t w as recognized, therefore, that the position of the Shipping B oard
might prove embarrassing i f action in this matter w as taken without due re­
gard at least fo r the principles adopted by the most conservative employers
in other American industries in the making of similar readjustments in wages.
These m ay be summarized as the giving of due weight to (1 ) changes in the
cost of living and the value of a d o lla r; (2 ) wages in corresponding trad es;
(3 ) necessity fo r keeping skilled men from deserting to other industries;
(4 ) whether wages were upon a reasonable basis before the w a r ; (5 ) regu­
larity of employment, etc. Also, that Congress, in order to stabilize labor
conditions in the railroad industry, had set up the Railroad L abo r B oard fo r
the settlement of disputes between rail carriers and their employees, and in
doing so had prescribed, that decisions of the board in respect of wages or
working conditions shaU be based upon w hat the board considered just and
reasonable; and further, that in determining w hat is just and reasonable the
board shall^ so fa r as possible take into consideration among other relevant
circumstances, the follow in g: First, scale o f wages paid fo r sim ilar kinds of
w ork in other industries; second, the relation between wages and the cost of
liv in g ; third, hazards of employment; fourth, the training and skill requ ired ;
fifth, the degree of responsibility; sixth, the character and regularity o f the em­
ployment; seventh, the inequalities of increases of wages or of treatment, the
result o f previous wage orders or adjustments.
I t w as obvious that this form ula prescribed fo r one Government-controlled
industry had some bearing on another industry in which the Government w as
equally interested.8
4

The first time that the cost o f livin g did not enter as the most im­
portant factor was in the adjustments in the fa ll o f 1923. In Sep­
tember, 1923, the cost-of-living figures o f the United States Bureau
o f Labor Statistics showed only a 3.5 per cent increase over Septem­
ber, 1922, while the increases in wages to the different classes o f
longshoremen in Atlantic and G ulf ports ranged from 11 to 54 per
cent.® This wa£ due to the wages being paid in other industries and
to the shortage o f labor.
80 United Stales Shipping Board. Report on Marine and Dock Industrial Relations,
June, 1921, to February, 1922. Washington, 1922, pp. 80, 93. (Mimeographed.)
81 Monthly Labor Review,. December, 1922, pp. 122, 123.
82 Idem, May, 1923, pp. 159, 160.
88 Idem, July, 1923, p. 120.
84 United States Shipping Board. Report on Marine and Dock Industrial Relations.
June, 1921, to February, 1922, pp. 18, 19.
"Monthly Labor Review, February, 1924, pp. 129-131.
'




CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

65

RAILROADS8
5
A fte r the President assumed control o f the railroads in December,
1917, he appointed W illiam G. McAdoo Director General o f R ail­
roads. The latter, on January 18, 1918, created the Railroad W age
Commission which was to make an investigation and report o f wages
and cost o f living. In its report the commission recommended in­
creases in wages equal to the increase in the cost o f living and also
advised the appointment o f another commission to carry out its
recommendations and continue the adjustment o f wages. In May,
1918, the Director General, accordingly, appointed the Board o f
Railway Wages and W orking Conditions, which functioned until the
appointment, by the President, o f the United States Railroad Labor
Board created by act o f Congress in February, 1920.
The decisions o f these bodies affected about 2,000,000 railroad em­
ployees.
The extent to which cost-of-living figures have been used by
these agencies is shown below.
UNITED STATES RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION

RAILROAD WAGE COMMISSION

The wages o f railroad workers had remained practically sta­
tionary from 1914 to 1917. Upon the appointment o f the Director
General o f Railroads many complaints began to come to him from
the workers that their repeated requests for increases in wages to
meet the increased cost o f living had been refused by the railroad
companies, and that a great many o f their number were in need.
T o find out just what the situation was, the Director General* on
January 18, 1918, issued General Order No. 5, creating a Railroad
W age Commission8 with the following duties:
6
The commission shall make a general investigation of the compensation of
persons in the railroad service, the relation of railroad wages to wages in other
industries, the conditions respecting wages in different parts of the country,
the special emergency respecting wages which exists at this time owing to w ar
conditions and high cost of living, as weU as the relation between different
classes of railroad labor.
The commission shall begin its labors at once, and make report to the Director
General, giving its recommendations in general terms as to changes in existing
compensations that should be made.

The commission made an exhaustive investigation o f the cost o f
living in all sections o f the country, sending its own agents into vari­
ous communities to obtain information relative to the cost o f living,
and supplementing this with information secured by newspapers at
the request o f the commission. From this material and from
data on the cost o f living furnished by the Bureau o f Labor Statis­
tics o f the Department o f Labor, which formed the basis for the com­
putations, statistics were compiled by the Bureau o f the Census.
This information the commission used in reaching its conclusions as
to what increases should be made in the wages o f railroad employees.
85 Except where otherwise noted, data are from United States Railroad Administration,
Report of the Railroad Wage Commission to the Director General of Railroads, Apr. 30,
1918. Washington, D. C., 1918. 150 pp.
86 The members of the commission were Hon. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Inte­
rior; Charles C. McChord, member of the Interstate Commerce Commission,; J. Harry
Covington, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia; and William
R. Willcox, of New York.




66

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL* BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

The sources o f the basic data on the cost o f livin g used by the com­
mission and the method o f compilation were stated to be as follows
(Appendix I I , pp. 83-85):
Food.— The United States Bureau of L abor Statistics retail price quotations
on 22 articles of food were used. These are monthly quotations secured from
42 large cities in different parts of the country. This commission computed the
index number fo r the individual cities, and combined the cities into Interstate
Commerce Commission classification territories of Eastern, Southern, and
Western*. The indices fo r the three territories were combined into a United
States index by weighting each according to ratio of population in each
territory.
Rent.— The commission collected88its own figures on house rents, first by
7
9
direct inquiries to real estate agents in the 42 cities mentioned under “ Food,”
and second by field investigations of its own agents. These inquiries indicated
that the rise in rents had just begun during the latter part of 1917. The in­
creases in each territory were combined into U. S. totals by weighting ac­
cording to population.
Clothing.— Prices on clothing were also secured8 by the commission by direct
7
inquiries to retail merchants in the 42 large cities. Price quotations on the
various classes o f articles of male and female wearing apparel were secured
fo r December, 1915, and December, 1917. The quotations were combined by
weighting each class according to the proportion of expenditure for each.
The ratios for each territory were combined into United States ratios by
weighting according to population. On account of the substitution o f cheaper
grades of articles, especially woolen apparel, the increase of 44 per cent shown
fo r all clothing is believed to be low.
Fu el and light.— The retail price quotations on anthracite and bituminous
coal, secured by the United States B ureau of Labor Statistics in January o f
each year from the 42 large cities, were used. No increase w as assumed for
gas or electricity. These quotations were checked against reports of the
United States Fuel Administration. The price quotations fo r bituminous coal
were used for the southern and western territories; a weighted average of
anthracite and bituminous fo r the eastern territory. Territorial ratios were
combined into United States totals by weighting according to population.
Sundries.— The increases in each important item o f this sundry group w as
ascertained in various ways. Increases on amusement, travel, liquors, tobacco,
postage, etc., stipulated by the recent w a r tax law were applied. Special in­
quiry w as made of large retail drug stores fo r drugs and medicines. The remaining
items were arbitrarily estimated; no increase w as allowed fo r some items.
The increases fo r each item were combined by weighting according to the
proportion o f expenditure for each, as shown in the United States Bureau of
L abor study of 1901, somewhat adjusted tos meet present conditions. N o at­
tempt w as made to differentiate between the three I. O. O. territories. The
follow ing shows the increase for each item and the weights u se d :

Item
Insurance __________________
Organization, dues_________
Religion and charity_______
House furnishing--------------Books and papers-------------Amusements and vacations
Liquors and tobacco--------Sickness and death----------A ll other____________________
Total_________________

Per cent
of in­
crease,
1915-1917
_ _ 5
_
0
0
- “40
_ 50
15
75
_ - “50
_
50
—
_
35

Weights
14
10
6
13
4
10
15
11
17
<
—
100

87 The commission was assisted in collecting the data on house rents and clothing by
the United States Chamber of Commerce.
88 From Philadelphia study of United States Shipping Board.
89 Doctors* bills, medicines, etc.




RAILROADS

67 •

The percentage increases for groups o f articles, such as food,
clothing, etc., were then combined into a figure for the total cost of
livin g by multiplying each group increase by its proportionate share
in the total expense as obtained from the above detailed study. The
results obtained showed that from December, 1915, to A p ril, 1918,
there had been increases as follows (p. 80) : For those with incomes
up to $600,43 per cent; fo r those with incomes o f from $600 to $1,000,
41 per cent; and fo r those with incomes o f from $1,000 to $2,000, 40
per cent.
The commission held a large number o f public hearings at which
appeared representatives not only o f the former railroad employers
but o f all classes o f employees. A t these hearings discussions were
had as to what wages should be paid and what differentials should
exist between the classes.
The position finally taken by the commission along these lines was
as follows:
* * * The proposal that a new classification should be attempted is one
which, to say the least, may not be accepted now. Nevertheless, there stands
out one dominating fact, recognized by railroad workers as well as by railroad
officials— a conclusion compelled by that large sense of equity which governs
where logical processes fail— that the lower grades of railroad employment,
those in which the supply of labor has been less restricted, and where organiza­
tion has been difficult, i f not impossible, deserve wage increases, out of pro­
portion to the increases for those in superior grades. * (P . 12.)
Should there be any increase in wages to these men in the railroad service?
The railroads themselves have for the past two years been answering this
question by yielding, some with a wise prevision, and others too slowly for
their own good, to the requests of their employees. It took neither tables nor
charts nor briefs to make evident that, if the roads were to hold those men they
had, concession must be made to the imperious demand of rising prices fo r the
staples of living. (P . 13.)
The Government now enjoys this position of distinction— it is not yielding
to threats; it is not compelled to a course by fear o f any unpatriotic outburst;
it is not making concessions to avoid disaster. There has been no hint that such
a policy would be pursued by those who have it within their power. The right
thing “ at this time,” a measure of justice, consideration for the needs of the
men, whether organized or unorganized, whether replaceable or not replace­
able— these are the standards that w e have sought to meet. B y what amount
have the railroad workers been disadvantaged by reason of the war, and how
may that disadvantage be overcome with the largest degree of equity, assum­
ing that, in common with all who do not wish to exploit the opportunities
which the w a r affords, these workers can not have and w ill not expect a fu ll
meeting of the entire burden? (Pp. 14, 15.)
W e have had a most exhaustive study made of the cost of living, to-day, as
contrasted with the cost of living in the latter part o f 1915, when by the reaction
of the European w a r the American people first felt keenly the increase in the
burdens of life and the need fo r higher wages. This study has been made
without reference, primarily, to those quite thorough investigations which have
been carried on by the Department of Labor, other governmental, and many
private agencies. A nd to our minds it conclusively establishes two things, (1 )
that the cost of living has increased disproportionately among those o f small
incomes, and (2 ) that there is a point up to which it is essential that the fu ll
increased cost shall be allowed as a w age increase, while from this point on
the increase may be gradually diminished.
This study o f the cost of living w as not made from paper statistics ex­
clusively, by the gathering of prices and comparisons of theoretical budgets.
I t w as in no inconsiderable part an actual study from life, one o f the most
interesting and valuable groups of figures having been gathered by the news­
papers of the country, by interviews with those of the working class, and the
inspection o f their simple books o f accounts. Roughly, it may be said that the
man who received $85 a month on January 1, 1916, now needs 40 per cent
additional to his wage to give him the same living that he had then. Below
that wage a larger percentage must be allowed, because the opportunity fo r




'68

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

substitution and other methods o f thrift decline almost to a vanishing point,
while above that wage a growing proportion of the increase w ill go to those
things essential to cultured life, but nonessential to actual living.
In fairness, therefore, a sufficient increase should be given to maintain
that standard of living which had obtained in the pre-war period, when, con­
fessedly, prices and wages were both low. And upon those who can best
afford to sacrifice should be cast the greater burden. (Pp. 15, 1 6 )
*

*

*

*

*

*

*

The greatest number of employees, on all the roads, fa ll into the class receiv­
ing between $60 and $65 per month— 181,693 [ s i c ] ; while within the range
o f the next $10 in monthly salary there is a total of 312,761 persons. In D e­
cember, 1917, there were 111,477 clerks receiving annual pay of $900 or less.
In 1917 the average pay of this class w as but $65.77per month.
There were
270,855 section men whose average pay as a Class w as $50.31 per month;
121,000 other unskilled laborers whose average pay w as $58.25 per month;
130,075 station-service employees whose average pay w as $58.57 per month;
75,325 road freight brakemen and flagmen whose average pay w as $100.17 per
month; and 16,465 road passenger brakemen and flagmen whose average pay
w as $91.10 per month.
These, it is to be noted, are not pre-war figures; they represent conditions
after a year of w ar, and two years of rising prices. And each dollar now rep­
resents in its power to purchase a place in which to live, food to eat, and cloth­
ing to wear, but 71 cents as against the 100 cents of January 1, 1916. T hat
there has been such steadfast loyalty to the railroads, and so slight a dis­
position to use the lever o f their necessity and their opportunity to compel, by
ruthless action, an increase of wages, is not without significance and should
njot be passed without public recognition. (P p . 18, 19.)

On the basis o f a 43 per cent increase in cost o f livin g to the lowestpaid workers, the following recommendations for increases in pay
were made by the commission in its report submitted on A p ril 30,
1918, to the Director General o f Kailroads: A n increase o f $20 per
month to all employees receiving less than $46 per month; a 43 per
cent increase to those receiving from $46 to $50 per month; graduated
increases ranging from 42.35 per cent fo r those receiving from
$50.01 to $51 per month, to 4.56 per cent fo r those receiving from
$238.01 to $239 per month; an increase o f $10 per month to employees
receiving from $239.01 to $240 per month; and to those receiving
above $240, an increase o f $1 less fo r each additional dollar in wage
received. I t was recommended that no advance in wages be given
to employees receiving $249 per month and over. These wage in­
creases were recommended to be put into effect January 1, 1918, and
to be applied to the rates o f wages in effect on December 31,1915.
W ith reference to the amount o f the increase the chairman said:
Application o f these new wages to the present pay rolls of the railroads, as
nearly as m ay be, indicates that the net wage increases granted w ill ap­
proximate $300,000,000 a year. The magnitude of this amount is not stagger­
ing when the whole expenditure for wages on the railroads is considered.
A nd whatever its effect upon the mind may be, w e regard such an expenditure
as necessary fo r the immediate allaying of a feeling that can not be wisely
fostered by national inaction, and as not one dollar more than justice at
this time requires. It w ill make hard places smoother fo r many who are now
in sore need. I t gives no bounty. It is not a bonus. It is no more than an
honorable meeting o f an obligation. (P . 28.)

The above wage recommendations were accepted and made effec­
tive by the Director General in Article I I o f General Order No. 27,9
0
dated M ay 25,1918.
90
United States Railroad Administration. Director General of Railroads. General
Order No. 27, with its supplements, addenda, amendments, and interpretations to June
30, 1919.* Washington, D. 0., 1919, pp. 11-25.




RAILROADS

69

BOARD OF RAILROAD WAGES AND WORKING CONDITIONS

The report o f the Railroad W age Commission o f A p ril 30, 1918,
recommended that a permanent tribunal be established to continue
its work. This recommendation was accepted by the Director Gen­
eral o f Railroads, and on May 25, 1918, the Board o f Railroad
Wages and W orking Conditions9 was created as an advisory board
1
to the director general. Thereafter, until the termination o f Fed­
eral control all requests for changes in wages or hours o f railroad
workers were referred to this board. Article Y I I o f General Order
No. 27, creating the board, defined its duties as follows :
It shall be the duty o f the board to hear and investigate matters presented
by railroad employees or their representatives affecting—
1. Inequalities as to wages and working conditions whether as to individual
employees or classes o f employees.
2. Conditions arising from competition with employees in other industries.
3. Rules and working conditions for the several classes of employees, either
fo r the country as a whole or for different parts of the country.
The board shall also hear and investigate other matters affecting wages and
conditions of employment referred to it by the Director General.9
2

The reports o f the Board o f Railroad Wages and W orking Con­
ditions were not printed, but were submitted as recommendations
to the director general. I t may be said that, in general, the wage
recommendations o f the Board o f Railroad Wages and W orking
Conditions were accepted by the director general and incorporated
into the Supplement to General Order 27 issued by him.
Hearings before the board brought out the fact that where dis­
satisfaction with the rates as established by General Order No. 27
existed, the main causes were: (1 ) That, being based on December,
1915, these rates maintained certain inequalities which had been
eliminated by later agreements between the railroad and the men;
and (2 ) that the rates paid in December 1915 were too low, and that
the rates under General Order 27, being based on those o f Decem­
ber 1915, did not cover the increased cost o f living. A good deal o f
local cost-of-living material was presented before the board. In ­
dividual employees and officers o f the various unions affected wrote
to the board about the increased cost o f living to the employees.
Some gave the prices o f certain necessary articles on present and
prior dates, and some submitted the actual expenses o f employees’
families. In the cases before the board cost-of-living material was
more and more relied upon, and in many o f the later cases the figures
o f the Bureau o f Labor Statistics on retail prices o f food and on
the cost o f livin g were used.
Some o f the most important o f the board’s recommendations are
mentioned below:
Recommendation £, Supplement 4 to General Order N o . 27.—
This recommendation,9 submitted on June 29, 1918, covered em­
3
ployees in the seven basic trades in the mechanical department (ma­
chinist, boiler maker, blacksmith, carman, sheet-metal worker, elec­
trical worker, and m older), and recommended certain specified rates,
varying according to years o f experience.*
2
8
*• The following were the members of the board: J. J. Dermody, F. F. Gaines, C. E.
*
♦Lindsay, W. E. Morse, G. H. Sines, A. O. Wharton.
82 United States Railroad Administration. Director General of Railroads. General
Order No. 27, with its supplements, addenda, amendments, and interpretations as to
June 30, 1910. Washington, D. C., 1919, p. 27.
"Board of Railroad Wages and Working Conditions. Recommendation No. 8. In, re
wages and working conditions as affecting the employees herein specified. June 29,
1918, pp. 9—
12. (Typewritten.)




70

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL* BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

In its letter o f June 29,1918, transmitting the recommendation to
the Director General, the board said:
In dealing with this question we must give due consideration to the foU ow ing:
Increased cost of living.
Rates established by other government agencies for similar classes of em­
ployees,
Existing rates, provided such rates are admitted to be equitable.9
4

An d further:
I f these principles are to be accepted as determining factors, then we can only
say that we have made our recommendations accordingly, always keeping in
mind that w e were trailing rather than leading in wage rates, overtime, and
other conditions of employment now established.9
5

W ith certain modifications these rates were accepted9 by the di­
6
rector general and embodied in Supplement 4 to General Order No.
27, issued July 25,1918, to be effective January 1,1918.
Recommendation 15, Supplement 7 to General Order N o . 27.—
Recommendation 15 dealt with the question o f wages and hours o f
work o f nearly 1,000,000 employees in the following occupations:
Clerks, station employees, stationary-engine men, boiler washers,
power transfer and turntable operators, and common laborers in
shops, roundhouses, stations, storehouses, and warehouses. I t was
made after an exhaustive investigation by the board o f the cost o f
livin g and wages in other industries.9
7
The wage changes recommended for clerks, station employees, and
stationary-engine men were accepted by the director general. The
hourly minimum recommended for boiler washers and power trans­
fer and turntable operators, he increased 2 cents, and that recom­
mended for common laborers in shops, roundhouses, stations, and
storehouses he decreased 2 cents.9
8
Recommendation 17, Supplement 8 to General Order N o . 27.—
Recommendation 17, submitted on August 2. 1918, covered some
50,000 employees o f the maintenance-of-way department9 and was
9
made after hearings and consideration o f certain matters o f com­
plaint by the employees, one o f which was that the rates established
under General Order No. 27 were insufficient to meet the cost o f
living.
The rates o f pay recommended by the board1 were accepted by the
director general, and incorporated in Supplement No. 8, for all occu­
pations except common labor, which he fixed at 2 cents per hour
lower than recommended.2
94 Board of Railroad Wages and Working Conditions. Recommendation No. 8. In re
wages and working conditions as affecting the employees herein specified. June 29, 1918,
p. 7. (Typewritten.)
95 Idem, p. 7.
96 United States Railroad Administration. Director General of Railroads. General
Order No. 27, with its supplements, addenda, amendments, and interpretations to June
30, 1919. Washington, D. C., 1919, pp. 35, 36.
97 Board of Railroad Wages and Working Conditions. Recommendation No. 15. In re
wages, hours of service, and overtime for all clerical forces in all departments, etc.
Aug. 1, 1918, pp. 1-7. (Typewritten.)
98 United States Railroad Administration. Director General of Railroads. General
Order No. 27, with its supplements, addenda, amendments, and Interpretations to June
30, 1919. Washington, D. C., 1919, pp. 61-63.
99 Letter of Board of Railroad Wages and Working Conditions to the Director General,
Aug. 2, 1918.
1 Board of Railroad Wages and Working Conditions. Recommendation No. 17. In re
wages and hours of service and overtime for all employees in the maintenance-of-way
department, except clerical workers. Aug. 5, 1918, pp. 2-5. (Typewritten.)
2 United States Railroad Administration. Director General of Railroads. General
Order No. 27, with its supplements, addenda, amendments, and interpretations to June
30, 1919. Washington* D. C„ 1919, pp. 84, 85.




RAILROADS

71

Recommendation N o . 113.— One o f the later cases before the Board
o f Railroad Wages and W orking Conditions where cost-of-living
figures entered more specifically was that o f the trainmen, conductors,
and switchmen, in which detailed figures o f the United States Bureau
o f Labor Statistics on the cost o f living were used.3 The chief matter
complained o f by the switchmen was the increased cost o f living and
the consequent decrease in the purchasing power o f the dollar.4 In
5
their letter o f August 5, 1919, to the Director General o f Railroads
the labor leaders o f the unions affected stated in p a rt:
R ailw ay employees have loyally cooperated in the operation of the railroads*
and are entitled to compensation which w ill at least reestablish the pre-war
purchasing power of their wage.
W e do not agree that rates of pay to employees and transportation charges
are in any w ay co-related. Minimum rates of pay should be sufficient to guar­
antee to the most unskilled employees an adequate living wage, with such addi­
tional amounts as w ill meet the necessities incident to old age, injury, sick­
ness and death, and higher rates based upon the skill, responsibility, and haz­
ard required and involved. Also these wage rates should be such as w ill com­
pare favorably to the wages paid for similar service in other industries.®

On July 19, 1919, the Director General o f Railroads wrote to Mr.
A . O. Wharton, member o f the board, calling attention to the fact
that while the trainmen’s application advanced the “ general propo­
sition that existing wages are lower than they ought to be in view
o f the present cost o f living,” no jurisdiction over this subject had
been conferred upon the board. In order, however, to aid him in dis­
charging his responsibility o f considering “ the facts at all times on
all matters affecting the railroad employees, to the end [o f taking]
such action as may be just and reasonable,” he requested the board
to hear anything that the Brotherhood o f Railroad Trainmen might
wish to present on the subject, and to make a report carefully sum­
marizing the facts brought out.
The case was heard before the board in July, 1919, but owing to
the request o f the President Qn August 25, 1919, and to the letter
o f the director general o f August 26,1919, directing that no increases
be granted until the Government could try to reduce the cost o f
living, no action was taken.
In transmitting its recommendations to the director general on
September 22, 1919, the board stated:
The board understands from your letter of August 26, 1919, that it is not
within its jurisdiction to recommend additional increases in compensation at
this time. “Although it is recognized that i f the efforts o f the Government to
bring down the cost o f living should fail, railroad wages should be readjusted
in the light o f any permanent higher living costs which would thereby have
to be recognized,” therefore so fa r as the requests embodied in propositions
listed 1, 2, 3 and 4 are concerned, they may be considered as closed depending
upon the Government’s attempts to reduce the cost of living.

This letter was signed by Messrs. Sines and Dermody; Messrs.
Lindsay, Gaines, and Morse dissented; and Mr. Wharton signed
subject to the conditions expressed in his letter to the director gen­
eral o f the same date. This letter was, in part, as follow s:
The policy of the Railroad Administration has been to treat all classes of its
employees coming under the purview of this board on the basis of “ equal

8 Switchmen’s Union of North America. Report of Hearings before the Board of Rail­
road Wages and Working Conditions, July 21 to 31, 1919. [Buffalo, 19191,. pp. 3, 4, 8,
19, 20, 22, 33, 40-42, 61, 62.
4 Idem, p. 33.
5 Idem, pp. 61, 62.




72

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL BOARDS* AND COMMISSIONS

treatm ent” as near as it is reasonably possible to do so, and w e have been
and are now authorized to make recommendations that w ill remove just cause
fo r complaint when it can be shown that, in the application of general wage
orders, classes o f employees or subdivisions thereof have not received the
consideration that should accrue to them in line with this policy.
I t is not my purpose to criticise either or any of them, but in conformity
with the policy of “ equal treatment,” to which I subscribe, due allowance
should be made for the adjustments necessary to eliminate unequitable w age
rates and working conditions in effect prior to the Government having as­
sumed the direct supervision and operation of the railroads, necessarily made
as a basis to which would be added any general increase in w age rates, the
#
same principle should be applied to hours o f service to be recognized as a
'standard measure of a day’s work.
W ith this preface I desire to submit th a t:
1. The information developed by the R ailw a y W age Commission and subse­
quently augmented by data secured by the B oard of Railroad W ages and
W orking Conditions, should disabuse the minds o f those who have been led
- to believe that the general and classified railroad employees receiving $250
or less per month have ever been or are now receiving excessive wages or
enjoying conditions of employment in keeping with the character o f service
required.
2. In December, 1917, it w as developed that 51.02 per cent of the 1,939,399
employees then in the service (excluding officials receiving over $3,000 per
annum ) received less than $75 per month; 28.79 per cent received $75 and
less than $100 per month; 17.26 per cent received $100 and less than $150
per month and only 2.93 were in the $150 to $250 per month class.
3. The United States Department of Labor, ^Bureau of L abo r Statistics, in­
dicate that the cost of living has increased approximately 80 per cent since
January 1, 1914, up to July, 1919.
4. I t is estimated the w age increases accruing to the railroad employees dur­
ing the same period w ill not exceed 55 per cent.
5. The wages of railroad employees in 1914 were admittedly unequitable,
this being true it is evident that the average w age of the railroad employee
to-day is not in keeping with the present standard of living, as the w age in­
creases have not kept pace with the increased cost of living, and the average
w age of 1914, although insufficient, is even more so in July, 1919, due to the
decreased purchasing value of the present wage.
6. Based upon the best available information, the attached tables, which are
designated as Exhibit C, indicate the average increases per month, accruing
to the several classes of employees, as a result o f the w age orders issued by
the Railroad Administration.
7. In line with the policy of “ equal treatment,” the increases shown in the
attached tables indicate that the money increases accruing to the several
classes vary and that certain classes of employees have not received as great
a money increase as other classes, although it may develop that the classes
receiving the smallest money increase, may have received the greatest per­
centage increase, due to extremely low pre-war w age rates.
In consideration of the above, I feel that:
8. The principle of guaranteeing a minimum monthly w age is correct and
should be applied to all classes of employees who are prepared to render and
do render service to the extent o f an average of 204 straight-time hours per
month and that in the classes of service requiring the use of extra men, such
extra men shall be guaranteed not less than 75 per cent o f the minimum!
monthly guaranty established fo r the regular men.

In January, 1919, because o f the continued rise in the cost o f liv ­
ing, the shop crafts asked the Board o f Railroad Wages and W ork ­
ing Conditions fo r further wage adjustments than those granted
by Supplement No. 4. Other unions followed with similar requests.
The director general, after the Board o f Railroad Wages and W ork­
ing Conditions had failed to reach an agreement, referred these re­
quests to President Wilson, who, on August 25, 1919, asked the
unions to defer them until it could be seen whether or not the high
cost o f livin g was permanent. In his statement to the railway em­
ployees’ department o f the American Federation o f Labor, President
Wilson said:



RAILROADS

73

It goes without saying that i f our efforts to bring the cost o f living down
should fail, after w e have had time enough to establish either success or
failure, it w ill of course be necessary to accept the higher costs of living as
a permanent basis of adjustment, and railw ay wages should be readjusted
along with the rest. A ll that I am now urging is, that we should not be
guilty of the inexcusable inconsistency o f making general increases in wages
on the assumption that the present cost of living w ill be permanent at the
very time that w e are trying with great confidence to reduce the cost of liv­
ing and are able to say that it is actually beginning to fall.6

The requests were, therefore, not renewed until February, 1920,
during which time the cost o f living had continued to rise. When
the requests were made again in February, 1920, to the Board o f
Railroad Wages and W orking Conditions, the Director General re­
fused to grant the increases and was supported in this by the Presi­
dent because o f the short time that remained before the termination
o f Federal control. The President, however, agreed to use his in­
fluence for the establishment by Congress o f a permanent Govern­
ment .board to hear and adjust controversies between the railroad
owners and their employees. This promise was fulfilled with the
passage o f the transportation act which became a law on February
28,1920.
UNITED STATES RAILROAD LABOR BOARD7

The transportation act o f February 28, 1920, terminated Federal
control o f the railroads and created the United States Railroad
Labor Board for the adjustment o f all controversies relating to
wages, hours, or conditions o f employment, between railroad owners
and employees which the parties themselves are unable to adjust.
The board as provided fo r by the act consists o f nine members,
appointed by the President, o f whom three represent the employees,
three the carriers, and three the public. The original members o f
the board were confirmed by the Senate on A p ril 15,1920, and their
first meeting was held the following day.
According to section 307 (d ) o f the act,8 the decisions o f the board
in establishing “ just and reasonable5 wages and working conditions,
5
£ust take into consideration, “ among other relevant circumstances,5
5
clie following factors:
(1 )
(2 )
(3 )
(4 )
(5 )
(6 )
(7 )
w age

The scales of wages paid for similar kinds of work in other industries;
The relation between wages and the cost o f living;
The hazards o f the employment;
The training and skill required;
The degree of responsibility;
The character and regularity of the employment; and
Inequalities of increases in wages or of treatment, the result of previous
orders or adjustments.

The phrase, “ other relevant circumstances ” the board has inter­
preted as meaning “ among other things, the effect the action o f this
board may have on other wages and industries, on production gen­
erally, the relation o f railroad wages to the aggregate o f transporta­
tion costs and requirements fo r betterments, together with the burden
on the entire people o f railroad transportation charges.5 9
5
8 Wilson,. Woodrow: Statement to representatives of the railway employees’ depart­
ment, American Federation of Labor, Aug. 25, 1919. Washington, D. C., 1919, p. 3.
7 See Appendix, pp. 448, 449 of this bulletin, for list of documentary material on deci­
sions of United States Railroad Labor Board herein cited.
8 Transportation act, 1929, 41 Stat. 469, Title III.
9 United States Railroad Labor Board. Decision No. 2, p. 6 (Dockets 1, 2, and 3),
July 29, 1929. [Chicago, 1929.] 29 pp.




74

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

In the three general wage adjustments made by the United States
Railroad Labor Board in 1920, 1921, and 1922, and in the decision
affecting the maintenance-of-way employees in 1922, the cost o f
livin g was an increasingly important factor. In the decisions o f
1923 the stability o f the cost o f livin g was given as an important
reason for refusing requested increases.
In Decision No. 2 an approximate average increase o f 22 per cent
was granted, effective in May, 1920; in Decision No. 147 an approxi­
mate average decrease o f 12 per cent was granted, effective July,
1921; in the decisions included under Docket 1300, further decreases
were given, effective July, 1922; and in Decision No. 1267 a slight
increase was given to maintenance-of-way employees effective October
16, 1922. A ll o f these increases were, as stated above, based on in­
creases in the cost o f living. Decisions No. 1538 and 1983, o f
January 29 and October 9, 1923, denied the requests of the signalmen
fo r increases, largely because there had been little change in the cost
f living. In Decision No. 1621 o f February 28, 1923, the board
thought that no change in conditions had occurred sufficient to
warrant increases to any except the lowest paid o f the clerical and
station employees, but in Decision No. 1986, the board granted
increases o f 1 and 2 cents to these employees but stated that the
cost o f livin g played a minor part in the decision because o f the
slight change since the last adjustment.
Decisions No. 2 and 147 were unanimous reports. For each o f the
later wage decisions (w ith the exception o f No. 1986), however, a
minority report was rendered, Mr. A . O. Wharton, a labor mem­
ber, who concurred in each minority report, stating his conviction
that a budget, listing every item o f food, clothing, and sundries re­
quired by a worker’s fam ily in the course o f a year, should be used
as a yardstick for determining a minimum living wage; that the
railroad workers were entitled to have as a minimum the standard
established by the budget published by the United States Bureau o f
Labor Statistics in the June,, 1920, Monthly Labor Review, that a
measurable increase in the cost o f living was o f vital importance
workers already underpaid; that the cost o f livin g would further ad­
vance, as was indicated by wholesale prices; and that the requested
increases were justified in order to approximate more nearly the
amount o f a livin g wage shown to be necessary by cost-of-living
budgets.
Decisions No. 1 and 2 covered all crafts. The decisions included
under Docket 1300, effective July, 1922, were rendered separately
fo r maintenance-of-way employees, federated shop craft employees,
and clerks.
In order to show to what extent the cost o f livin g was considered
by the board in making its decisions, extracts are given below from
the decisions o f 1920 and 1921. F or the cases coming before the
board in 1922 and 1923 it would be impossible in this report to show,
or even attempt to summarize, all the material on the cost o f living
presented before the board. The case o f the shopmen in 1922 (D e­
cision No. 1036), therefore, has been taken as typical, and extracts
relative to the cost o f living are given (1) from the joint application
o f the parties to the dispute fo r a hearing before the board; (2) from
the hearings before the board; and (3) from both the decision o f




75

RAILROADS

the board and the dissenting opinion o f its minority members. This
enables the reader to follow through its complete course the relation
o f the cost o f living to probably the most interesting o f the cases.
In addition a short summary o f the majority and minority reports
o f the board are given fo r tne cases relating to the maintenance-ofway employees (Decisions Nos. 1028 and 1267).
DECISION NO.

2

A s already stated, the board began hearings on its first case on
A p ril 16, 1920. This case was the controversy, pending since Jan­
uary, 1919, and described in the preceding section, which it had in­
herited from its predecessor, the Board o f Railroad Wages and
W orking Conditions. This controversy affected approximately 2,000,000 men in 1,000 different classifications and covered about 93
per cent o f the railroad employees o f the United States.
The Railroad Labor Board’s decision, rendered July 20, 1920,
increased the wages o f all crafts 13 cents per hour over the wages in
effect March 1, 1920.
The board in arriving at its decision took into consideration the
seven factors prescribed by the transportation act. However, it
found that—
* * * W ith regard to “ the scale of wages paid for similar kinds of work
in other industries,” and “ the relation between wages and the cost o f living,”
the board has been under some difficulty. It is clear that the cost of living
in the United States has increased approximately 100 per cent since 1914.
In many instances the increases to employees herein fixed, together with
prior increases granted since 1914, exceed this figure. The cost o f living and
wages paid for similar kinds of work in other industries, however, differ
as between different parts of the country. Yet standardization of pay for
railroad employees has proceeded so fa r and possesses such advantages that
it w as deemed inexpedient and impracticable to establish new variations
based on these varying conditions.
' For the reasons stated it w as necessary to adopt the method o f determining
^ what, i f any, increases over existing wages (established under the authority
o f the United States R ailroad Administration) would constitute a reasonable
and just w age fo r the hundreds o f classifications of railroad employees. B y
so doing such differences in present rates as are the result of local differences
are preserved together with (in general) the differentials between different
classes of employees which have come about in the railroad service and
which may be considered prima facie to be based on good reasons. It is
believed that this method accomplishes that approximation to justice which
is practicable in human affairs.
The board has endeavored to fix such wages as w iU provide a decent
living and secure fo r the children o f the wage earners opportunity fo r educa­
tion, and yet to remember that no class o f Americans should receive preferred
treatment and that the great mass of the people must ultimately pay a great
part of the increased cost o f operation entailed by the increase in wages de­
termined herein.
I t has been found by this board generally that the scale o f wages paid rail­
road employees is substantially below that paid for similar work in outside
industry, that the increase in living cost since the effective date o f General
Order No. 27 and its supplements has thrown wages below the pre-war standard
o f living of these employees and that justice as well as the maintenance of an
essential industry in an efficient condition require a substantial increase to
practically a ll classes.

DECISION NO. 147

The controversy finally settled by Decision No. 147 involved prac­
tically all o f the railroads and employees’ organizations affected by
Decision No. 2. Decision No. 2 had granted certain increases and
105715°— 25------6




76

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

had fixed what was thought at that time to be 4 just and reasonable
4
wages.” That decision, however, was rendered at a time o f rising
prices and high cost o f living, and since that time financial and
industrial changes had occurred, affecting all industries. The In ter­
state Commerce Commission granted an increase o f rates to the car­
riers, but because o f the business depression prices had fallen and
production had decreased, which in turn affected the receipts o f
the carriers.
The carriers had held conferences with the different classes o f
their employees and had proposed wage reductions, but as no agree­
ment could be reached, the matter was submitted to the Labor Board.
The claims o f the various roads were brought separately; some re­
quested decreases in the wages o f practically all o f their employees
while others asked for decreases fo r certain classes only. The first
case was submitted to the board on March 19,1921, by the New Y o rk
Central Bailroad Co. The board realized the length o f time that
would be necessary to hear *each case separately, and, therefore,
announced that hearings fo r all claims fo r reduced wages would
begin on A p ril 18,1921; these hearings continued until M ay 16,1921.
The board’s decision decreased the wages o f all crafts 8 cents per'
hour from the scale established by Decision No. 2. The new rates
were to be effective July 1,1921.
Some o f the findings o f the board in this case as given in its state­
ment o f June 1,1921, were as follow s:
In the hearing and consideration of these cases there has been available to
the board all the evidence taken and now on file adduced in the hearings of the
cases heretofore brought before the board, information gathered by the board
and its forces under the directions of the statute, including reports of the In ­
terstate Commerce Commission and various other Governmental agencies, State
and National, in addition to the very voluminous mass of evidence submitted
at these hearings by the respective parties, as w ell as matters of general and
universal public knowledge.
It finds that since the rendition o f its Decision No. 2 there has been a decrease
in the cost of living. W h at that decrease has been it is impossible to state
w ith mathematical accuracy or even what the general average for the United
States has been up to and on any given date. * * * The decreases vary
greatly according to the locality, and affect different people in different de­
grees. * * * In the cities the general decreases in some lines have been
offset to some extent by the high rents. In some o f the items or products that
enter into the costs o f living the fa ll in prices has been g re a t; in others, much
less.
The board also finds that the scale of wages fo r sim ilar kinds o f work in
other industries has in general been decreased. The same conditions are also
found as to this element. It is practicaUy impossible to find any exact average
line of decrease for the entire country. * * *
It has endeavored to consider as it should all the elements that enter into
this complex problem. There are certain facts and conditions known to all
and which can neither be disputed nor ignored. W hatever may be said as to
the origin or contributing causes, there has been and is a marked, and to some
extent distressing and disastrous, depression in business and industry affecting
the entire country and some lines of production most seriously. * * *
The board believes that based on these elements shown, i. e., the decreased
cost o f living and the general decrease in the scale of wages in other industries,
that the decreases herein fixed are justified and required.
B ut the board is required by the transportation act to consider not one, but
all o f the seven elements especially mentioned in the act, and other relevant
circumstances, and this it has endeavored to do in reaching the results herein
announced. * * *
* * * The board has been governed by the same principles and the direc­
tions of the law as there outlined in Decision No. 2, and has endeavored to
give due consideration to every element of the problem before it. (Pp. 11-13.)




RAILROADS

77

DECISION NO. 1086—THE SHOPMEN’S CASE

Below are given extracts from (1) the joint application fo r sub­
mission o f the dispute to the Railroad Labor Board by the Baltimore
& Ohio Railroad Co. and the Federated Shop Crafts, (2) from the
hearings before the board fo r all roads, and (3 ) from the majority
and minority reports o f the board covering all shop craft employees
and the roads employing them.
Application for Hearing
Carrier’s Position
t

The necessity fo r a reduction in wages w as discussed freely with the repre­
sentatives of the employees and it w as pointed out that this request w as based
on the follow ing:
(a ) Insistent demand on the part of the public for lower
freight and passenger rates; (b ) general reductions in the rates of pay in out­
side industries for analogous w o rk ; and (c ) reduction in the cost o f living as
reflected by data published by the National Industrial Conference Board.
♦ * * (P . 9.)
W ith reference to the cost of living, statistics prepared by the National In ­
dustrial Conference B oard showing the per cent of increase in the cost of
living in average American communities between July, 1914, and December,
1921, show that the cost o f living in March, 1920 (the end of Federal control)
was 94.8 per cent greater than July, 1914, and for the month of December,
1921, 62.7 per cent higher than July, 1914, or 32.1 per cent less than the figures
for the month of March, 1920; also, that the present cost of living is approxi­
mately on a level with that of the latter part of the year 1918, and the first part
of the year 1919, which is further evidence that would seem to justify a reduc­
tion in wages, since the cost of living is an important factor in fixing a just
and reasonable wage.
(Pp. 10-11.)
Employees’ Position
W e contend that there have been no changes in the cost o f living, to justify
the management o f the Baltimore & Ohio R ailroad to request the shop craft
employees to accept a reduction in their rates of pay fo r the reason that the
reductions in our rates brought about by Decision 147 of the United States
Railroad L abor Board were about equal to the changes in the Cost of living
since the level assumed by the Labor Board in Decision No. 2. A s a matter
of fact, statistics gathered and analyzed by the United States Department
of L abor show that between the months of M ay and Sepember, 1921, the
cost of living has decreased less than 2 per cent.
The request of the management is based very largely upon the w age rates
paid to employees in outside industries, which rates o f pay, in our opinion,
are neither just or reasonable, because we believe that in many of the outside
industries, the rates quoted by the management were established arbitrarily,
without consulting with, or negotiating with the employees affected.
The wages paid mechanics in outside industries, are not now, nor have they
been just and reasonable at any time since 1914. It is a matter o f common
knowledge that they have been and are now, unable to purchase as much with
their wages, as employees of the same class were able to purchase with their
wages in the years 1899 and 1890. In this connection, it is worthy of note
from the following tables that mechanics employed in the railroad shops were
similarly affected, in that the purchasing power of their wages has lost its
fu ll value, because the rates of pay did not advance sufficiently to keep pace
with the cost of living.

Average earnings for a ll journeymen in railroad shops for the standards
workday
Fiscal year, 1915------------------------------------------------------------------- $3,575
Calendar year, 1916-------------------------------------------------- ----------3.802
Calendar year, 1917____________________________________________
4.128
January 1, 1918, to M ay 1, 1919------------------------------------------4.960
M ay 1, 1919, to M ay 1, 1920__________________________________
5. 568
M ay 1, 1920, to July 1, 1921____________________________________ 6.608
Since July 1, 1921_____________________________________________
5.968




78

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

Average earnings of a ll journeymen in railroad shops as they would have been
if adjusted to the cost of living
December,
1914-------------------------------------------------------------------December,
1915_______________________________________________
December,
1916_______________________________________________
December,
1917-----------------------------------------------------------------December,
1918_________
June, 1919_______________________________________________________
December,
1919_______________________________________________
June, 1920_______________________________________________________
December,
1920_______________________________________________
Sepember,
1921------------------------------------------------------------------

$3,575
3.647
4.104
4.941
6.052
6.153
6.918
7.511
6.957
6.153

The shop craft employees of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad are requesting
an increase in their w age rates, because before the w a r their rates of pay
were not just or reasonable. Neither have their rates of pay kept pace with
the cost of living since 1914, as is shown by the tables set out above.
The above tables, together with the exhibits attached hereto, should be
sufficient proof that railroad mechanics are now and have been unable to
maintain a fam ily at a level of health and reasonable comfort.
W e contend that there should be a readjustment in the rates of pay o f
railroad shop employees, and it is evident that the adjustments must be
upw ard if due consideration is given our request and the evidence attached
herewith in the form o f exhibits supporting same.
W e believe therefore, that we are fu lly justified in requesting increases
in rates of pay, to the extent of 5 cents per hour in excess of the rates o f pay
established by Decision No. 2 (dockets 1, 2, and 3) fo r the following classes
of employees: Machinists, boiler makers, blacksmiths, sheet-metal workers,
electrical workers, and carmen, including those with less than four years’
experience, all c ra fts ; regular and helper apprentices and helpers all classes;
and coach cleaners. (P p . 5-8.)

EXHIBIT 1
Meals which we consider necessary for a man working in the railroad shops.
[T h e exhibit covered a pay period but for this report the menus fo r only
one day are given as an example.]

Thursday
B rea k fast:
Sliced banana with milk and
sugar.
Roast beef hash with 2 potatoes
and 1 fried egg.
3 pieces of buttered toast.
2 cups o f coffee with milk and
sugar.
L u n ch :
2 roast beef sandwiches.
1 cheese sandwich.
2 doughnuts.
1 orange.
2 cups of coffee w ith milk and
sugar.

D in n er:
3 lamb chops.
3 creamed potatoes.
1 dish cooked tomatoes.
1 dish o f beets.
2 slices o f bread with butter.
1 dish of rice pudding with milk
and sugar.
1 cup of coffee with milk and
sugar.

EXHIBIT 2
Budget for fam ily of five, husband, wife, boy of 2, girl of 6, and boy of 12.
Equivalent 3.35 adult males. [T h e kinds of food consumed by shopmen were
secured from the expense accounts kept by 254 shopmen’s families. Menus
were arranged to yield 4,600 calories per day fo r the w age earner, 10 per cent
being allowed fo r waste in cooking and digestion. The total food budget w as
based on the quantities shown in E xhibit 1 for the man, the rest o f the fam ily
being provided for in percentages of 3,500 calories; that is, the w ife w as
allowed 90 per cent; the boy of 12, 90 per cent; the girl of 6, 40, and the boy
o f 2, 15 per cent of 3,500 calories per day. The lunches were, however, ad­
justed to include soups, croquettes, etc., and milk and cocoa were provided fo r
the children instead of coffee.]




79

RAILROADS

Class 1.— Meat
B e e f:
S teak _
R oast _
S t e w __
C o rn e d
D r ie d _
P ork :
Chops _
R oast _
S a lt :
Bacon
H a m __
P ic k le d
M u tton :
Chops _
R oast _
P o u lt r y :
H e n s __
T u rk ey

Pounds
per year

Pounds
per year
109
63
36
36
4
49
36
54
45
4
43
56

S a u s a g e ________________
H a m b u r g e r ---------------L i v e r __________________
Cooked m e a t:
H a m ______________
B o lo g n a _________
M in c e d h a m
F is h :
F r e s h _____________
C a n n e d s a lm o n .
C a n n e d s a r d in e s
‘O y s t e r s __________
B e a n s _________________
M i l k ____________________
E g g s ---------------------------Ic e c r e a m _____________

30
33
36

6

12
6
46

15

12
4
27
__ 1,6 0 6
—
330

22

63

10
Class 2
Pounds
per year

Pounds
C e re a ls a n d th e ir p r o d u c t s :
per year
B r e a d _____________________________ 846
F lo u r , w h e a t ---------------------------214
C o rn m e a l ------------127
C r e a m o f w h e a t --------------------22
•
R o lle d o a t s ----------------------------- 24
P e t t i j o h n s ______________________
13
S h r e d d e d w h e a t --------------------9

C e re a ls
an d
t h e ir p ro d u c ts —
C o n tin u ed .
C o r n f l a k e s ______________________
G r a p e n u t s ______________________
C r a c k e r s __________________________
M a c a r o n i _______________________
R ic e ________________________________

15
15
25
4%
80

Class 3.— F ru its and vegetables
Pounds
per year

Pounds
P o ta to es:

Per y car

W hite_________________________ 566

C u c u m b e r s ___________________________

S w e e t ____________________________ 94
P e a s , c a n n e d _________________________
41
C o rn , c a n n e d ----------------------------------- 25
S q u a s h ________________________________
73
T u r n i p s ________________________________
33
C a b b a g e ______________________________
81
B e e t s __________________________________
54
C a r r o t s _________________________________ 109
T o m a to e s, c a n n e d a n d f r e s h ------- 362
O n io n s ___________________________________163
S t r in g b e a n s ------------------------------------18
C a u l i f l o w e r ____________________________
27
L e t t u c e ________________________________
53
S p in a c h , k a le , e tc ----------------------------32

53

Pumpkin, canned________________

12%

C o rn , 14 dozen e a r s _______________
72
P e a c h e s ______________________
55
A p p l e s ___________________________________485
P e a r s ___________________________________ 40
G r a p e s ________________________________
06
B a n a n a s ______________________________
35
L e m o n s ________________________________
5
O r a n g e s ________________________________ 136
B e r r i e s ________________________________
51
P r u n e s ________________________________
93
A p r i c o t s ______________________________
46
R a i s i n s _________________________________ 108
C e l e r y ---------------------------------------------9

Class 4
Pounds
per year

Pounds
per year
B u tter.
C h eese

. 168y2
_

33

F a ts:
L a rd

-

63%

Class 5
Pounds
per year

Pounds
per year
S u g a r ----------------H o n e y o r siri^p.
M o la s s e s ________




_ 248
__ 3 2 %
__
45

T ea__
C o ffee

____
_____ 29

5

80

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
EXHIBITS 3-6

[These were the replacement quantities per year for a fam ily as given by
the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Monthly L abor Review fo r June, 1920, for
clothing, household equipment, miscellaneous expenses, cleaning supplies and
services, and shown in this report on pages 298 to 305.]
EXHIBIT 7
[T h is exhibit showed the cost of the budget at 40 points on the Baltimore
& Ohio Railroad system during November, 1921. To the items, as given in
Exhibits 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, $81.50 was added for education, books and music.
Based on retail prices in these 40 cities, the totals ranged from $2,406.27 in
Gassaway, W . Va., to $3,080.66 in Chicago. The average cost w as $2,636.97.]
Hearings before the Board

Employees* argument .— In the hearings before the board more
material on the cost o f livin g was presented by the employees than by
the employers. In general, it may be said that the employees argued
fo r a basic living wage and fo r the establishment o f differentials
above this basic minimum which would take into consideration skill
required, responsibility assumed, and risks incurred. They contended
that for years wages did not increase with the increases in the cost
o f livin g; that the wages paid in 1917 were exceptionally low and
that to base present wages upon the increase or decrease m the cost
o f livin g since that year would not give a livin g wage. Many budgets
and charts on the cost o f livin g were presented.
In the course o f their argument before the board, the shopmen
presented figures based on household accounts kept fo r the year
1921 by 254 shopmen’s families, distributed over the country.1 These
0
accounts showed an average annual expenditure o f $1,989.64 and an
average income o f $1,935.50, o f which $140.01 was income from
other sources than the railroads, generally from boarders or lodgers.
Only 28 out o f the 254 families reported an income from the work
o f children over 16 years o f age. These families averaged 5.7 persons,
with 3.51 dependent children. I t was argued that the average income
o f these 254 families from railroad employment fe ll short o f the
actual amount spent by these families by about $200, and even this
expenditure did not secure the necessary supply o f food. The quan­
tities o f food purchased by these 254 families were compared with
those considered by Professor Jaffa o f the University o f California
to be the minimum amount fo r the maintenance o f health (see p. 100).
On the basis o f Professor Jaffa’s budget, mechanics in railroad shops
were able to purchase only 64 per cent o f the meat, fish, milk and
eggs; 77 per cent o f the cereal products; 91 per cent o f the vegetables
and fruits; and 71 per cent o f the butter, fats and oils necessary to
maintain their families in health. Under the existing Tate the earn­
ings o f railroad mechanics, working 2,448 hours at 77 cents per hour,
would be $1,884.96; the rate o f 67^2 cents proposed by the employers
based on the “ other relevant factors,” would yield only $1,651.40;
and the proposed rate o f 50 cents, based on the cost o f living, would
10 Federated Shop Crafts. Argument for a wage increase presented before the United
States Railroad Labor Board, March, 1922, pp. 15-20. (Mimeographed.)




RAILROADS

81

yield only $1,224.1 I t was argued that an increase o f 5 cents per
:L
hour over the rates established by Decision No. 2 was needed by the
shopmen to raise their annual earnings to an amount that would
provide a livin g wage.
Eelative to the cost o f living, Mr. Jewell, president o f the rail­
way employees’ department o f the American Federation o f Labor
and spokesman fo r the shopmen, said in p a rt:
The increase granted by General Order No. 27 of the Railroad Adminis­
tration and by Supplement No. 4 thereto both effective on January 1st, 1918,
brought up the standard earnings to practically the same purchasing power
as was possessed during December, 1914, but did not compensate the worker
fo r the accumulated loss of purchasing power that he had suffered during
the prior two or three years. A fter January 1, 1918, the continued rise in
the cost of living (w age rates remaining constant up to May, 1919) caused
the purchasing power, the real measure of wages, to decline below the 1914
standard.
The increase granted to shopmen on M ay 1st, 1919, w a s , not sufficient
to restore the 1914 purchasing power to the standard of earnings, and as
the cost of living still continued to rise, the loss in real wages amounted to
an average of practically $2 per day by May, 1920, before the application of
Decision No. 2 of the Railroad L abor Board. A s Decision No. 2 granted in­
crease of only a little over $1 per day, there w as still a deficit in purchasing
power of nearly $1 per day after Decision No. 2 became effective.
The drop in the cost o f living between June and December, 1920, o f course
had the effect of increasing the purchasing power o f the earnings, but up to
December, 1920, the drop had been insufficient to restore to the earnings
the purchasing power of 1914, and of course could not compensate the
workers fo r any of the loss that has been accumulating since 1914.
E arly in 1921 the cost o f living had declined sufficiently so that for all crafts1
together the standard of earnings fo r about six months exceeded the earnings
as they would have been if adjusted to the cost o f living changes since 1914.
This does not mean that the standard of earnings during that period were
in excess of the cost of living, because such a condition did not exist even
in 1914. * * *
In justice to the workers, no reduction o f w age rates should be seriously
contemplated until the cost of living has declined sufficiently so that the
accumulated excess of purchasing power over the 1914 standard balances the
accumulated deficiency. O f course, also, no reductions should even then be
made without first passing upon the adequacy of these 1914 earnings, in
connection with the question o f the living w age and other allied matters.
Now, let us keep in mind that these figures do not reflect anything other*
than an adjustment of the earnings as given to the increases in the cost of
living, starting with 1914 as the basis and assuming that both are equal,
which, of course, carries with it, for the sake of argument, as it were,
without finally granting or conceding it , . that the 1914 wage is adequate.
That, of course, is not granted or held by anyone, because it is a well
known fact that these federated shop-craft employees’ rates of pay as of
1914 or as of several o f those years— in fact, as of the years prior to 1918—
had not by any tribunal or individual group of people competent to pass on
the question ever been determined to be just and reasonable.
Our rates o f pay had been more the result as w e had established them, even
by agreement on the railroads, a case of bargaining. Putting it in the language
of the street, it w as a case o f accept what w as offered or possibly accept less,
or possibly pay a greater price in attempting to get more through the wellknown procedure which w as only available to us. Any rate of pay established
on that basis certainly can not be held by anybody to be just and reasonable.
The railroads have practically rested their entire case on the two items of
cost of living and wages in other industries. W e have met their challenge.
W e have shown the board what constitutes just and reasonable wages in
terms of pounds of food, suits of clothes, adequate household furnishings and 1

11 Federated Shop Crafts. Argument for a wage increase presented before the United
States Railroad Labor Board, March, 1922, p. 64. (Mimeographed.)




‘ 82

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL* BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

shelter, and a minimum of the immaterial needs which go to make up a decent
American standard of living.
W e have shown the board that the present money wages paid to railroad
shop employees is exceedingly inadequate to meet their needs. W e have shown
the harm ful effects of inadequate wages on the health, vitality and efficiency
o f the employees.1 * * *
2
W e have not come here to-day to debate with the railroads as to changes
in the cost of living. Even i f w e admitted that such changes should be the
determining factor, they have been too slight since Decision 147 to serve as a
talking point fo r a decrease in wages. * * *
* * * W ages paid under the existing w age scale are insufficient, in a very
considerable proportion of the cases, to enable the adult male w age earner to
maintain an ascertainable minimum o f decent living. L arge numbers o f our
fam ilies are living below a standard o f decency. This does not apply only to
the drifting unskilled classes but to sober industrious workmen. * * *
Our study of the problem has convinced us that low standards of living are
due largely to un fair division o f the country’s products. I say “ largely due ”
because w e find that shortage o f essential supplies tends to develop as a re­
sult of the unequal distribution o f income.
A fte r careful analysis w e can state the whole problem in a single sentence.
The railroads are saying to their employees, “ w e can not afford to pay a liv­
ing wage,” while w e say that the railroad industry must pay at least th a t B ut
the problem immediately broadens out to include all industry.
Can the
country afford to pay productive workers a living wage?
In stating the matter this w ay I want to make our attitude in this hearing
very clear. W e see that out of the annual yield o f any industry three things
are being paid, costs (including supplies, depreciation, extensions, taxation,
etc.), wages and profits. Our case is that o f these three things that come out o f
industry, two ought to be constant, costs (reduced to an economical figure),
and wages at a level which w ill allow fu ll human life, inclusive o f art, litera­
ture, music, recreation and sociability such as are enjoyed by the well-to-do.
This leaves profits as the sole variable factor and frankly contemplates a
situation in which temporarily they may have to cease.
* * * So long as the parties to this case deal only in money wages with­
out translating them into the commodities which they w ill buy, the best that
can be hoped fo r w ill amount to a perpetuation o f the low standards o f the
past. For that reason w e propose that the present case be settled in terms
of real wages, that is, in terms of the actual commodities which are essential
to the existence and comfort of a family. * * *
Now, Mr. Chairman, the board is about to pass upon the wages to be paid
to railroad shopmen. W e ask that you pass upon real wages. W ages are
not dollars and cents, they are goods and services which nourish and sub­
serve the life o f the Nation. A reduction in w ages does not mean a reduc­
tion in dollars and cents, it means a reduction in pounds of nourishment, it
means a reduction in the adequacy and decency o f clothing and housing, it
means a reduction in self-respect.1
8

Carriers9 argument .— Although, in the hearings before the board,
the representatives o f the railroads presented certain figures o f the
National Industrial Conference Board showing changes in the cost
o f livin g and some local figures on the cost o f livin g that had been
collected by the railroads, the stand generally taken by them was
that the presentation o f much detail on this subject was unneces­
sary since the Labor Board had the means o f obtaining this in­
formation through its own staff and was also supplied with Govern­
ment reports. The carriers contended, in general, that the amount
o f the budget presented by the employees was too high; that the
industry could not pay to all o f its employees the amount o f the liv53 United States Railroad Labor Board. Transcript of hearings. Proceedings, April
7, 1922. Docket 1300. Vol. XXVI, pp. 1868, 1869, 2012.
** Federated Shop Crafts. Argument for a wage increase before the United States Rail­
road Labor Board, March, 1922. Pp. 3-7, 40, 51. (Mimeographed.)




RAILROADS

83

ing wage asked fo r; that according to census reports the average
fam ily in the United States consisted o f four persons instead o f
five as assumed by the employees; and that the average fam ily in
the United States did not have 3 dependent children with only one
wage earner.
Below are given a few o f the statements relative to the cost o f
livin g made before the board by the representatives o f the railroads :
Mr. H i g g i n s , representative o f the western roads:
In speaking of the cost o f living, it is not my purpose to go into lengthy
details. I hereby file with the board 20 copies of statement showing changes
in the cost of living from July, 1914, to February, 1922, inclusive, as taken
from the reports of the National Industrial Conference Board.
The relation between wages and cost of living is one of the factors which
the transportation act requires this board to consider when fixing just and
reasonable wages. It is assumed, therefore, that the board has several sources
o f information on this subject, and that it makes exhaustive studies, and com­
piles statistics fo r its own use. I merely wish to direct attention to the down­
w ard trend.11
4
5

Mr.

W

alber,

representative o f the eastern roads :

The exhibits which w ill be introduced w ill clearly show that the cost o f
living to-day is back to where it w as in 1918, and in so fa r as the cost of
living is a factor in determining wages, the wages of to-day should be based
upon what the cost o f living w as in 1918.
Exhibit 3 is a chart comparing the cost of living and commodity prices,
according to the United States Department of Labor and the National Indus­
trial Conference Board. The figures of the Department of Labor show the cost
of living; wholesale prices, all commodities; wholesale prices of food, and
retail prices of food. The figures of the National Industrial Conference Board
cover the cost of living only. It w ill be observed from this chart that accord­
ing to the statistics of the Department o f Labor, the cost of living as of
December, 1921, is 74.3 per cent above the average for the year 1913, while
according to the National Industrial Conference Board, the figures of which
extend to February 1, 1922, the cost of living is 57.7 per cent above July, 1914.
It w ill be observed that It is necessary to go back to December, 1918, to
find the corresponding figure in the Department of Labor index numbers,
while it is necessary to go back to approximately July, 1918, to find the corre­
sponding figure in the National Industrial Conference Board index num­
bers.1 * * *
6
The board w ill recall that in the hearings which resulted in Decision No.
147 it was urged on behalf o f the employees that the so-called “ living w age ”
should be recognized. On behalf of the carriers it was in that proceeding urged
that there w as no provision in the law which authorized the. Labor B oard
to take into consideration the theory of the living wage, but on the contrary
that section 307 of the act provided fo r consideration by the board, among other
relevant circumstances, of the relation between wages and the cost of liv­
ing. * * *
In view, therefore, of the impropriety and irrelevancy of urging upon the
board consideration of the so-called “ living w a g e ” w e feel that it would be
improper fo r us to undertake to present to this board any detailed answer to
that contention. W e submit that our position is sound not only because the
law does not recognize the so-called “ living w a g e ” as a relevant subject for
consideration here, but also because in the very nature of things the subject
is intangible and based on averages that do not exist and conditions that do
not prevail.
It must be borne in mind that the amount of money which a fam ily ex­
pends is not without substantial dependence upon the tastes and inclinations
o f the individual families, and their ability to manage the fam ily budget.
W e all know of instances where families are able to live in reasonable comfort

14 United States Railroad Labor Board. Transcript of hearings.
7, 1922. Docket 1300, Vol. XXVI, p. 60. (Typewritten.)
15 Idem, p. 229.




Proceedings, April

84

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL* BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

on incomes under which other families are unable to pay their bills. The
subject o f the living w age and of fam ily budgets has filled volumes, and
economists without number have undertaken to deal with the subject. A n
examination o f this output of literature impresses one with the thought that
no two of the treaties [sic] agree and yet each is convinced that he has a
100 per cent solution of the whole problem.
Recognizing the inconclusive results o f a study o f these various budgets,
the representatives of the the employees set about getting up budgets of their
own, which they have submitted. There are, however, a few underlying
fallacies in the construction of the so-called minimum living w age of $2,636
contended for by Mr. Jewell to which w e feel impelled to d raw attention be­
cause w e emphatically deny that the scales of wages which w e have proposed
represent less than just and reasonable and living wages.1
6

M r.

N

orthcutt,

representative o f the southeastern roads:

W h ile data as to cost of living figures have been presented and commented
upon by representatives from other territories, I wish to direct attention to
certain results as shown by the publications o f the United States Department
of Labor and the National Industrial Conference Board, giving the relative
figures appearing in those reports as matching up with the periods fo r which I
have presented information as to the wages, earnings or wage scale in our
territory.
The charts or reports o f -the United States Department of L abor show that
the cost-of-living index figure fo r December, 1921, is back to and juts one-tenth
of a point below that of December, 1918. It w as only 48 per cent over D e­
cember, 1916, and 22 per cent over December, 1917.
W h ile it was, as I stated, 48 per cent over December, 1916, w e find that the
wage scales in effect for this class o f employees in our territory range from
73.3 to 200 per cent over the wage scales in effect in December, 1916.
The charts and reports of the National Industrial Conference Board show
that February, 1922, w as 7.3 points lower than in November, 1918, and only
slightly higher than in June, 1918; 45 per cent higher than July, 1916, and
only 20 per cent over July, 1917.1
7
Decision of the Board

Both the decision o f the board and the minority report o f the labor
members o f the board are summarized below:
D ecisio n

The decision o f the board reduced the rates o f shopmen, from those
established by Decision No. 147, as follows: Machinists,boiler makers,
blacksmiths, sheet-metal workers, electrical workers, carmen, (except
freight carmen), molders, cupola tenders and core makers, including
those with less than four years’ experience, all crafts, 7 cents; freight
carmen, 9 cents; regular and helper apprentices and helpers, all
classes, 7 cents; and car cleaners, 5 cents. No decrease was made in
the pay o f the supervisory forces, whether paid by the month or by
the hour.
The board stated that it regarded these decreases as “ just and rea­
sonable,” and held that the employees would still be receiving a wage
in excess o f the wage paid for similar work in other industries.
The purchasing power o f the wages as fixed by this decision fo r
machinists and carmen was compared by the board with the purchas­
ing power o f the wages for these crafts at specified times, as follow s:
16 United States Railroad Labor Board. Transcript of hearings.
1922. Docket 1300, Vol. XXVI, pp. 1976, 1977. (Typewritten.)
17 Idem., pp. 311, 312.




Proceedings, April 7,

85

RAILROADS

COMPARATIVE PURCHASING POWER OF EARNINGS OF MACHINISTS AND CARMEN
AT SPECIFIED TIMES

Average hourly rate Per cent of
increase in
cost of liv­
Per cent of ing over
Amount increase December,
over Dec­
1917
ember, 1917

Occupation and date

Machinists:
December, 1917......... ..................................................
January, 1920.............. ......... .....................................
May, 1920....................................................................
July, 1921................................................. ....................
Under present decision____________________ ___
Carmen:
December, 1917...........-....... ......... .................... .........
January, 1920.................... ................. .........................
May, 1920__________________________________
July, 1921......................................................................
Under present decision________________________

Per cent of
increase in
purchasing
power of
earnings
over De­
cember, 1917

Cents

50.5
72.3
85.3
77.3
70.3

43.2
68.9
53.0
39.2

40.0
52.0
26.7
117.2

1 .1
1
2 .8
0

37.7
G8.0
81.0
73.0
64.4

80.4
114.6
93.6
70.8

40.0
52.0
26. 7
117.2

28.9
41.2
52.8
45.7

2.3

18.8

i March, 1 2 ; latest figure available at time of decision.
92

The cost-of-living figures used were those o f the Bureau o f Labor
Statistics.
O f the relative purchasing power o f the new scale as compared
with that established by Decision No. 2 the board said:
Although average hourly earnings of machinists are below the earnings after
Decision No. 2 was applied by 15 cents per hour, their value is 6.9 per cent
greater, due to the decrease in the cost of living.
The average hourly earnings o f carmen are below the earnings after Decision
No. 2 w as applied by 16.6 cents per hour, but their value is 3.2 per cent greater
for the same reason.
D is s e n t in g O p in io n

The labor members o f the board in their dissenting opinion claimed
that the wage scale being built up by the decisions o f the Railroad
Labor Board for the transportation industry was not givin g con­
sideration to the human needs o f the employees affected; that the
wage o f 77 cents per hour received by the employees before the
reduction in July, 1922, had been shown to be insufficient to buy,
under the most economical management, the necessary food for a
worker and his fam ily or to enable him to secure a standard o f living
necessary in order to maintain his efficiency; that the majority in
their decision not only did not show how the deficits were to be met
but had by their present decision further reduced the ability o f the
employees to meet the needs o f their families. I t was the duty o f
the board to initiate a cost-of-living survey which would determine
the amount necessary to meet some recognized standard o f living,
and the result o f such an investigation should be used by the board in
making its decisions.
Based on the evidence submitted in the case, the minimum should
not be less than 50 cents per hour, that amount being necessary even
under the lowest budgets, those o f the National Industrial Confer­
ence Board. The rates o f pay established by the majority would
mean a lower purchasing power and a lowering o f the employees’
standard o f livin g below that o f pre-war years; since December,
1917, the shop crafts had suffered a loss in purchasing power because




86

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

their wages had never kept pace with the increase in the cost o f
living.
The reasons given by the minority for reaching the above con­
clusions are summarized as follow s: The wage granted by this deci­
sion should be considered not separately but in conjunction with the
preceding wages; merely to increase or decrease a wage over a pre­
ceding wage was not the full duty o f the board. Under the trans­
portation act it was clearly within the power o f the board to deter­
mine the minimum amount necessary to satisfy the human needs o f
a section hand’s fam ily; this minimum should then be used as the
basis for differentials according to skill and responsibility required
for the occupations covered. A s shown by the budget submitted by
the men, $2,600 per year was necessary to maintain the worker and
his fam ily in reasonable comfort. The annual earnings possible
under the present decision fell short o f this amount by nearly $900;
those possible under Decision No. 147, by $700; and those possible
under Decision No. 2, by $500.
A “ fam ily wage ” should be provided, and this wage should allow
fo r a fam ily o f five having three dependent children; this stand was
justified by the following quotation from The Human Needs o f
Labor (pp. 34, 35,40-42), by B. Seebohm Rowntree, which was based
upon a study made in New Y o rk in 1911:
The table on page 32 shows that h alf the men have had three or more
children simultaneously dependent on them fo r shorter or longer periods.
N early one-half (46.4 per cent) have three or more dependent children fo r
periods of at least five years. Thus it seems clear that in fixing minimum
w ages at least three children per fam ily must be allowed for, since no mini­
mum w age basis could be seriously regarded as satisfactory which fo r so
many years w as insufficient fo r one fam ily out o f every two.
O f course employers may argue that they should not have to pay minimum
wages, which are based upon transitory needs, during the whole o f a w ork­
ingman’s life,
I f the period o f special pressure on the workman’s purse
only lasted fo r a few months, this argument might hold good. B ut w e have
seen from the table that 46 per cent of the men have three or more dependent
children fo r five years or m ore; years, too, which are very critical from the
standpoint of the future, since the mother is having children, and the fram e­
w ork of their bodies is being built up. Malnutrition lasting over five years of
childhood w ill leave permanent traces on the physique of the next generation.
Besides, even i f the minimum is in excess o f the day-to-day needs, after the
exceptional stress is over the surplus w ill be needed to enable parents to save
something toward their old age. * * *
A n examination of the preceding tables and diagram shows that i f w e are
to base minimum wages on the human needs o f families with less than three
children, 80 per cent of the children o f fathers receiving the bare minimum
w age would fo r a shorter or longer period be inadequately provided for, and
72 per cent o f them would be in this condition fo r five years or more. I f w e
allowed fo r three children per fam ily in fixing minimum wages, 62 per cent
would, fo r varying periods, be inadequately provided for, and 54 per cent
would be in this condition fo r five years or more. I f w e allowed four chil­
dren per family, 43 per cent o f the children would still, fo r varying periods,
be inadequately provided for, and 38 per cent would be in that condition fo r
at least five y e a rs ; and even i f w e allowed five children per family, 24 per
cent of the children would be inadequately provided for, and over 20 per cent
would be in that condition fo r five years or more. In view of these facts it
will, I think, be clear that any suggestion that minimum wages should be
based on less than a standard o f three children per family, as some authorities
have recommended, is entirely ruled out o f court.

The labor members held that the majority, by taking 1917 instead
o f 1915 as the base year, had failed to reveal the true conditions.
Tables were submitted* by the minority members showing daily rates




87

RAILROADS

and purchasing power as compared with the year 1915, and it was
pointed out that, as shown by these tables, with only two exceptions
(-carmen and helpers) the wages had fallen far short o f being suffi­
cient to maintain the employees at pre-war standard?.
DECISION NO. 1028—MAINTENANCE-OF-WAY EMPLOYEES* CASE

Decision No. 1028 made certain reductions in the hourly rates o f
maintenance-of-way employees, the board reaching this decision
from practically the same line o f reasoning as in Decision No. 1036
given above. In making the decision the board stated its position
as follow s:
The Labor Board is of the opinion that after the reductions made under this
decision, common labor on the railroads will still be receiving, as a rule, a
w age in excess of that paid to similar labor in other industries, and that the
same w ill be true of all other classes of labor covered by this decision. The
board is of the opinion, however, that the hazards and hardships of the em­
ployment, the training and skill required, the degree of responsibility to the
public, and other elements mentioned in the statute combined to justify the
payment of a better w age to these employees than is paid to similar labor
in outside employment. * * *
Moreover, the board is not in sympathy with the idea that a governmental
tribunal, empowered to fix a just and reasonable w age for men engaged in
serving the public in the transportation industry, should be controlled by the
one consideration of the low wages that may be paid to other labor in a period
of temporary depression and unemployment. It is but just to say that ra il­
w ay managements have indicated no desire fo r such a result.

As in the shopmen’s case, the purchasing power o f wages at d if­
ferent times was computed on the basis o f the year 1917 with the
following results:
COMPARATIVE PURCHASING POWER OP EARNINGS OF MAINTENANCE-OF-WAY
EMPLOYEES AT SPECIFIED TIMES
Average hourly rate

Per cent of
increase in
Per cent of cost of liv­
ing over
increase
Amount over De­ December,
1917
cember, 1917

Date

December, 1917_________________________________
January, 1920......................................................................
May, 1920............................................................................
July, 1921............................................................................
Under present decision.......................................................

Per cent of
increase in
purchasing
power of
earnings
over De­
cember, 1917

Cents

19.3
37.7
46.3
37.7
32.7

95.3
139.9
95.3
69.4

40.0
52.0
26.7
U7.2

39.5
57.8
54.1
44.5

i March, 1922; latest figure available at time of decision.
D iss e n t in g Op in io n

The dissenting opinion was likewise along the same lines as the
dissenting opinion in the shopmen’s case. The additional or d if­
ferent arguments o f the minority are given below :
A reduction in hours should not be considered as an increase in pay
and, therefore, the purchasing power o f the wage was not fa irly
computed by the majority since during the period taken by them hours
o f work had been reduced from 10 to 8. The increase in wages
should be computed not on the hourly basis but on the daily
basis; the increase o f $2.62 over $1.93 was 35.8 per cent and not 69.4




88

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

per cent as was shown by the majority in its comparison o f 19.8 and
82.7 cents per hour. Also, i f the fairer base, 1915, had been taken,
there would have been an increase in purchasing power o f only 8.7
per cent instead o f 44.5 per cent as shown. Again, i f the wages o f
the 100,000 unskilled laborers other than section men had been con­
sidered and the purchasing power o f their daily wage compared
with that o f 1915 a decrease o f 1.7 per cent would have been shown;
the real wages o f two classes combined would show an increase o f
only 5.7 per cent as compared with 1915.
Fourteen minimum subsistence budgets were revised to March,
1922, in accordance with the changes in the cost o f living, the cost o f
these ranging from $1,144.79 fo r the budget o f the National In ­
dustrial Conference Board fo r F a ll River, Mass., to $1,708.25 for
the budget presented by Doctor Chapin for New Y o rk City in 1907.
A t the rate o f 23 cents per hour established by the decision o f the
board, a full year’s work o f 2,448 hours would yield only $563.04,
hardly enough to cover the minimum food requirements o f the
budgets presented. The possible average monthly earnings fo r track
laborers o f $66.71, divided among the different groups o f expendi­
tures according to the percentages o f the Bureau o f Labor Statistics,
would show the following distribution:
Amount

Weight per month
Food_____________________________________________________38.2
C lothing--------------------------------------------------------------------16.6
Housing_________________________________________________ 13.4
Fuel and lig h t_______________________________________
5.3
Furniture, e tc --------------------------------------------------------- 5.1
Miscellaneous----------------------------------------------------------- 21.4

$25.48
11.07
8.94
3. 54
3.40
14.48

Although this would give mean allowances for clothing, rent, etc.,
the food allowance would be the most insufficient, and would allow
the following amounts fo r fo o d :
Equiva­
lent adult
male
M an_______ _
W ife
12-year boy
6-year g i r l 2-year boy —

_

—
.
— ____

_

— 1.00
- .90
. 90
.40
.15

Amount
for food
25.3
22. 7
22.7
10.1
3.8

cents.
cents.
cents.
cents.
cents.

Menus were shown for three days in order to demonstrate the
inadequacy o f 25.3 cents per day to furnish the wage earner with a
substantial diet. W ith scarcely any variety possible, this diet would
average about 1,900 calories, whereas it was generally conceded that
3,500 calories were necessary for a man doing moderate work. F or
the track laborer with possible average earnings, under the decision,
o f $46.92 per month, the daily food allowance would be 17.8 cents.
DECISION NO. 1267—MAINTENANCE-0F-WAY EMPLOYEES' CASE

The maintenanee-of-way employees protested Decision No. 1028
and asked the Railroad Labor Board to reconsider this decision as
well as to consider the industrial changes that had taken place since
March, when the decision was rendered. The board on October 21,
1922, denied the employees a reconsideration o f the former decision
but granted slight increases, effective October 16,1922, on the ground
that “ industrial conditions have undergone changes since the evi­




RAILROADS

89

dence was submitted upon which Decision No. 1028 was predicated.”
A s to what constituted these industrial changes upon which the de­
cision was based, the Labor Board said:
# The L abor B oard in its present decision considers all the seven elements
or factors set out in the transportation act, 1920, for its guidance in fixing
just and reasonable wages, but lays special stress upon the first, which reads
as fo llow s: “ The scales of wages paid fo r similar kinds of work in other
industries.”
* A s to the cost o f living, the reports of the Bureau of Labor Statistics show
that there has been no pronounced change since March, 1922. The June re­
port shows a slight decrease in the cost of living for the previous quarter—
namely, two-tenths o f 1 per cent.
The September quarterly report again
shows a decrease of two-tenths of 1 per cent.
In view of these facts and circumstances and all the evidence adduced in
this case, the L abor Board is of the opinion that a conservative increase o f
wages is clearly due to the three groups of unskilled labor and to the section
foremen.

The employees had also requested that the board accept the prin­
ciple o f the livin g wage and that it be made the basis o f its action
in this case. Mr. A . O. Wharton, one o f the labor members o f the
board, introduced such a resolution, affirming the right o f every
worker to a wage which would insure to himself and fam ily “ health
and reasonable comfort.” This resolution, however, was defeated
and another offered by the chairman was passed, which declared :
It is superfluous for the board to announce in advance the principle or
theory upon which it w ill fix wages in the pending dispute. I t may be as­
sumed by the parties in this case that the board w ill give fu ll consideration
to every circumstance set out in the statute for its guidance, but it w ill not
go beyond that. The transportation act, 1920, requires the board to establish
wages that are “ just and reasonable.’" It is within the province of the parties
herein to make such contentions as they may respectively see fit as to w hat
w ill constitute a “ just and reasonable ” wage. I f the wage which the motion
defines as the “ living w a g e ” should be demonstrated to be a “ just and rea­
sonable ” wage, the board would adopt i t ; otherwise, it would not. The board
w ill neither limit nor enlarge the right of either party to present to the
board his conception of what constitutes a just and reasonable wage within
the meaning of the law.

D iss e n t in g Op in io n

In his dissenting opinion, Mr. Wharton declared the decision o f
the majority unacceptable for the same reasons as set out in detail
in the dissenting opinion to Decision 1028. H e further said:
The fundamental error of the m ajority rests upon their refusal to inquire
into the adequacy o f the rates of pay established for section men and un­
skilled laborers. Although these rates may be placed on a higher level than
those paid by private industries, this does not meet the requirements imposed
on the L abor B oard by the transportation act, 1920. The specific and funda­
mental mandate of the la w is that wages shall be just and reasonable. The
relation of rates of pay to those established in private industry, or the rela­
tion of rates of pay to the cost of living, is a secondary consideration which
does not come into play until the primary requirements of a “ just and reason­
able” or an adequate or living wage has been satisfied. * * * A fter this
has been done just and reasonable differentials above this basic w age fo r un­
skilled labor must be established in accordance with skill, experience, produc­
tiveness, hazard, training, et cetera, or, in other words, in accordance with
the seven relevant circumstances specifically mentioned in section 307, as well
as others unenumerated but covered by section 301 of the transportation act,
1920.
Under any proper interpretation of the transportation act, therefore, I hold
that an adequate or living wage to unskilled railroad employees is a legal
right of such employees, and that the L abor B oard is not meeting the mandates




90

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

imposed upon it by the la w in its failure to accept the living-wage principle.
The principle should, of course, bo applied with discretion and with due cau­
tion ; nevertheless it is the duty of the board to accept and apply it. * * *
The board must accept some fundamental principle as the basis of wage
fix in g ; otherwise, it can follow no guide but the relentless, inhuman, fluctuating
forces of supply and demand. * * *
•
Likewise, the transportation act, 1920, under which the L abor B oard func­
tions, by establishing a tribunal fo r determining wages, to which all wage
controversies must be referred, sets aside the la w of supply and demand. It
also prohibited the acceptance, as a basis of action by the Labor Board, of
the rates in private industries determined by the la w o f supply and demand.
The use o f a fam ily budget is essential to any attempt at ascertaining prac­
tically w hat a “ living w a g e ” should be. Our basic industries do not offer
rates of pay which, under normal working conditions, enable an unskilled
worker to earn an amount sufficient to support himself and his fam ily in
health and modest comfort. H is wages must be supplemented by the earnings
of his w ife and children, or by the taking of boarders and lodgers into the home.
Otherwise, the fam ily income is inadequate. * * *
Existing rates o f pay in private industries can not, therefore, be used as
precedents in determining w hat a living w age should be. A tribunal such as
the Jtailroad L abo r B oard in attempting to give practical application to the
living-wage principle, can not rely on w hat is, but must find out w hat should
be. A budget must be constructed to cover the quantities of foodstuffs and
clothing which an average fam ily requires in order to be properly nourished
and decently clothed, necessary housing facilities and fuel, and sundries or
miscellaneous articles essential to modest and fru gal comfort. W hen the quan­
tities of the different classes of articles necessary to the healthful consumption
of an average fam ily have been determined, the different articles can then be
priced, and the sum of these prices indicates w hat annual income should be
had. I f the aggregate cost of the articles required to maintain a conservative
standard o f healthful and decent living is then divided fo r a given period by
the normal working time, the average rate per hour or day may be ascertained
which should be paid to the average unskilled worker in order that he may
support his fam ily in reasonable health and comfort. I t is not claimed, of
course, that a living w age rate can thus be determined with mathematical
precision, but the approximate amount which is necessary to support an aver­
age workingman’s fam ily in health and decency can be found out, and on this
basis the board could proceed conservatively and with due discretion to fix a
rate of pay which would be reasonably adequate. * * *
M any objections, both from the standpoint o f equity and of a practical sta­
tistical character, have been submitted against the budgetary method by the
representatives o f the railroads. Some of these objections are merely techni­
c a l; others involve more serious considerations. None are insurmountable,
and all can be overcome by the exercise o f sound judgment and discretion by
the board.
I t has also been claimed that the practical application o f the living-wage
princple by the budgetary method would be financially impossible, or would
involve such a financial outlay as would constitute a grievous burden to the
shipper and to the consumer. I f established on the railroads, it is also de­
clared that it would have to be met by private industries, and the resultant
cost would mean a general increase in prices or an industrial breakdown.
Similar arguments and prophecies have been developed in the past against
the establishment of the eight-hour workday and other measures o f indus­
trial equity or amelioration. The dire results which have been predicted have
never materialized.
Likewise, a conservative, practical application o f the
living-wage principle would undoubtedly be attended by better and more ad­
vantageous conditions o f ra ilw ay operation. Added labor costs would be
absorbed completely or to a large extent by increased labor efficiency and by
managerial ability. The practical experience in Australia where this same
argument w as used against the adoption o f the living-wage principle as the
basis for wage fixing is o f much value, and shows the unsoundness o f the
position of those who have taken an attitude o f extreme opposition.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

The experience of Australia in establishing adequate basic wages without
industrial dislocation is also further corroborated by the experience of Great
Britain under the trade boards act o f 1909, and of the various States in this




91

KAILEOADS

country which have established minimum wages for women engaged in trade
and industry.
A s a matter of fact, there is no sound reason why the budgetary method can
not be employed to determine what the minimum income essential to the
reasonable living requirements of an unskilled laborer, wife, and three de­
pendent children should be; furthermore, there is no sound reason why such
a standard can not be ascertained and applied to the transportation industry
without impairment o f its economical and efficient operation. Under a proper
application, it would undoubtedly reduce, rather than increase, labor costs.
The only criticism indeed which has been made has not been against the bud­
getary method but against its application. It has been tw o fo ld : (1 ) The stand­
ard of living which should be allowed as the basis o f a living w a g e ; and (2 )
the size o f the fam ily unit.
Suppo r ting O p in io n

The majority members o f the board in their supporting opinion
stated:
The fundamental difference between the decision herein and the dissenting
opinion is that the former is based upon the transportation act, 1920, and the
latter upon a fantastic theory, the very essence o f which its own proponents
expressly characterized in the hearing before the Labor B oard as a “ guess
and a makeshift.” * * *

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

The board is impressed with the idea that Congress has thus enumerated
the considerations which any intelligent business man of just social conceptions
would naturally adopt in fixing a just and reasonable wage.
I t is the view of the m ajority that it is its duty to give due weight to all
seven of these factors, but the dissenting opinion summarily excludes the first
and argues that it should receive no consideration.
The contention o f the expert economists in their presentation of this case
fo r the employees w as that the board should fix fo r common labor “ the living
wage.” This is likewise the basis of the dissenting opinion.
I f the contentions were that the board should establish “ a living wage,”
the m ajority would readily accede to the proposition, and, as a matter of fact,
the board in this instance, as in all others, has granted a living wage.
B ut the abstract, elusive thing called “ the living wage,” confessedly based
upon a makeshift and a guess, can not receive the sanction of the board, be­
cause it would be utterly impractical and would not be “ just and reasonable,”
as the la w commands.
The living wage is defined by its proponents before
this board as follow s:
A wage which w ill support a fam ily o f five in health and reasonable com­
fort, such fam ily being assumed to consist of a husband and w ife and three
dependent children under sixteen years of age. * * *
T o ascertain what is reasonable comfort, it* is proposed that experts shall
prescribe a standard of living fo r a fam ily of five, setting out in minute detail
what the experts think such a fam ily should have in food, clothing, furniture,
housing, and all the other necessaries of life. The fallacy of this proposal is
inherent and fundamental. That it would be wise and practical to undertake
to establish an arbitrary standard of living fo r several millions of people is not
apparent. That the desires and requirements of all men are equal and alike is
not correct, and that any committee of experts could set up an average living
standard upon which a wage scale could be practically based has not been
demonstrated anywhere. I f theorists should evolve such a standard of living,
it would not be possible to obtain any general conformance to it by those for
whom it w as designed. Standards of living have never been theorized into
men. A man can not be picked up by the scruff of the neck and hoisted into a
new standard of living. Such a change in the individual man is a matter of
growth and development. W hen brought about by natural processes, it is
socially and economically beneficial, but, if attempted by legislation, it is a
wasteful absurdity. To provide a somewhat expensive standard of living for
a man who by habits, training and ambition is not prepared fo r it, wastes
money and confers no real benefit on the individual.
It may be w ell observed that this theory of standardization necessarily fails
to take into account many of the economies that are practiced by thrifty people
who desire to get ahead in the game of life.
105715°— 25------7




92

CHAP. I.— FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

That standards of living are gradually improving in this country is un­
doubtedly true, and this is as it should be. There is no member of the L abo r
B oard who does not profoundly desire improved living conditions for common
labor, but it is our belief that this movement must be continued along the
lines indicated by human experience and that it can not be consummated in
the twinkling o f an eye by artificial expedients.
A s a matter o f fact, the expert representative o f the employees in this case
admitted that the immediate establishment o f “ the living w a g e ” would, to
adopt his language, “ throw a monkey wrench into the industrial machinery.”
H e therefore suggested that the board only make a start in that direction at
this time. Such a proposition is entirely illogical. I f the living w age is the
just and reasonable w age authorized by the statute, it is the duty o f the L abo r
B oard to establish it now. I f it is not the just and reasonable w age com­
manded by the law, then it is not the duty of the board to adopt it now or
hereafter, unless the la w be changed.
I f it would not be equivalent to a monkey wrench thrown into the machinery,
as its advocate says, it might amount to the same thing later on, and the R ail­
road L abo r B oard made no mistake in declining to commit itself to this theory.
The adoption o f the fam ily o f five as the typical fam ily is arbitrary and
questionable.
According to the United States census o f 1920 there were
24,351,676 families in a population of 105,710,620, an average of 4.4 persons to
a family, and not five. This includes all members, regardless o f age. The
census also shows that there were about 35,000,000 dependent children under
16 years o f age, an average o f 1.4 dependent children to a family, and not 3
as assumed in the living w age theory.
Furthermore, the 1920 census also shows that for each fam ily there are
1.36 male workers. According to the living-wage theory, each fam ily o f 5
would be supported by 1 worker, while as a matter o f fact each fam ily would
have the support o f 1.36 workers.
It is interesting and instructive to take note of the undoubted results that
would follow the adoption o f the theory of “ the living wage.” The representa­
tive o f the employees states that according to the lowest living budget now
available the living w age fo r common labor should be 72 cents to 75 cents an
hour.
To bring the rates of common labor on the railroads to 72 cents an hour
would necessitate an increase o f 125.7 per cent. To maintain existing differ­
entials between the rates of common labor and skilled labor— and the repre­
sentatives of the employees insist that proper differentials must be maintained—
would necessitate an increase by the same percentage of the rates o f all
classes o f railroad workers.
This would add approximately $3,112,952,387 to the annual pay roll, bring­
ing it up to $5,589,445,993. Total expenses would then be approximately
$7,804,871,733 and total revenues (1921) $5,563,232,215, and the carriers would
face an annual deficit o f $2,241,639,518.
But, the representatives o f the employees say, it would be impracticable to
establish the living w age all at .once, but that as a starter 48 cents an hour
should be made the minimum w age for common labor for the present Assum­
ing the retention of the existing differentials fo r common labor on the railways,
and fo r all other classes o f labor, this would mean an increase o f 50.45 per
cent, which would add to the annual wage bill $1,249,390,994, bringing it up to
$3,725,884,540.
The total annual expenses of the railw ays would be $5,941,310,340 and total
revenues (1921) $5,563,232,215, and the carriers would be up against an annual
deficit of $378,078,125.
In either instance, there would not be a cent of returns fo r stockholders.
O f course, fo r those who desire Government ownership this would be a quick
method o f getting it, fo r it is a sure thing that the public would not stand for
the imposition of higher rates to pay such a deficit.
It must be remembered, in the last analysis of the matter, that the public
would have to pay this wage bill, and when w e say the public, everybody,
rich and poor, is included. A vast percentage of the burden would be passed
on to laboring men and women in other lines of industry in the form of in­
creased living expenses. From the effort to meet such increased expenses there would necessarily result a wide extension o f the struggle to raise wages in all
other lines of industry and the disturbance and disorganization of business
in general.




ARMY, NAVY, PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, ETC.

93

It is our belief that the people of this country are perfectly willing that
railw ay labor, with its hazard, skill, and respons bility, should be w ell com­
pensated, even to the point of liberality. In view o f this friendly public
sentiment, it is not wise for labor organizations to seek to impose upon the
farm ers and producers of the country a crushing burden at a time when the
losses of readjustment are so keenly remembered.

ARMY, NAVY, PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, ETC.
Under an act o f Congress entitled “ A n act to increase the effi­
ciency o f the commissioned and enlisted personnel o f the Arm y,
Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Coast and Geodetic Survey, and
Public Health Service,” approved May 18,1920, a special committee
composed o f five members o f the Senate and five members o f the
House o f Representatives was appointed to make an investigation
relative to the readjustment o f the pay and allowances o f the com­
missioned and enlisted personnel o f the several services mentioned
in the act.1
8
The following are extracts from the report o f the special com­
mittee,1 submitted by Senator Wadsworth:
9
The committee w as organized on August 22, 1921, and, after securing the
cooperation of the heads of the executive departments concerned, proceeded
to conduct public hearings relative to the pay and allowances of the officers
and enlisted men o f the several serv'ces. A ll the services concerned have
been heard, through 67 witnesses. In addition a large amount of statistical
data and written evidence was presented to the committee. The inquiry of
the committee has been broad in scope and included many deta'ls.
The testimony presented has abundantly established the fact that living
costs are about 100 per cent greater than in 1908, when the last permanent
pay schedule w as established, and about 75 per cent greater than in 1913,
before the w ar. W h ile the act approved M ay 18, 1920, gave a certain amount
of relief (approximately 20 per cent increase), it absorbed only about onethird of this increased cost of living in the case of officers, leaving about twothirds to be borne by the individual. Actually, the purchasing power o f the
present pay is much less than that of 1908.
I t should be borne in mind that the relief afforded by the act of M ay 18,
1920, is temporary. That act, in most of its provisions, expires by limitation
on June 30, 1922. Should the Congress fa il to legislate on the subject, the
pay of the great majority of the personnel affected w ill revert automatically
to the 1908 schedules, with disastrous results, in the opinion of the committee.
It has been clearly demonstrated to your committee that officers and non­
commissioned officers and petty officers experience great difficulty in main­
taining themselves and their families under present conditions. Furthermore,
your committee can not foresee a future lowering of living costs to a point
where the salaries established in 1908 would be adequate.
Y our committee has, accordingly, undertaken the preparation of a bill to
accomplish the follow ing:
{a ) A reduction in total cost below that of the 1923 Budget estimates, with
readjustment of pay in such manner as to give especial aid where most re­
quired. I t should be remembered that the Budget estimates are based upon
the present temporary pay schedules and the present strength o f the service.
(b )
Adoption of a schedule which w ill reasonably compensate officers and
enlisted men of the services for rank, responsibility, and length of service, and
at the same time so arranged as to offer a promising career to young men
entering in the lowest grades. In view of pending legislation to reduce the
m ilitary and naval establishments, it is important that any new pay schedule
shall be so draw n as to provide reasonable remuneration to such personnel
as shall remain. It becomes doubly essential, if these services are to become

18 United States Congress.
1 Idem, pp. 1, 2.
9




S. Rept. No. 526, 67th Cong., 2d sess., p. 1.

94

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL. BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

numerically smaller, that their personnel shall be maintained at a point of
high efficiency.
(c ) T o establish a parity of pay in all the services concerned.
(d ) T o introduce an element of pay which shall, within a fixed maximum,
vary automatically with the cost of living.
(e ) To do aw ay with petty allowances and multiplicity of accounts, and
thus to sim plify and cheapen administration.

In accordance with the recommendations o f the committee, the
“ A c t to readjust the pay and allowances o f the commissioned and en. listed personnel o f the Arm y, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard,
Coast and Geodetic Survey, and Public Health Service” 2 was
1
passed by Congress on June 10, 1922, and the salaries o f all com­
missioned officers o f the Regular A rm y and Marine Corps below the
grade o f brigadier general, o f the N avy below the grade o f rear
admiral, and o f the Coast Guard, the Coast and Geodetic Survey,
and the Public Health Service below the grade o f surgeon general,
were readjusted in accordance therewith, beginning with July 1,
1922. In addition to the provisions fo r base pay and allowances
fo r length o f service and fo r dependents, there is also stipulated in
the bill the methods for computing the subsistence and rental
allowances.
A s stated in the report, “ I t contains an elastic element o f compen­
sation in the form o f allowances (subsistence and rental) which
increases or decreases, within the maximum limits specified in the
bill, as the cost o f necessities o f life increases or decreases, thereby
protecting alike the interests o f the Government and the individual.” Sections 5 and 6 o f the act, regulating subsistence and rental al­
lowances, state that adjustments o f the amounts allowed fo r these
two items shall be made by the President for each fiscal year in
accordance with changes in the retail costs o f food and housing as
certified to by the Secretary o f Labor. Such parts o f sections 5 and
6 as refer to this manner o f adjustment are given b elow :2
2
S ection 5. That each com missioned officer on the active list, or on active duty
below the grade of brigadier general or its equivalent, in any of the services
mentioned in the title of this act, shall be entitled at all times, in addition to
his pay, to a money allowance for subsistence, the value of one allowance to be
determined by the President fo r each fiscal year in accordance with a certificate
furnished by the Secretary of Labor showing the comparative retail cost o f
food in the United States for the previous calendar year as compared w ith the
calendar year 1922. The value of one allowance is hereby fixed at 60 cents per
day for the fiscal year 1923, and this value shall be the maximum and shall be
used by the President as the standard in fixing the same or lower values fo r
subsequent years. * * *
Sec . 6. That each commissioned officer on the active list, or on active duty
below the grade of brigadier general or its equivalent, in any o f the services
mentioned in the title of this act, if public quarters are not available, shall
be entitled at all times, in addition to his pay, to a money allowance fo r rental
o f quarters, the amount of such allowance to be determined by the rate fo r
one room fixed by the President fo r each fiscal year in accordance with a
certificate furnished by the Secretary of Labor showing the comparative cost
o f rents in the United States fo r the preceding calendar year as compared
with the calendar year 1922. Such rate for one room is hereby fixed at $20
per month fo r the fiscal year 1923, and this rate shall be the maximum and
shall be used by the President as the standard in fixing the same or lower
rates for subsequent years.*
2
3

21 United States. Congress, House of Representatives, Pub. No. 235, 67th Cong. (H. R.
10972).
32 Idem, pp. 5, G
w




CHAP. I.----FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

95

NAVY YARDS
During the war the Shipping Board’s awards as made by the Ship­
building Labor Adjustment Board were in most cases followed by the
N avy Department, which adjusted wages first on the Pacific coast
and then on the Atlantic coast. These scales had been made and
revised with consideration to the cost o f living.
P rio r to the formation o f the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment
Board, adjustments had been made by local boards in each navy
yard. These loc'al boards were discontinued after the creation o f
the Shipbuilding Board, but were reestablished when that board was
discontinued. Under the law rates in navy yards are adjusted for
each calendar year. This practice was disregarded during the war,
but has been resumed. The recommendations o f the local comman­
dants 'are brought before the Departmental W age Board o f Review
and are by this board submitted to the Secretary o f the N avy fo r his
approval.
On August 31, 1921, the Departmental W age Board o f Review
recommended a new scale o f w*ages for civilian employees o f naval
establishments within the continental limits o f the United States.
These recommendations were approved in full by the Secretary o f
the N avy on September 16, 1921, and were to continue in force for
one year.
A s stated in the report, the law under which the board acts pro­
vides :
The rate o f wages of the employees in the navy yards shall conform, as
nearly as is consistent with the public interest, with those of private estab­
lishments in the immediate vicinity of the respective yards, to be determined
by the commandants of the navy yards, subject to the approval and revision
of the Secretary of the Navy.

In 1921 the rates prevailing in shipbuilding trades were not given
so much weight as formerly bec'ause o f the prevailing unemployment
in * shipbuilding trades. Wages had generally decreased in an
amount considered by the Departmental W age Board in its report
to be about 18.5 per cent and due to the following causes:
(1 ) The decrease in living costs amounts to, according to figures from the
Department of Labor, 16.7 per cent; (2 ) general industrial depression in the
country which may well be expected to be but a phase of the readjustment
from w a r to pre-w ar conditions that is now at perhaps its most acute state;
and finally (3 ) to the treatment by a certain number of employers of labor
purely as a commodity to be obtained at the cheapest possible rate.

Because o f the difficulty in determining the prevailing rate fo r any
vicinity, due to the great fluctuations in rates paid to workmen in all
trades and occupations in any locality, the board recommended one
rate o f pay for each particular'trade or occupation to obtain at all
navy yards and stations.
The board recommended that the rate to first-class laborers be
fixed at 41 cents per hour. The board stated in its report:
A s fa r as laborers are concerned, the pay of 41 cents per hour approximates
very closely $1,000 per year. The board does not believe that it is decent for
the Government to pay less money than this to American citizens with families
to support. (A ll navy-yard employees must be American citizens.) The laborer
usually has a fam ily to support, and with present prices of the necessities of
life, with less than 41 cents per hour, it is practically impossible fo r him to
properly clothe, house, feed, and educate his family. The board believes that it




96

CHAP. I.----FEDERAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

is contrary to the public interest to give less wages than the above to first-class
laborers.

The rate o f pay o f technical workers was recommended to be
reduced 10 per cent.
The board recommended that the pay for skilled mechanics be
fixed at 73 cents per hour. This decrease and the elimination o f the
$240 bonus which had been paid to navy-yard employees, together
made a decrease o f 22 per cent in earning power for artisans. A s the
navy yards were operating on a five-day per week schedule, the size
o f the pay envelope would be further decreased. Under these cir­
cumstances, the board said it did not believe that a greater reduction
would be in accordance with the public interests. The board acknowl­
edged, moreover, that the rate o f 73 cents did not give a pre-war
scale when compared with the cost o f liv in g ; that the cost o f livin g
had risen 80 per cent over 1913, while wages as recommended in the
report were only about 45 per cent higher than the pre-war scale;
that to secure a pre-war living scale the artisan’s present rate o f pay
should, with present prices, be nearer 90 cents an hour than 73 cents
an hour, but that the law under which the board operated directed
that a parity be established between the navy-yard pay and that
obtaining in private establishments, and that the board under these
conditions could make no other recommendations than those in its
findings.
The above statements show that, while under the law it is not
mentioned as a factor, the cost o f living does enter into the argu­
ments for a livin g wage and is considered to some extent in the
fixing o f minimum rates by the Departmental W age Board, although,
as in this instance, because o f the restrictions o f the law, it can not
be given as much w
reight as the board would consider justifiable.




CHAPTER II.—STATE AND MUNICIPAL AGENCIES
Descriptions are given below o f the way in which cost-of-living
figures have been used in the adjustment o f the salaries o f the State
employees in California and city employees in Cleveland, Dallas,
Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, and St. Paul. A n outline of
the way in which these cost-of-living figures have been computed is
also given in each case.
In many other cities the figures have been used in a general way,
but have nevertheless been referred to, and they have exerted a great
influence on the salary granted. Thus, in Illinois, according to the
statement o f Mr. W . PI. McLain, superintendent o f the budget o f the
Illinois Department o f Finance, the cost-of-living figures supplied
by the United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics have been used in a
rather general way in settling salary-rate controversies. “ The mem­
bers o f the faculty o f the State normal universities argued for an
increase o f 50 per cent over the 1913 rates, based on cost-of-living
figures, and were granted approximately that percentage o f in­
crease— 20 per cent being added in 1919 and an additional 30 per cent
in 1921. Some o f the lower-paid positions, such as attendants in
State hospitals, have been increased, beginning in 1919, approximately
100 per cent.” In Seattle, as shown by the statement*of Mr. E. L.
Blaine, o f the city council, certain statistics as to the cost o f living
presented by Dean Stephen I. Miller, o f the University o f Wash­
ington, “ undoubtedly operated to prevent the reduction in wages for
the coming year, although no charts or tables o f any kind were sub­
mitted to the council or used by the council in determining the wage
scale for next year.”
C A L IF O R N IA *

In 1921 a cost-of-living survey o f selected fam ily groups in Cali­
fornia was made by a special committee1 appointed fo r the purpose
2
by the State Civil Service Commission. Budgets were made for
laborers’, clerks’ and executives’ families, and fo r unmarried clerks,
male and female. The occupations for which these budgets were
prepared were selected by the committee for the following reasons:
D a y la b o r e r s a n d c le rk s a r e n o t o r g a n iz e d ; c o n s e q u e n tly t h e ir w a g e s a r e not
fix e d a s a r e th o se o f o rg a n iz e d w o r k e r s b y f o r m a l b a r g a in .
I n consequen ce,
th e re m a y b e c o n s id e r a b le v a r ia t io n o f w a g e s to la b o r e r s a n d c le rk s f o r s im i­
l a r w o r k in d iffe r e n t d e p a rtm e n ts o f th e S ta te g o v e rn m e n t.
In s p e c tio n o f th e
S t a t e ’s s c a le m a d e it p la in th a t in a f e w ca se s w a g e s w e r e b e in g p a id t h a t w e r e
n o t sufficient to m eet a d e q u a t e ly th e n e ed s o f th e em p loy ee s.
A budget w a s
p r e p a r e d f o r e x e c u tiv e s f o r th e p u r p o s e o f e s t a b lis h in g a s t a n d a r d w h ic h m ig h t
a t t r a c t a b le m e n o f p u b lic s p irit to th e s e rv ic e o f th e S ta te a n d h o ld those a l-

1 Except where otherwise specified, data are from California State Civil Service Com­
mission, Cost-of-living survey. Sacramento, 1923. 84 pp.
2 The committee was composed of Profs. Solomon Blum, Jessica B. Peixotto, and M. E.
Jaffa, of the University of California ; Mr. R. G. Spoul, comptroller of the university;
and Mr. J. C Whitman, chief examiner, State civil service commission.
^




97

98

CHAP. II.----STATE AND MUNICIPAL AGENCIES

ready in the service. N o budgets were prepared fo r skilled jyorkers. W h at­
ever wages the State might pay them are fixed by competitive conditions which
determine wages of all skilled workers whether employed by the State or pri­
vate employer. ^Since a large number o f State employees are unmarried clerks,
separate budgets were prepared fo r this group. (Pp. 5, 6.)

The object o f the survey was to prepare fo r these five classes o f
workers budgets which, in the judgment o f the committee, would
provide “ a minimum health and comfort standard ” o f livin g for
workers in the employment o f the State. The experience and judg­
ment o f the members o f the committee were used in estimating the
quantities o f the articles comprising the budgets. Prices fo r the
different articles were collected by investigators fo r October, 1920,
and November, 1921, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento.
These cities were selected as being the homes o f a large majority o f
the State employees, and it was felt by the committee that the costs
o f the budgets in these cities would fairly represent the cost fo r the
State. Individual quotations for the articles were obtained from
stores o f the class it was thought the State employees would patron­
ize; these were then averaged fo r each city and an average was com­
puted fo r the State'from the averages o f the three cities. In all
cases standard prices were taken and “ no allowances were made for
possible economies from purchasing second-hand goods, m ill ends,
sales, and the like.” On the other hand, the committee assumed that
cash or ordinary credit payments would be made, and “ higher prices
which might be charged because o f installment purchases were not
taken into consideration.” F o r the final estimates, however, a deduc­
tion o f 5 per cent for good management was made.
The budgets were compiled for a fam ily o f five, with children o f
the same age as those taken by the United States Bureau o f Labor
Statistics for its quantity-and-cost budget, namely, a boy o f 11
years, a girl o f 5 years, and a boy o f 2 years. Although the com­
mittee realized that the fam ily o f five was larger than the families
o f State employees in California, particularly those o f clerks and
executives, this size o f fajnily was used because o f its fam iliarity and
comparability with previous studies and because it was subject to less
criticism than any other would have been.
Also the husband as sole supporter of the group is probably not the usual
and exact picture of fam ily sources o f income but rather an American standard
toward which aU aspiration fo r fam ily group life tends. * * * It is, however,
American standard fo r the individual to assume that his wages or salary should
be at least sufficient to support him and his group without additional sources of
income whether from gift or property. W e have precedent in all American life
fo r the assumption that the husband’s earnings shall be large enough not to
force the w ife to leave the home for w age work. (P . 7.)

A ll the budgets were, therefore, based on the assumption that the
man’s efforts represent the sole source o f income and that the major
part o f that income w ill be derived from his regular work. F or the
purposes o f the investigation it was also assumed that the unmarried
employees had no dependents and were entirely self-supporting, al­
though it was realized that in many cases this was not true. O f the
budgets the committee said:
The budget of the married clerk w ill probably challenge most criticism.
The amount arrived at is considerably in excess of what clerks customarily
now receive, whether in State or private employment. Yet a careful review,
item by item, o f the budget should convince the candid, as it has convinced




CALIFORNIA

99

this committee, that, while a fam ily may live at a minimum o f health and
comfort on the sum and quantities indicated, it still requires frugality and
good management to live happily within the total.
W e must face the fact that the period of high prices has worked the greatest
hardship upon this group of married clerks.
Salaries which were alw ays
slightly lower than standard of living rose scarcely at all with increasing costs.
Our estimated total w ilj only seem large until attention is given to the surpris­
ing fact that our budget (1921) fo r a fam ily of five is a little less than twice
the amount that seems unavoidably necessary fo r a single male clerk.
The total of the laborer’s budget is also higher than current rates of wages.
But taken item by item, the quantities required and the costs thereof make that
total seem unavoidably necessary to the committee. The total is also lower
than that of the clerk’s, not because we believe there is a notable difference
in standard of living but because the conventional demands upon the laborer,
particularly in the field of clothing and housing, are less. (Pp. 9, 10.)

#

FAMILY BUDGETS

Statistics o f dependency were not gathered for the cost-of-living
survey, but it was thought by the committee that the “ budgets for
man, wife, and one child would represent a health and comfort
standard for more than half o f the State employees, and that the
budget for man, wife, and two children would include the great ma­
jority o f cases.” 8 F o r this reason for laborer and clerk the com­
mittee made estimates for families o f two, three, and four, as well
as fo r the fam ily o f five.3
4
FOOD

In preparing the food budget it was thought advisable not to fo l­
low the amounts given in the budget o f the United States Bureau o f
Labor Statistics as necessary to maintain the worker’s fam ily in
health and decency because “ tastes differ, market conditions differ,
and the seasons are not the same in California as in the East.” I t
seemed to the committee, therefore, more logical—
1. To arrange a minimum of subsistence diet which provides a sufficient
amount of the various types of food to keep the body in good working order
as fa r as can be determined by all scientific investigations.
2. To compare this standard with the diets chosen by thousands o f people
on small incomes and to compare and adjust over and over wherever the ad­
justment does not conflict with known rules of human economy, etc. In other
words, the minimum standard of health and efficiency is a combination be­
tween the purely theoretically worked out standard and that which is the
people’s instinctive choice, modified by tradition, built up by generations of
experience and limited by a small income. (P . 10.)

The following food budgets were therefore adopted for the fam i­
lies o f laborer, clerk and executive. I t is stated in the report that
the results were “ based upon careful calculation o f the physiological
needs o f each member o f the family, rather than upon considering
the children as fractional parts o l adults, either with respect to
their caloric needs or the cost o f their diet.” T o find the amount
spent for food for the smaller families, Professor Jaffa deducted,
from the amount allotted to the fam ily o f five, 14 per cent for the
fam ily o f four, 27 per cent fo r the fam ily o f three, 40 per cent for
the fam ily o f two.
3 This had been corroborated to some extent by a study made in September, 1920.
4 Estimates for different-sized families of the executive were not made “ because in this
case the element of individual choice made it very difficult, and as our budget increased
in amount our ability to make accurate estimates diminished/’




100

CHAP. n . ----STATE AND MUNICIPAL AGENCIES

MONTHLY FOOD BUDGET, IN POUNDS, FOR FAMILIES OF LABORER, CLERK, AND
EXECUTIVE, 1921 .

Kind and size of family

Laborer’s family of—
Two..........................
Three........................
Four.........................
Five..........................
Clerk’s family of—
Two..........................
Three........................
Four .......................
Five.........................
Executive’s family of five

Cof­ Sun­
Other Veg­
Oils
Meat
fee,
and Milk Eggs Beans Flour ce­ eta­ Fruit But­ and Su­ tea, dries
(per
ter fats gar
reals bles
fish
etc. year)

6 13.0
.0
6 16.0
.0
6 18.0
.0
6 2 .0
.0 0
.0
7.0 6 13.0
8 6 15.0
.0 .0
9.0 6 18.0
.0
.0 0
1 .0 6 2 .0
0
1 .0 1 .0 27.0
2 0

35.0
40.0
42.0
42.0

28.0
53.0
98.0
158.0

4.0
5.0
9.0
12.5

3.5
4.0
4.0
4.0

39.0
49.0
53.0
55.0

18.0 61.0 30.0 7.0
24.0 78.0 38.0 7.5
27.0 8 .0 44.0 9.0
6
30.0 90.0 50.0 1 .0
0

4.0 $5. 25
4.0 6
.45
4.0 6 65
.
4.0 7.65

34.5
38.0
42.0
42.0
52.0

28.0
53.0
98.0
158.0
160.0

4.0
5.0
9.0
12.5
15.0

3.5
4.0
4.0
4.0

35.0
48.0
53.0
55.0
45.0

17.0 60.0 30.0
23.0 77.0 37.0
27.0 8 .0 44.0
6
30.0 90.0 50.0
25.0 1 0 75.0
2 .0

4.0 9.40
4.0 11.40
4.0 12.80
4.0 14.25
6.0 23. 00

2
.0

CLOTHING

The items for clothing o f the clerk and laborer groups were taken
in the main from the quantity and cost budget o f the United States
Bureau o f Labor Statistics, but were modified to meet climatic condi­
tions o f California. The quantities and articles o f clothing fo r the
executive’^ fam ily were adopted, with slight modifications, from data
prepared by P ro f. Jessica B. Peixotto.
The quality o f the clothing fo r the different groups was decided
upon after u First, consulting salespeople about the type o f article
most frequently purchased by the several occupational groups here
under consideration; second, by gathering testimony concerning the
purchasing habits o f the several groups.”
O f the quantity o f clothing estimated the committee has said:
* * * In determining the quantities of clothing the guide has been the
attention to fashion which the work and the social relations of each group
made necessary. The relative durability of the goods purchased and the
purchasing power of the group were also taken into account. It is believed
that the quantities actually set down permit neither extravagance nor undue
attention to frequent shifts of fashion.
I f the executive, the clerk, or the laborer were to be in anywise wasteful,
they would certainly overstep the narrow bounds which our list describes.
Any suspicion that the total allowed is large w ill be disarmed by frank in­
spection, article by article, of the quantities assigned to each member of the
family. Nothing but routine needs have been provided. The list contains
nothing but the quantities required to keep the individual reasonably supplied
with a wardrobe conventionally suited to the customs of his class and his
community.
In the case of the younger children it is taken for granted that the “ hold
o v ers” for the previous years would not be available.
The two-year-old
child’s stock of the previous year obviously would not fit. The 5-year old
child being of different sex than her older brother could not inherit her
brother’s clothing. W ith the adults w e always counted on the probability of
using “hold overs.”
N o specific allowance has been made for home-made clothing. I f the w ife
of the fam ily is dexterous and prefers it, she w ill possibly make some things
at home. It is in this item that a considerable proportion of the 5 per cent
deducted for management w ill show itself, but w e had no data upon which
to base a quantitative estimate. (P . 15.)

F or the smaller sized families the total cost o f clothing fo r the
three children was divided by 3 and the amount deducted from the
fam ily budget in relation to the size o f the family.
The following budget was adopted for a fam ily o f five o f the
laborer, clerk, and executive:




101

CALIFORNIA

YEARLY REPLACEMENT OF CLOTHING FOR FAMILY OF LABORER, CLERK, AND
EXECUTIVE

Husband

Item

Hats:
Fait.
Straw. _ _ _ _ _
Dress___
Sport
Cap__
Suits:
Wool, winter__
Wooh summer_______ _
Dress
Sport, outing
Extra trousers:
Wool______________ _
Tennis
___
_____
Overcoats:
General wear __
Raincoat. ___ ________
Maokinaw ...........
Sweater
______
Shirts:
Cotton, work________ _
Cotton, madras ___
Dress___ _ _
___
Flannel
Underwear (union suits or
equivalent):
Cotton, summer___ ___
Mixed, winter.
Pajamas ____ ____ ___
Nightshirts
Overalls ______ ____ ___
Bathrobe ________________
Shoes:
High _
... _ ._
Low
. .............

Ex­
La­
borer Clerk ecu­
tive
1

1
X

IX
X
%

1

X

X
X
X

X

1
X

1/7
X

1

X
h

(\

X

X

X
X

X
X

X

X

4

2

6
1

5

X

X

2
2

2
2

2
2

2

>2

1
1

X

X

4
2

2
0
X

1
1

Item

Ex­
La­
borer Clerk ecu­
tive

Shoes—Continued.
Rubbers
House slippers, felt.............
Tennis.......................... ......
Outing boots, custom.........
Socks:
Cotton.
12
Wool
......
. Lisle....................................
Silk......................................
Gloves:
Cotton, work___________
6
Kid, business......................
Kid, dress_____________
Collars:
Stiff .. .
4
Soft......................................
Ties:
Business..............................
2
Dress_________________
2
Garters___________________
Belt............................................
X
Suspenders................................ 81
Handkerchiefs:
Cotton
8
Linen
Umbrella
. _
X
Upkeep:
1
Cleaning suits.....................
Pressing suits......... ............
Blocking hats___ _______
Laundry, personal_______
Half soles and heels
2
New heels...........................
Incidentals................................. 0

X

X
X
2

0
8
(1i
4

1

X

0
12
4

12
4

<6

6
1
3

2
X
1

X
n

12

10
7X

3
12
1

(\

4

<3
0

26
1
(1
8
7
*
)
1
2
0

W ife
Hats:
Summer.............................
Winter.................................
Sport

Dresses:
Cotton, work. ....................

1
X

1
X

1
1
X

3
2

2

Cotton, street
W ool, street

X

1

2
1

Wool, afternoon_________
Silk, afternoon__________

X

Suits: Wool...............................
Coats:
Wool, winter.......................

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

K

1

Silk, evening

W ool, summer _

Evening, custom________
Raincoat, custom_______
Sport........... ........................
Sweater

X

1

72

Aprons:
Bungalow......................
Kitchen______ _
Bedroom wear:
Kimono, crepe__________
Kimono, silk ___ . __
.
Bathrobe_____________
Combing j acket_________
Petticoats:
Muslin_________________
Dark cotton...................
Sateen_________________
Silk, wash. .
Silk..............................
Underwear:
Combination or union suit.
Chemise, muslin_______ _
Drawers, muslin____ ____
Bloomers, crepe.... .......
Bloomers, silk________
Corset covers, muslin.......
Camisole, silk.................
Brassieres......................
Night dresses____________
Pajamas__ _
________
Corsets, standard.................

Waists:
1
2
3
Cotton.................................
/ 1
Silk......................................
Cl
Georgette______________ / H \ .......
72
Skirts:
1
Wash...................................
X
H
Wool....................................
Sport.............................. .
} * {
1 Item listed in budget, but cost not included in total.
8 Work.
8 Dress.
* Not specified whether for business or dress.
* Heavy.
•Light.
7 Cotton.
• Clerk, 25 cents per week; executive, $1 per week.
• Laborer, $5 per year; clerk, $8 per year; executive, $10 per year.




3

2
3

1
1

1
l

X
X
X
1

1

1
1

1

X

3
2

3
3

3
3
3

*!l
.1

2

3

2

2

3
3

1

2

1

IX

1

3

0

IX

102

CHAP. H .----STATE AND MUNICIPAL AGENCIES

YEARLY REPLACEMENT OF CLOTHING FOR FAMILY OF LABORER, CLERK, AND
EXECUTIVE-Continued

W ife — Continued

Item

Ex­
La­
borer Clerk ecu­
tive

Stockings:
Cotton
5
Lisle............................
Silk_ _
__________
Shoes:
High, black....................
IX
High, white...................
Low, black . . . . . . _
Low, white_____________
Pumps..........................
House slippers................
Rubbers, storm... ...........
Rubbers, toe
Tennis..........................
Evening slippers... ..........
Gloves:
Kid, business.................
X
Kid, dress__
Silk
Cotton.............J
...........

8

3
3
2

6
4

1

1

X
X
14
14

_

X

(z

ft
1
0)
«
l
A

K
X
X

1
l
l
0

Item

Ex­
La­
borer Clerk ecu­
tive

Handkerchiefs:
Cotton
8
Linen ...
Miscellaneous:
Umbrella____ ____ ___
H
Parasol
Bag _
X
Scarf, wool_
Scarf, silk_________
Upkeep:
Cleaning, pressing, remod­
0
eling_________________ (1 )
Half soles, heels
IX
1
Extra heels......... ...........
Incidentals (hairpins, belts,
pins, collars, cuffs, shields,
veils, laces, hair nets, repairs
to jewelry, etc.)___________ (n)

1
2
X
X

6
6
X

%
y2

0
(1)
0
VA
2

(1 )
0
l
2

(0

(»)

12

812
0)
4
1

Bop of 11
Hats:
Winter ... _.
___ .....
Summer
„
Cap.....................................
Ram__________________
Suits:
Wool..
Extra trousers, wool... .......
Extra trousers, corduroy. . .
Overalls
Overcoats:
Wool
... _
Mackinaw_____________
Raincoat______________
Sweater
. .. .
Shirts:
Cotton
......
Flannel.___ ___________
Blouses .
Underwear:
Unions, summer________
Unions, winter....................
Pajamas.
. .. _
Nightshirts.........................

1
1

1

1
0
2

0

X
l
1

X
X

l

1
2
1

(} )A

2

0

X
1
3
'v.
5

4
1
4

ix

3
2

4
2

2

Stockings:
16
2
Cotton
Lisle___________~i__ _
Shoes:
High.
4
Low
Rubbers_______________
X
Tennis
Handkerchiefs:
Cotton
6
Linen . . . . __ _
Miscellaneous:
Gloves, kid................. ........
Collars______________
2
Ties _
2
Garters or supporters..........
2
Belts.
X
Upkeep, shoes:
Half soles and heels______
4
Extra heels
_
(IS)
Incidentals _

4

X

X

1

8

6
0

X

10
5
2

2

4
2

X

4
(13)

A

G irl of 5
Hats:
Summer
Winter
Cap
Dresses:
Cotton, gingham, etc..........
. Muslin.................................
Wool....................................
Silk
Apron or overalls________
Coats:
Wool....................................
Velvet or silk__________
Sweater..............................

X

1

X
X

1

X

1

6
1

1

2

3

X

X

X

X

X

1

1
1
1
6
3
1
1
2

X

14

1

Underwear:
Shirts, knit ......................
Drawers, knit__________
Unions, knit.......................
Waists.................................
Drawers, muslin________
Unions or equivalent, win­
ter....................................
Nightdresses:
Muslin
Outing.................................
Petticoats:

4
4

2
3

3
3

ix

M uslin

3
1

Outing.................................

2X

i Item iisted in budget, but cost not included in total.
8 Dress.
10 Yearly allowance for wife of laborer, $6.60; of clerk, $10; of executive, $24.
1 Yearly allowance for wife of laborer, $15; of clerk, $20; and of executive, $30.
1
18 Fast color.
1 Yearly allowance for son of laborer, $1; of clerk, $1.50; and of executive, $2.
8




3
3

4
4

0)

3
4

IX

3

2
2

2
2

2
2

4
2

103

CALIFORNIA

YEARLY REPLACEMENT OF CLOTHING FOR FAMILY OF LABORER, CLERK, AND
EXECUTIVE—Continued

G irl of 5— Continued
Ex­
La­
borer Clerk ecu­
tive

Item

Shoes:

High

Low....................................
Sandals...............................
Rubbers______________
Stockings:
Cotton. _
Lisle-

Silk_____ ____

3
1
1
8

_

3
1
1
1

4
1
1
1

6
4

0)
12
0)

Item
Miscellaneous:
Garters or supporters

Handkerchief!?, cotton

Ribbon—
Hair bows, 4__ yards. _
Sashes or belts.-do___
Upkeep, shoes: Half soles and
heels
Incidentals

Ex­
La­
borer Clerk ecu­
tive
2
6

2
8

3
12

6
2

6
2

6
00
1

1

1

( 15)

( 15)

3

4

2
2

2
2

( 15)

Boy of 2
Hats:
Duck...........................
Wool, cloth....................
Cap ...
Dresses:
Cotton suits...................
Rompers.......................
Coveralls.......................
Overcoats:
Wool............................
Velvet or corduroy_______
Sweater.... ................ .
Underwear:
SummerShirts, knit..............
Drawers, knit.... .......
Waists.....................
WinterShirts, mixed____ ____
Drawers, mixed______

2

2

1

1

1
1
1

3
2

3
3
4

5
3
4

1
2

2

1
0)
2

3
3
2

4
6
3

6
8
3

1
1

2
2

Night clothes:
Muslin...............................
Outing.......................... ......
Denton’s or sleeping suits..
Shoes:
High....................................
Low................. ..................
Sandals...............................
Stockings or socks:
Cotton. .................. ............
Lisle....................................

4
4
2
0

)

0

)*

3
3

8

8
2

2

3

3

1

1

)
2
( 16)

Silk

Miscellaneous:
Garters______,_________

Ties _
Mittens _
Incidentals.

_ _ _

( 16)

( 16)

8
2

0

1Item listed in budget, but cost not included in total.
1 2 sashes; number of yards not specified.
4
1 Yearly allowance for daughter of laborer, $1.50; of clerk, $2; of executive, $2.50.
4
16 Yearly allowance for son of laborer and clerk, $1; of executive, $3.

HOUSE OPERATION, FURNITURE, ETC.
•

The allotments for house operation, furnishings, and miscella­
neous were also, with slight adaptation, taken from a list prepared
by Professor Peixotto. F or the smaller-sized families the amount
allotted to the fam ily o f five was reduced 32 per cent for the fam ily
o f husband and wife. T o the amount allowed fo r the fam ily o f
two, $60 was added fo r the first child and an additional $48 for
the second child. In fuel, heat, light, replacement, and laundry, no
deduction was made for the smaller families. The amount allowed
fo r other items was, however, reduced by $14.35 fo r the husband
and wife, and $6 was added to this for the first child and an addi­
tional $4.35 for the second child.




104

CHAP. n . — STATE AND MUNICIPAL AGENCIES

The allowances fo r house operation fo r the fam ily o f five o f the
laborer, clerk, and executive were as follows:
AVERAGE YEARLY AMOUNT ALLOWED FOR HOUSE OPERATION FOR FAMILY OF
LABORER, CLERK, AND EXECUTIVE, 1921
Item

Laborer

Clerk

Executive

$76.63
27.44
15.52
20.80

$78.73
29.44
20.85
24.00

$178.14
836.24
56.00
48.00

2.70
24.00

10.00
8.10
86.00

648.00
175.75
16.20
6.00

433.41
88.05
5.90
6.16
10.80
34.20

Fuel and heat (coal, wood, kerosene, gas, electricity, etc.)......... .
Telephone and telegraph.................................................. .
Ice.............................................................................. .
Light, electricity......................................................... .
Service:
Regular.................................................................. .
Occasional.................................................................
Stationery and postage......................................................
Garbage removal............................................................ .
Renovations or replacements:
Furniture.................................................................
Table linen, bedding, towels..........................................
Kitchenware.............................................................
' Tableware and silver..................................................
Cleaning supplies, general: Soap, borax, ammonia, insect powder.
Laundry, house..............................................................
Personal cleaning supplies:
Toothbrushes.............................................................
Combs and brushes....................................................
Shoe jjolish and brush.................................................
Listerine and drugs for hygienic purposes........................
Toilet and bath soap.................................................. .
Bathroom and toilet supplies.........................................
Rent........................................................................... .

472.96
8 33. 52
7.37
8.14
21.60
129.60

4 161.60
6 63.47
5 8.20
8 29.24
27.00
270.00

1.75
8 3.50
26.00
8 3.00
94.00
•5.40
8 1.70
9
8 1. 70
8
8 1.70
8
5.40
5.40
16.20
5.40
6.48
2.70
2.70
5.40
2
8 444.80 8 660.00 831,220.00
8
710.36 1,127.61

Total

2,985.02

8 One-half set per year.
• One set per year.
1 One box per month, one brush.
0
1 House, five rooms and bath, including water.
1
1 House, six rooms and bath.
*
8 House, eight rooms and bath
8

8 Telegraph not specified.
2 Once weekly.
8 Twice weekly.
8 Four per cent of total stock.
5 Seven per cent of total stock.
* Ten at 35 cents.
2 Fifteen at 40 cents.

The total stock o f furniture estimated fo r the houses o f the three
$823.30, fo r the clerk
as follow s:

o which fo r the laborer
f roups, the cost r fthe executive $4,042.85, was
1,825.66, and fo
was

TOTAL STOCK OF FURNITURE ALLOWED FOR HOUSE 8 OF LABORER, CLERK, AND
9
EXECUTIVE, 1921
r
Item
Tables:
Dining room.......................
Living room___ _______
Kitchen, plain _
Chairs:
Dining room _ _

Bedroom—

La­
Exec­
borer Clerk utive
»1
81
1

21
81
1

21
81
*1

86

86

86

La­
Exec­
borer Clerk utive

Item

0

Chairs:—Continued.
Living room—
Rooking

_ _

Straight__ _____
Kitchen...............................

High

81
3
1
1

81
3
2
1

82
4
2
91

Rugs:
81 8 1
•1
Living room, 6 x 9___
891
88 1 (8 )
1
Straight.........................
12 1
Living room, 9 x 12.............
5
75
7
881
8 The following were taken as standard size houses: Laborer, 3 bedrooms, 1 kitchen and dining room,
1 living room, 1 bathroom; clerk, 3 bedrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 dining room, 1 living room, 1 bathroom; execu­
tive, 4 bedrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 dining room, 1 living room, den, bathroom.
2 Laborer, 42-inch oak; clerk, same size, quartered oak; executive, 54-inch, mahogany or walnut.
3 Laborer, kind not specified; clerk, quartered oak; executive, mahogany or walnut..
* With bins.
8 Laborer, kind not specified; clerk, fumed oak; executive, mahogany or walnut.
« Laborer, kind not specified; clerk, walnut or ivory; executive, mahogany or walnut.
7 Walnut or ivory.
8 Laborer, kind not specified; clerk, upholstered leather; executive., walnut or mahogany.
9 Hardwood.
89 Tapestry.
88 Item listed in budget but cost not included in total.
88 Wilton.
83 Axminster.
Rooking __




105

CALIFORNIA

TOTAL STOCK OF FURNITURE ALLOWED FOR HOUSE OF LABORER, CLERK,
AND EXECUTIVE, 1921— Continued

Item

Rugs-—
Continued.
Dining room, 6x9_______
Dining room, 9x 1 2 ______
Bedroom, 6x9______ ____
Bedroom, 9x12..............
Rag rug, 6x9.................
Grass rug, 6x9...............
Linoleum......................
Sewing machine...................
Miscellaneous:
Settee...........................
Sideboard......................
Bureaus.______ _______
Chiffonier......................
Go-cart.........................
Beds:
Double______ __________
Single. _
Crib.............................
Spring, double _ _
Spring, single.................

Ex­
La­
borer Clerk ecu­
tive

14 1

11
3
(“)
11
5

2

(1 )
6
1

07
)
1

1

11
8
1

3

3

1

i

1
2
1
1
2

l

Ex­
La­
borer Clerk ecu­
tive

Item

Bed furnishings:
1
Mattress, double________
Mattress, single..................
2
12
3
1
Mattress, crib.....................
11
3
Pillows, regular, pair_____
6
1
2
2
Pillows, crib, single............
1
1
Refrigerator...............................
Stoves:
6
Gas, cooking.......... ............ 2 1
(‘\
1
Heating (air tight)..............
11
8
Oil heater............................
11
9
Coal....................................
20 4
1
Carpet sweeper............... .........
20 2
Vacuum cleaner.........................
1
Piano.......................................
1
Phonograph_______________
205
Phonograph records_________ (27)
2 20 1
Victrola.....................................
1 20 1
Victrola records____________
1 2 5 Curtains__________________ (20)
i
12 1

2 21 1

11 Item listed in budget but cost not included
in total.
1 Wilton.
2
i® Axminster.
i* Fiber.
I®Tapestry.
i®2 0 yards for bath and kitchen.
17 2 0 yards for bedroom and kitchen.
18 Or davenport; oak for executive.
i®Or serving table, mahogany or walnut.
2®Mahogany or walnut.

22 1
2
1
8
2
21
5

25
3
1
1

7
22
4
21
5

1
1
1
1
1
1
1

21
5

1

1

1
1
1

8 8

2 Coil.
1

22 Silk floss.

2 Hair.
3
24 Down.
2 Enameled.
»
2 Two-burner plate.
8
2$5
7 4.
2 Clerk, $ 7 0 executive, $ 2 .
8
6 .5 ;
15
2®Yearly allowance for laborer, $ 2 0 for clerk,
2 .5 ;
$ 5 0 for executive, $ 0
4 .0 ;
9 ..

SUNDRIES

The committee spent much time on the preparation o f the mis­
cellaneous budgets. I t recognized in its report the difficulty o f de­
termining upon definite amounts, as, “ the factors o f management
and saving, ability to do without, variations o f personal taste differ
with income, and with the standard o f living.” The allowances for
the three different groups were as follow s:
YEARLY ALLOWANCE FOR MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS FOR FAMILY OF LABORER,
CLERK, AND EXECUTIVE, 1 2
91

Item

Laborer

Clerk

Social entertainment:
Onnsts at. homo
$27.00
$27.00
Guests at clubs, in town, etc___________________________ _____
Amusements:
Toys, etc. for children______________________________________
2.25
2.25
45.60
Athletics or sports, theater, movies, amateur entertainments, concerts..
45.60
Tobacco_________________________________________________
10.80
10.80
Club dues:
Husband_____________________________________ ___ _______ } 12.00 )
Wife________________________________ __________ _____ ___
[• 18.00
Civic...................................................................................... ...............
Schooling for children: School books or special lessons______________ .
0)
0)
Daily papers:
Books, special literature_______________________________ _ . } 12.00 /
6.00
Periodicals and newspapers_________________________________
\ 10.80
Church.......................... ............................. ................................................
Charity............ ................................. ..........................................................
18.00
18.00
Gifts:
Christmas............................... ............ .............................. .................... j
Weddings_______________________________________________ [ 22.50
22.50
Birthdays___________________________________________ ____
Sick friends, etc...............................................................................I___ J

i Item listed in budget, but cost not included in total.




2Special lessons.

Executive
$135.00
81.00
2.15
162.00
129.60
f
-j
l

50.40
12.00
6.00
236.00
16.80
18.00
120.00
75.00

f
J
1
l

45.00
22.50
22.50
9.00

106

CHAP. II.----STATE AND MUNICIPAL AGENCIES

YEARLY ALLOWANCE FOR MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS FOR FAMILY OF LABORER,
CLERK, AND EXECUTIVE, 1921—Continued
Laborer

Item
Medical care:
Doctor, dentist, nursing, drugs on prescription___________ ___ ___
Shaving upkeep__________________________________________
Barber’s services:
Husband’s hair cuts, 12 at 50 cents......................................... .............
Children’s haircuts, 12 at 40 cents............. .............................................
V acation, travel, etc__________________________________________
Car fare_________________________________________________ _ .
Insurance premiums:
Life..........................................................................................................
Furniture, fire____________________________________________
Total_________________________________________
3Barber’s services.
4 Fifteen cuts at 60 cents.
8900 rides at 5 cents.
• 1,200 rides at 6 cents.
7 Premium on $2,600 at $26, straight life insurance.

______

Clerk

Executive

$75.00 | $75.00 /
\
32.50

$80.00
3.00

6.00
4.80
22.60
s 45.00

6.00
4.80
54.00
6 60.00

47.50
4.80
180.00
6 60.00

765.00
1 6.00
0

8130.00
ii 12.00

8260.00
I224.00

376.95

505.75

1,562.25

8 Premium on $6,000 at $26.
8 Premium on $10,000 at $26.
10 Premium on $1,000 at $6.
1 Premium on $2,000 at $6.
1
1 Premium on $4,000 at $6.
3

COST OF BUDGETS

The following table shows the summary o f the budgets at a level
o f health and comfort and at prices in November, 1921, for the
three groups o f employees by size o f fa m ily :
MINIMUM HEALTH AND COMFORT BUDGETS, AT 1921 PRICES, FOR LABORERS,
CLERKS, AND EXECUTIVES IN STATE EMPLOY, BY SIZE OF FAMILY GROUP

Food
Occupation, and size
of family group

Clothing

House and
house
operation

Miscellaneous

Per
Per
Per
Per
Amount cent Amount cent Amount cent Amount cent
of
of
of
of
total
total
total
total

Total Final
esti­
budget, mate,
12
91

121
91

L a b o re r

Man, wife, 3children..
Man, wife, 2 children _.
Man, wife, 1child.......
Man, wife....................

$ 9 .0
67 0
601.20
5
10.20
420.00

32.3 $ 7 .1
33 3
.9
30.7 320 4
29.1 268 5
.7
27.5 216 6
.5

37 .9
17.3 $ 1 .3 32.9 $ 6 5
70 6
6
16.3 672.02 34.2 3 2.83
15.3 6
19.67 35.3 352.26
1 .1 5 3 7 36.2 335 9
4
5 .6
.4

25.3
25.2
24.1

22.7 1,127.61 35.8
22.9 918.76 33.7
21.9 823.86 34.2
20.5 7
48.26 35.4

17.4$2,157.44 $2,049.57
18.5 1,956.99 1,859.14

2 0 . 1 1,750.88 1,663.34

21.9 1,525.72 1,449.43

C le r k

Man, wife, 3children..
Man, wife, 2children..
Man, wife, 1 child.......
Man, wife....................

7
98.00
6
86.48
52 0
8 .6
478.80

22.6

717 5
.6
623 9
.3
59 3
2 .1
.4 4 7
3 .8

505 5
.7
491.52
472.62
450.12

16.0 3,149.01
18.0 2,720.15
19.6 2,408.21
21.3 2 2 1 1 9
, 1. 6

2,991.56
2,584.15
2,287.80
2,006.36

E x e c u t iv e

Man, wife, 3 children.. 1,063.00 15.1 1,424.53

2 0 . 2 2,985.02

42.4 1,562.25 22.2 7,034.80 6,683.06

1Final estimate represents total budget minus 6 per cent for good management.
2This amount is not the correct sum of the items, but is as given in the report.

BUDGETS FOR UNMARRIED CLERKS

Budgets were also prepared by the committee fo r an unmarried
clerk, both man and woman, at 1920 and 1921 prices.
The clothing budgets fo r the single clerk were itemized as follow s:




107

CALIFORNIA
YEARLY REPLACEMENT OF CLOTHING FOR UNMARRIED CLERK, 19211

Item
Hats:
Felt....................................................
Straw_______________________
Cap....................................................
Suits:
Wool, winter............. .......................
Wool, summer...................................
Dress
Extra trousers:
Wool
____ _____
Tennis...............................................
Overalls ______
Overcoats:
General wear.....................................
Sweater______________________
Shirts:
Cotton, work--.................................
Cotton, madras _
Flannel
.......
Underwear, unions or equivalent:
Cotton, summer _ _
_ . _
Mixed, winter ._ . _
Pajamas
Nightshirts — _ ______________
Bathrobe.... .............................................
Hose:
Cotton.
_ __
T
/isle_________________________
Sillr

Replace­
ment
quantity

1
y2
X

0)

V2

n

0)

x
H

0)

5
X
2

(!)

2
2
X

0
0

8

Item
Shoes:
High..................................................
Low. .......................... ........ ............
Tennis.............................................
Rubbers.. .........................................
Boots, outing________ _________
Gloves:
Cotton, work. ..................................
Kid, business.. .................................
Kid, dress........................................
Collars:
Stiff___„_
Soft..«..............................................
Ties:
Business............................................
Dress.................................................
Handkerchiefs:
Cotton___ __ _____ ___________
Linen
_
Miscellaneous:
Garters_______________________
Belt....................................................
Suspenders_____ _____ ________
Umbrella
Upkeep:
Cleaning suits....................................
Pressing suits__________________
Blocking hat___ ___ ______ ____
Laundry................................... ........
Half soles and heels..........................
Incidentals...............................................

Replace­
ment
quantity

IX
X

(i)

X

0
0

X

0

12
4
6

0
0

10
2
X
1
X
4

15
0
0
2
0

Woman
Hats:
Summer. .....................
Winter........................
.Sport.........................
Dresses:
Cotton, work................
Cotton, street...............
Wool, street..................
Wool, afternoon.............
Silk, afternoon.... .........
Silk, evening................
Suits: Wool..... .................
Coats:
Wool, winter................
Sport-................ -......
Sweater.......................
Waists:
Cotton........................
Silk............................
Georgette....................
Skirts:
Wash..........................
Sport.........................
Aprons:
Bungalow....................
Kitchen........._............
Bedroom wear:
Kimono, cr&pe..............
Bathrobe...................
Petticoat:
Muslin..... ..................
Dark cotton..... ............
Silk............................
Underwear:
Combinations and unions.
Chemise, muslin...........
Drawers, muslin...........
Bloomers, crSpe.............

0)
0)

1
1

> y

5

0

1
1
1

0) H

0
0
0
0

1
1
4

Underwear—Continued.
Corset covers, muslin___________
Camisole, silk_________________
Nightdresses....................................
Pajamas......... .................................
Corset, standard make _____________
Stockings:
Cotton_____________ ___ ______
L isle.................................................
Silk....................................................
Gloves:
Kid, business.___ _____ _____ __
Kid, dress______ ______________
Handkerchiefs, cotton______________
Miscellaneous:
Parasol ______________________
Umbrella_____________________
Bag....................................................
Scarf, wool____________________
Scarf, s ilk ____________________
Shoes:
High, white.......................................
High, black............................... ......
Low, white___________________
Low, black____________________
Shoes, tennis____ _____ ________
Pumps_____ ___ _____________
Rubbers, storm. _____________
Rubbers, toe.....................................
Upkeep:
Laundry. _____ _______________
Cleaning and pressing___________
Shoes, half sole and heels. ................
Extra heels.__________________
Incidentals—Hairpins, belts, shields,
collars, cuffs, veils, laces, hair nets,
repairs to jewelry, etc_____________

1Item listed in budget but cost not included in total.
3Yearly allowance of $65-52 weeks at $1.25 per week.
3Yearly allowance of $8.
105715°— 25------8




4$1.25 per week.
* Yearly allowance of $10.
0 Yearly allowance of $20.

03
01
4

08
2

0

2
10

0
0)

0)

(0

1
1
1

0

0

a .-

108

CHAP. H .----STATE AND MUNICIPAL AGENCIES

The totals of these budgets at 1921 prices were as follow s:
TOTAL BUDGET FOB UNMARRIED CLERK, 1921

Man
Item

Amount

Board and lodging:
Lodging (2 in room), $15 per month per person...................................
BoardRegular (2 meals on week days, 3 meals on Sunday, $7 per week)
Lunches, 40 cents per day, 313 days...............................................
Extra food, fruit, etc., 50 cents per week........................................

$180.00
364.00
125.20
26.00

Total board................................. ...............................................

515.20

Total hoard and lodging.
Clothing:
Clothing........................... .
Upkeep..............................

695.20

Total clothing....................................
Miscellaneous:
Health—doctor, dentist, oculist...........
Toilet supplies and services..................
Organizations (religious and social)_
_
Newspapers, books, and magazines__

228.82

600 rides to work, at 5 cents...........
144 additional rides, at 5 cents.......
Amusements, recreation, and vacation.
Educational purposes...........................
Other incidentals and tobacco..............
Life insurance, $1,000, at $26.................

30.00
7.20
118.00

140.53
88.29

43.00
13.50
10.20

14.00

Carfare-

46.80
26.00

Total miscellaneous (exclusive of savings)

308.70

Savings, 10 per cent of total expenses (exclusive of insurance)

120.65

Grand total...........................................................................

17363.37

Final estimate (less 5 per cent for management)

1,285.70

Woman
Board and lodging:

_____ . _
.
BoardRegular (2 meals on week days, 3 meals on Sunday, $7 per week)_______________
Liinehes, 40 rants per day, 212 days
_.. .
Extra food, fruit, etc., 50 cents per week _...... __ _.
_____ _

Lodging (2 in room), $15 per month per person

. _____

Total board
Total hoard and lodging

.

_

_

_
.

__

..........

$180.00
364.00
125.20
26.00
515.20
695.20

Clothing:
Clothing.................................................................................................................................
Upkeep
_ .
_
__________
___ ____ _ . _

229.68
7A 32

Total elothing
_ _ . _
. .. __ _
Miscellaneous:
Health—doctor, dentist, oculist________________________ _____ ______ ___ _____
Toilet supplies and services _
. . . . . . . . _________ . . .
...
Organizations (religious and social)__________________________ _____ __________
Newspapers, books, and magazines
... _ _ . . . . . . . . .
_
__ ...
Carfare600 rides to work, at 5 cents............................................................. .... ............ ............
144 additional rides, at 5 cents.......................................................................................
Amusements, recreation, vacation___________________________________________
Educational purposes ____ _ _
. __ . . .
. . . .
Other incidentals. . . . . . .
......
......
___ ____ _ _ __

308.00

Total miscellaneous (exclusive of savings).........................................................................

199. 20

18.00

_ ____

120.22
1,322.62

Final estimate (less 5 per cent for management)............................................................. .

1,256.48




.

30.00
7.20
72.00

Grand total........................................................................................................................

Ravings, 1ft per cent of total

. .

43.00
9.00
10.00
10.00

....

CLEVELAND, OHIO

109

The committee stated that it used the budgets o f the United
States Bureau o f Labor Statistics o f 1919 as a guide, but that it
did not follow them “ slavishly.” I t did not make averages o f the
expenditures o f the employees in the three different groups because
it did not have the data and also because this “ would not have
met the purposes for which the committee was called, viz., to de­
termine a health and comfort standard and not to condemn or to
confirm any existing standard.”
I t was felt by the committee that the budgets it established should
be maintained and prices secured, probably once a year, on these
articles rather than to use other index numbers to show the changes
in the cost o f living in California.
As to the use o f these budgets in the fixing o f the salaries o f the
State employees, Mr. David J. Reese, president and executive memmer o f the State civil service commission, stated that prior to the
completion o f this study on the cost o f livin g the commission had
set the salaries and wages for most o f the positions in the State
service and that in so doing the commission had been influenced
by its knowledge o f the cost o f living as shown by investigations
carried on in the West from time to time; by the current rates
o f pay in effect in public and private institutions in California and
elsewhere for comparable professions and occupations; and by the
organization relation already existing in various departments. In
the technical group Mr. Reese thought that the commission would
be able to maintain rates o f pay more in harmony with the com­
mission’s knowledge o f the cost o f living than with the other posi­
tions more affected by supply and demand. I t was found, in study­
ing the report, that no wage changes were made necessary by it, “ for
the reason that the salaries paid in the service are not entirely out
o f harmony with the information contained in the report except
for minor laboring and clerical positions.”
•
CLEVELAND, OHIO
From the years 1915 to 1920 the wages o f the light and power
employees o f the city o f Cleveland were regulated, according to
the statement o f Mr. W . G. Davis, former commissioner o f light
and power, on the basis o f a “ schedule o f 40 necessities o f life,
eliminating all luxuries or nonessentials.” The employees were
mainly members of the following unions: Electrical workers, inside
and outside; cable splicers, stationary engineers, firemen, hoisting
engineers, carpenters, brick masons, and steam fitters.
In 1920, however, the cable splicers appealed to arbitration and
Judge W illis Vickery o f the probate court was selected as arbitrator.
In the hearings before Judge Vickery, the representative o f the
employees argued f o r 5 an increase in wages, stating that “ the cost
o f livin g has been increasing by leaps and bounds, but the wages
have not kept pace with it.”
Figures on the cost o f livin g as prepared by the Bureau o f Labor
Statistics and the National Industrial Conference Board, material
5 Cable Splicers Union No. 78, I. B. E. W. v . City of Cleveland.
before Hon. Willis Vickery, May 27, 1920, p. 1. (Typewritten.)




Arbitration hearings

110

C H A P. II.----STATE A N D M U N IC IP A L AGENCIES

prepared by Mr. Lauck and presented before the United States
Railroad Labor Board, figures o f the Massachusetts Commission
on the Necessaries o f L ife, and wholesale prices o f the Bureau o f
Labor Statistics were submitted on behalf o f the employees.
Figures o f the Bureau o f Labor Statistics were presented showing
that the cost o f living in December, 1919, had increased 95 per cent
over December, 1914, and that since the publication o f the figures the
cost of living had increased much more. The workers’ representa­
tive, Mr. Evans, stated:
* * * It isn’t a question so much, your Honor, as to what we will get,
w hat we can get, or what the men might receive; it is really fundamentally
a question of not asking these men to lower their standard of living now in
1920 than what it w as in 1913 and 1914.
In presenting our original demands to your Honor for your H onor’s con­
sideration, we are asking just exactly the same thing that we enjoyed in 1913
and 1914, nothing more, just ask to be placed in a position that we can enjoy
those same conditions that we did then.
Is that unreasonable?
Is that
asking too much? W e have borne the burden ever since, during that length
of time we have been under the burden of this increased cost and gradually,
through conciliation, we have been enabled to secure a slight increase over
and above what we received in those years, amounting in all to this time to
57 per cent. But we are still 50 per cent aw ay from where we were then.
Is there going to be nothing in the future for the average worker? Must
he either stay at one level or go behind all the time, or is he going to get an
opportunity to go forward? (Hearings, p. 411.)

Mr. Davis testified that, according to Government figures, the
retail cost o f 22 foods had increased 7 per cent from January,
1919, to January, 1920, and that the city was offering the cable
splicers an increase o f 12y2 per cent. He argued that conditions
prior to this time had been harmonious and satisfactory and that
the percentages o f increase should not be computed from any date
prior to 1919. “ Now, it is a fact that the cost o f livin g has only
increased 7 per cent, and i f they were satisfied one year ago and
they are asking 50 per cent now, I claim, your Honor, that it is
absolutely unreasonable and unjust.”
Judge Vickery, however, questioned the statement, made on the
basis o f cost o f food alone, that the cost- o f living had increased only
7 per cent, and in his decision, which was effective from July 1,
1920, to May 1, 1921, took the following position:
In order, then for the men to keep the same standard of living, it w ill be
necessary to increase their wages 26 per cent, or 25 per cent at least and
I therefore come to the conclusion there should be an increase of 25 cents
per hour and that the foreman should have $275 per month, with the same
situation as to overtime as now exists, and that w ill be my findings— that
from and after June 1 the wages of splicers shall be $1.25 per hour, that of
the foreman $275 per month, and the splicers’ helpers $1 per hour.6

The increases granted by Judge Vickery to the cable splicers were
used as a basis in 1920 for adjusting the wages o f the employees be­
longing to all the other unions.
During 1921 there were no wage changes. Charts were prepared
showing the trend in the wages o f inside and outside electrical work­
ers and in the cost o f living as shown by Government reports, and
upon the information shown by the charts, it was decided that no
change in wages should take place. Below is given the letter sent
6 Cable Splicers’ Union No. 78, I. B. E. W. v . City of Cleveland.
Willis Vickery* arbitrator, Sept. 21, 1920. (Typewritten.)




Decision of Hon.

Ill

DALLAS, TEX.

the commissioner of light and power on April 2, 1921, to the busi­
ness agents of the Cable Splicers’ Union and the Outside Electrical
Workers’ Union:
This is to advise you that there w ill be no increase in wages and salaries
in the division of light and heat during the year 1921 unless a reversal of
the present economic conditions occurs, which is improbable.
F o r the last five years the wages and salaries of this division have been
based on a standard of the cost of living, exclusive of luxuries, and it would
appear that if such standard shall remain in force, any revision would be
•downward rather than upward as based upon the reduction of many of the
commodities of life.
In any readjustment of wages or salaries that may possibly be demanded by
labor either organized or otherwise, the above principle must be the controlling
factor as in the past.

In 1922 a change in commissioners took place. Wage changes
made since then have been made only for occupations affected by
changes in rates in the building industry.
DALLAS, TEX.

In February, 1917, the mayor of Dallas, Tex., appointed a com­
mittee of citizens “ to inquire into living costs.” 8 The findings of
the committee were to serve the board of commissioners “ ag a guide
in determining what wage advance to city employees might be
justified.” The committee arranged with 71 families to keep a
record of their expenses for 30 days; 50 of these families returned
the record complete. Of these 50 families, 29 were those of city
employees, and 21 of factory employees. The occupations of these
employees were as follows: Laborers, 24; firemen, 5; clerical, 4; in­
spectors and foremen, 4; mechanics, 3; policemen, 3; clerks and
salesmen, 6; and janitor, 1. These families averaged 4.8 persons.
The average annual income reported by the 50 families was as
follow s:
Amount

T o t a l______________________________________________________

Per cent

$814. 56
30. 72
51. 60
65.95

Salary of father—
Income of m o th e rincome of children
Other income---------

84. 60
3.19
5. 36
6.85

962.83

100.00

The average annual expenditure in 1917 reported by the 50
families was as given below:

_______
Food_____________________
—
--------Clothing8___________________
____
__________
_ «
_
Rent---------------—
Maintenance and operation —
_
_
___
Medical expense
---------------- --Insurance, recreation, etc
___
_ ____
Miscellaneous _
------------T o t a l___________

-

---------

- _

Per
cent

Per
cent of
in­
crease
over

1914

Amount
$510.67
142.66
164.58
103.31
60.06
57.46
95.81

45.01
12.57
14.51
9.11
5.29
5.06
8.45

45.1
35.8

1,134.55

100.00

23.8

_

10.0
10.0

___

10.0

8 Dallas, Tex. Dallas Wage Commission. Keport of Survey Committee!, April 25,1917.
[Dallas, 1917.] 16 pp.
9 The committee stated that multiplying the monthly expense for these items by 12
was subject to question.




112

C H A P. II.---- STATE A N D M U N IC IP A L AGENCIES

From the reports returned and from inquiries by university stu­
dents acting as field workers, the committee concluded (1 ) “ that
with rapidly increasing food and clothing costs, the families are
accumulating debts,” (2) “ that wage and chattel loans are made
and concealed,” and (3) “ that relatives are givin g aid in money
and supplies, which is not divulged.”
Only 1 fam ily reported any cash savings and this was a “ negli­
gible sum ” ; 13, however, reported owning or buying homes. Thirtynine of the fifty families showed a deficit, averaging $20.25 per
month, while 10 showed an average surplus o f $8.86 per month.
The committee also presented the following budgets providing,
respectively, a “ safe normal living cost ” and a “ lowest bare ex­
istence ” for a fam ily o f 5 in 1917.
Budgets for fam ily of 5 in Dallas , Tex., in 1917
Safe normal
living cost

Lowest bare
existence

Food______________ *
___________________________________________1 $481. 00
0
Clothing______________________________________________________ 11136. 00
R en t-------------------------------------------------------------------------------® 164. 58
Operation and maintenance_______________________________
12103.31
Medical_______________________________________________________
1 43. 56
3
Insurance, church, charity, and recreation_______________
1 57. 46
2
C ar fare and sundries----------------------------------------------------1 95. 81
3

$360
136
144
50
12
36
9

Total___________________________________________________ 1,081. 72

747

O f the budget giving the amounts necessary for the lowest bare
existence Miss M ary Gearing, o f the University o f Texas, said:
This amount allows foi* merely the bare necessities of life. It allows noth­
ing fo r education, recreation or savings. The house consists of four rooms
within walking distance of the man’s work and school so as to make car
fare unnecessary.
Food w ill require the most careful planning, buying and preparation,
and the elimination of all waste. It is very doubtful if with the present
high cost of foods and the ignorance in food values of the average woman,
whether the average fam ily w ill be properly nourished on this amount.
Clothing w as planned with the greatest care and could not well be reduced
if the fam ily maintain any standards of decency.

The following itemized list o f articles o f clothing at 1914 and
1917 prices was submitted by the committee:1
4
Man
Cost,
1917
,
$0.50
1 cap------------------1.50
1 hat_____
1 overcoat ($7.50; worn
2.50
three years) _
_ 10.00
1 s u it-----1. 50
1 pair pants

Cost,
1914
$0. 42
1.00
2.00
7. 35
1.15

Cost,
1917
2 pairs of overalls, at
$1.25
$2. 50
______
3 working shirts, at 40
cents, bought at sale. 1.20
2 white shirts, at 58
1.16
cents------ —
.

Cost,
1914
$1. 60
1.05
.90

10 Estimate of Miss Joan Hamilton, of the department of domestic economy, Southern
Methodist University. This allowed the following weekly expense®: Meat, $1.38; eggs
and milk, $2.31; butter, 75 cen ts; fruit, 75 cen ts; bread, $1.10; groceries, $1.52; canned
and fresh vegetables, $1.44.
11 Estimate of Miss Mary Gearing, of the domestic science department, University of
Texas.
1 Based on. Dallas survey of 50 families.
2
1 Based on, Dallas survey of 9 families.
3
14 This list was submitted by Miss Mary Gearing, of the home economics department,
University of Texas.




113

DALLAS, TEX.

Man— Continued
Cost.,
1917
6 collars, at 15 cents___ $0. 90
4 ties, at 10 cents and
15 c e n t s ____ _______
.50
6 handkerchiefs, at 5
cents and 10 cents.
.45
2 suits summer under­
wear, at 50 cents.. 1.00
2 suits winter under­
wear, at 75 cents. _ 1.50
6 pairs hose, at 15 cents.
.90

Cost,
1914

Cost,
1917

$0. 75 2 pairs shoes, at $2.50
and $3.50. ._ $6.00
.42 2 n i g h t s h i r t s , at 50
cents
1.00
.38 l p a i r suspenders_
.25
1 pair garters. _
.
..
. 25
,75 1 pair gloves ___-------. 15
Repair of shoes_ ______ 1.50
_
1.15
T o tal. . .60
. 35. 26

Cost,
1914
$4. 60
.70
.19
.15
.09
1.15
26. 40

Woman
Cost,
1917
1 summer hat_____1____ $0.98
1 winter hat _ _
1.98
1 coat at $7.50, two
years------------------------- 3. 75
D resses:
2 wash, at $1.25— 2.50
1 wool, at $6.50,
two years
3.25
3 waists, at 50 cents
and 75 cents, made
at home___ __________
1.75
Petticoats:
1 black sateen, at
75 cents, 2 years.
.38
1 gingham, at 35
cents
.35
1 white, at 65 cents
.65
4 corset covers, at 25
cents - .
1.00

Cost,
1914
$0. 89
1.69
2,50
1.80
2.00

1.10
.24
.23
.49

Cost,
1917
1 corset_________________ $0. 75
2 suits summer under­
wear, at 50 cents,.. 1.00
2 suits winter under­
wear, at 50 cents___ 1.00
2 gowns at 50 cents__ 1.00
3 bungalow aprons at
59 cents
1.77
6 pairs hose at 15
cents
.90
2 pairs shoes at $2.50__ 5. 00
Repairs of shoes______
1. 50
1 wool skirt
___ 3. 50
1 w ash sk ir t ....
1. 48
1 kim ono_______________ 1.00
Sundries________________
3.00
Total

Cost,
1914
$0. 50
.78
.78
.90
1.47
.75
3. 70
1.15
2. 70
. 98
.75
1. 50

38. 49

27. 50

Cost,
1917

Cost,
1914

. 60

Boy
Cost,
1917
cap ----------------------- $0.50
overcoat or sweater 2.00
suit
_ _ 2. 50
pair pants--------------.50
.70
waists at 35 cents..
suits summer under­
w ear at 25 cents___
.50
2 suits winter under­
w ear at 50 cents—
1.00
6 pairs of hose at 10
cents_________________
.60
2 n i g h t s h i r t s at 35
cents
.70

1
1
1
1
2
2




Cost,
1914
$0. 35
1. 25
1. 85
.35
.50

2 pairs shoes at $2.50__ $5.00
Repair of shoes
1.50
6 handkerchiefs at 5
cents
_ _ _ _
.30
1 jersey
. .
1. 50

$4. 00
1.15
20
1. 00

Total_____ ______

17.30
2

12. 65
2

34. 60

.35

25.30

.70
.45
.50

114

CH A P. II.---- STATE A N D M U N IC IP A L AGENCIES

G irl
Cost,
1917
1 summer hat__________ $0. 50
1 winter hat__________ 1.00
1 coat___________________ 3.00
D resses:
4 wash,at 50 cents 2.00
1 wool_____________ 1.50
2 petticoats, at 35 cents
.70
4 body waists, at 15
cents ----------------------.60
4 pair drawers, at 25
1. 00
cents_________________

Cost,
1917

Cost,
1914
$0. 39
.89
1.98
1. CO
1.25
.46
.44
. 60

2 suits winter under­
wear, at 50 cents__$1.00
2 gowns, at 35 cents__
. 70
6
handkerchiefs,
at
5 cents_______________
.30
6 pairs hose, at 10 cents
.60
2 pairs shoes, at $2___ 4. 00
Repairs of shoes_______ 1. 00
4 ribbons, at 15 cents__
. 60
Total_____________18.50

Cost,
1914
$0.78
. 60
.18
.45
3. 25
.75
. 50
14.12

A n allowance o f $10 per year (15 cents a week for toilet soap and
5 cents a week for laundry soap) was also included. The cost o f the
fam ily budget fo r the two years was, therefore, as follow s:
1917

1914

1917

M an____________________ $35.26 $26.40
Woman__________ ^____
38. 49
27. 50
Tw o boys at $17.30
34. 60 25. 30
G i r l ____________________ 18. 50
14.12
126. 85

W ashing and laundry- $10.00

1914
$7. 50

Total___________ 136. 85 100. 82
Increased cost, 35.8 per cent.

93. 32

M I L W A U K E E , W IS .

In 1920, the common council of the city o f Milwaukee asked the
city service commission to study the salaries in the classified service
and to make recommendations fo r a thorough revision theihof. The
study wasi to cover the salaries o f all employees o f the city in the
following services: Clerical, engineering, laboratory, medical (in
schools and hospitals), nursing, inspection and supervising (in ­
spector o f garbage collection, sanitary inspector, food inspector,
quarantine officer, building inspector, e tc .); investigational (tax in­
vestigator and appraiser, tax assessor, etc.) ; custodial; domestic and
institutional, engineman, skilled labor (X -ra y operator, teamster,
elevator operator, electrical mechanic, superintendent o f machinery) ;
official (justice o f the peace, city clerk, commissioner o f health, com­
missioner o f public works, city attorney, mayor) ; legal (assistant
city attorneys) ; fire (pipeman, inspector, etc.) ; fire engineman (en­
gineer, fireman, etc.) ; police.
The commission appointed a committee which made studies of the
follow ing phases o f the subject:1 (1 ) Cost-of-living studies in the
5
city o f Milwaukee; (2) market value o f services in the city o f M il­
waukee, to be determined by wages paid by private employers; (3)
labor turnover in private employment as compared with labor turn­
over in the city service; (4) supply o f employees fo r city employ­
ment; (5) livin g conditions o f city employees; (6) trend o f prices;
and (7) salaries in other cities.
In considering the cost o f living, the committee, in addition to
making its own survey in Milwaukee, consulted the reports o f the
15 Milwaukee (Wis.) Common. Council.




Journal of Proceedings, Nov. 15, 1920.

P. 694.

MILWAUKEE, WIS.

115

Bureau o f Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve Bank, the National
Industrial Conference Board, Duns, Bradstreets, The Annalist, and
the University o f Wisconsin.
A reclassification and salary standardization o f all city positions
having been made in 1917, 1917 was taken as the date with which
to compare the cost o f livin g in 1920, consideration being given,
however, to the fact that in 1919, because o f the increased cost o f
living, a flat increase o f $25 had been made in all salaries. In the
survey o f 1920, retail prices were secured from local dealers fo r the
years 1917 and 1920— those o f food for 21 articles from one large
department store and one up-town meat market, these being weighted
according to their consumption in 1901 as shown by the Bureau o f
Labor Statistics; those o f clothing, fo r a selected list fo r husband,
wife, 2 boys and 1 girl, from 3 department stores; those for rent
from real estate men and the rent bureau o f the Railroad Rate Com­
mission o f Wisconsin; those fo r fuel and ligh t from the figures
showing the average percentage increase in prices o f stove and
chestnut coal published by Bureau o f Labor Statistics; and those
fo r sundries being the average o f the percentages o f increase shown
by Bureau o f Labor Statistics and National Industrial Conference
Board. The per cent o f increase as shown in each o f these groups
was then weighted by the proportion that the group formed o f the
total budget. Thi$ method o f weighting was followed with all
groups except sundries. “ The men with the higher incomes already
have a surplus for miscellaneous and sundry items on their present
salary, and, since the lower income groups are being deprived o f
these miscellaneous items in order to live, it was deemed advisable
to make a graded scale fo r the increase in the cost o f sundries, de­
creasing as the income increases.” 1
6
The employees were divided into seven salary classes as follow s: 1
7
Those receiving under $900; $900 to $1',200; $i,201 to $1,500; $1,501
to $1,800; $1,801 to $2,100; $2,101 to $2,500; and over $2,500.
The percentages computed by the Bureau o f Labor Statistics fo r
Milwaukee for each o f these income classes, showing the proportion
o f the total expenditure spent for each group o f the cost o f living,
such as food or clothing,1 were applied to the percentages o f in­
8
crease in the cost o f these commodities in 1920 when compared with
the cost in 1917. The increase in the cost o f livin g in 1920 over
1917 was found to have varied from 40 per cent to 50 per cent.
These percentage increases in the total cost o f livin g were then
applied to the 1917 salaries. F or each service, a table was submitted
to the common council showing fo r each position the salary in 1917
and in 1919', the salary for 1920 as it would be i f adjusted exactly
. to the increase in the cost o f living, the market value o f the position,
and the salary recommended by the commission. In making its
recommendations, age and length o f service were taken into con­
sideration to a slight degree, but the main considerations were the
cost <5f livin g since 1917 and the market value o f the position.
“ Unless conditions warranted, this salary was not set, except in a
very few cases, less than the higher figure as shown by either the
16 Milwaukee (W is.), City Service Commission. Cost-of-Living Report. (Typewritten.)
17 Milwaukee (Wis) Common Council. Journal of Proceedings, Nov. 15, 1920. P. 695.
18 These percentages by income groups are shown in Monthly Labor Review, June, 1919,
p. 113.




116

C H A P . II.---- STATE A N D M U N IC IP A L AGENCIES

cost o f livin g or the outside salary.5 1 The salary determined upon
59
was then expanded into a range covering the different years o f
service. The council accepted with few changes the recommenda­
tions o f the commission for the salaries during 1921. The ordinance
o f November 30, 1921, fixed practically the same salaries for 1922
as were set for 1921. No changes were made for the year 1923, but
the changes made for 1924 were based partly on the cost o f living.1
2
9
0
NEW YORK, N. Y.
In February, 1915, the bureau o f standards in conjunction with
the bureau o f municipal research, both o f the city o f New York,
made a survey o f the cost o f living o f an unskilled laborer’s fam ily
in the city ox New Y o rk and submitted the results o f this survey
as a report to the committee on salaries and grades o f the board
o f estimate and apportionment o f New Y ork City.2
1
In its report the bureau o f standards stated:
Upon the theory that the city of N ew York wishes to pay its employees
salaries or wages which bear a proper relation to the salaries or wages pre­
vailing among representative private employers, and.at the same time wishes
itself to be a model employer, the bureau of standards decided that it was
essential to make some study of the cost of living for unskilled laborers in the
city of N ew York. The tentative specifications for the street-cleaning service
were ready for form al submission to the board of estimate and apportionment
and the question had arisen as to the proper salaries to be paid the rank and
file of this department. It w as therefore decided to submit in connection with
the tentative specifications for the street-cleaning service the study of the
minimum cost of maintaining a decent standard of living for an unskilled
laborer’s family.

As a basis for this study a fam ily o f five was selected “ after care­
ful consideration o f the average size o f families, among laborers in
general, in the United States, in the city o f New York, and among
the rank and file o f the department o f street cleaning in particular.
* * * I t need hardly be stated that there are a very large number
o f laborers5families in the street-cleaning and other city departments
which consist o f four or more children below 14 years o f age. I t was
not, however, the purpose o f the bureau o f standards to select for
experiment the budget o f a large fam ily at the time the demands on
the wage earner were greatest.5
5
From its study the bureau o f standards concluded that an un­
skilled laborer’s fam ily could not maintain a standard o f livin g con­
sistent with American ideas fo r less than $840; its recommendations
provided for no maximum rate below $840 fo r the rank and file in
the street-cleaning department and in the bureaus o f street cleaning
for Queens and Richmond. Below is an example given by the bureau
to show the practical application o f the rate:
The flat rate paid to sweepers in the department of street cleaning up to
January 1, 1915, was $780. In September, 1914, a range of salary o f from$720 to $816 w as recommended tentatively by the bureau o f standards. In ­
creases to the rate of $792 were actually incorporated in the annual taxdmdget

1 Milwaukee (Wis.) Common Council. Journal of Proceedings,. Nov. 15, 1920, p. 696.
9
20 In general, the salary increases for 1924 were for positions which were considered
slightly underpaid or were for those positions where there had been a general iucrease
in salaries in services outside of the city. (Letters of Mr. Mark H. Place, secretary,
City Service Commission, Nov. 20 and Nov. 30, 1923.)
2 New York City. Bureau of Standards. Report on the cost of living for an unskilled
1
laborer’s family in New York City. New York, 1915, 57 pp.




NEW YORK, N . Y.

117

fo r 1915. A s a result o f the minimum-wage study, the range of salary finally
recommended for sweepers is from $720 to $840, with increases of $24 after
not less than one year o f service. This salary range is based upon the theory
that a sweeper enters the department with little or no family responsibility
and at a slightly lower salary than the average pay fo r similar labor in pri­
vate employment. Thereafter his salary is increased after each year or two
years o f satisfactory service up to a point at which his fam ily obligations are
greatest. A t this point his salary rate should approximate the minimum cost
of decent living.

The rates recommended by the bureau o f standards as a result o f
the minimum-wage study in 1915 were incorporated in the tax budget.
Before January, 1917, however, conditions had so changed that
the principle o f fixing the minimum wage as the maximum o f the
scale was recognized as being too conservative. The department o f
street cleaning was no longer able to get sweepers at $720, the mini­
mum rate, and large numbers o f sweepers and other employees o f
higher rank were leaving the service to accept employment with pri­
vate establishments. In February, 1917, the minimum rate for
sweepers was raised to $792, and similar increases were made to other
employees.
The report made by the bureau o f personal service in 19172
2
stated:
* * * W ithin less than a month after these increases were made [in
February, 1917] the following statement w as. made in a letter from the street­
cleaning commissioner to the director of the bureau of personal service:
“ Yesterday a delegation of sweepers waited upon me and stated that the
cost of food and necessities of life had so increased o f late that they were
unable to live decently on present salaries. I w as much impressed by the
statements made by the men, and believe that a survey of their living condi­
tions should be made before the next revision of salary schedules is made at
the end of this month. I should be glad to have your views as to the possi­
bility of making such a survey within the next 10 days.”
A survey such as that requested by the street-cleaning commissioner had
already been made in connection with the publication of a new edition of
the standard specifications for personal service for the purpose of revising the
original study of the cost of living in accordance with the abnormal rise in
♦he price of necessities. The conclusions drawn, from this survey are em­
bodied in the following report. They indicate that the cost of living for the
laborer’s fam ily of five persons, selected in the original report, has risen from
$840 to approximately $980; that is, about 16% per cent. It is not, of course,
to be assumed that the present conditions are likely to continue indefinitely.
The various Government agencies and committees appointed to report on or
cope with the high cost of living w ill probably bring about considerable re­
duction in prices and w ill relieve the scarcity of certain products. It is, how­
ever, reasonable to assume that $840 can not be recommended as a maximum
rate fo r unskilled laborers in the revised edition of the standard specifications
if it is intended that the city of N ew York shall meet conditions in representa­
tive private employment or shall itself be a model employer. The maximum
rate recommended for sweepers has, therefore, been raised from $840 to $888,
and similar increases in the maximum rates have been recommended in a
number of other groups of employees. In addition, in order to preserve proper
distinction between unskilled and slightly skilled employees, it has been found
necessary to recommend higher rates for a number of slightly skilled employees.
These proposed changes are thought to be very conservative. They do not
meet the present abnormal conditions as fa r as the minimum rates are con­
cerned.

The rates recommended in the 1917 report were approved by the
board o f estimate and apportionment.2
3
23 New York City Board of Estimate and Apportionment. Bureau of Personal Service.
Report on the increased cost of living for an. unskilled laborer’s family in New York City,
New York, 1917, 32 pp.




118

CHAP. II.— STATE AND MUNICIPAL AGENCIES

Below is given a summary o f the two budgets which formed the
basis o f the salary recommendations fo r the unskilled laborer in the
New Y ork city service:
1915

1917

Housing_______________________________________________________ $168. 00
C ar fa re _______________________________________________________
30. 30
Food__________________________________________________________
383. 812
Clothing_______________________________________________________ 104.20
42.75
Fuel and light________________________________________________
H ealth_____ , _________________________________________________
_
20.00
Insurance_____________________________________________________
22. 88
Sundries---------------------------------------------------------------------------73.00
Total per year__________________________________________

$168. 00
30.30
492.388
127.10
46.75
20.00
22.88
73. 00

844.942

980.418

Sundries classified:
Papers and other
reading matter-------------------------------------------------Recreation___________________________________________________________
Furniture, utensils, fixtures, moving expenses, etc_____________
Church dues------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Incidentals— Soap, washing material, stamps etc---------------------Total____________________________________________________________

5.00
40.00
18.00
5.00
5.00
73.00

The following are the itemized food and clothing budgets used in
1915 and 1917:
MINIMUM FOOD BUDGET FOR ONE WEEK FOR FAMILY OF FIVE, WITH CURRENT
PRICES i
1915
Item

Price
per
unit

Meat and fish:
5 pounds beef____________________________________________ $0.16
.12
)4pound beef for stew_____________________________________
2 pounds pork, at 14 cents a pound___________________________
2 pounds ham, at 18 cents pound, in 1915, average___________ ___
.18
1 pound chicken (4 pounds per month)________________________
.12
1)4 pounds fresh fish______________________________________

.33
.20
.32
.06

Total........................................................................1.........................
Cereals:
21 loaves of bread.........•
___ ______________ ______ ___________
1 dozen rolls____________________________________________
2 pounds cake_____________________________________ _ _ _
Rice, 1 pound per month............. ............ .............................................
Flour, 3)4 pounds twice a month.................. ...................... .................
Oatmeal, 2)4 pounds............... ........51...................................................
Total................................. ............-................................................. ,

Total Price Total
per
cost unit cost
$0.80 $0.20
.06
.16
.32
.18
.18

.22
.23
.15

1.54

Total...................................................................................................
Eggs and dairy products:
1 pound butter___________________________________________
)4 pound cheese______________________________________ ___
2 dozens eggs___ _________ _______________ _________ _____
16 quarts milk........................................... ............................... ............

1917

.33
.10
.64
.96

1.05
.10
.20
.017
.078
.10
1.545

.44
.23
.225
1.975

.41
.27
.42
.08

2.03
.05
.10
.10
.07

$1.00
.08

.41
.135
.84
1.28
2.665

.06
.12
.20
.08
.07
.05

1.26
.12
.40
.02
.122
.125
2.047

Vegetables, fruits, etc.:
6 quarts potatoes____________ ____ ___________ ____________
.08
.48 *.10
.60
Turnips or carrots............................. ......................................... ...........
.05
8.06
2 pounds onions_________________________________________
.03
.06
.08
.16
Fresh vegetables__________ ___ ________ _____ ___________
.75
4.937
Dried beans and peas, J4 pound.—
................................
.05
.14
.07
Can of tomatoes.............................................. ......... ......................... .. .10
.12
.12
.10
Can of corn (monthly)...........................................................................
.025 .12
.10
.03
1 The prices of these commodities were obtained during the months of January and February, 1915, and
February, 1917.
2 At 5 cents per pound.
8 Average 20 per cent increase in cost.
* Average 25 per cent increase in cost.




119

NEW YORK, N . Y.

MINIMUM FOOD BUDGET FOR ONE WEEK FOR FAMILY OF FIVE, WITH CURRENT
PRIC E S—Continued
11
95

11
97

Price
per
unit

Vegetables, fruits, etc.—Continued.
Fresh fruit.......................... ..........
Dried prunes, 1 pound per month.

Total Price Total
per
unit cost

$0.14

Item

$0.25
.035 $0.14

2.262

1.80

Total..............-..........................
Sugar, tea, coffee, etc.:
1 pound coffee.............................. .
1 % pounds sugar...........................
Syrup........ ....................................
Pickles, spices, etc.........................
y i pound tea..................................

.20

.05y2
.40

.20
.096
.02

.05
.10

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

.20

.08
.40

.20

.14
.02

.06
.10

.52

.466

Total cost of food per week..................
Total cost of food per year...................

$0.25
.035

7.381
3
83.812

9.469
4
92.388

MINIMUM CLOTHING BUDGET FOR ONE YEAR FOR FAMILY OF FIVE, WITH CUR­
RENT PRICES
1915

Item

B oy

M an

2 caps......... ...................................... $0.75
1 suit................................................. 8.00
1 overcoat (last 3 years)___ _ _
5.00
1 pair pants___________________ 1.50
3 working shirts_______________ 1.50
.50
1 white shirt__________________
3 collars______________________
.30
9 jJC lOUV A ....
Anaira nvorallaO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.50
u
C c«U
.20
2 ties.................................................
f\ pairs hose
.60
3 pairs shoes...................................... 6.00
Repair of shoes (twice) _ ................. 1.50
Summer underwear (2 suits)_____ 1.50
W inter underwear ( 2 suits') _
1.50
.25
nioth for nightshirt____________
.50
Gloves and mittens_____________
4 handkerchiefs____________ i ___ .20
Sundries_____________________
.50

$1.00
10.00
6.00
2.00
1.80
.60
.45
2.00
!20
.60
7.50
1.50
2.00
2.00
.25
.50
.20
.50

Total....................................... 31.80

39.10

W om an

$0.90
1.35
6.00
1.50
.50
.30
.50

Total....................................... 14.80

20.00

B o y (6 years

1 cap ____

__

.25
1.00
.50
1.00
.60
.30
.30
160
3 pairs shoes
3 00
Repair of shoes (3 limes).................. l! 50
Mittens............................................. .50
3 handkerchiefs________________
.10
2 Ferris waists................................... .30
Total............................ ......... 9.95
1 summer suit.................................
1 overcoat (last 2 years)....................
6 pairs stockings...............................
3 waists (material)............................
Summer underwear (3 suits)
Winter underwear (3 suits)..............

36.40

3 petticoats.......................................

fi pairs stockings
2 pairs shoes
__
Repairs of shoes (twice/)

_________

Summer underwear (3 su its).._
Winter underwear (3 suits). . .
Mittens_____________ ________
Rubbers_____________________
Linens and sundries __

B o y ( I S y ea rs

)

2 caps_____ ________________
1 winter suit__________________
1 summer suit..
____________
1 overcoat (last 2 years)_________
......

.50
2.00
1.00
1.50
.60
.50

.50
3.95
1.25
2.00
.60
.65

.25
1.75
.50
1.50
.60
.40
.30
!eo

3 75
1.50
.50
.15
.30
12.10

O i r l (1 0 y e a rs )

2




_

1 winter suit

____________ 29.75

9 wash dresses

2 petticoats.......................................
3 aprons............................................
6handkerchiefs____ ___________

A pairs stnekings
3 waists (material)

)

2 hats—winter 75 cents, summer 50
cents............ .................................
1 stocking cap (school).....................
1 coat Oast 2 years)..........................
2 winter dresses (material)...............
2 summer dresses (material)....... ....
1 sweater................................. .........
6 handkerchiefs.................................
6 pairs stockings...............................

3 waists______________________

.

—Continued.

2.00
5.00
9.00
1.50
2.50
1.00
.45
.30
.60
6.00
1.00
.75
1.35
.25
.70
4.00

1 suit

1917

Summer underwear (3 suits)............ $0.60
Winter underwear (3 suits).............
.90
3 pairs shoes..... ......................... ...... 4.50
Repair of shoes (3 times)................ 1.50
Mittens................................... ........ .50
6 handkerchiefs................ ................ .20
Sundries............................................
.50

2.00
4.00
6.00
1.50
2.50
1.00
.45
.30
.60
4.00
1.00
.60
1.05
.25
.50
4.00

2 hats Oast 2 years) _____________
1 coat (last 2 years)_____________

Total.

1915

Item

1917

1.25
.25
2.00
2.00
1.00
1.00
.20
.50
. 50
.75
.45
.60
.90
3.00
1.00
.50
2.00

1.25
.25
2.50
2.00
1.00
1.00
.30
.50
.50
.75
45
.75
1.05
3.50
1.00
.70
2.00

_____ ..... 17.90

19.50

pairs mittens

3 "Ferris waists

Summer underwear (3 suits)............
Winter underwear (3 suits).............
2 pairs shoes.....................................
Repair of shoes (twice)__________
Rubbers_____________________
Sundries___ _________ ________
Total.

120

C H A P. II.---- STATE A N D M U N IC IP A L AGENCIES

MINIMUM CLOTHING BUDGET FOR ONE YEAR FOR FAMILY OF FIVE, WITH CUR­
RENT PRICES—Continued
Clothing summary
1915

Item
M an ____________ ____ _
_
Woman____ ______ _______________________ . _ __________ _ _ ___ _ __ __
Girl 10 years______________________________ _
__________
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ ___
B oy 13 years______ _________________ ^____ ____ ___________ ______ _____ ______
B oy 6 years_______ _____________ _____ _______________________
. . . ____________
Total per year.____________________

_ _ _ __________ ____

_ _ ___ _______

1917

$31.80
29. 75
17. 90
14. 80
9. 95

$39.10
36.40
19.50

104. 20

127.10

2 .0
00
1 .1
20

T h e secre ta ry o f th e bo ard o f estim ates and ap p o rtion m en t o f N ew
Y o r k C it y sta te d : 66T h e rates recom m ended in the co st-o f-liv in g
studies o f 1915 and 19 17 w ere em bodied in the bu d gets o f th e y e a rs
fo llo w in g these rep o rts,” and th a t, a lth o u g h th ere has been no d e­
ta ile d stu d y o f th e increase in th e cost o f liv in g to c ity em ployees
since 1917, the increased cost o f liv in g has been tak en in to co n sid er­
atio n to some ex ten t in fix in g sa laries in th e budgets.
%
P H IL A D E L P H IA , PA .

T h e bu reau o f m u n icip a l research o f P h ila d e lp h ia u n d erto o k in
19 17 to co llect in fo rm a tio n re la tiv e to the u tiliza tio n o f goods and
services in ord er to fu rn ish to the finance com m ittee o f th e c ity coun­
c il a d eta iled statem ent sh o w in g th e am ounts o f goods and services
necessary fo r a f a i r sta n d a rd o f l i v i n g 23 fo r lab orers em p loyed b y
th e c ity and cu rren t p rices o f these q u an tities to show w h eth er or n o t
th e c ity w as p a y in g to its lab orers a w a g e adequate fo r the p u rch ase
o f these com m odities.24
D a ta as to household ex p en d itu res w ere collected, th e fa m ilie s fo r
w h ich figures w ere secured bein g lim ited to se lf-su p p o rtin g fa m ilie s
w hose incom e fro m th e p rin c ip a l w a g e earn er d id n ot exceed $2,000,
and in w h ich th ere w as a t least one ch ild u nd er th e in com e-earn in g
age. F a m ilie s o f sk illed or u n sk illed lab orers w ere p referred , b u t
fa m ilie s o f w a g e earn ers in other o ccu pation s w ere tak en i f m eetin g
th e oth er requirem ents. T h e d ata collected covered the p erio d A u ­
g u st 1 5 ,1 9 1 6 , to M a y 1 5 ,1 9 1 8 . O f the 260 fa m ilie s w hose re p o rt w as
com plete en ou gh to use, 203 w ere A m e ric a n born. T h e a v era g e
num ber o f ch ild ren in these 260 fa m ilie s w as 3.03.
T h e elim in ation o f a ll ch ild ren over 16 m ade the a vera ge p er
fa m ily 2.82 ch ild ren . T h e a vera g e to ta l incom e p er fa m ily w as
$1,262.09, o f w h ich am ount 84.8 p er cen t w as con trib uted b y the
h u sb a n d ; 6.3 p er cent b y the c h ild r e n ; 5.9 p e r cen t b y oth ers liv in g
w ith th e fa m ily , p r in c ip a lly b oard ers and lo d g e r s ; 1.3 p e r cent b y
23 Thisi designation was later changed to “ a minimum standard of health, and decency.”
(Philadelphia Bureau of Municipal Research. Citizens’ Business No. 463, p. 3.)
24 Philadelphia Bureau of Municipal Research. Workingmen’s Standard of Living in
Philadelphia. New York, 1919, 125 pp.




P H IL A D E L P H IA , PA.

121

th e w ife ; and 1.7 p er cent b y other m em bers o f th e fa m ily and fro m
o th er sources.25
I n ad d itio n to these estim ates, the records, k e p t b y 31 fam ilies, o f
th e q u an tities and the costs o f the d ifferen t fo o d a rticles purch ased
d u rin g a t least 3 w eeks, and sim ila r reco rd s o f 4 fa m ilies k ep t in
19 13 -14 , as w e ll as other p revio u s co st-o f-liv in g studies and the
opinion s o f certain sp ecialists, w ere used b y th e bureau in d eterm in ­
in g th e q u an tities o r am ounts th a t should be a llo w ed in a b u d get a f ­
fo r d in g a fa ir stan d ard o f liv in g fo r laborers. B ased upon a ll these
sources o f in fo rm atio n , a b u d get w as p rep a red as rep resen tative o f
a fa ir sta n d a rd o f liv in g . T h e p rice o f each item w a s th en secured
fro m lo ca l sources and th e to ta l cost o f th e b u d g et com puted. T h is
cost at p rices in the autum n o f 1918 w as $1,636.79. O f th is total,
$1,352.72 w as fo r fo o d , clo th in g , housing, fu e l and lig h t, ca r fa re , and
clea n in g su p p lies and services. T h e bureau, fro m the fa m ily esti­
m ates collected b y it and also fro m oth er studies o f the cost o f liv in g ,
th ou gh t th a t the cost o f th e o th er item s (h e a lth ; fu rn itu re and fix ­
tu res; taxes, dues, and co n trib u tio n s; ed u cation and re a d in g ; in su r­
ance; and m iscellaneous expen ditu res) w o u ld v a r y in about th e same
p ro p o rtio n as th e cost o f the other item s and th a t th erefo re the cost
fo r these item s w o u ld b ea r a definite ratio to th e cost o f the item s o f
the b u d get fo r w h ich q u a n tity consum ption could be specified. I n
the fa m ily estim ates it w as fo u n d th a t the cost o f the item s fo r w h ich
no qu an tities w ere g iv e n w a s 21 p er c e n t 26 o f the cost o f those com ­
m od ities fo r w h ich q u a n tity consum ption w as stated. T h e cost o f
th is p a r t o f th e b u d g e t w as th ere fo re fo u n d in th e la tte r p a r t o f
1918 b y ta k in g 21 p er cent o f th e cost o f the articles fo r w h ich qu an­
tities w ere specified, and am ounted to $284.07. T h is m ethod o f find­
in g the cost o f those item s fo r w h ich no an n ual q u an tities h ave been
g iv e n h as been continued b y the bu reau in its la ter studies.
B e lo w are g iv e n the qu an tities o f the item s inclu ded b y the bureau
in its b u d get rep resen tin g a fa ir stan d ard o f liv in g fo r the fa m ily 27
o f a lab o rer in P h ila d e lp h ia and the to ta l an n u al cost at p rices in
th e autum n o f 1918.
25 The family terminology conformed closely but not exactly to that used by the United
States Bureau of Labor Statistics in its study in, 1016 and was as follow s:
“ ‘ Family ’ covers everyone living in the household, including boarders and lodgers.
“ ‘ Net fam ily’ * * * covers husbands, wives, dependent children, such working
children as contribute their whole income, and other persons living with the family who
are supported out of the family fund and who contribute their income, if any, to the
family fund.
“ *Children ’ includes children not working and also those who< turn over their entire
earnings to the family and receive their support from the common family fund.
“ ‘ Other members, of net family ’ includes all members of family, other than husbands,
wires, and their children, who are supported from the common family fund and con­
tribute their earnings, if any, to the family fund,
“ ‘ Others living with family ’ includes boarders and lodgers, and all other persons,
whether related to the family or not;, who are not included in. other classes. Thus, it
includes aged relatives who are supported, in part, from funds other than that of the
family."
26 In the study made in March, 1921, this 21 per cent was itemized as follow s: Health,
3.1 per cent, for physician, dentist, oculist,, medicine ; furniture, 3.3 per cent for replace­
ment of household equipment; taxes, dues, and contributions, 2.3 per cent, for church,
lodge, labor union, gifts, taxes; recreation and amusement,, 1.5 per cent, for movies,
playthings, excursions; education and reading, 1.2 per cent, for newspapers, school,
postage, stationery; insurance, 3.8 per cent; miscellaneous expenditures, 5.8 per cent for
spending money, moving, legal and funeral expenses and incidentals. (Citizens’ Business,
No. 463, p. 11.)
27 The standard family has been taken by the bureau to consist of a husband, wife, boy
of 13, girl of 10, and boy of 6.




122

CHAP. II.— STATE AND M UNICIPAL AGENCIES

COST OF BUDGET REPRESENTING FAIR STANDARD OF LIVING FOR LABORER IN
PHILADELPHIA AT PRICES IN AUTUMN OF 1918

,

Item

Price
per
unit,
autumn
of 1918

Annual Annual
quan­ - cost,
tity prices of
con­ autumn
sumed of 1918

t
F u e l a n d lig h t

Coal, pea.................................................................................................... -ton.. $8.45
Coal, stove................................................................................................. ad___ 9.90
2X
Gas................................................................................................... 1,000 cu.ft__ 1.00
126
Matches............................................................................................ box of 500..
.06 • 52
Total...........................................................................................................

$21.13
24.75
26.00
3.12
75.00

Food

Bread and cereals:
Bread...........................................................................................16-oz. loaf..
Buns and rolls........................................................................... 24-oz. doz.1*_
2_
Cakes, miscellaneous........................................................................pound..
Corn meal__________________ _____________________ _____ do___
Cornstarch.................................................................................16-oz. pkg__
Flour, wheat................................................................................12-lb. bag..
Macaroni.................................................................................... 12-oz. pkg..
Oatmeal........................................................................................... pound..
Rice....................... .................................................... ........................do___

.08
.15
.23
.05
.08
.75
.12
.07
.13

988
8 52
13
26
13
13
13
52
39

Total......................................................................................................
Meats and fish:
Beef—equal parts of brisket, chuck, and round..............................pound..
Chicken___ ______________ . . .
_
_ .
.do
Fish, fresh........................................................................................... do___
Fish, salt............................................................................................. do___
Pork....................................................................................................do___

112.19
.38
.40
.20
.20
.43

3286
26
78
13
65

Total................................................................................................. .........
Meat substitutes:
Beans, dried.....................................................................................pound..
Cheese............. .................... .................. .......... ............................ ..do___
Eggs............................. ............................................................ ........dozen. _
Milk, fresh.................. .......... ......................................................... quart..
Peas, dried.......................................................................................pound..
Total...........................................................................................................
#
Shortening:
Butter.............................................................................................. pound..
Lard.....................................................................................................do___
Oleomargarine _
_ ..... _ _ _ _ _
do

.17
.36
.60
.15
.11

13
26
78
728
13

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

2.21
9.36
46.80
109.20
1.43
169.00

.70
.32
.36

26
32.5
65

18.20
10.40
23.40
52.00

.05
39
.05
39
.20
13
.03
813
•02M 91
.60
78
1
.60
.40
4
.40
4
.48
13

Total....... ............................ ......................................................................
Canned vegetables:
Corn__________________________ ______________ ____ 19-oz. can
Peas _________ . . . . . .
dn
Tomatoes.............................................................................................do___

108.68
10.40
15.60
2.60
27.95
165.23

Total......................................... ............................... .................................
Fresh vegetables:
Cabbage............................................................... .................... 42-lb. head..
*
Carrots_________________________________________ * 2-lb. bunch. _
Corn________________________________________________ dozen. _
Lettuce..................................................................................... 84-oz. head..
Onions...................................................... ................................ ......pound..
Potatoes, Irish.....................................................................................peck..
Potatoes, sweet................................................................................... do___
Spinach................................................................................................do ..
String beans........................................................................................ do . . .
Tomatoes.............................................................................................do___

79.04
7.80
2.99
1.30
1.04
9.75
1.56
3.64
5.07

1.95
1.95
2.60
.39
2.28
46.80
.60
L 60
1.60
6.24
66.01

.17
.16
.14

13
13
52

2.21
2.08
7.28
11.57

1 Changed in March, 1921, to 31.1.
8 August, 1920, buns, forty-one and six-tenths 15-ounce dozens, and rolls, twenty-six 24-ounce dozens;
March, 1923, rolls, thirty-nine 16-ounce dozens.
8 In March, 1921, divided as follows: Brisket, 95 pounds; chuck, 96 pounds; and round, 95 pounds.
4 March, 1923, changed to pound.
8March, 1923, changed to seven 8-ounce heads.




123

PHILADELPHIA, PA.

COST OF BUDGET REPRESENTING FAIR STANDARD OF LIVING FOR LABORER IN
PHILADELPHIA AT PRICES IN AUTUMN OF 1918—Continued
Price
per
unit,
autumn
of 1918

Item

Fresh fruits:
Apples.....................
Oranges...................
Peaches..................

Annual
quan­
tity
con­
sumed

Annual
cost,
prices of
autumn
of 1918

Food—Continued
..peck.. $0.64
.dozen.. .30
..peek.. .40

13
19.6
6.5

$8.32
5.86

2.60
16.77

Total....................
Dried fruits:
Prunes....................
Raisins...................

_ pound. .
_
,15-oz. pkg__

.13
.13

13

.

6 5

1.69
.85
2.54

Total....................
Sugars:
Molasses.................
Sugar, granulated..

.«18-oz. can._
....... pound—

.14
«26
. 1 0 H 234

3.64
24.57
28.21

Total....................
Beverages:
Cocoa.....................
Coffee.....................
Tea.........................

.8-oz.can—
...pound—
___ do___

.15

.21

.48

13
52
13

1.95
10.92
6.24
19.11

Total...................
Miscellaneous:
Baking powder.
Ice....................
Pickles.............
Salt...................

2^-oz. can..
__25-lb. cake..
88-oz. bottle..
___4-lb. bag—

J

.08

.10
.12
.10

1.04

M3

120

8 26
13

12.00

3.12
1.30

17.46

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

660.09

Total food.
C lo t h in g

Husband:
.75
Caps, wool and cotton mixture, 30 per cent wool, lined or unlined............
Hats, soft or stiff felt, medium grade................................................ ........... 2.25
Hats, cheapest straw, stiff brimmed............................... ............................ 1.50
Sweaters, 60 per cent wool............................................................................ 5.00
Overcoats, overcoating, 40 per cent wool.—
................................................. 16.50
Suits, cheviot or cassimere, 50 per cent wool........................................ ....... 16.50
Extra trousers, worsted face, cotton back..................... .............................. 4.50
Overalls, denim...............................................—
................................... ....... 1.50
Working shirts, cotton flannel or flannelette.............................................. 1.65
Working shirts, cotton shirtihg.................................................................... 1.50
Dress shirts, printed madras........................................................................ 1.50
.25
Collars, stiff or soft washable.......................................................................
.65
Ties, silk and cotton four-in-hand................................................................
.50
Suspenders, cotton or lisle elastic web.........................................................
.50
Belts, cheap leather........................................ .............................................
.125
Handkerchiefs, cotton.................................... ..............................................
Nightshirts (homemade), 5 yards 30-inch muslin, thread, and buttons8 1.00
Nightshirts (homemade), 6 yards 36-inch outing flannel, thread and
1.00
buttons9.............................................................................................. —
1.50
Summer underwear, sets, balbriggan.....................................................—
Winter underwear, sets, 25 cent per wool..................................................... 2.30
.25
Socks, common cotton................................................................................. .
Shoes, gun-metal w elt10............................................................................... 5.50
1.50
Shoe repairs, half-soled and heeled...............................................................
Rubbers, storm............................................................................................ . 1.50
Gloves, knitted yarn, 75 per cent wool........................................................ 1.00
.50
Garters, cotton elastic web...........................................................................
Total
8 August, 1920, changed to nineteen and five-tenths 24-ounce cans.
August, 1920, changed to eleven 3-ounce cans.
8 March, 1921, changed to fifteen 14-ounce bottles.
9 March, 1923, changed to ready made.
1 March, 1923, changed to tan.
0

i

105715°— 25------ 9




1
A
X
V.i
A
H
l
l

2
2
2
2
6
3
1
H
6

1

1
3
1
12
2
2
1
1
1

.75
1.13
.75
5.50
16.50
4.50
3.00
3.30
3.00
3.00
1.50
1.95
.50
.25
.75
1.00
1.00

4.50
2.30
3.00

11.00
3.00

1.50
1.00

.50

77.68

124

CHAP. H .— STATE AND MUNICIPAL AGENCIES

COST OP BUDGET REPRESENTING FAIR STANDARD OF LIVING FOR LABORER IN
PHILADELPHIA AT PRICES IN AUTUMN OF 1918—Continued

Item

Price
per
unit,
autumn
of 1918

Annual
quan­
tity
con­
sumed

Continued
Wife:
Hats, plain, velvet, little trimming _
_
_ _ $3.50
.......... _ __
■Rats’ plain’straw, little trimming”
1.50
Gnats‘kersey doth, pile fabric, cheviot, or miYtnres
__ . ... 15.00
Wash dresses (homemade), 6 yards 36^inch gingham or percale, thread,
an<i buttons9
. . . ...
.
1.75
Suits, wool pnplin, nr other material, W per cent wool 11
l
16.00
Skirts. serve. nanama cloth. or nlaid miYtnres M
5.00
Shirt waists (homemade), 2 lA yards cotton voile or lawn, thread, and
.75
buttons®
—
Shirt waists (homemade), 2 A yards 36-inch washable silk, thread, and
2.50
buttons ®
Petticoats (homemade), 2 % yards 27 or 36-inch muslin, cambric, or sateen,
thread, a^d buttons ® _ _
_
1.50
Cinrsets, standard make
2.00
Corset covers, cambric with narrow embroidered Of lace edging,
.40
Summer underwear, cotton ribbed imicTi snits
__ _
. . .
_ .75
Winter underwear, winter weight, cotton union suits
1.50
Nightgowns (homemade), 4 yards 36-inch nainsook, muslin, or outing
flannel, thread, and buttons ®
_
__ ___ . . . . . . ____
1.25
Handkerchiefs, cotton
.
................
.1 0
Gloves, cotton or chamoisette. __
... __ .
.75
Aprons (homemade), 5 yards 36-inch figured percale or gingham, thread,
______________________________________________ 1.50
and buttons ®
Stockings, plain c o t t o n ,
__
__
.25
Shoes, gun-metal welt 10_______________________________________ 5.00
Shoe repairs, half-soled and heeled_______________________________ 1.50
Rubbers, storm______________________________________________ 1.00

1

X
X

4.38

3

2.25

A

8.00

5.00
1.25

3.00

2

l

2.00

2
3
2

.80
2.25
3.00

2
6
1

2.50
.60
.75

3
9

4.50
2.25

2
1
1

10.00

1.50

1.00

65.78

1
A

.75
1 . 25
5.00

A
y2

10.00

8.75
1.50

IX

1
2

1.00

.1 0

.90
.90
.90

1.00

.25
4.50
1.50
1.00
.75
.10

2
2

.

1.13
.63
2.50
5.00
13.13
1.50
2.00

5

.85
.25
.30
.50

eH

4.25
.50
.60
.25
.60

1

.00

1
3
2

.90
2.70

18 "
4
4
1
1
2

Total...........................................................................................................
Girl, age 10:
Hats, tailored straw________ ._
1.00
Hats, velveteen or corduroy 1 . _
4
1.25
Sweaters, worsted faced, cotton back
2.00
Coats, cheviot, 50 per cent wool i#
7.50
Wash dresses (homemade), 4 A yards 36-inch gingham or chambray, thread,
and buttons® ______ ^ .. ..
1.25
Petticoats (homemade), 2yards 36-inch muslin and 23^ yards lace or edging,
thread, and buttons4 _ ___
®
.90
Petticoats (homemade), 2 yards 36-inch outing flannel, thread, and but­
tons1 ____________________________________________________
®
.50
®March, 1923, changed to ready made.
1 March, 1923, changed to tan.
9
1 March, 1923, changed to poiret twill or tricotine; percentage of wool not specified.
1
13 March, 1923, changed to prunella or plaid mixtures.
18 March, 1923, changed to 75 per cent wool.
14 March, 1923, changed to velour.
1 March, 1923, changed to Palo, percentage of wool not specified.
4
1 March, 1923,3 ready-made muslin princess slips substituted for petticoats.
6




$1.75
1.50
7.50

2
%
1

Total—
___ _____ __________________________ __________ _____
Boy, age 13:
Caps, wool and cotton mixtures, 30 per cent wool, lined or unlined_____
Hats, wool and cotton mixture__________________________________
Sweaters, 60 per cent wool_____________________________________
Overcoats, overcoating, 30 per cent wool13_________________________
Suits, 60 per cent wool, cassimere, union cheviot, or suiting___________
Extra trousers, 35 per cent wool, union cheviot_____________________
Extra trousers, cotton khaki _ _
_
_ .
........
Blouses (homemade), 2 H yards 36-inch percale or gingham, thread, and
buttons® ......
......
Collars, stiff og soft washable
_. __
Ties, gilk Windsor _
....
Belts, cheap leather
_
.....___ _
Handkerchiefs, cotton
_ . . . . . . __
.... '
Nightshirts (homemade), Z H yards 36-inch muslin, thread, and buttons ®
.
Nightshirts (homemade), Z A yards 36-inch outing flannel, thread, and
buttons®,
r„. . ...
...
Summer underwear, sets, balbriggan _ . ______ ___ „
__________
Winter underwear, sets, winter weight cotton, fleece lined
Stockings, cotton rihhed
Shnes^gnn-metsl welt 1®
__
..... .. .
Shoe repairs, half-soled and heeled
Rubbers, storm _____ _
Cloves, fleece lined, cotton hack. _.
. .. . . . . .
Garters (homemade), 1 yard cotton elastic web ®
____________________

Annual
cost,
prices of
autumn
of 1918

2.00

4.50
18.00
6.00
1.00
.75
.20
69.04

1
1
1
X

8
2M
2

1.00
1.25
2.00
3.75
10.00
2.25
1.00

125

PHILADELPHIA, PA.

COST OF BUDGET REPRESENTING FAIR STANDARD OF LIVING FOR LABORER IN
PHILADELPHIA AT PRICES IN AUTUMN OF 1918—Continued

Item

Annual Annual
quan­
cost,
tity! prices of
con­ autumn
sumed of 1918

Price
per
unit
autumn
of 1918

C lo th in g —Continued
Girl, age 10—Continued.
Drawer waists, muslin................................................................................... $0.40
Drawers (homemade), 2 yards 36-inch muslin, thread, and buttons9......... .40
Union suits, cotton, fleece lined............. .................................. _................. 1.25
Nightgowns (homemade), 3 yards 36-inch muslin and 1K yards lace or
edging, thread9....................................................................... ..................
.75
Nightgowns (homemade), 3 yards 36-inch outing flannel, thread9.............
.75
Handkerchiefs, cotton...................................................................................
.05
Gloves, fleece lined, cotton back................................................................... .75
Stockings, cotton ribbed...............................................................................
.30
Shoes, gun-metal welt10................................................................................ 4.00
Shoe repairs, half-soled and heeled...............................................................
.75
Rubbers, storm............................................................................................. .75
.10
Garters (homemade), 1 yard cotton elastic web...........................................
Ribbons, 1 yard 3-inch silk face....................................................................
.10

3
16
7
2

$1.20
2.40
2.50

1
1
6
1
12
4
2
1
2
8

.75
.75
.30
.75
3.60
16.00
1.50
.75
.20
.80

Total..........................................................................................................
Boy, age 6:
Caps, wool and cotton mixture, 30 per cent wool.........................................
Sweaters, worsted face, cotton back.............................................................
Overcoats, overcoating or union cheviot, 30 per cent wool1
3.......................
Wash suits (homemade), 2K yards 36-inch percale or gingham, thread,
and buttons9..............................................................................................
Ties, silk Windsor.........................................................................................
Handkerchiefs, cotton...................................................................................
Nightgowns (homemade), 3 yards 36-inch muslin, thread, and buttons9..
Nightgowns (homemade), 3 yards 36-inch outing flannel, thread, and but­
tons 9..........................................................................................................
Drawer waists, muslin..................................................................................
_
Drawers (homemade), 1Y% yards 36-inch muslin, thread, and buttons9_
Union suits, cotton, fleece lined....................................................................
Stockings, cotton ribbed...............................................................................
Shoes, satin calf, machine sewed, or nailed10...............................................
Shoes, repairs, half-soled.................................... ..........................................
Rubbers, storm..............................................................................................
Gloves, fleece lined, cotton back...................................................................
Garters (homemade), 1 yard cotton elastic web9.........................................

52.75
.75
2.00
5.00

1.13
2.00
2.50

.75
.25
.05
.75

IK
1
K
16
8
1
6
1

4.50
.25
.30
.75

.75
.40
.40
1.25
.25
3.00
.75
.75
.75
.10

1
3
4
2
18
3
2
1
1
2

.75
1. 20
1.60
2.50
4. 50
9.00
1. 50
.75
.75
.20

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

34.18

Total clothing............................................................................................

299.43

M i s c e lla n e o u s

Oar fare:
Husband, to and from work................................................................ride..
Family, for all other purposes.............................................................ride..

.05
.05

604
104

Total............................................................................................ .............
Cleaning supplies and services:
Personal—
Toilet soap...........................................................................small bars..
Toothbrushes..........................................................................................
Tooth paste or powder..............................................tubes or boxes 19._
Combs, plain hard rubber...........................................................1.........
Hairbrushes, wooden back.....................................................................
Shoe polish, boxes.............................................................. ....................
Barbers services: Husband, shaves and hair cuts.............................. .
Children, haircuts............................................................................
Total..............................................................................................
9March, 1923, changed to ready made.
1 March, 1923, changed to tan.
0
1 March, 1923, reduced to 3 and 3 muslin or sateen bloomers added.
7
1 March, 1923, reduced to 4.,
8
7 August, 1920,3-oz. tube or 4-oz. box.
9
2 August, 1920, changed to six 234-oz. boxes.
0
August, 1920, changed to 12.
2 August, 1920, changed to 14.
2




30.20
5.20
35.40

.07
.25
.10
.35
.50
.10
.40
.25

70 •
5
12
1
K
2 12
0
2110 .
28
2
|

4.90
1. 25
1.20
.35
.25
1.20
4.00
2.00
15.15

126

C H AP, II.---- STATE A N D M U N IC IP A L AGENCIES

C O ST OF B U D G E T R E P R E S E N T IN G F A I R S T A N D A R D OF L I V I N G F O R L A B O R E R I N
P H I L A D E L P H IA A T P R IC E S I N A U T U M N OF 1918-Continued
Price Annual Annual
per
quan­
cost,
unit,
tity
prices o f
autumn con­
autumn
of 1918 sumed
of 1918

Item

M is c e lla n e o u s —Continued

Cleaning supplies and services—Continued.
Household—
3
Laundry soap_________________________________________ K lb. bars 2 __ $0.08
Starch. ________________________ _____ _____________________pounds._
.08
Bluing___________________________________________ _____pt. bottles 2 __
5
.10
Clothesline_________________ _______________________________ yards..
.02H
Clothespins________ _______
_________ ___________ ________dozens._
.03
Stove polish.____ ________________ ________________________ boxes2 __
7
.06
8
Furniture polish__ __ __ __________ _ ________ _______pt. bottles 2 _.
.25
Cleanser______________________________ _____________________boxes2 _.
9
.05
Collars sent to laundry__ _________ _________ . __ _ . . . ___________
. 04

23120
2 24
4
2312
5
2 1
6
2 26
7
2 2
8
36
52

Total____ ________________ _____ ______ _______________________

$9. 60
1.92
1.20
.13
.03
1. 56
.50
1. 80
2.80
18. 82

Unspecified cleaning supplies and services, 26 per cent of cost of specified
items
. .. ........... ...
................ .
.._
...
_

8. 83

Total, cleaning supplies and services................ .......................... ............

42.80

H o u s in g

Annual rent (two-story row house, with six rooms, facing street; bathroom,
including toilet, washstand, and tub; laundry; furnace; and facilities for gas
for cooking and lighting)______________ ____________________________________

240.00

Total, all items_________ _______________________ _________________ ____
Additional allowance3 __________ ___________ _______________________________
0

1,352. 72
284. 07

Total cost of budget______________

________ ___________ _____________

1, 636. 79

2 March, 1921, changed to eighty-seven and three-tenths 11-ounce bars.
3
2 August, 1920, changed to 6.
4
2 August, 1920, changed to twenty-four }^-pint bottles.
5
2 August, 1920, changed to 2.
6
2 August, 1920, changed to thirteen 3H-ounce boxes.
7
2 August, 1920, changed to four 3^-pint bottles.
8
2 August, 1920, 4-ounce box; in March, 1921, changed to 1-pound box.
9
3 21 per cent of cost of itemized budget given above, to cover health; furniture and fixtures; taxes, dues,
0
and contributions; education and reading; insurance; and miscellaneous expenditures.

T h e bu reau o f m u n icip a l research h as fro m tim e to tim e revised
the cost o f the b u d get to co n form to p rices obtained on la te r dates
as fo llo w s : 28
N o v e m b e r, 1919__________________________________________$ 1 ,8 0 3 .1 4
A u g u s t , 1 9 2 0 ___________________________________
1, 988.32
M a rc h , 1921______________________________________________
1, 742. 68
M a r c h , 1923______________________
1, 854.28

Each time the figures have been revised, the results have been
presented to the finance committee o f the council, and while the
wages o f laborers have not been raised to the amount shown in the
cost-of-living budget, the figures on the cost o f living have exerted
considerable influence on the scale set, and the information shown in
the budget has been considered by the committee along with the
other factors that had to be considered in order that expenditures
might come within the financial budget allowances.
ST. P A U L , M I N N .

I n the sum m er o f 1918 certain em ployees o f th e c ity o f S t. P a u l
requested an increase in w ages to offset th e a d v a n cin g liv in g costs.
28 The method followed and the costs obtained are described in issues of Citizens’ Busi­
ness (published by the Bureau of Municipal Research of Philadelphia) of Dec. 4, 1919,
Sept. 9, 1920, April 7, 1921, April 5, 1923,




ST. PAUL, M INN,

127

The civil service bureau o f St. Paul at this time successfully carried
its point before the city council that a uniform increase should be
given to all employees o f the same grade.
In November, 1920, an adjustable standardization became effective
in the following six departments: Education, finance, public utilities,
comptroller, law, and purchasing.2
9
On October 14, 1922, the city council approved a plan submitted
to it by the civil service bureau o f St. Paul, whereby all city em­
ployees, with the exception o f teachers, were grouped into three serv­
ices: Graded service, ungraded service, and common-labor service.3
0
I t was considered by the civil service bureau that after certain
basic salaries had been set fo r different grades these salaries should
all fluctuate with the changes in the cost o f livin g in order to assure
to the workers the same purchasing power “ to-morrow as well as
to-day.”
A standard salary presupposes the payment o f a fa ir wage. B u t what is a
“ fa ir w age ? ” Any wage, measured in money, m ay mean one thing to-day
and something wholly different in a year from to-day. The measure o f the
w age ought to be its purchasing power, and when this purchasing power
changes the measure o f the wage should change to correspond. Consequently
an equitable standardization, i f not made adjustable to the cost of living,
becomes merely a temporary truce in the economic struggle between the em­
ployer and the employee.
H istory records many periods when the workers as a whole were contented
and satisfied with the rew ard they received fo r their labor. Manifestly that
rew ard must have been a “ living wage.” B ut when the purchasing power of
their rew ard w as cut down so that it no longer secured for them the ordinary
needs of the family, there arose quite naturally a sense of loss— of something
w rongfully and mysteriously taken from them, -and the question cam e: Is not
the worker whose output has not changed entitled to a living wage to-morrow
as w ell as to-day?
I f labor’s rew ard had always been based on an adjustable wage, the change
in the cost of living would not have been felt by the worker, and no cause would
have existed fo r the unprofitable economic w arfare between him and his em­
ployers. Then, too, if an adjustable wage were common to all industries the
worker would soon come to understand that to secure something over and above
a living w age he must either increase his production or fit himself to assume
the greater burdens or responsibilities that go with a higher wage. And w e
would find the attainment of a higher w age in this w ay more to his advantage
than to band together with some fellow employees fo r the purpose of forcing
others temporarily to pay him more than he is justly entitled to.*1
8

F o r each o f the 17 distinctive groups in the graded service basic
salaries were set which were considered as adequate compensation
fo r the year 1916,8 and the cost o f livin g in 1922 was u deemed to
2
have increased 50 per cent over the 1916 cost.” T o meet the increase
in the cost o f livin g a 50 per cent increase was granted by an ordi­
28 St. Paul, Minn. Civil Service Bureau. Standardizing Salaries, by J. B. Probst. St.
Paul, 1922, p. 3. The text of the ordinance applying to the bureau of water of the
department of public utilities was given in the Monthly Labor Review, for February, 1921,
pp. 80-83,, as typical of all the ordinances in 1920, which increased the basic salaries 60
per cent, the accepted increase since 1916 in the cost of living. On January of each
year thereafter salaries in the departments adopting the plan were to be adjusted in
accordance with changes in the cost of living since 1916. These changes in the cost of
living were to be determined by reducing by 20 per cent the index numbers for food as
published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Monthly Labor Review.
20 St. Paul, Minn. Civil Service Bureau. Ninth annual report, for year 1922, p. 6.
81 St. Paul, Minn. Civil Service Bureau. Standardizing! Salaries, by J. B. Probst. St.
Paul, 1922, pp. 2, 3.
«2 “ The year 1916 was taken as a base because the consensus of opinion among econo­
mists is that the level of prices will return not to a pre-war basis but in all probability
to the level that prevailed in 1916/’ (St. Paul. Civil Service Bureau. Standardizing
Salaries, by J.*B. Probst,, June, 1922, p. 4.)




128

CHAP. II.— STATE AND MUNICIPAL AGENCIES

nance o f the council, effective October 1, 1922, to the seven lowest
grades:
The fu ll percentage increase, however, is only .allowed to the lower paid
employees, and this on the popular theory that the higher paid are not af­
fected so seriously by a rise in the cost of living.8
8

Increases were granted to the employees in the other grades, rang­
ing from 46 per cent in the grade having a basic entrance salary o f
$90 a month, to 8 per cent in the grade having a basic entrance salary
o f $300 a month. No increase was granted to the grade having an
entrance salary o f $375 a month. These adjusted rates were in effect
until June 30, 1923.
Provision was also made in the ordinance for the annual revision
o f the salaries in the graded service on June 1, 1923, and on June 1
o f each year thereafter, in accordance with the changes in the cost o f
living. These changes are to become effective on July 1 o f each year.
I t was stated in the first ordinance that the cost-of-living figures
used were to be those o f the National Industrial Conference Board,
but this ordinance was amended on January 30,1923, to provide that
the figures to be used in the adjustment o f the salaries should be those
o f the United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics.
F o r the ungraded service and fo r the common-labor service a reso­
lution was adopted, effective November 1, 1921, which fixed certain
rates fo r each occupation, although fo r these services no provision
was made fo r readjustment as was made fo r the graded service.3
4
On June 1, 1923, when, as provided in the ordinance, an adjust­
ment was to take place in the salaries, reference was made to the latest
available figures o f the United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics, but
as these showed practically no change in the cost o f living, no ad­
justment was made in the salaries in June, 1923, and under the ordi­
nance none w ill take place until July 1,1924.*
4
8
88 St. Paul, Mina.
Paul, 1922, p. 4.

Civil Service Bureau.

Standardizing Salaries,, by J. B. Probst, St.

84 St. Paul, Minn. City Council. Rates of compensation for city positions.
tion No. C. F. 42446, 1922, pp. 9^-11.




Resolu­

CHAPTER III.—STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS
INTRODUCTION
Many States have no regularly constituted State board o f arbi­
tration with authority to hold hearings and make awards in wage
controversies. In some States, as in Connecticut and Louisiana,1
although a State board has been created by law, it has never func­
tioned. In other States authority has been given State boards to
settle industrial disputes by mediation and conciliation; certain States
have adopted this rather than arbitration *as their policy. Such
seems to be the case, fo r example, in New York,2 but the director o f
the bureau o f industrial relations stated that the cost o f livin g enters
into the settlement o f every dispute over wages and cited an instance
o f the use o f figures on the cost o f livin g by the Department o f
Labor o f New Y o rk *as early as 1913, in a controversy in the Little
Falls textile industry. In most o f the States where State boards
have settled disputes by mediation and conciliation, however, no rec­
ords have been kept and it is not possible to determine on what basis
the settlements have been made.
In other States the governor may offer his services as mediator or
may 'appoint a special commission to act in any controversy concerning
wages, hours, or conditions o f employment which interferes with the
public welfare. Thus, in Nevada, the governor has several times
employed the services o f the State labor commissioner. And in order
to study the adequacy o f wages to livin g requirements and to meet
the needs o f investigators o f labor troubles within the State, the com­
missioner o f labor has compiled quarterly since 1918 the retail prices
on 40 o f the principal articles o f the workingman’s food budget, as
reported by the proprietors o f 20 grocery stores and 20 meat
markets located in 20 o f the principal industrial centers o f the State.3
I t is thought these local figures more closely apply to local conditions
because a major portion o f the workers in Nevada are employed in
industries that require them to live in isolated towns and villages
far from the places o f production and preparation o f many o f the
articles that enter into the food budget. The figures o f the Bureau
o f Labor Statistics are also used, however, to check these local fig1 In Connecticut there was one formal meeting1 of the hoard at which officers were
appointed. There has never been another meeting of the board and no cases have ever
been referred to it. The law states that both sides must submit the case voluntarily.
In Lousiana the findings of the State arbitration board are not binding. It has never
held a session.
2 The work of the bureau of industrial relations of the Department of Labor of New
York,, as was the work of the former bureau of mediation and conciliation dating back
to about 1886, is largely conciliatory, although under the law the bureau may at any
time offer its services as mediator, or investigate any disturbance, or may act as arbi­
trator upon applicatioh of the interested parties.
8 During 1921 the labor commissioner also made an investigation of rents paid in 10
communities for houses with five rooms and bath. (Nevada. Commissioner of Labor.
Fourth biennial report, 1921-1922, p. 97.)




m

130

CHAP. III.— STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS

ures,4 and the weights as published by the bure'au5 are used in com­
puting the change in the cost o f food fo r the yearly periods.6
In certain States arbitration boards may be appointed fo r specific
needs as the occasion arises, but as the jurisdiction o f these boards is
limited to the territory affected and to the particular dispute, and as
the board in each instance has been composed o f different men, no
general principles o f arbitration have been built up that might be
said to apply as a State policy. N o attempt has been made m this
report to analyze all o f the awards o f these temporary State arbitra­
tion boards. One case in Io w a 7 has been selected as showing the
use o f cost-of-living figures by such a State board. This case was a
controversy between the button cutters o f Muscatine and their em­
ployers.
• In making its award the arbitration board stated:
W hile labor conditions have very materially changed by the sudden ending
o f the w ar, the living expense has not materially changed, and probably w ill
not change fo r some little time to come. W e feel that the employers should
have adjusted their scale more carefully in view o f this situation. * * *
So w e recommend to the employers, that they revise their cutting scale of
January 6, 1919, and I f possible make it more liberal to the employees, even
though this should temporarily consume profits, or even some o f the ac­
cumulated surplus made in the time of prosperity. * * *
Industry makes its winnings in the better times. I t must expect shrinkage
when business is dull. W h ile it may properly ask the workers who con­
tributed to its prosperity and shared in the same to practice self-denial when
profits vanish that the business may not fail, it should dispense with profit and
even make inroads upon a sinking fund in order to “ carry o n ” with its
helpers until prosperity returns. W h ile having influence incidentally humane,
such policy is merely the part o f good organization and sound business
sagacity.

In some States there are permanent arbitration boards which have
established principles upon which to base their awards and which
state these principles in their published awards. This is particularly
true o f the arbitration boards o f Colorado and Kansas. Cost-oflivin g figures have been used by these boards in a more or less
definite manner and the wage awards have in many instances been
based upon what was shown by these figures. A n account o f the
manner in which cost-of-living figures have been used by these boards
as well as by the State boards o f arbitration in Maine, Massachusetts,
and Oregon is given below.
COLORADO
In 1915 the Legislature o f the State o f Colorado passed what
is commonly known as the industrial relations act,8 effective August
1, 1915, which created the industrial commission. Section^ 29 and
30 o f the act require employers and employees to give each other
and the commisson 30 days’ notice o f an intended change affecting
the conditions o f employment with respect to wages and hours; give
* Nevada. Commissioner of Labor. Third biennial report, 1919-1920, p. 93.
6 Monthly Labor Review, March, 1921, p. 26.
6 Nevada. Commissioner of Labor. Fourth biennial report, 1921-1922, p. 91.
7 Iowa. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Arbitration, and conciliation. Report for bien­
nium ending June 30, 1920. Bui. No. 3 : Controversy between button cutters of Musca­
tine and their employers. Des Moines, 1920, pp. 10-13.
8 Colorado Sessa, Laws 1915, ch. 180.




COLORADO

131

the commission power to mediate and investigate and hold hearings
on the controversies or demands; and prohibit any change or stop­
page o f work during the 30-day period, or while the commission is
holding its hearing or investigation.8 Under the law the awards
9
o f the commission become final upon the parties’ agreeing to accept
the award as a basis o f an agreement.
COST-OF-LIVING STUDY OF THE COMMISSION

In its second report the commission said: “ In the handling o f
industrial disputes, this commission soon found that to enable it
to deal jfairly with both employers and employees in the demands
made, it must in many instances have at hand accurate information
with which to enlighten itself and upon which it might base its
rulings. This was particularly so in cases o f demands involving an
increase in wages, based upon an alleged corresponding increase in
the cost o f living.” 1 In order that the commission might have
0
accurate and current information relative to the change in the cost
o f living, the commission’s statistician in A p ril, 1918, made a sur­
vey o f the cost o f livin g in Denver from January, 1914, to A p ril,
1918, and since that time has made monthly surveys.
I t was the idea o f the commission that the survey would show
not so much the actual cost to the fam ily in dollars and cents as
the per cent o f change in the cost o f the necessaries o f life fo r
a fam ily*of five— un b illed laborer, w ife and three children: boy,
13, girl, 10, and boy, 6 years old— at the minimum o f subsistence
level. The budget o f the bureau o f personal service o f New Y ork
City1 was used in the main, although it was recognized that it
1
did “ not include many comforts which should be included .in an
ideal American standard o f living.” 1 * The budget as adopted al­
2
lowed fo r a four-room semi-modern house; food sufficient for the 3.7
“ man units” represented by the fam ily selected; the articles o f
clothing decided upon by the bureau o f personal service o f New
Y o rk City in 1917; seven tons o f coal, with a minimum o f $2 fo r
kindling and 90 cents per month fo r ligh t; $20 (later $251 ) for
8
health requirements, this being thought “ ample to meet all require­
ments, because o f the many opportunities afforded by free dispen­
saries maintained in the city, and the favorable climatic conditions
prevailing in Colorado” ; insurance o f $500 on the wage earner and
o f $100 on the housewife, and burial-benefit policies fo r the three
children, all on the weekly payment, or industrial plan; and sun­
dries, including recreation, reading matter, daily papers, contribu­
tions to church and labor affiliations, general household expenses,
and incidentals.1
4
Retail prices on the items o f the budget fo r the period January,
1914, to A p ril, 1918, were secured from newspaper advertisements
and from estimates and records o f local retail merchants. Since
8 Colorado. Industrial Commission. Second report, Dec. 1, 1917, to Dec. 1,
p. 98.
10 Idem, p. 101.
11 New York City. Board of Estimate and Apportionment. Bureau of Personal
ice. Report on the increased cost of living for an unskilled laborer's family in
York City. New York, 1917, 32 pp. See pp. 118-120.
12 Colorado. Industrial Commission. Fourth Report, Dec. 1, 1919, to Dec. 1,
p. 122.
I8 Idem. Fifth Report, Dec. 1, 1920, to Dec. 1, 1921, p. 143.
14 Idem. Second Report, Dec. 1, 1917, to Doc. 1, 1918, pp. 102, 103.




1918,
Serv­
New
1920,

132

CHAR. M .— STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS

A p r i l, 1918, th e sam e m erchan ts h a ve rep o rted m o n th ly to th e com ­
m ission th e ir r e ta il p rices on th e sam e a rticles o f consum ption and
the sam e m ethod o f com putation has been fo llo w e d th ro u gh o u t the
p erio d fro m J a n u a ry , 1914, to date. F ro m the to ta l cost o f th e
bu d get, in d ex num bers are m ade fo r each m onth, based on J a n u a ry ,
1914, as 100.
USE OF COST-OF-LIVING FIGURES

Thege index numbers, computed by the Industrial Commission o f
Colorado, and the chart drawn from them form the basis o f the
commission’s decisions in all wage cases, although the figures o f the
United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics are occasionally referred
to for comparative purposes.
A c c o r d in g to M r. Jo sep h C . B e ll, one o f the com m issioners—
* * * It has not been attempted to apply these figures arbitrarily, for
such an application would necessarily require the assumption that on Janu­
ary 1, 1914, the wages received by the different employees were just as between
the employer and employee and as between the different classes of employees,
and such,an assumption we realize would be unjust in many instances.

M r. H ir a m E . H ills , fo rm er ch airm an o f th e com m ission, sta te d :
A ll wage changes are based prim arily on the cost of living. It is only a
matter of degree. W hen wages went up, changes in the cost of living as
shown by the index numbers of the commission and by the chart, were con­
sidered very seriously and wages were granted in accordance with the in­
creased cost of living. Later it got to the old thing of supply and demand
and wages went w ay beyond. In those cases it w as the employee making the
demand and the employer granting it. W hen that condition came about,
while we figured these costs, the actual reason for the advances was short­
age of labor and the ability of the men to get what they asked. The only
time when the commission would not approve of a wage agreed upon between
employer and employees would be when it w as thought by the commission to
be injurious to the public interest. The wage reached its peak after a while
and the demand became less insistent until it got to the time when people
had w hat .help they wanted and the wage began to sag— the same old rule
of supply and demand. There came to be less demand. Gradually taking
aw ay the demand, the trend in wage began to get more closely to the trend
in the cost of living. The commission’s attitude has been where there was a
reduction made, the commission’s decision w as not that the new wage w as a
fa ir wage but that the cut w as not an unreasonable cut, as indicated by the
cost-of-living figures.

Mr. W illiam I. Reilly, present chairman, stated that the cost o f
livin g enters into every wage case in some w a y ; that the figures com­
piled by the commission are used for percentage purposes o n ly; that
other co&t-of-living figures are also considered, as there is a great
difference as to cost o f livin g even within the State, particularly as to
house rent; and that when wages are going up the cost-of-living
figures act as a guide and when wages are being reduced they serve
as a check.
ANALYSIS OF WAGE DECISIONS OF THE COMMISSION

In most o f the wage cases coming before the commission, where
the employees have asked for an increase, they have done so on the
main ground o f a corresponding increase in the cost o f living. The
employers’ counterarguments have been that the increase requested
exceeded the increase in the cost o f living, that the wages demanded
were in excess o f those paid by other companies or to other employees




COLORADO

133

fo r the same grade or character o f work, or that the financial condi­
tion o f the business would not warrant such an increase.
Conversely, when the employers have requested a reduction in
wage, they have argued that the proposed reduction was reasonable
and justified because o f the reduction in the cost o f livin g and the
demands o f the public for a cheaper product. The employees have
contended that the wages received were so small that they could not
support their families on less, that the decrease in the cost o f livin g
was only temporary, or that the decrease had been computed on the
basis o f peak prices and that the employees were not being paid the
amount o f wages that they should be i f their wage had been ad­
justed at the time o f peak prices.
The general policy o f the Colorado Industrial Commission with
respect to the use o f cost-of-living figures can be seen by the analysis,
given below, o f those cases which were based upon livin g costs.
In several awards when wages were being increased the commis­
sion—
(1 ) set what it considered to be “ a just wage,”
Stereotypers and Electrotypers’ Union No. 13 v. publishing companies,
Denver, 454, February 5, 1921.

or a “ reasonable wage,”
Typographical Union No. 82 v. newspaper proprietors et al., Colorado
Springs, 448, December 4, 1920: and International Bridge, Structural,
Ornamental Iron W orkers’ Union No. 24 v. employers, Denver, 308,
July 12, 1919.

or “ just and reasonable wages.”
Laundry W orkers’ Union No. 195 v. Best Laundry Co., L a Junta, 319,
August 18, 1919.

(2) Or upheld as fair the wage fixed by a voluntary arbitration
board.
Denver T ram w ay Co. v. employees, Denver, 430, M ay 10, 1920. In this
aw ard the voluntary arbitration board endeavored to grant a living
wage. The commission suggested that the proper authorities fix a fare
adequate to meet the increased wages provided for.

(3 ) Or upheld the principle o f the livin g wage to “ unskilled”
workers, even though it did not grant the requested increase because
o f the financial condition o f one o f the companies.
M ailers’ Union No. 8 v. Post and Denver PubUshing Cos., Denver, 9,
October 16, 1915.

In this award, the commission said:
W e must not dismiss the claims of a man for higher wages because
he belongs to the class that is called unskilled. It is the so-called un­
skilled laborer who is at the lowest stratum of the industrial scale. H e
is the man about whom society must chiefly concern itself. I f it is a
serious thing for the laborer and his fam ily and for society when the
laborer is without proper standards of living and without proper income
to provide the adequate means of life and to elevate his family, and i f
society is suffering because labor is underpaid, then these conditions
become doubly serious when we consider the lot of the lower strata o f
labor. * * * There is much more need for elevating the lowest class
of labor than there is fo r adding a little to the income of the highest paid
labor. For these reasons, we believe that the argument against granting
the demands o f unskilled labor loses force.

(4 ) In other cases, because o f the financial condition o f the em-.
ploying company the commission did not grant the request o f the




134

CHAP. III.----STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS

employees fo r an increase, but it did recommend that the minimum
rate paid to women in the industry be not less than a specified
amount.
Merchants Biscuit Co. and Lindquist Cracker Co. v . Bakery and Con­
fectionery W orkers’ Union No. 422, Denver, 23, July 1, 1916.

(5 )
wage.

In reducing wages, the commission likewise set a “ fair ”

Employers v. International Molders’ Union, Local No. 188, 460, January
29, 1921.
“ The commission further finds at the present time and under the
present living conditions that 85 cents per hour is a just and fa ir w age
to be paid by said employers to said employees.”

On the ground o f the cost o f living, it granted the fu ll increase
asked for by the employees, Saying—
(1 ) “ That the said employees are entitled to an increase in wages
o f 25 per cent,” even though from the evidence it appeared “ that
the present revenue o f the company as derived from the rates which
said company is now permitted to charge for public service are
not sufficient to justify, meet or pay a just increase in the wages o f
its several employees,” and it recommended “ that the proper
rate-fixing authority or authorities investigate the revenues and
expenses o f said company fo r the purpose o f ascertaining what,
i f any, increase in the rates charged by said company may be neces­
sary in order to meet the increased wages herein ascertained.”
Employees -v. Colorado Springs Light, H eat & Pow er Co., Colorado Springs,
386, A pril 4, 1920.

(2 ) Or that “ The increase demanded is a small one; it is not an
unreasonable one in itself, and in view o f the fact that this class o f
labor is rarely, i f ever, overpaid, it is the opinion o f the commission
that the demand is just and should be granted.”
W aiters’ Union No. 14 v. Colorado Royal Restaurant Co. et al., Denver, 34,
July 1, 1916.

In this case it also stated:
“ The testimony in the ease shows that the present rate fo r waitresses
o f $8.50 per week fo r eight hours’ work and two meals is not a rate
which gives the waitress any particular margin of saving. It is urged
that the tips which the waitresses receive in some of the restaurants
more than offset any other disadvantage and should relieve the restaurant
employers from paying a larger wage. I do not believe that tips can
be taken into account in adjusting a w age scale, and we are opposed
to the practice of employers of labor underpaying their help upon the
theory or expectation that the public w iU pay the difference in tips.
Every employer should pay a reasonable and living w age and should
not expect the public to pay part of his w age scale unless he is going to
make corresponding reductions to the public in the prices which he
charges.”

(3 ) Or that, considering the cost o f livin g at the time, the demand
was “ just.”
Employee machinists v. employing machinists, Denver, 58, January 1,
1916; and Journeyman B arbers’ Union No. 219 v. employing barbers,
Pueblo, 70, A pril 18, 1917.

(4 ) Or was “ fair and should be paid.”
Master Painters’ Association v. Brotherhood o f Painters, Decorators, Paperhangers of America, Local No. 79, Denver, 77, A pril 1, 1917; Interna­
tional Hod Carriers, Building and Common. Laborers’ Union o f America,




135

COLORADO

Local No. 331 v. Master Plumbers’ Association, Denver, 78, March 5,1017 \
and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Local Union No. 302
v. certain employers, Pueblo, 100, A pril 27, 1917.

In many cases the commission granted an increase in wages, but
not so great an increase as was asked for by the employees. In these
awards the commission found that—
(1) “ The advance in wages has not been in keeping with the in­
creased cost o f living.”
Employees v. Denver Gas & Electric Co., Denver, 197, M arch 1, 1918.

(2) Or “ the increase in the cost o f livin g has affected the lowerpaid employees to a greater extent than those earning the higher
amounts and therefore the minimum weekly wage should be in­
creased.”
Barbers Local Union No. 205 v . Boss B arbers’ Association, Denver, 255,
September 28, 1918.

(3) Or “ an increase in the minimum scale per week
justified.”

*

*

*

is

Photo-engravers Union No. 18 v. employers, Denver, 268, January 15, 1919.

(4) Or, “ owing to the greatly increased cost o f livin g since the
beginning o f the war, the employees parties hereto are entitled to an
increase in wages over the scale in effect prior to January 1st, 1916.”
Employees v. certain contract machine shops, Denver, 83, 154, 218, M ay
20, 1918.

(5 ) Or, “ on account o f the increased cost o f living, said employees
are entitled to an increase in wrages * * * ” to a definite amount
per hour or per week.
Employees v. Gold Mining Operators of the Telluride Mining District, 110,
M ay 28, 1917; employees v. General Contractors’ Association et al., Den­
ver, 326, 327, 328, 330, September 12, 1919; employees v. Master Painters
and Decorators Association, Denver, 329, September 12, 1919; employees
of iron-working shops v. employers, Denver, 391, M ay 7, 1920; and
United B rewery and Soft D rink Workers, Local No. 44, v, certain em­
ployers, Denver, 393, M ay 8, 1920.

(6 ) Or, after hearing and considering all the evidence intro­
duced by the parties, found that “ said employees are entitled to an
increase?’ (The arguments in these cases have been principally on
the cost o f livin g and the awards have been made on the basis o f the
cost o f living.)
C igar M akers’ Union, Local No. 129, v. cigar manufacturers, Denver, 85,
M ay 5, 1917; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local
Union No. 12, v. employers, Pueblo, 102, M ay 14, 1917; International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union No. 113, v. employers,
Colorado Springs, 104, M ay 17, 1917; House painters and decorators v.
employers, Colorado Springs, 275, A pril 2, 1919; Bridge, Structural and
Iron Workers, Local Union No. -24, v. General Contractors’ Association,
Denver, 270, March 12, 1919; and Carpenters’ District Council v. General
Contractors’ Association, Denver, 284, March 12, 1919.

(7 ) Or, that the employees were entitled to a wage o f a certain
amount per hour, per day, or per week.
Freight and express transfer men v. Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Co.,
Alamoso, 106, September 26, 1917; Gas and Steam Fitters, Local Union
No. 605, v. Denver Gas & Electric Light Co., Denver, 392, 397, M ay 15,
1920; Gas W orkers, Local Union N or 357, v. Denver Gas & Electric Co.,
Denver, 395, M ay 15, 1920; and Musicians’ Protective Association v.
M anagers of moving-picture houses, Leadville, 66, March 10, 1917.




136

CHAP. III.----STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS

(8) I n some a w a rd s, the com m ission fixed a “ reasonable w a g e ”
p er h our, d a y , o r week.
International Molders Union No. 188 v. certain employers, 1071, M ay 23,
1923; and Stereotypers and Electrotypers’ Union No. 13 v. certain pub­
lishing companies, Denver, 1082, August 7, 1923.

(9) O r requ ired th e em p loyer to p a y th e em ployees a specified sum
p er hour, p er w eek or p er m onth. ( In these cases, a lth o u g h the cost
o f liv in g w as a fa c to r in the decision, the a w a rd w as a m atter o f
com prom ise.)
Denver Typographical Union No. 49 v. certain newspaper publishers, Den­
ver, 162, 224, M arch 9,1918; Employees v. Colorado Springs & Interurban
R ailw ay Co., Colorado Springs, 401, M ay 21, 1920; Printing Pressmen’s
Local Union No. 40 v. certain printing companies, Denver, 432, September
27, 1920; Press Assistants’ Union No. 14 v. certain printing companies,
Denver, 434, September 27, 1920; Bookbinders’ Union No. 29 v. certain
printing companies, Denver, 435 September 27, 1920; Bindery Women’s
Union No. 58 v. certain printing companies, Denver, 436, September 27,
1920; Typographical Union No. 49 v. certain printing companies, Denver,
442, September 27, 1920; Typographical Union No. 175 v. certain printing
companies, Pueblo, 1011, January 29, 1923; and employees of mechanical
department of Denver Tram w ay Co. v. Receiver for Denver Tram way
Co., Denver, 1085, August 29, 1923.

(10 ) O r increased th e w a g es o f the em ployees b y a certain am ount
p e r d ay, th is am ount b ein g g rea ter fo r th e lo w -p a id th an fo r th e
b etter-p aid em ployees.
Employees v. American Smelting & Refining Co., Pueblo, 340, October
20, 1919; and Office workers v. Denver Gas & Electric Co., Denver, 407,
M ay 15, 1920.

I n some cases th e com m ission refu sed th e dem and o f the em ployees
fo r an increase—
( 1 ) S a y in g th a t “ th e dem and o f th e em ployees fo r an increase
o f $1 p er d a y is unreasonable and excessive and sh ould be denied
an d th a t the increase o f 75 cents p er d a y offered b y the em p loyers
is f a i r and reasonable and shou ld be accep ted .”
Building Laborers’ International Union No. 1 v. Master Builders’ Associa­
tion et al., Denver, 198, April 10, 1918.

(2) I n o th er cases th e com m ission ch a ra cterized the dem ands
o f the em ployees as “ n ot ju stified ” or “ u n fa ir ” and “ unreasonable ”
an d th e w a g e in effect as “ f a ir and adeq uate.”
^United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Loeal Union No. 362 v.
certain employers, Pueblo, 100, A pril 27, 1917 (increase granted to
outside but not to inside workers) ; Employees v. Western Mining Co.
et. al., Leadville, 116, M ay 29, 1917; Employees v. Rugby Fuel Co.^
Rugby, 126, March 18,1918; Brickmasons and Plasterers’ Union v. Denver
Brick Contractors’ Association et al, Denver, 199, March 18, 1918;
Iron Molders’ Union, Local No. 188 v,. Foundrymen’s Association,
303, June 11, 1919; United Mine W orkers v. certain employers, 446,
February 1, 1921; Slate, Tile and Composition Roofers, Local Union No.
55, Denver, 1051, A pril 26, 1923; and Cook and W aiters Union No. 43
v. certain employers, Pueblo, 1081, July 16, 1923.

I n certain cases, th e com m ission denied a n y red u ctio n in the e x ist ­
in g w a g e because—
(1)
I t considered th a t th e proposed red u ctio n o f the em p loyer
“ is n o t a t th is tim e a f a ir and reasonable redu ction , and is not
ju stifie d b y th e con d ition s e x istin g at said m ines.”
North P ark Coal Co., v. employees, 773, February 2, 1922.




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137

(2 ) Or found from its investigation that 4 said employees do
6
not agree to said wage cut and contend that the present wage is not
sufficient, considering present working conditions and intermittent
employment to produce a fair living wage, and that a reduction
at this time would make such condition worse” ; that the wage
already paid, “ especially as to said core makers and molders is less
than that indicated by the decrease in the cost o f living, consider­
ing the wage awards affecting said employers and employees made
in previous controversies heard by this commission ” ; and that “ said
request for a reduction at this time is unreasonable and unjust.”
Foundrymen’s Association of Colorado v. employees, 774, February 4, 1922.

(3 ) Or found from the evidence that “ the proposed reduction in
wages is at this time unreasonable and unjust and w ill not produce
fo r the lower-paid men a living wage at the present time.”
Griffin W heel Co. v. employees, Denver, 845, 1922.

(4 ) In one case a wage reduction was denied not so much out
o f consideration o f the cost o f livin g to the employees as because
it was acknowledged by the employers that the reduction in wages
o f waiters, i f granted, would not be passed on to the public in lower
prices o f food.
Denver Restaurant Keepers’ Association v. Cooks’ Union
W aiters’ Union No. 14, Denver, 673, August 5, 1921.

No. 18 and

On the other hand, the commission allowed the reduction or in­
crease proposed by the employer when it was considered—
(1 ) “ Reasonable” or “ justifiable,” or “ fair.”
Metalliferous mine operators v. employees, 457, February 16, 1921; Metal­
liferous mine operators v . employees, 464 etc., February 16, 1921; Griffin
W heel Co. v . employees, 525, February 24, 1921; Metalliferous mine oper­
ators v. employees, 617, February 16, 1921; Colorado Packing & Provision
Co. and Sw ift & Co. v. employees, 732, 734, December 31, 1921; Employ­
ing Lithographers v. employees, Denver, 789-793, February 11, 1922; and
Local Union No. 930, Glass W orkers and Glaziers, v. employers, Denver,
1021, M arch 30, 1923.

(2 ) O r “ not unreasonable ” nor “ unjust,”
Denver M aster Builders’ Association v. building employees, Denver, 553
etc., March 26, 1921; Sunnyside Mining & M illing Co. et al. v. employees,
Silverton, 630, 633, M ay 25, 1921; The Burns Theater v. stage employees,
694, October 1, 1921; Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. v. employees, H uerfano
County, 696, November 12, 1921; Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. v. employees,
Cameron mine, 739, January 21, 1922; Temple Fuel Co. et al. v. em­
ployees, 744 etc., January 3, 1922; Jewel Coal Co. v. employees, 772,
January 20, 1922; Pikes Peak Consolidated Fuel Co. et al. v . employees,
778 etc., February 8, 1922; Ross Coal Co. v. employees, H arace mine,
779, January 18, 1922; National Fuel Co. v. employees, Puritan mine,
817, February 18, 1922; Merchant Tailors’ Association v . employees,
Denver, 832, M arch 8, 1922; and Employees v. Fox Coal M ining Co., 884,
M arch 7, 1922.

(3 ) I t permitted the metal mines, because o f the unusual economic
conditions affecting their product, to reduce wages but stated that
they should not be reduced below a specified minimum per day.
Humbolt Mines et al. v. employees, 836 etc., M arch 1, 1922; Y ak Mines et
al. v. employees, 840 etc., March 6, 1922; Aspen Sampling Co. v. em­
ployees, 861, M arch 15, 1922; Ibex Mining Co. et al. v. employees, 878
etc., March 6, 1922; Mountain Top Mining Co. v. employees, 891, March
21, 1922; and Cresson Consolidated Gold Mining & M illing Co. v, em­
ployees, 893 etc., M arch 31, 1922,




138

CHAP. III.----STATE ARBITRATION BOARD'S

(4 )
I t terminated jurisdiction when it considered the proposed
reduction “ not unreasonable ” and when an award for the same char­
acter o f work or for the same kind o f a company, where conditions
were similar, had just been rendered, stating that the proposed reduc­
tion was not “ unreasonable ” nor “ unfair.” I t also terminated ju­
risdiction (a ) when employer and employee had reached an agree­
ment as to the reduction which the commission thought was u reason­
able” or “ not unreasonable nor injurious to public interest” or had
held in a previous case was “ not unreasonable” ; (b ) where the em­
ployees offered no protest to the reduction proposed by the employer
and which the commission felt was not an unreasonable one. A great
manjr o f these were reductions proposed by coal mines in 1921 and
1922 in order to put into effect the 1917-18 wage scale. The commis­
sion considered that this reduction was “ not unreasonable nor unjust
to public interest.” And, as one o f the commissioners said, “ it did
not bring the wages down to the index o f the cost o f living. W hile
it was a reduction o f approximately 30 per cent, the wages paid were
still in excess o f what would be indicated by the cost-of-living chart.”
American Smelting & Refining Co. v. employees, San Juan coal mine,
634, M ay 2, 1921; Book Cliff Coal Co. v. employees, 644, M ay 27, 1921;
P a rk Tunnel M ining & M illing Co. v. employees, 647, June 28, 1921;
Royal T iger Mines Co. v. employees, 659, June 20, 1921; Giant Eclipse
Consolidated Mines Co. v. employees, 664, July 26, 1921; Radium Co. of
Colorado v. employees, 667, July 26, 1921; Nucholls Packing Co. v. em­
ployees, 688, September 15; 1921; American Smelting & Refining Co. v.
employees, Durango plant, 698, September 28, 1921; Colorado Fuel &
Iron Co. v . employees, 706, November 4, 1921; Victor-American Fuel Co.
v. employees, 707, January 21, 1922; B e a r Canon Coal Co. et al. v . em­
ployees, 737, etc., January 5, 1922; Mountain States Packing Co. v. em­
ployees, 749, December 31, 1921; Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. v. employees,
Pueblo, 780, January 21, 1922; Royal Fu el Co. et al. v. employees, 781,
784, January 17, 1922; National Fuel Co. et al. v. employees, 782, etc.,
January 17, 1922; Book Cliff Coal Co. v. employees, 788, etc., January
17, 1922; Crested Butte Coal Co. v. employees, 794, January 30, 1922;
M cNeil Coal Co. v. employees, 796, February 1, 1922; Ohio Creek Coal
Co. et al. v . employees, 798, etc., January 25, 1922; Rocky Mountain Fuel
Co. et al. v . employees, 802, etc., January 17, 1922; Blue Seal Coal Co. v.
employees, 808, February 8, 1922; Gibson Lum ber & Fuel Co. v. em­
ployees, 809, February 8, 1922; Leyden Coal Co. v. employees, 810,
February 8, 1922; Rocky Mountain Fuel Co. v. employees, 811, etc.,
February 14, 1922; Mountain V iew Coal Co. v. employees, 812, February
10, 1922; M agnus M etal Co. v . employees, 814, January 31, 1922; Aztec
Coal M ining Co. v. employees, 815, January 30, 1922; Cracker Jack Coal
Co. v. employees, 816, February 15, 1922; National Fuel Co. v. employees,
819, February 15,1922; F ox Coal M ining Co. v. employees, 824, February
15, 1922; City of Fort M organ v. certain employees, 826, February 17,
1922; W illiam E. Russell Coal Co. v. employees, 827, February 16, 1822;
Crown Fuel Co. v. employees, 828, February 16, 1922; Routt Pin­
nacle Co. v . employees, 830, Coalview mine, 830, February 15, 1922;
Boulder V alley Coal Co. v. employees, 831, February 16, 1922; E ngi­
neers Leasing Co. v. employees, 833, February 17, 1922; Grand Junction
Mining & Fuel Co. v. employees, 834, February 17, 1922; The Consolidated
Coal & Coke Co. v. employees, 835, February 16, 1922; National Fuse
and Pow der Co. v. employees, jute yarn dept., 839, February 25, 1922;
Pueblo Gas & Fuel Co. v. employees, 841, February 25, 1922; Boulder
Black Diamond Coal Co. v. employees, 842, February 23, 1922; Garfield
Coal Mining & Transportation Co. v. employees, 843, February 23, 1922;
Mine & Smelter Supply Co. v. employees, 846, February 23,1922; Boulder
County Coal Mining Co. v. employees, 847, February 23, 1922; Palisade
Coal & Supply Co. v. employees, 848, February 23, 1922; M orning Star
Mine v. employees, 851, February 23, 1922; Rapson Coal Mining Co. v.
employees, 852, February 23, 1922; Shwayder Trunk Mfg. Co. v. em­
ployees, 853, February 15, 1922; Colorado Springs Co. [operating city




KANSAS

139

coal mines] v . employees, 854, February 17, 1922; Clayton Coal Co. v.
employees, 858, March 1, 1922; United Collieries Co. v . employees at
Monroe Mine, 859, February 27, 1922; Hesperus Fuel Co. v. employees,
860, February 25, 1922; J. D. Best & Co. v. employees, 862, February 28,
1922; K in g Investment & Lum ber Co. v. employees, Pueblo, 867, March
2, 1922; Newton Lumber Co. v. employees, Pueblo, 868, March 2, 1922;
Employees v. Boulder-Black Diamond Coal Co., 885, March 7,1922; Golden
Fire Brick Co. v . employees, Golden, 901, A pril 18, 1922; E. I. DuPont de
Nemours & Co. v. employees, 905, M ay 5, 1922; American Brake Shoe &
Foundry Co. n. employees, 908, M ay 8, 1922; Empire Zinc Co. v. em­
ployees, 910, M ay 8, 1922; Boulder Brick Co. v. employees, 911, M ay
9, 1922; Colorado-Superior M ining Co. et al. v. employees, 995, Novem­
ber 8, 1922; B ear Canon Coal Co. v. employees, 1006, November 8, 1922;
and B ell Brokerage Co. v. employees, 1008, November 3, 1922.

Jurisdiction was also terminated where employers and employees
agreed to an increase and where no protest was filed with the com­
mission or where other companies o f a similar character filed a notice
o f an intention to grant similar increases.
Ohio Creek Coal Co. v. employees, 988, October 11, 1922; Gilson Asphaltum
Co. v . employees, 992, October 11, 1922; Colorado-Superior Mining Co.
et al. v . employees, 995, November 8, 1922; B ear Canon Coal Co. v. em­
ployees, 1006, November 3, 1922; B ell Brokerage Co. v . employees, 1008,
November 3,1922; Drainers’ Union, Local No. 331 v. Denver Master Plum­
bers’ Association, 1028, M arch 20, 1923; United Association of Plumbers
and Gasfitters, Local Union No. 3, Denver, 1029, March 20, 1923; and
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union No. 68 v .
Electrical Contractors, Denver, 1037, M arch 20, 1923.

The commission, in other cases, although holding that the reduc­
tion proposed by the employer “ under present conditions would be
an unreasonable decrease,” nevertheless did grant a decrease which it
felt “ would not be an unreasonable decrease at this time.”
Greeley Master Builders’ Association v. building employees, Greeley, 568,
M arch 25, 1921; Building Contractors v. carpenter employees, Brighton,
637, A p ril 11, 1921; Master Builders’ Association v. building employees,
Colorado Springs, 697, October 3, 1921; Master Builders and Contractors
v. employees, Mesa County, 701, October 11, 1921; Photo-engraver em­
ployers v . employees, Denver, 727, January 20, 1922; M aster Builders’
Association v. building employees, Pueblo, 729, etc., January 28, 1922;
Hallock & H ow ard Lum ber Co. v. employees, 917, June 30, 1922; and
Magnus M etal Co. v. employees, Denver, 920, August 14, 1922.

The cases which were not decided upon the cost-of-living basis
have not been listed in this bulletin.
KANSAS
The act creating the Kansas Court o f Industrial Kelations was
passed by the special session o f the Legislature o f Kansas in Janu­
ary, 1920, and became effective February 2 , 1920.1 The court is com­
5
posed o f three judges, appointed by the governor, by and with the
advice and consent o f the State senate, for terms o f one, two, and
three years, the member appointed for three years acting as the
presiding judge.1
6
15 Kansas Court of Industrial Relations. Second annual report for year ending Dec. 31,
1921, p. 5.
16 The court at first functioned also as a public utilities commission. At the 1921
session of the legislature the public utilities, commission was again made a separate
division of the State government, and the activities of the labor department employment
service and industrial welfare commission were placed under the jurisdiction of the
industrial court.
105715°— 25------10




140

CHAP. III.— STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS

The tribunal was organized primarily to deal with industrial prob­
lems and controversies which might endanger the continuity or effi­
ciency o f the operation o f the essential industries o f the State or
which might produce industrial disorder and thus threaten public
peace and public health. I t was brought into existence because o f
the Kansas coal strike in the winter o f 1919.
Certain industries—the manufacture and preparation o f food
products and clothing, mining or production o f fuel, transportation
o f food, clothing or fuel, public utilities, and common carriers1 —
7
were declared by the act creating the court to be “ affected with a
public interest” and therefore subject to supervision by the State.
This supervision was given to the court o f industrial relations,
which was directed to make “ such changes, i f any, as are necessary
to be made in and about the conduct o f said industry, employment,
utility or common carrier, in the matters o f working and livin g
conditions, hours o f labor, rules and practices, and a reasonable
minimum wage, or standard o f wages, to conform to the findings o f
the court.” 1 Section 9 o f the act declared it “ necessary fo r the
8
promotion o f the general welfare that workers engaged m any o f
said industries, employments, utilities or common carriers shall re­
ceive at all times a fa ir wage and have healthful and moral sur­
roundings while engaged in such labor; and that capital invested
therein shall receive at all times a fa ir rate o f return to the owners
thereof.”
Under the act, the court o f industrial relations is given fu ll
authority to investigate any controversy arising between employers
and employees in any o f the above industries and to make a de­
cision relative thereto. In addition to original investigations, it is
the duty o f the court to investigate and settle any controversy
brought before it upon complaint o f either party, o f the attorney
general o f the State, or o f any 10 citizen taxpayers in the locality
o f the industry involved.1 Appeal may be taken to the supreme
9
court o f the State, by the industrial court, to compel compliance in
case o f the failure o f either party to abide by its decision, or, within
10 days after service o f the court order, by an aggrieved party, to
compel the issuance o f a just order. The court may take over and
operate the industry pending a settlement in order to enforce its
order.
According to the statement o f the industrial court2 “ the question
0
o f increases in livin g costs, wages o f labor, and materials has en­
tered into every industrial case” that has come before the board.
I t has been necessary therefore that the court be in possession o f in­
formation on these points and this has been secured through in­
vestigations conducted periodically. Thus, in obtaining cost-oflivin g figures, prices have been secured periodically from retailers
throughout the State and from these the per cent o f increase has
been computed, as between two dates, on certain articles o f food,
clothing, dry goods, fuel, telephone and electricity rates, and street­
car and railroad fares. A cost-of-living study was conducted by the
17 Kansas Laws of 1920, special sess. ch. 29, sec. 3.
18 Idem, sec. 8.
19 Idem, sec. 7.
20 Kansas Court of Industrial Relations. First annual report, Feb. 1, 1920, to Nov.
1920, p. 81.




KANSAS

141

womens division o f the court o f industrial relations in 1921 in which
agents visited 38 cities o f the State having a population o f over
5,000. (See pages 174 to 176 o f this report.)
In the wage cases before the court, cost-of-living figures have
been presented by both parties. These have included local retail
prices o f certain articles o f food, clothing, etc., on different dates;
grocery bills o f employees; statements o f retail dealers o f the per
cent o f change in the price o f various articles o f food, clothing, etc.;
newspaper advertisements; testimony o f housewives; index numbers
o f retail and wholesale prices as published by the United States
Bureau o f Labor Statistics; and charts showing the trend in wages
and retail prices o f food. In one case, that o f the Joplin & Pitts­
burg Railway Co., a budget, kept by one employee, o f the expenses
o f his fam ily fo r one year, was submitted.
TOPEKA EDISON CO. CASE

The first wage case2 before the court involved the question as to
1
what wages should be paid by the Topeka Edison Co. A s the act
provided that the workers in essential industries should be assured
a “ fa ir wage,” the only question to be decided was, 4 W hat is a
4
fa ir wage? ” The conditions taken into consideration were the first
six enumerated in the transportation act, namely: (1 ) The scales o f
wages paid for similar kinds o f work in other industries; (2) the
relation between wages and the cost o f livin g; (3) the hazards o f
the employment; (4 ) the training and skill required; (5 ) the de­
gree o f responsibility; and (6) the character and regularity o f the
employment; t o #which the industrial court added another, 4 The
4
skill, industry, and fidelity o f the individual employee.”
The court held that a 4 fair wage ” is more than a mere living
4
wage, both o f which it defined in the Topeka Edison Co. case as
follows:
A living w age may be defined as a wage which enables the worker to supply
himself and those absolutely dependent upon him with sufficient food to main­
tain life and health; with a shelter from the inclemencies of the w eath er; with
sufficient clothing to preserve the body from the cold and to enable persons
to mingle among their fellows in such ways as may be necessary in the preser­
vation o f life. B ut it is not a living wage only which this court is commanded
by the .people o f this State to assure workers engaged in these essential in­
dustries. The statute uses the word “ f a i r ” and*commands us to assure to
these workers a “ f a i r ” wage. W h at is a fa ir wage? Upon this subject, of
course, there may be a great variety of opinions expressed. It seems safe to
say, however, that the circumstances above enumerated should be considered
in arriving at a conclusion as to what constitutes a fa ir wage. The skilled
worker, in fairness, should have a higher wage than the unskilled worker.
The worker who has spent years of time and effort in preparing himself for
a peculiarly technical line of work is entitled to greater consideration from
the public than the more unskilled worker. The hazards of the employment
should also be noted and the worker engaged in such an employment as that
under consideration should receive a higher wage than his fellow who may
be engaged in a safe occupation. The degree of responsibility placed upon the
w orker is a matter of importance. The continuity and regularity of the em­
ployment should be considered, for it is apparent that an employment which
is seasonal in its nature must have a higher wage than one in which regular,

a Kansas. Court of Industrial Relations. State v. Topeka Edison Co.
3254— 2. Printed opinion and order, March 29, 1920.
1—




Docket No.

142

CHAP. III.----STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS

steady work is offered, because, after all, it is the annual earnings tlmt are
to govern rather than the daily wage, in many instances. B y no means the
least important consideration should be the industry and fidelity of the indi­
vidual, for the worker who is faithful to his trust and is industrious, work­
ing to the best of his ability in the interest of his employer, is entitled, as a
matter of right, to a greater rew ard than the worker who thinks only of his
w age and not o f the interest of his employer and of the public who are di­
rectly affected by his labors. Perhaps more important than any other cir­
cumstance, however, is the relation of the w age to the cost of living.
In all these respects the complainants herein represent a class o f workers
who measure up to the best standard and are called “ first-class workers ” as
w ell as “ skilled workers.” Such persons, in all fairness, are entitled to a
w age which w ill enable them to procure fo r themselves and their families all
the necessaries and a reasonable share o f the comforts o f life. They are en­
titled to a w age which w ill enable them by industry and economy not only to
supply themselves with opportunities fo r intellectual advancement and rea­
sonable recreation, but also to enable the parents working together to furnish
to the children ample opportunities fo r intellectual and moral advancement,
fo r education, and fo r an equal opportunity in the race of life. A fa ir wage
w ill also allow the fru gal man to provide reasonably for sickness and old age.

The court further stated:
The industrial statutes, however, empower this court to fix only a minimum
wage, and in fixing said w age to state a reasonable time which said w age shall
continue or until changed by agreement by the parties with the approval of
the court. It is not, therefore, fo r the court to fix a maximum wage. The
minimum may be fixed and the maximum must depend upon the skill, fidelity
and industry of the employee, the fa ir and equitable disposition of the em­
ployer, the prosperity o f the business, and other economic circumstances.

The employees presented cost-of-living figures consisting o f local
retail prices on certain items (mainly food) as o f June, 1914, and
June, 1919, also prices o f articles as advertised in newspapers in May,
1919, and February, 1920, as well as index numbers o f retail and
wholesale prices o f the Bureau o f Labor Statistics from 1913 to
January, 1920. There was also general discussion by the witnesses
o f the increased cost o f livin g to them as compared with 1914.
The court found that “ the wage paid by the respondent to the
complainants is unreasonably low and is not a fa ir wage to be paid
to these complainants and other workers similarly situated and em­
ployed by the respondent because o f the present unprecedented cost o f
livin g and other facts and conditions herein stated,” and ordered
an increased wage which it considered to be a “ fa ir minimum wage ”
at the time.
JOPLIN & PITTSBURG RAILWAY CO. CASE

In the Joplin & Pittsburg Railway Co. case2 the court o f indus­
2
trial relations took into consideration the same factors as in the
Topeka Edison Co. case.
A s to the increased cost o f living, the court said:
* * * It is difficult to estimate the increased cost in living which has taken
place since the aw ard by the W a r Labor Board, but the evidence shows that
such increase has been considerable and that motormen and conductors working
10 hours per day and 7 days in a week constantly are unable upon the present
w age to support their families with that degree of comfort which we, in
America, regard as necessary in order to meet the reasonable requirements of
sober, industrious, and faithful workingmen and their families. Some o f the
motormen and conductors have, after doing a fu ll day’s work at their regular

22 Kansas, Court of Industrial Relations, State of Kansas, v . Joplin & Pittsburg Rail­
way Co. Docket No. 3283. Printed opinion and order, Apr. 23, 1920.




KANSAS

143

employment, taken extra jobs of evenings and nights to eke out their earnings.
Others have exhausted the small earnings which they had accumulated in pre­
vious years.

The court found that the most serious difficulty in the present case
was the ability o f the industry to pay the increased wage. It, how­
ever, accepted the principle that the payment o f adequate wages
was the first charge upon an industry, saying:
This court is very desirous to do nothing in this case which w ill unduly
burden the respondent. However, it must be admitted that wages to labor
should be considered before dividends to the investor, and that a business
which is unable to pay a fa ir rate of w age to its employees w ill eventually
have to liquidate.

From the evidence the court found “ that the present wage scale
is unreasonably low and is not a fair scale o f wages to be paid to
the employees involved in this controversy.” In accordance with
the standard o f the fa ir wage, as defined in the Topeka Edison Co.
case, it ordered an increase in wages to such employees o f the com­
pany as were bona fide residents o f the State o f Kansas. The award
was effective fo r six months from M ay 1,1920.
The case was again brought before the court in September and
in December, 1920, when an increase o f wages was refused on the
ground that there had been no increase in the cost o f livin g since
the former adjudication.2
3
In August, 1921, when this case again came before the board, the
employees asking for an increase o f 10 cents per hour and the em­
ployer asking for a 20 per cent reduction, the court said:
From the evidence introduced the court finds that in the city of Pittsburg
there has been a reduction in the cost of living approximately 15 per cent
during the past year, and while there is a slight tendency upwards on some
food prices at this time, yet this upward tendency is not marked or general.
A s stated before, the reduction in the cost of living does not wholly determine
the question of the reduction of wages, but is an element entering into the
consideration of the same. In this particular case there are other conditions
surrounding the parties which have as important bearing as the reduction in
the cost of living. I t is true that before the era of advances in wages and
cost of living the electrical workers on interurban and street railw ays were
considerably underpaid fo r the service performed, and that their advances in
wages have not been as marked and have not reached as high a point as other
lines of work rendering equal service.
The function of this court is to establish a fa ir and minimum wage fo r the
various classes of workers who may come within the jurisdiction of the court.
To determine this minimum wage must be taken into consideration the nature
of the employment, the service rendered, the ability of the employer to pay
from the revenues derived from the business operations, the relation of the
employer’s business to the public, and many other considerations. However,
a most serious consideration in this case is the financial condition of the
employer. * * *
Upon the consideration of all the evidence, the court finds that the 10 per
cent increase in wages asked fo r by the complainants could not be met by
the respondent company; and the court further finds that the company can not
continue to pay the present schedule of wages, so fa r as the train service is
concerned; and that it is necessary for the continuance of operation of this
road that some reduction be made in the w ages of certain classes of employees.
However, the court finds that the sweeping reduction in wages proposed by
the respondent is not justified.2
4

23 Kansas. Court of Industrial Relations. First annual report. Amalgamated Asso­
ciation of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America v . Joplin & Pittsburg Rail­
way Co. Opinion, Dec. 9, 1920, p. 62.

^Kansas. Court of Industrial Relations. Amalgamated Association of Street and
Electric Railway Employees of America r. Joplih & Pittsburg Railway Co. Docket No*
151, Printed opinion and. order, pp. 6~~S,




144

CHAP. III.— STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS
FIREMEN AND OILERS’ CASE

In the case o f the firemen and oilers,2 2
5 the court sent questionnaires
6
to these employees, through the vice president o f their union, request­
in g them to enter their livin g expenses fo r one year and fo r one
month. Questionnaires were also sent to the railroad companies,
requesting the average number o f employees in service, the total
tim e worked, the total wages paid, and the rate o f pay per hour, day,
<or month, by occupations, for October and January o f each year,
1913 to 1920. The information from these schedules was tabulated
and was considered by the court in making its decision.
In its opinion in this case the court said:
The evidence further shows that the w age paid to the various classes of
workers— members of said local unions— is unreasonably low and not sufficient
to enable such workers to provide their families with the necessaries of life
and a reasonable share of the comforts of life. A n unmarried man, as shown
by the evidence, could get along fairly w ell on the present wage, but in cases
o f men with families, under the present conditions of the high cost o f the
necessaries of life, the w age is insufficient to provide reasonably fo r the
fam ilies o f such workers.
* * * The evidence shows a great feeling of unrest among these men.
T he wage they are receiving is so low as to bring actual suffering into the
fam ilies of many o f them, and only those most fortunately situated are able
to have the necessaries and comforts of life in abundance.2
8

The court granted an increase in wages, adopting the same defini­
tion o f a “ fair wage ” as in the Topeka Edison Co. case already
cited.
WOLFF PACKING’ CO. CASE

In the W o lff Packing Co. case2 the main contentions o f the em­
7
ployees were that the employer had given notice o f an intention to
reduce wages although the “ downward trend in the cost o f the neces­
saries o f life has not materially affected the retail trade as yet ” ; that
the employer had refused to accept the basic 8-hour day; and had
refused to guarantee a certain number o f hours’ work per week.
The employees stressed the last two points because they claimed
that any wage fixed by the court might become unfair ir the com­
pany limited production.

According to the court—
This case involves one of the most serious considerations in connection with
the administration o f the industrial act. The respondent is not a public
u tility ; it is one of those industries which are declared to be impressed with
public interest; but the court has no power to regulate the prices which it
may charge fo r its commodities as may be done in regard to public utilities.
Therefore, any order made by this court fixing a wage must be very carefully
considered, in view of the fact that the respondent is doing business, and
must continue to do business, upon an open and more or less competitive
market, and.in view of the fact that the plant can not be expected to operate
fo r any long period of time at a loss. On the other hand, it may be stated
that there is an irreducible minimum below which workers can not be and
m ust not be required to work.

The wage schedules set forth in the award were practically the
old scales, exclusive o f the bonus o f 5 cents per hour previously
25 Kansas. Court of Industrial
ral. Docket No. 3293. June 15,
26 Kansas. Court of Industrial
30, 1920, pp. 34, 38.
27 Kansas. Court of Industrial
No. 3926, Fringed opinion, May




Relations,
1920.
Relations.
Relations.
2, 1921,

Wendele

v.

Union Pacific Railroad Co. et

First annual report, Feb. 1, 1920, to Nov.
May

r,

Charles Wolff Packing Co.

Docket

KANSAS

145

given, but were an increase over the rates proposed by the company.
These wages the court considered “ to be reasonable and fair,”
saying:
In view of the reduction in the cost of the necessities and the comforts o f
life, the wages hereinafter set out in the schedules are, in the opinion o f the
court, the equivalent in purchasing power of the wages paid under said
contract o f 1920.

The company, however, refused to comply with the order o f the
court and the industrial court then instituted mandamus proceedings
in the supreme court o f the State to compel compliance.
In presenting its brief before the supreme court the court o f in­
dustrial relations said:
The whole body o f workers, in the Nation as well as those within the
jurisdiction of the various States, must be supported by the entire body of
industries, and therefore each industry should do its part toward contributing
to the support of this great body of workers, and the wages in each industry
should be sufficient to maintain the workers in health and fru gal comfort.
The industry that can not or w ill not pay its employees enough to obtain the
necessaries of life is now generally known as an industrial parasite, and if
this industry so failing to pay a fa ir and living wage continues to operate,
such operation must be subsidized by the workers to the extent that their
actual w age may be below the amount necessary fo r them to obtain the
necessaries o f life.
The question naturally* arises, when fixing minimum w age standards,
whether or not the financial condition of the industry should be taken into
account. This question often arises in cases of small struggling businesses
which claim that they can not survive i f their workers are paid a sufficient
w age to maintain themselves. In other words, such an industry claims that
the continuance of its business at a profit is more important than the con­
tinuance o f its workers upon a fa ir and living wage. I f the industry does not
pay this fa ir and living wage then the worker must receive the remainder of
his support from some other source, either by relatives or friends, or furnished
at public expense. Society as a whole must carry the burden in some form for
the support of the worker where the industry fails to provide such support.
I f a business is unable to continue without forcing its workers to receive less
than a living wage, then the subsidy should be paid by the public directly to
the industry and not compel such subsidy to come from the earnings of work­
men and the homes of the poor, and finally have the subsidy paid to the worker
in some form o f public charity.
Minimum wage orders are based prim arily upon the minimum cost of the
w orker to produce the labor which is furnished to the employer. For instance,
i f the labor received by the employer can not be furnished or maintained by
the worker fo r less than a given amount per week, then such given amount
is the minimum cost of this labor and the employer alone receives the benefit
o f this working energy which has been contributed by the worker at the mini­
mum cost so found. It is the theory o f the law that a minimum wage is the
amount that it costs the worker to furnish his labor to the employer and the
employer has no right to demand of the worker that he furnish his labor at a
less amount than it costs the worker to produce the same, because whenever the
employer demands this labor at a less price the burden falls upon society in
some form, and therefore the public is vitally interested in the conditions
thus created.
In this case, the industrial court, after extensive investigation, has found the
least amount which the worker should receive in order for him to furnish to
the W o lff Packing Co. the working energy which the company demands o f its
employees and even though the payment of such a minimum w age can not be
made by the W o lff Packing Co: and the company still make a profit on its busi­
ness, yet as a temporary expedient it may be required to pay such wage not­
withstanding it may be done at a loss in the general operation of the com­
pany for a short period of time, and until economic and business conditions
w arrant a change in such order.2
8

28 Kansas Supreme Court. Court of Industrial Relations v . Charles Wolff Packing Co.
No. 23702. Brief of the Court of Industrial Relations, pp. 15, 16.




146

CHAP. III.— STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS

The supreme court upheld the aw ard2 o f the court o f industrial
9
relations, saying:
A laboring man with a family, for honest work, should receive wages suffi­
cient to enable him to feed, clothe, and shelter his fam ily and educate his
children. I f the wages received by him are not sufficient to do these things,
he becomes discontented, and the evil consequences that flow from such dis­
content may follow. The State should, it does, have power to protect laboring
men to the same extent that it protects working women.8
0

The company then appealed to the Supreme Court o f the United
States, where it pointed out that the order o f the court o f industrial
relations increased wages although it was recognized that the com­
pany would temporarily have to operate at a loss, and that the
court’s opinion that this period would be only temporary was based
upon the statement o f the president o f the company that he hoped
fo r better times. The company contended that the order was in
conflict with the provisions o f the fourteenth amendment as depriv­
ing it o f liberty o f contract and property without due process o f law.
The Supreme Court o f the United States reversed the decision o f
the Kansas Supreme Court, holding that an emergency sufficient
to justify the order did not exist and that the cutting off o f the food
supplied from this one plant would not in case o f labor disturbances
sufficiently endanger the public health and welfare o f the people o f
the State to justify the industrial court in depriving the company o f
its property and freedom o f contract.3
1
OTHER CASES BEFORE THE COURT

In other cases the court o f industrial relations found that, apply­
ing its standard o f a fa ir wage, the wage being paid to the employees
was “ unreasonably l o w ” and not sufficient to enable them “ to pro­
vide themselves and families with all the necessaries and a reason­
able share o f the comforts o f life,” and that the wage was therefore
- “ an unfair wage ” ; or was not a fair scale o f wages to be paid to
the employees involved “ under the present abnormal conditions as to
the cost or living ” ; or was inadequate properly to compensate such
complainants for their services.
W . L. Floyd et al. v. Joplin & Pittsburg R ailw ay Co., 3358, July 21, 1920;
John S. Zinn, president American Association of Street and Electric
R ailw ay Employees et al. v . The Topeka R ailw ay Co., 3416, August 9,
1920; E. H. Vandenberg et al. v. The W ichita R ailroad & Light Co., 3426,
July 31, 1920; and In the matter o f wages, etc. of employees of the C raw ­
ford Telephone & Telegraph Co., 3619, November 24, 1920.

On the other hand, it approved agreements between employers and
employees.
State o f Kansas et al. v. The Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe R ailw ay Co.
et al. 3327, December 6, 1920; and Sadie M cNulty et al. v. Northeastern
Kansas Telephone Co., 3583, February 8, 1921.*
1
0
8
29
The supreme court held that the evidence showed that, although this was a small
plant, labor trouble might spread to the larger plants and thus endanger the health and
welfare of the people of the State. As a matter of fact, this did occur and the Wolff
Co. continued operation under the order of the industrial court.
80 Court of Industrial Relations v . Charles Wolff Packing Co., 109 Kans. 629, 201
Pac. 418.
81 Chas. Wolff Packing Co. v . Court of Industrial Relations of the State of Kansas, 262
U. S. 522.




MAINE

147

In some cases it denied the request o f the employees fo r an in­
crease in wages, maintaining that the wages then being paid, or
proposed by the employer, were fair.
A. G. W eide et al. v. Kansas Flour M ills Co., 3467, August 7, 1920; E. H.
Somers et al. v. Atchison Ry. Light & Power Co., 3484, October 23, 1920
(w ith a few exceptions) ; and T. A. Patton et al. v. Swift & Co., 150,
August 31, 1921.

And it decreased wages.
Topeka R ailw ay Co. v. Employees, 147, September 22, 1921.
In view, however, of the reduction in living costs, it is believed that
some reduction in the wages allowed to the complainants may be made at
this time without a serious injustice to them. In consideration of these
matters, this tribunal believes that the following scale of wages under the
circumstances is a fa ir wage to be paid to the complainants and that this
w age under the changed conditions as to living costs has as great a pur­
chasing value and w ill provide as many of the necessaries and comforts
of life as the former wage would at the time it w as instituted.

The cases in which the cost o f livin g was not a factor are not listed
in this bulletin.
M A IN E

In the biennial report o f the Department o f Labor and Industry o f
Maine fo r 1919-20 it is stated:
The services of the State board of arbitration and conciliation have been at
the disposal of employers and employees throughout the State during the years
1919 and 1920, and have been offered in all cases where the members of the
board have learned of labor troubles, but have been little sought for either by
those who employ or those who are employed in the settlement of controversies
that have arisen. In most cases where the good offices of the board have been
tendered, the parties in controversy have declined to accept the same, em­
ployers particularly feeling that they were able to handle the situation without
any assistance.3
2

According to the chairman o f the State board o f arbitration and
conciliation, the only case that has come before the board where costof-living figures have been used Was the case o f Plumbers’, Steam
Fitters’ and Helpers’ Local Union No. 217 o f Portland v. Master
Steam Fitters’ and Plumbers’ Association o f Portland, brought be­
fore the board in October, 1921.
The cause o f the controversy was the refusal o f the union to sign
a new agreement providing fo r a wage cut o f 20 per cent and the
refusal o f the employers to submit the matter to arbitration, as the
union proposed. Later the employers withdrew the agreement from
consideration and insisted on the open shop. The members o f the
union, however, refused to work under open-shop conditions.
In the hearings before the board the employees’ representative
testified as to the wages paid in Portland in 1914 and 1915 and at
the time o f the hearing. H e quoted figures as to the changes in
cost o f livin g published by the United States Bureau o f Labor
Statistics3 and stated that i f the percentage increase o f 72.1 per
3
cent in the cost o f living in Portland from 1914 to May, 1921, were
applied to the 1914 wage it would give an increase o f 36 cents; this
when added to the 1914 wage gave 86 cents as a proper wage i f 8
3
2
82 Maine. Department of Labor and Industry.
83 Monthly Labor Review, July, 1921, p. 46,




Fifth biennial report, 1919-20, p. 157.

148

CHAP. III.— STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS

based entirely on the increased cost o f living.3 Wages in other
4
cities were quoted as well as the per cent o f increase in the cost o f
livin g in those cities. In addition newspaper advertisements o f
1914 and o f October, 1921, were referred to and the increase in price
o f various commodities cited.
No one form ally appeared fo r the employers’ association.
W ith reference to the cost o f livin g and wages, the board said in
its decision:
The change in economic conditions made some reduction in wages impera­
tive, but the board finds, from the evidence submitted to it at the hearing,
that a cut o f 20 per cent, either on July 1, 1921, or at any time since then,
is too much in this case, taking into account the cost of living in Portland
then and since and comparing it with wages received and proposed. The
members of the union should return to work, under the new agreement sub­
mitted by the Building Trades Employers' Association, but changed, as to the
rate of wages, at a w age of 87% cents per hour, or 12% per cent reduction,
and their former employers should employ them on those terms and under
those conditions at said wage fo r journeymen plumbers.

MASSACHUSETTS
The law creating the Board o f Conciliation and Arbitration o f the
State o f Massachusetts was enacted in 1886,3 and the first board was
5
formed during that year.3
6
The first seventeen years o f the existence o f the board were devoted
principally to conciliation. About 1903, however, agreements were
effected between employers and employees, particularly in the shoe
industry, in which it was provided that differences which they were
unable to adjust were to be referred to the State board o f concilia­
tion and arbitration fo r determination. Since that time the arbitra­
tion work o f the board has materially increased.
B y chapter 350 o f the Acts o f 1919 the functions o f the board
were transferred to the department^ o f labor and industries and
vested in the three associate commissioners o f the department, who
form the board o f conciliation and arbitration.3
7
In any controversy involving 25 or more employees, the board
may intervene and endeavor to settle the dispute by mediation or to
persuade the parties to submit to arbitration. I f the board is un­
successful in this it “ shall investigate the cause o f such controversy
and ascertain which o f the parties thereto is mainly responsible or
blameworthy for the existence or continuance o f the same, and shall,
unless a settlement o f the controversy is reached, make and publish
a report finding such cause and assigning such responsibility or
blame.” 3
8
A great many cases that come before the board fo r decision do
not involve in any way the question o f the cost o f living. In cases,
however, where there has been a general wage reduction, this has been
largely based on the decrease in the cost o f living. These cases are8
7
6
5
4
84 Maine. State Beard of Arbitration and Conciliation. Transcript of hearings. Ap­
plication of Plumbers and Steamfitters and Helpers* Local Union No. 217. Portland, 1921,
pp. 5, 6.
85 Mass. Acts of 1886, ch. 263, approved June 2, 1886.
86 The present law regarding the appointment of the board is set forth in Mass. Gen.
Laws, ch. 23, secs. 1, 2,. 7.
87 Massachusetts. Department of Labor and Industries. Labor Law Bulletin No. 6,
September, 1921, p. 7.
88 Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 150, sec. 3. In Manual of Labor Laws Enforced by the Depart­
ment of Labor and Industries, November, 1921, p. 83.




149

MASSACHUSETTS

shown in the table below. In making these decisions, the figures
o f the Massachusetts Commission on the Necessaries o f L ife and
the figures o f the United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics have
been considered. The board does not as a rule state the basis o f its
decisions. These are in great part, however, based upon the reports
o f expert investigators which are held as confidential. Since Decem­
ber 1, 1919, no case has come before the board in which a general
increase in wages was sought, as these cases have been decided by
agreement between the parties concerned.
DECISIONS OF MASSACHUSETTS BOARD OF CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION
BASED PRINCIPALLY ON COST-OF-LIVING FIGURES

Company

Place

Employees
affected

Rice & Hutchins (Curtis factory)_______ Marlborough.. All.........................
United States Leather Co______________ Boston______ Leather handlers..
Eastern Massachusetts Street Ry...............
Motormen and
conductors.
A. J. Bates__________________________ Webster.......... All.........................
J. H. Winchell & Co. (Inc.)......................... Haverhill....... .......do....................
Huekins & Temple Co______________ . Milford.......... ....... do....................
B oston.._
_ Leather handlers. .
United States Leather Co_ _________
_
.......................
Brockton shoe companies_______ __
Brockton...... . A ll2
South Shore shoe companies........................ A b i n g t o n , .......do.3.................
Whitman,
Rockland.
George E. Keith Co_ ____
_
__
Boston. _
.do.4________
Treers...................
Brockton shoe companies______________ "Brockton
Huekins & Temple (Inc.)______________ Milford.......... Sol e l e a t h e r
workers, makers,
lasters, finishers,
treers, packers.®

Date of
award

Decrease
awarded
P e rcen t

June 6,1921
Aug. 30,1921
Sept. 23,1921
Nov. 15,1921
Mar. 13,1922
....... do...........

1
0
1
0
1H
2
1
0
19
11
0
5
1
0
1
0

May 31,1922
June 1,1922
June 7,1922

1
0
1
0
1
0

Apr. 13,1921
Apr. 15,1921
May 14,1921

i Approximately.
3 Except that on, daywork in the cutting, sole-leather, stitching, heeling, and finishing
departments, “ when the compensation is at the rate of $11 per week or less., no change.
The 10* per cent reduction, in no instance to make the rate of wages less than $11 per
week.” There were a few other exceptions in the edge-making, sole-fastening, and lasting
departments.
3 For all opera tio ifsi in all departments (except lasting a t one specified factory), except
“ when the compensation is at the rate of $11 per week or less, no change. The 10 per
cent reduction in no instance to make the rate of wages less than $11 per week.”
4 Except that on daywork,, “ the 10 per cent reduction in no instance to make the rate
of wages less than $13 per week. Where the rate of wages is $13 per week or less it is
excluded from the provisions of this decision by agreement of the parties.”
6 For employees working by the piece upon women’s welt shoes.

Summaries o f two cases in which most o f the argument related to
the cost o f livin g and in which the decision was based primarily on
changes in the cost o f living are given below.
BROCKTON SHOE MANUFACTURERS' CASE

In pursuance o f a clause in the contract between the Brockton Shoe
Manufacturers’ Association and the joint shoe council o f the Boot
and Shoe Workers’ Union providing for reference to the State board
o f conciliation and arbitration o f wage matters on which mutual
agreement can not be reached, a case involving these tw o organiza­
tions came before the board in 1921.
The Brockton Shoe Manufacturers’ Association, composed o f prac­
tically all the large shoe manufacturers in Brockton and in south­
eastern Massachusetts, has over 20 years been working under agree­
ment with the Boot and Shoe W o o e r s ’ Union. A t the time o f the
hearing, about 15,000 workmen were employed in shoe factories in




150

CHAP. III.— STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS

Brockton and about 7,000 others were employed in factories o f mem­
bers o f the association outside o f Brockton. These latter were
workmen not covered by the contract with the Joint Shoe Council,
but their wages were adjusted in accordance with it. In fact, the
wage agreed to between these tw o organizations determines in large
measure the wages paid by all shoe manufacturers in southeastern
Massachusetts.
In the hearings before the board the manufacturers5 association 3
9
requested a general reduction in wages o f 20 per cent. I t was pointed
out by the president o f the association that during the war, after
livin g costs began to mount, the manufacturers^ in agreement with
the union, voluntarily granted four increases m wages o f 10 per
cent each and in May, 1919, reduced hours from 50 to 48 per week.
H e claimed that while the cost o f livin g at the time o f the hearing
had increased 60 per cent over 1914, during the same period labor
costs had increased about 100 per cent. The statement on cost o f
living, he stated, was based on “ the national figures, the State figures,
and the figures o f the National Industrial Conference Board.”
In coming before the State board at this time, we feel that w e are within
onr rights and w e are following the plan of settling such differences as has
been agreed upon a good many years ago. W e feel that the plan that works
when prices are going up should be the plan that works when prices are going
down. W e were told that when the increased prices were given, the percentage
increases, and w e certainly have a right to expect that the cost o f living should
have some bearing upon the w age scale in our industry.

The secretary o f the association argued as follow s:
The high point in the cost o f living w a s reached in June, 1920. A djust­
ments were made, either mutually or by the State board, with every union
in the city of Brockton within a period o f three months of the apex of the
high cost of living. That, I believe, is sufficient evidence to show that at the
time these mutual adjustments w ere made and the time the decisions were
made by the State board that the prices were considered fa ir and I believe
that w e are justified in saying that the wages in the Brockton district w ere
at their peak at approximately the same time that the cost o f living w as at
its peak. * * * In fact, I think I am safe in saying that at the time
these adjustments ceased, the members of the unions themselves believed that
the prices were on a fairer and more equitable basis than they had ever
been in the history of the business in Brockton. * * *
M r. Chairman, w e base our contention of the justice o f this decrease on
the figures that are compiled by the State authorities. I believe this board
is thoroughly fam iliar with the method of collecting that data and
w e believe they are thoroughly informed as to its accuracy and when w e
submit the figures of the State authorities, it shows a reduction o f 21.4 per
cent since the high point in June, 1920. W e believe that those figures are
reliable and correct.

The statistician fo r one o f the members o f the association pre­
sented charts showing the trend in the cost o f living in Brockton
since 1914 as determined by local surveys made by him. Local
prices were applied to the quantities as published by the Massa­
chusetts Commission on the Necessaries o f L ife, and the total costs
thus obtained compared with the highest cost in Brockton showed
a decrease o f 21 per cent.
The committee o f the joint council o f the Boot and Shoe Workers5
Union argued that before wages were reduced the association
should “ point out the reasons upon which rests the belief that the8
9
89 Hearings in re Brockton Shoe Manufacturers and Employees, Dec. 14, 1921.
written.)




(Type­

MASSACHUSETTS

151

present standard o f wages is harmful to the. economic interests o f
Brockton and that i f the same is lowered to any extent the increase
in business which may be expected and the relief this w ill bring
to the consumer.” 4 The council expressed its willingness to join
0
with the association in the issuance o f a statement indicating to
the retailers and to the public just what a 10 per cent or a 20
per cent reduction in wages would mean to the consumer. The
council argued that these questions should be known before
a reduction was made in the livin g standard o f over 20,000 workers.
The brief o f the coimcil stated that in other cities where reductions
in pay had been granted, the increases in wages during the war
were greater. I t was stated that during the war period there had
been an approximate wage increase o f 65 per cent to the 13 local
shoe unions in Brockton, but that since as early as 1907 wages
had not kept pace with the cost o f livin g; that there had been no
general increases in wages from 1907 until 1917 and that as the
workers had borne the burdens for so many years, wages should
now be reduced only after the cost o f livin g had been reduced
substantially. The union held, however, that that time had not
yet been reached, fo r the dollar had not yet reached its former
purchasing j>ower.
In the brief filed by the general office o f the Boot and Shoe
Workers’ Union4 in behalf o f the Brockton Joint Council, it was
1
stated that before a reduction was granted in wages, the employers
should be obliged to prove that they were unable to sell shoes
because o f the existing labor costs and also that they would be
able to sell shoes with a certain reduction o f labor cost. I t was
stated that when the workers received the first 10 per cent increase
livin g costs had already advanced 30 per cent; when they received
the second 10 per cent, livin g costs had advanced 60 per cent;
and by the time the wage increase reached its peak o f 65 per cent,
livin g costs had advanced 103 per cent or more. I t was maintained
that the board was not called upon to reduce wages at all when
the index number fo r wages stood at 165 and livin g costs at 180
as compared with 100 fo r 1914.
Standards of living and their costs are indeed subjects fo r consideration
in w age adjustments, but never is it either fa ir or sensible to fix compensation
for skill and labor in accordance with what it costs the workers to live. * * *
W e see no justice in any theory or policy where the compensation that wage
earners shall receive shall be based upon the amount o f money necessary to
meet bare living expenses. * * * It is fa ir to assume that w e have a
right to an average improvement or progressive gain of 3 per cent per year.
That much is due us from the general progress of humanity and it is the
business of organized labor to see that its members do secure at least their
fa ir and proper share of these general gains or accruals.

Accordingly the union held that at least a 20 per cent increase
over the 1914 wages should be credited to the workers as a fa ir
normal margin fo r progress and betterment for that period.
The award o f the Tboard on March 13, 1922, granted a 10 per cent
reduction in wages. Although not specifically so stated in the
award, according to the statement o f the chairman o f the board
the decision was based mainly on the cost-of-living figures offered
as evidence.
40 The Shoe Workers’ Journal, Boston, January, 1922, pp. 1-7.
41 Idem, p. 9.




152

CHAP. I l l — STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS
EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS STREET RAILWAY CASE

In the arbitration hearings in the Eastern Massachusetts Street
Railway case, in May, 1921, the employers requested a 17 per cent
decrease in wages, claiming that the increase o f 20 per cent granted
in 1920 by a voluntary arbitration board was based almost entirely
on the cost o f livin g and that reduction o f 17 per cent now requested
was fair inasmuch as the cost o f livin g had decreased about 22 per
cent during the year. They stated their “ confirmed conviction that a
minimum fa ir livin g wage for these employees is a necessary factor
in the operation o f this street railway,” 4 but contended that the
2
wage fixed in 1920 was a fair livin g wage and would still be i f
reduced 17 per cent.
Mr. Albert S. Richey, representing the company, presented fig­
ures on the cost o f living, making his own apportionment o f the
items o f the budget, as follow s: Food, 45 per cent; clothing, 18 per
cent; shelter, 11 per cent; fuel, 5.3 per cent; and sundries, 20.7 per
cent. These percentages were based on studies o f the United States
Bureau o f Labor Statistics, the Massachusetts Commission on
Necessaries o f L ife and the National Industrial Conference Board.4
3
The index numbers o f the Massachusetts Commission on the
Necessaries o f L ife fo r the individual groups o f items were used,
and these, with the above weighting, gave an index number o f 209.8
fo r May, 1920, and 168.9 for March, 1921. This was stated to be a
decrease o f 19.5 per cent.
Figures o f the United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics and the
Massachusetts Commission on Necessaries o f L ife, showing index
numbers o f the total cost o f livin g and index numbers and per cent
o f change in the retail cost o f food, were given for May, 1920, and
March, 1921, as well as wholesale figures o f the Annalist, bringing
the information to a more recent date.4
4
I t was estimated that there had been a decrease o f 3 per cent from
March to May, 1921, and o f about 22.5 per cent from May, 1920, to
May, 1921.
Mr. James H . Yahey, representing the employees, argued that the
wages should not be reduced until the lag that had occurred between
the increase in the cost o f livin g and in wages had been compensated
for.
Mr. Arthur Sturgis, who testified for the employees relative to
the cost o f living, explained in his testimony how the figures o f the
United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics were compiled and com­
puted, as well as what an index number was and what it meant. F ig ­
ures o f the bureau, showing the change in the cost o f livin g as com­
pared with December, 1914, were then given for Boston. Figures
o f the Massachusetts Commission on the Necessaries o f L ife and o f
the National Industrial Conference Board were also presented. The
index o f the Massachusetts commission fo r March, 1921, was 166.4,
which was a trifle less than 17 per cent below the figure fo r May,
1920. On the basis o f charts which were presented, it was argued
that the decrease in food prices was due largely to seasonal fluctua­
42 Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway Co. arbitration before State board of concilia­
tion and arbitration, May 5, 1921. Stenographic record, pp. 239-241.




OREGON

153

tion. A n exhibit was offered showing the trend in the cost o f livin g
and in the wages. W ith reference to the last arbitration it was
stated:
The cost-of-living adjustment at the time o f the last arbitration, compen­
sating the employees for losses that they had incurred owing to the fact that
their w age rates had remained constant, while the cost of living w as rising,
would have called for a wage o f 66.3 cents per hour as of last May. The
arbitration board
* * * awarded them 62 cents per hour.45

I t was also pointed out that the employees should be given not
only the same per cent o f increase, over 1914, in wages as had oc­
curred in the cost o f living, but also an additional increase to make
up for the losses in the past.
Mr. Sturgis, however, was o f the opinion that to base a wage
on the per cent o f change in the cost ox livin g was not adequate be­
cause it would not provide for raising the standard o f living. E x ­
hibits on the livin g wage, prepared under the direction o f Mr. W .
J. Lauck, were then submitted, as well as a compilation o f budgetary
studies prepared by the Bureau o f Applied Economics.
The board o f conciliation and arbitration in making its award,
effective M ay 2,1921, to M ay 1,1922, said in p a rt:
It appears that the increase in wages received by the employees upon this
system since October 1, 1914, has exceeded in percentage the increased cost
of living during the same period.
The board recognizes that the justifi­
cation fo r such increase w as not entirely based upon the increased cost o f
living. It is generally recognized, however, that such increase has been the
controlling factor in justifying the increase in wages of the employees dur­
ing this period, and further, that there has been a substantial decrease in
the cost of living, the official report of the Massachusetts Commission on the
Necessaries o f Life, covering the period of M ay 1, determining such decrease
from the peak reached in July, 1920, to be 18.8 per cent. A fter an examina­
tion and consideration of the evidence, including the exhibits, 28 in number,
together with the able arguments of counsel, the board determines that a
reduction in w age is warranted at the present time.4
6

I t therefore awarded a reduction o f 12y2 per cent. The wages
granted in this decision were accepted in May, 1922, by mutual agree­
ment, for the year 1922-23.
OREGON
The State board o f conciliation o f Oregon was created by the
General Laws o f Oregon o f 1919 and was organized on July 2, 1919.
The functions o f the board o f conciliation are purely conciliatory
although the board may act as arbitrator in any case when the
parties so agree. The board has declined to act in questions in­
volving the open or closed shop and has confined its investigations
to the consideration o f questions relating to wages, hours, or con­
ditions o f employment.4
7
U p to May, 1922, the board had functioned in 11 cases. W ith
the exception o f 2 cases in 1922, all o f the 11 cases were adjusted in
1919 and 1920.4 In practically all o f the cases handled, the cost o f
8
livin g has been taken into consideration^ and the evidence submitted
has been utilized by the board in arriving at its findings.
^E astern Massachusetts Street Railway Co., arbitration before State board of con­
ciliation and arbitration, May 5, 1921. Stenographic record, p. 50.
46 Massachusetts. Board of Conciliation and Arbitration. Eastern Massachusetts Street
Railway Co. v . Employees. Decision No. 59, May 14, 1921, p. 6.
47 Oregon. Bureau of Labor. Ninth biennial report, 1919-1920, pp. 54, 55.
48 Idem. Tenth biennial report, 1921-1922, p. 8.




154

CHAP. III.----STATE ARBITRATION BOARDS

According to its 1921-22 report, “ The board notes an ever-in­
creasing desire on the part o f employers to concede in the matter
o f compensation all that is implied by a c livin g wage,5 not merely
that stipend which w ill provide food, clothing, and a roof, but
rather and further that which w ill make fo r true prosperity and
self-respecting American citizenship.” 4 5
9
0
Perhaps the most important case before the board from the stand­
point o f cost o f livin g was that o f Timber Workers’ Union No. 19
v. Brooks Scanlon Lumber Co. and Shevlin-Hixon Lumber Co., all
o f Bend, Oreg. In this case the employees requested an increased
wage and a minimum rate for unskilled labor o f 60 cents per hour,
dr $4.80 fo r an 8-hour day. The employees stated that they were
“ up against the actual fact o f living conditions.” They said that
the wages did “ not go far enough” and thought that an increase was
justified, claiming that the cost o f living was higher in Bend than
elsewhere, and submitting, in evidence, prices o f commodities on
January 1, 1918, and at the time o f the hearing. I t was stated that
although the current minimum rate fo r common labor in Bend was
$4.25 per day, a minimum o f $4.80 was being paid in other sections.6
0
The employers argued that the wage was adequate, and claimed to
be paying a higher rate than their competitors, citing, in support o f
their first claim, the amount o f Liberty Bonds and W a r Savings
Stamps bought and the increase in the savings deposits o f the people
o f Bend, who were mostly industrial workers. They also argued
that not only food but clothing, housing, etc., should be considered in
any estimate o f the cost o f livin g and that i f this were done it would
be found that the cost o f livin g was lower in Bend than in P o rt­
land. The representative o f one o f the companies stated that wages
averaged about $28 per week, out o f which the men paid in the camps
$8.75 fo r board and lodging. The employers claimed that the 10
per cent increase granted in January, 1918, and the 25-cent increase
granted in the summer o f 1919 had taken care o f the increased cost
o f livin g and that the $3.60 given before that time was a livin g wage.5
1
In order to determine fo r itself the difference, i f any, in the cost o f
livin g in Bend, in Portland, and in other points in the State, and “ to
find out * * * whether the request o f $4.80 is a proper one con­
sidering the cost o f livin g expenses,” the board detailed one o f its
members to visit the various lumber camps throughout the North­
west, to ascertain, by direct and personal inquiry, livin g costs, wages
paid, and working conditions under which the men were employed.
The board in its decision said:
A fter careful consideration of the matters submitted at-these hearings and
determined by later inquiry and investigation, a careful review of living costs
and present status of the industry in question and conditions prevailing, the
board finds that the minimum w age scale asked for, namely, 60 cents per
hour based on an eight-hour day— is fa ir and equitable and in justice should
be granted, subject to such exceptions as are covered herein.
In making this award, the board recognizes the impossibility o f fixing a
w age scale which shall be uniformly just as to the individual employer and
employee. Obviously, a minimum wage ample fo r the single worker, without
dependents, would be wholly inadequate fo r the married man, with children
and all the responsibiUties connected therewith, or the single man with others

49 Oregon. Bureau of Labor.
50 Idem, p. 10.
61 Idem, pp. 3-5, 7, 15.




Tenth biennial report, 1921-1922, p. 9.

OREGON

155

d e p e n d e n t w h o lly u p o n h im f o r s u p p p o r t ; yet, t h e re c a n j u s t l y b e no d is c r im i­
n a t io n on th e se g r o u n d s . T h e b o a r d h o ld s, h o w e v e r , t h a t th is m in im u m w a g e
s c a le s h o u ld n o t a p p ly to those, w h o b y re a so n o f a g e o r p h y s ic a l d is q u a lific a ­
tion , a r e u n a b le to r e n d e r th e se rv ic e s o f a b le -b o d ie d m en, a n d th e re s h o u ld
b e su c h a f a i r a n d e q u ita b le a d ju s t m e n t in su c h ca se s, a s w i l l c a r r y o u t th e
in te n t a n d p u rp o s e o f th e b o a r d in fix in g th e sc a le a s s ta te d a b o v e .
E v id e n c e o ffe re d a t th e re s p e c tiv e h e a r in g s m a k e s c le a r th a t th e g r e a t ly d e ­
c r e a s e d p u r c h a s in g p o w e r o f th e d o lla r — th e g r e a t ly in c re a s e d co st in th e
n e c e ssitie s o f life , w a r r a n t s u c h a r e a d ju s t m e n t o f w a g e sc a le s f o r th e u n s k ille d
w o r k e r a s w i l l m eet th e se co n d itio n s, w h ic h h a v e s te a d ily g r o w n w o r s e d u r in g
th e p e rio d o f th e w a r a n d w h ic h in m a n y e s s e n tia ls o ffe r n o im m e d ia te p r o s ­
p e c t o f r e lie f.
T h e h o p e o f m a t e r ia lly r e d u c e d co sts a s to fo o d s, w e a r i n g
a p p a r e l, sh o es a n d th e lik e , h a s th u s f a r f a i l e d to m a t e r ia liz e in a n y s u b ­
s t a n t ia l d e g r e e ; on th e c o n t r a r y , su c h s lig h t re d u c tio n s a s h a v e o c c u r r e d in
c e r ta in in sta n c e s, h a v e b e e n c o u n te rb a la n c e d b y in c re a s e s in o th e r e s s e n tia l
item s, a s in th e o p in io n o f th e b o a r d le a v e lit t le g r o u n d a t th is tim e f o r a h o p e
o f im p ro v e m e n t o r c h a n g e .6 5
2
2

52 Oregon. State Board of Conciliation. International Union of Timber Workers’ Local
No. 19 v . Skevlin-Hixon Co. et al. Decision, pp. 1, 2. (Typewritten.)
105715°— 25------11




CHAPTER IV.—MINIMUM WAGE BOARDS
INTRODUCTION
Thirteen States1 and the District o f Columbia2 have recognized
the need fo r minimum wage legislation.3 The law in some o f these
States has provided that the minimum rate paid to women over a
specified age4 should be adequate to supply them the necessary cost
o f livin g and maintain their health and welfare. Such is the case
in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, North
Dakota, Oregon, Texas and Washington. In Minnesota, the wage
must be sufficient to maintain health and to supply the “ necessary
comforts and conditions o f reasonable life.” The law o f Wisconsin
states that the wage must be a “ livin g wage,” which is defined as
“ compensation fo r labor paid, whether by time, piecework, or other­
wise, sufficient to enable the employee receiving it to maintain him­
self or herself under conditions consistent with his or her welfare.”
In the District o f Columbia the law stated that the wage must be
adequate to supply woman workers with the necessaries o f life, to
“ maintain them in good health, and to protect their morals.” In
Arizona and Utah minimum rates are fixed by the courts.5 In the
former State the rate must be adequate to maintain health and
f
no
g rovidef “ the common necessaries ois life ” ; in theInlatter State the
asis o determination o f the rate
prescribed.
Arkansas
original rate was fixed by the legislature, but the Arkansas Minimum
W age and Maximum H our Commission has twice changed the rates
% r mercantile establishments to conform to the changes in the cost
fo
o f living.
The fundamental purpose o f minimum wage legislation for women
has been the preservation o f the health o f the potential mothers o f
the State. The minimum wage law is recognized as belonging to
the class o f laws which the State has the right to adopt io r the
general good o f society. The authority for this jurisdiction rests
in the police power o f the State, and the necessity fo r such a law
rests on the fact that the employee, possessing a less advantageous
economic position than the employer, is frequently not in a position
to negotiate a wage contract with freedom. Necessity may force the
acceptance o f a wage which does not meet the cost o f proper living,
in preference to having no employment at all. *
1 Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North
Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. A law was passed in Colorado
in 1917, but no appropriations have been made for carrying on the w ork; in Texas the
law was repealed in 1921 and a new law passed, but this was vetoed by the governor.
2 The minimum wage law of the District of Columbia was declared unconstitutional by
the Supreme Court of the United States on Apr. 9, 1923.
8 For a complete description of the provisions and operation of the minimum wage laws
of the United States see U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics B u i . No. 285.
4 18 years in all State® except Texas, where it is 15 years. In Arkansas the law
applies to all females, as is the case in Arizona and Utah.
8 In Arizona the minimum wage act of 1917 fixed $10 as the minimum weekly wage for
females employed in stores, offices, shops, restaurants, dining rooms, hotels, rooming
houses, laundries, and manufacturing establishments. On February 13, 1923, this act
was amended by making the minimum $16 per week. (Ariz. Laws o f 1923, p. 6.)

156




IKTRODTJCTTOJSr

157

In Arizona, Arkansas, and Utah, the minimum wage applies only
to females. In California, Kansas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, the
law provides the same basis fo r determining the wage o f minors o f
either sex, while in North Dakota, the wag*e fo r minors must not
be “ unreasonably low.” 6 The wage for minors in Massachusetts,
must be “ suitable,” and in Washington, “ reasonable.” The power
to regulate the wages o f minors rests on the fact that they are
considered wards o f the State.
The Arizona law specifies certain industries fo r which a minimum
wage may be set, while in all the other States the law is applicable
to all industries, except that in Arkansas cotton factories and the
gathering o f fruits and farm products are excluded from the opera­
tion o f the law and in North Dakota, agricultural and domestic
service are excepted. In the District o f Columbia, domestic service
was excluded.
The Massachusetts law was passed in 1912; eight other States
(California, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Wash­
ington, and Wisconsin) took this step in 1913. In Oregon the con­
stitutionality o f the law was contested, and the work o f the minimum
wage commissions o f the other States was retarded until the law was
upheld on A p ril 9, 19lt, by an evenly divided vote o f the Supreme
Court o f the United States.7 A fte r this ruling the commissions in
other States became active in their investigations and issuance o f
orders.
In Kansas, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Wisconsin the estab­
lishment o f the wage rate and the enforcement o f the orders are
carried out as part o f the work o f a commission or a department
which administers labor laws generally. In the other States a special
industrial welfare commission exists which establishes the rate and
sees to the enforcement o f the orders.
In all the States where the rate is not fixed by the courts the
permanent administrative body has been assisted in fixing the rate
by advisory wage boards. In most o f these States, however, the
organization o f such a board is optional under the law. In the States
where the appointment o f wage boards is obligatory the commission
may accept the report o f the wage board in its entirety or in part, or
the report may be referred back to the wage board, or the wage board
may be dismissed and the case submitted to a newly organized wage
board.
I t is generally recognized by the various commissions that i f a
woman does not receive a wage sufficient to cover her actual needs for
subsistence some other member o f the fam ily must assist or contribu­
tions must be accepted from charity or the wage must be supple­
mented from other sources, often leading to immoral practices. But
whatever the source o f the supplementary sum, the money ultimately
comes from other industries and amounts to a subsidy to the industry
paying the inadequate wage.
6 A similar provision in the law of the District of Columbia was declared unconstitu
tional.
TMr. Justice Brandeis not voting because he had, before his appointment, presented a
brief before the Oregon Supreme Court on behalf of the commission and represented the
commission in the case before the United States Supreme Court.




158

CH A P. IV.---- M I N I M U M

W AGE BOARDS

To aid in ascertaining the wage adequate to provide the necessaries
o f life and to maintain health, most o f the commissions have con­
ducted investigations o f the actual earnings o f women and what it
costs them to live. The wage boards have then made use o f these
figures either by adopting a budget thought to represent the mini­
mum cost o f livin g for the employees in question or by applying to
a previously accepted budget the per cent o f change in the cost o f
livin g as determined by the United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics.8
Representatives from the minimum wage commissions o f Wash­
ington, Oregon, and California met at Portland, Oreg., in Septem­
ber, 1919, in an endeavor to secure more uniformity in action upon
their common problems. A t this conference one o f the questions dis- 1
cussed was the cost o f living, and it was recommended that, as few o f
the States have sufficient funds for complete cost-of-living surveys,
the figures published in the Monthly Labor Review be used by the
wage conferences in all States.9
The attempts o f the various boards and commissions to make a
budget which would cover the cost o f livin g o f wage-earning women
have become more detailed and more accurate with experience. A t
first only estimates o f the total amount needed for room, board, and
clothing were made. Later an amount was added for sundries, and
still later the clothing budget was itemized by articles, and the aver­
age annual number o f each article required was given. Another step
was the allocation o f the total for sundries to different items. In
some o f the later budgets it has also been recognized that even a
minimum wage should provide for such allowances as insurance,
savings, and vacation. I t is only by taking the cost o f the individual
items into consideration that an adequate budget can be prepared.
In many instances, however, employer groups have agreed upon the
required number and cost o f individual articles, but could not agree
to the total amount required.
The table following shows in detail the clothing and sundries
budgets adopted by the various minimum wage boards.
8 In Massachusetts the figures of the Massachusetts Commission on the Necessaries of
Life have generally been used.
9 Washington. Industrial Welfare Commission. Fourth* biennial report. 1919-1920.
Olympia, 1920, p. 11.







C H A P. IV .— M IN IM U M

160

W AGE BOARDS

BUDGETS ADOPTED BY STATE MINIMUM WAGE
CLOTHING1
4
3
2
California: General budget
1914

Article
No.

Cost

1919
No.

Cost

Hats:
Summer____________________
$12. 50
6 $15. 00
W inter_______________ _____ / °
Coats:
Summer______ ____________ i 1 12.50
1 24.00
W inter________ ____________
1 2 . 00 1 33.00
0
Suit_____________ ____________
Gloves:
K id ______ __________________ 1 2 3.00
2 4.50
Cotton____ _________________ /
Waists:
3
3.00
3
W ork___________ __________
6 00
.
1 3.00 1 4. 50
Dress_______________________
Skirts:
Su m m er................. ............
W in ter.. ........ ......... ..........
Dresses:
Cotton (wash)______ _______ 1
1 2 .0
00
W ool_______________________ i 2 18.00
Silk________ _____ __________ J
1 3.00 1 4. 50
Sweater.......... .... .......................
Shoes:
L o w ...... ................... ......... \
3 18. 00
H igh _________________ ____ _ ► 3 10.50
Stockings:
Cotton______ ________ _ _ _ 12
3.00
1 6 50
2 .
Silk________________________ ►
2 4.00 2 7. 00
Corsets______ ____ _____________
1 1. 50 1 2 00
2
2 .
H andkerchiefs.__ _____________
Collars_________________________
A pron s.......... .................. .........
1 1.50
20
.0
Kim on o___ _______________ ____
Nightgowns:
Summer. __________ _________ X Q 2.50
3
4. 50
W inter____ ____ ______ ___ } 3
Petticoats:
Summer. __ _____ ___ ____ __
6 50
.
3
5.00
W inter__ _ _ ____________ } 3
Underwear:
Union suits—
Summer________________
W inter_______ _________
Bloomers__________________
7.00 —
10. 50
---Vests_______________________ 1
Corset covers, camisoles, etc..
Teddies______________ _____
1 1. 50 1 1. 50
Umbrella.._ _ _________________
1 .75
Rubbers. ______ __________ _____
1 .75
Purse___
. . . _ .....................
!_ ....
Repairing, cleaning, and pressing
clothes... .
Repairing shoes...
M iscellaneous____ _____________
Total _

_____ _

_ _

1 Party dress.
2 Or house dress.
3 Included with “ underwear.”
4 Includes nightgowns and petticoats




112. 25

also.

170. 75

1920

District of
Columbia:
General budget,
1916

1922

No.

Cost

No.

Cost

3

$15.00

2

$10.00

Vi

22.50

H

2 .0
00

2

4.50

No.

Cost

$10.00-$15. 00

15.00

H

25. 00- 30. 00

H 15.00

A

25. 00- 30. 00

H

2

10.50 / 2

3.00

2.50- 5.00

4.00
4.00

| 6. 00- 15. 00
3. 00- 5. 00
5. 00- 10. 00

A

15.00

4
3

3. 75

K

12. 50

A

1.75

f - -

J

1

15. 00
25.00

l1A

2

17.50

2 1 .0
20

12. 00- 17.00

8
2

6 0 8 4. 00
.0
2 5. G
O
1
2 10
.2
23. 50
21. 50
20 A 10
.0
.0

3.00- 7.00
2.00- 5.00

7.00
2. 40

3

3

3. 75

(3
)

2

—

5.40
5.00

2

4.00

(3
)

_3'"

4. 25
3. 00

y2

100
.

9. 00

.85

—

45.00-

10.00*

.85

4. 00
2. 50

4. 00
3. 00

15G 40
.

113. 80

1 .0
00
125. 00

161

INTRODUCTION

BOARDS, BY STATE AND YEAR, OR OCCUPATION
CLOTHING
Kansas: General budget

101
Q
Cost

No.

1Q
99

14.31

M

l

30.19

34

4. 00
4. 94

Cost

No.

Cost

No.

Cost

No.

}3

$24. 95

2

$19. 40

2

$10. 31

2

$24. 03
17. 84
27. 52
27. 81

1 50
.
1 50
.

2 .0
00
25. 52
26. 87

2

4. 07

2

3. 36

16. 44

5

14. 26

4

10.70

5

16. 58

234

11.72

2M

1 . 66
1

1 .1 2
22

13. 01

2

7.83

2

11. 89

2

10. 77

iy2

10. 90

29. 02
35.27

2
2

28. 30
32. 88

4

3

17. 93
2 . 10
0

3

16.54
28.48

16.54
25. 38

I

234
134

8 78
.

8.15

1
1

18. 77
20.13

)6

36. 77

6

38. 48

}1
2
2

15. 68
7. 52

1
2

22. 54

3

2

3.46

3

100
.

l

3.00
4. 20
3. 00
120
.
1 50
.

7. 58

2
1

4

20. 54

4

36.15

8
2

10.46
7 57
.

1
2
2

15. 88

8 00
.

6

6.83

8

12.63

5. 83

4

5.41

3

I2

5. 58

3

5. 96

1.96

6

2 00
.
10
.0

1
2
1

3

9. 80
6 40
.

6
2

9. 42
6 00
.

6 25
.

4

1. 25

1

2
iM

1.96
1.31 } 3

iJ
4

120
.
1 32
.

H

2
2

4

.50
2. 25 } *
. 77
1
.33
200
.

3

34
%

1

6 76
.

l

4

31. 86

5

32.16

1
2
2

16. 69
7.10

1
2
2

16. 30

7.08

I

1.58

5

7.93

6

5. 80

4. 56

4

6 02
.

3

5.95

3

4 75
.

2

5 80
.

3

60 2
.1

4.09

3

4. 40

3

634
.
3.45

6

6 85
.

3

80
.2

3

9. 45
4. 48

6

2

3

5. 65

2

4. 85

6 35
.

4

5.10

4

6 57
.

4

4.20

2

4. 30

1 25
.

1

1 25
.

1

1 25
.

1

1. 25

1

1. 25

9. 24

34

7. 88

6 86
.

8 67
.

4. 52
4.24
172. 33 - - - - -

34
34
34

4. 45

4. 00
13. 33

3. 23
4. 75 } 2

2
1

14. 25
21. 75
29. 75

2

5. 50
7. 50

1.18
1 74
.
2. 39

34
34
34

$15.86

3. 68

i
i

2. 05

2

3

2. 69
3. 06

K

$16. 56

4.15

2
1

11
.1

34
34
34

17. 20
23. 75

2K

Cost

2

2. 50 \ 9
3. 75 / 2

M

4
4

34
34

No.

5.20

l

4
4

15. 04
27. 75
20. 92

Cost

}3

5. 00

2. 32
3.13

{ !

34
34
34

Laundry
workers

1 .0 } 3
20

H

1
2
2

H

u

Factory
workers

No.

10. 07
18. 34

3.78
4.15
1.25
1.44
3. 62
2. 48

Telephone
operators

Cost

11. 07
12. 03

6
2
1
2
2
3
1

Chamber­
maids

No.

10. 83 / 34 21.04
\ 34 28. 80
12. 50
34 34. 17

34
34

2'
1

Mercantile
employees

$6. 00
600
.

{I

}$10. 32

2.96
.97

North Dakota: 1921

Cost

No.

{i
U
{?

'

5. 00
5. 00

141. 08




314. 33

294.10

187. 65

271. 93

252. 22

252. 84

162

CH A P. IV .---- M I N I M U M

W AGE BOARDS

BUDGETS ADOPTED BY STATE MINIMUM WAGE BOARDS, BY STATE AND YEAR,
OR OCCUPATION—Continued
CLOTHING—Continued
Washington

Article

Tele­
Mer­
can­ Fac­ Laun­ phone
and
tile tory dry tele­
em­ work­ work­ graph
ploy- ers
ers opera­
tors

General
Hotel
and Office budget
restau­ em- ■
rant ployem­
1921
ploy­ ees
ees

1914

448.26 457. 34 444.84 558. 51 509.18

8 Summer hat, winter hat, and cap.
6 Based on 2 years’ supply at 180 per cent of original cost.
7 Kind not specified.
81 pair summer, 1 pair winter, and 2 pairs silk or cotton,
o Includes aprons.
i° Includes rubbers.
n 1 pair for dress, 1 pair for work, and 1 pair oxfords,
121 winter, 2summer.
1 Included with dresses.
3
1 Includes nightgowns.
4
1 Included with shoes.
5




1913-14

1921

No. Cost No. Cost No. Cost

Hats:
Summer............. ......
1
Winter....................... ]• $6.75 $7.00 $ 10.00 $12.39 $9.81 19.37 1
Coats:
Summer............ ........
W inter..................... } 10.23 11.34 17.25 10.48 16.14 15.23 K
S u it.......................... ...... J 17.63 21.36 25.16 21.24 28.37 22.84 1
Gloves:
Kid.......... ..................
n
Silk______________
2.87 4.48 3.80 3.04 71
2.33
Cotton. .............. .......
Waists:
Work__________ _
4.38 4.97 6.75 10.17 14.60 4.80
Dress.......... ...............
Skirts:
Summer. ............... .
Winter-------- --------Dresses:
Cotton (wash)______
Wool_________ ___ 914. 53 910.81 911.73 910.19 925.44 919.33
S ilk ....___ _______
Shoes:
Low______________ 0
°
High........... ............... 1 7.12 io 7.98 io 10.45 io 12.23 1 11.71 io 9.66 1 1 3
Stockings:
Cotton................. ......
2.17 2.38 2.75 3.32 4.45 2.10
Silk_______ _______
Corsets______________
2.17 4.27 4.75 3.82 7. 36 3.68
Corset waists__________
1.24 1
2.41 1.56 2.97 2.12
.
Handkerchiefs_________
1.07 1. 85 1.84 1. 52
.
1.16 1
Collars_______________
1.80 1.92
1.02
1.00
1.00 1.54
( 13)
( 18)
( 13)
( 13)
(! 3)
Aprons.................... ......... ( 13)
Nightgowns:
Summer.........I_____
(3
)
(3)
(3)
(3)
(3)
Winter...................... } (3)
Petticoats:
Summer__________ } 2.17 4.13 4.33 3.48 4.71 4.00
Winter___________
Underwear:
Union suits—
Summer...............
Winter...............
Bloomers__________
Vests_____________ M 3.77 i< 4.37 u 5.42 1 5.17 1 6.26 14 4.48
4
4
Corset covers, cami­
soles, etc_________
Teddies______ ___ _
Umbrella_____________
1.40 2.20 1.37 1.30 1.67 1.36
( 15)
( 15)
( 15)
( 15)
( 15)
( 15)
Rubbers_____________
Repairing, cleaning and
4.41 2.25 2.24 2.38 4.64
pressing clothes.........
3.1
Repairing shoes________
3.42 1.46 2.20 1. 55 2.06 1.36
Miscellaneous................
Total .

Wisconsin:
General budget

$5.00 53 $8.00
5.00

IK $7.50
K 45.00
K e 31.50

17.50
25. <0
5

15.00

2.00
1.00

3.00

6.00

}$9. 50

5.00

jll.00

2.00

5.00

22.50
K6

15.00

12.00

j-30. 50

3.00
5.00

3.00
2.50

4. 90

2.00
1.00

tii

3.00
1.20

62.03
64.95

1. 75

6.00

3.60

2.50
3.00
4.00

{!

]• 2.50

6.00

} 3.50
■

3.50
3.00
6.00

2.00

3.50
2.00

3.00
2. 50
.85
6.00

123.85

7.50
5.34
1.30
15.00

T66
14.40
203. 67

163

IN TRO DUC TIO N

BUDGETS ADOPTED BY STATE MINIMUM WAGE BOARDS, BY STATE AND YEAR,
O R O C C U P A T IO N —Continued

SUNDRIES

Article

California: General budget District of Columbia Kansas: Gen­
eral budget
Arkan­
sas:
Mer­
Print­
cantile
General
ing
em­
budget
and
ploy­
1914 1919 1920 1922
pub­ 1921 1922
ees,
lish1920
mg,
1916 1918 1919
Week

Year

Year

Car fare_______ __________ $0. 72 $31. 20 $31.20
.45 1 .0 15.00
20
Laundry.. ______________
Medical care...................... .
}20.00 25.00
Dentistry................ ............ ...
Oculist______ ___________
Church___ ___ __________
.1
0
Charity_________________
.15
Insurance________________
Savings_____ ____________
.2
0
Labor organizations________
Other organizations................
Reading matter___________
Tuition^ self-improvement, etc.
Stationery and postage______
Vacation.................. ...............
00
.30 ]l5 .00 2 .0
Recreation______ ________
.33
Incidentals...
__________
1 .0 15.00
00
Toilet articles..... .................
Fruit and candy________ _
Gifts.......................................

Year

Year

$36. 50 $36. 50
15.00 15.00
25.00 25.00

Year

Year

Week

$18. 69 $22. 40 $0. 60
.75
30.00 30.00
/14.00 18. 20
\ 6. 55 7. 25 | .50
1. 99 3. 50
4. 54 4. 54 } . 10
1. 79 1. 79
9. 65 9. 65 } .35
.30
.30 } .10
.49
.49
2.81 3. 45
1. 70 1. 70
.16

?25. 66 25. 00 13.16 13.16
\12. 00 1 .0
2 0 7. 44 9. 60
18. 45 18. 45
7. 50 7. 50
5.70 5. 70
14. 96 14. 96

.25

.2
0
.2
0

Year

Year

$54. 60 $13.00
26.00 15.60
[20.28 15.00
5.00
j 5.20
2.50
10.40
5.20
|15. 60 | 52.00

7. 80

(1)
6

19. 76
26.00
10. 40

26.00
8.50

(1 7)

i

Massachusetts
Wo­
Brush Candy Laun­ men’s
dry
work­ makers, work­ cloth­
ing
ers,
1914
ers, work­
1914
1915 ers,
1916

Men’s
cloth­
ing
work­
ers,
1917

Men’s
fur­
nish­
ings
work­
ers,
1918

Mus­
lin
under­
wear
work­
ers,
1918

Week

Article

Week

Week

Week

Car fare_______________ $0. 70
.50
Laundry_______________
Medical care____________
Dentistry______________ } ' 2
°
Oculist_________________
.1
0
Church________________
Insurance
.. ____ _ _
Savings__ ___ _________
Labor organizations._____
Other organizations_______
.16
Reading matter __
Tuition, self-improvement,
etc............. ........................
.19
Vacation
____ _______
.17
Recreation______ ______
Incidentals........... ..............

Week

Week

Week

Week

Week

$0.60 $0. 60 $0.10 $0.40 $0.60 $0.60 $0.60 $0.60
.45
.50
.25
.35
.30
.25
.30
.30
.23
.25
.25
.25
.2
0 .40 .2
0 .45

.1
1

.1
0

.1
0

.25

.1
1

.50
.15

.1
0
.1
0
.25
.15

.1
1

.16

.18

.15

.2
0
.2
0

.2
0
.2
0

.25
.25
. 10

.25
.25

.1
0

.35

.2
0

.50

Week

$0.84
.50
.30

.60

.1
1
.1
0

.13
.15
.25

.13

.1
1
.2
0

.2
0

.15

1 Combined with recreation.
6
17 Combined with savings, insurance, and Christmas fund.




Re­
Whole­
tail Office sale
milli­ clean­ milli­
nery ers, nery
work­ 1918 work­
ers,
ers,
1918
1918

.1
1

.18

.25

.25
.40
.25
.25

.25

.35
.25
.25

.2
0

.35

.1
0

.30

164

C H A P. IV .— M IN IM U M

W AGE BOARDS

BUDGETS ADOPTED BY STATE MINIMUM WAGE BOARDS, BY STATE AND YEAR,
OR, OCCUPATION— Continued
SUNDRIES— Continued1
6

Massachusetts—Continued

Article

Can­
ning
Wom­
Minor
and
Knit en’s
pre­ Candy Cor­ goods cloth­ Paper confec­ Brush
box tion­ work­
set
serv­ mak­ mak­ work­ ing work­ ery
ing
ers,
ers,
ers,
ers,
ers,
em­ 1919 1919 1919 work­ 1920 work­ 1922
ers,
ers,
ploy­
1920
1921
ees,
1919
Week

Week

Week

Week

Week

Week

Week

Week

Wom­
en’s
cloth­
ing
work­
ers,
1922

Mus­
lin
under­
wear
work­
ers,
1922

Week

Week

Car fare.................... ...... . $0.25 $0.76 $0.40 $0.75 $0.20
$0.40 $0. 25 $0.20
.46
.45 $0.60
Laundry................ ............... .30
.50
.2
0 .25 .35
.50
Medical care........................... } .35
.30
.40
.40
.50
.50
.30
Dentistry_______ ________
} .25
.40
Oculist.................. _
0 .1
Church___________ ______
.15
0 . 15 .15 .25 .2
.1
1 .15 .1
0
f .12
.1
0
Insurance____ ____ __
. 10
. 15
. 25
.30 { .37
.2
0 .30 ..40
Savings....... ..................... ...... } .30
.30
.50
.30
(18)
(18)
Labor organizations________
t
Other organizations..... ...........
.15
(19)
0 .18 .25
Reading matter.......................
.2
0 .18 .17 .2
(16)
.15
.15
.2
0
Tuition, self-improvement, etc. .25
.50
.50
.25
Stationery and postage______
.45
.50
Vacation............. ............. ......
.40
.40
.40
.50
.2
0 .50 .40
(1 9 )
.30
.40
.37
Recreation_______________
.30
.30
.50 (21)
.37
.25
.25
.38
.30
.1 - .25
0
.25
.25
Incidentals________ ___ ___
.25
Minnesota, 1913

$0.60
.30
.50
.15
. 15
.30
(18)

.25
.40
.25
.25

North Dakota, 1921

Twin Cities
Du­
Mer­ Fac­ luth:
can­ tory Gen­
eral
tile
em­ em­ budget
ploy­ ploy­
ees
ees

Mer­
can­
tile Wait­ Cham­
berem­ resses maids
ploy­
ees

Week

Article

Week

Week

Week

Week

Week

Tele­
phone
opera­
tors

Week

Fac­ Laun­ Office
tory dry
em­
em­
ploy­ work­ ploy­
ers
ees
ees

Week

Week

Car fare................................. . $0.50 $0.30 $0.30
Laundry................ .......... ......
.50 $1.14 $1.14 $1.14 $1.14 $1.14 (2 )
.50
.45
2
f 1.73 1.07 1.07 1 2 .72 $1.32
.0
Medical care______________
.55
Dentistry ............ ......... ......... | .30
.38 \ .55
.55
.55
.35
.55
.55
l .38
Oculist.....................................
.38
.38
.38
.38
.38
Church__________________
.15
.1
0
.06
.05
.06
Insurance..................... .........
(18)
Other organizations________
. Reading matter___________
.1
0 .1
0
.1 } .50 / .20
0
Vacation_________________
\ .25
.25
Recreation___ _____ ______
.04
Incidentals...............................
1 Combined with recreation.
6
1 Combined with insurance.
8
1 Recreation, community interests, newspapers, and self-improvement combined,
9
si Recreation, community interests, and self-improvement combined.
22 Furnished by employer.




Week

$1.14
63
.55
.38

165

IK TRO DTltm O N

BUDGETS ADOPTED BY STATE MINIMUM WAGE BOARDS, BY STATE AND YEARr,
OR OCCUPATION— Continued
S U N D R IE S — Continued

Oregon: Gen­
eral budget,

Washington

1912

Article

Places
out­
Port­ side of
land Port­
land

Wis­
con­
Tele­ Hotel
sin:
Mer­ Fac­
Gen­
phone and
can­ tory Laun­ and restau­ Office Gen­ eral
tile em­ dry tele­ rant work­ eral budget
em­
work­
em­ ers,
1913
ploy­ ploy­ ers, graph ploy­ 1914 budget 191 4 1921
ees,
ees, 1914 1914 opera­ ees,
tors,
1914
1914

Year

Year

Year

Car fare-------------------------- $ 3 0 .0 0 $21.00 $ 3 2 .3 9
Laundry_________________ 2 5 .0 0 1 6 .0 0 2 1 .0 7
Medical care_____________
Dentistry________________ 4 5 .0 0 1 8 .0 0 2 5 .4 2
Churcii__________________ 10.00 1 2 .5 2
Charity--------------------------Insurance-___ __________
3 . 05
(24)
Other organizations________ ( 2 i)
3 . 78
(25)
(2 5)
Reading matter___________
11.00
Tuition, self-improvement, etc 10.00 6 . 54
Stationery and postage_____
4 . 84
Vacation_________________ j-25 . 00
10 . 54
Recreation _____________
9 . 86
{20.I
Incidentals_______________
4 . 71
Toilet articles............ .............
2 Combined with church.
4

Year
526. 84
1 5 .8 2

Year
$30.

95
1 0 .8 1

Year
$28.

1914

Year

93
8 .3 0

$ 1 3 .0 5

9 . 89

Year
$ 27 .

59
1 4 .4 2

11 . 82

17 . 50

1 2 .3 3

5 . 39

4 . 90

7 . 56
5 . 98
3 . 06

7 .2 8
2 .4 1
2 . 83

1 .4 0
2 . 65

4 . 48
14 . 28
10 . 99
1 4 .5 4

2 . 25
9 . 66
7 .4 1

12.10

10. 66

1 3 .1 6

59 . 93

Year
$ 34 .

67
3 9 . 00

Week
$ 0.

10.00

50 =

,40
.20

4 . 60

1.12

2 . 98
9 .1 7

2 Combined with self-improvement.
«

3 . 80
5 . 71
4 .0 7

12. 66

2 .9 1
13 . 56
7 .2 3
1 3 .4 9

4 .1 9
1 6 .0 2

1 .0 7
3 . 68
3 . 00
2615.00

11.21
10 . 82

7 .0 0

10.00

*
4
2 “ Health and vacation/'
6

T h e degree to w h ich these b u d gets h a ve been -accep ted as re p re ­
sen tin g the basic m inim um w a g e has v a rie d w ith the d ifferen t w a g e
boards. T h e o r e tic a lly it has been accepted th a t a m inim um w a g e
should be based on not less th an th e m inim um requirem en t fo r the
cost o f liv in g . T h e la w o f M assachusetts, h ow ever, specifies th a t
each w a g e b o ard sh a ll take into consideration, in a d d itio n to the
needs o f the e m p l o y e e s , t h e fin an cial con d ition o f th e o ccu p ation
and the p rob able effect thereon o f a n y increase in th e m inim um
w a g es p a id ,” and in m an y instances the b u d gets h ave been scaled
dow n u n til it w as th o u g h t th ey m et these requirem ents. I n C a li­
fo rn ia , on the oth er hand, the m inim um w a g e establish ed on th e
basis o f a b u d g et considered b y the in d u stria l w e lfa r e com m ission
as necessary has a lw a y s equaled the f u ll am ount o f the b u d get. I n
m ost o f the o ther S tates, w h en th e rate establish ed h as been less;
th an the am ount ca lled fo r b y th e b u d get, th is low er ra te has been
fixed not because th e com m ission reg a rd e d it as adequate b u t because
it seemed im possible to g e t th e em p loyers to agree to an adequate
wrage and the com m ission lack ed sufficient po w er o f enforcem en t,
o r because the w o rk w as new and it w as th o u g h t ex p ed ien t to ac­
cept a w a g e w h ich wras an im p ro v e m e n t on th e e x is tin g rate and
then advan ce g r a d u a lly to an adequate w age. T h e figu res on the
cost o f liv in g h ave, h o w ever, been th e basis up on w h ich even a com ­
prom ise ra te has been set.
I t has also been g e n e ra lly reco gn ized th a t th e m inim um w a g e
should be sufficient fo r a se lf-su p p o rtin g w om an liv in g a w a y fro m
home. I n some o f the in v estig a tio n s it has been show n th a t m ost
o f the em ployees in v o lve d liv e d at hom e, bu t on th e o th er h an d , it
has also been show n th a t a la r g e p ercen tage o f these w om en con-




166

CH A P. IV .— M IN IM U M

W AGE BOARD'S

tribute to the fam ily support. Also, they occupy a room or accept
other things which could be rented to an outsider and thus would
add to the fam ily income. I t has been found that a large percentage
o f women livin g away from home have other members o f their
fam ily dependent upon them for support. I t has been shown that
the women who work do so, as a rule, because it is necessary and
that a very small percentage indeed work only for “ pin money.5
5
In all o f the minimum-wage States except Massachusetts, viola­
tion o f the orders o f the commission is unlawful and may be pun­
ished. In Massachusetts the commission must rely on public opinion
fo r the enforcement o f its orders. Publicity is obtained by pub­
lishing in the newspapers the names o f employers who do not com­
p ly with its orders.
A n account o f the operations o f the various minimum wage
bodies up to November, 1923, showing their use o f cost-of-living
figures when fixing wage rates, is given below.
ARKANSAS

In this State a general rate o f $1.25 a day fo r experienced workers
was fixed by law in 1915.1 In addition, special orders were issued
0
by the minimum wage and maximum hour commission in 1920 fo r
the mercantile industry in Fort Smith and in 1922 fo r this industry
in F o rt Smith and Little Rock. Public hearings were held and the
interested parties presented arguments. A fte r a public hearing in
F ort Smith on July 26 and 27, 1920, “ the minimum wage and
maximum hour commission found that a number o f women em­
ployed in the mercantile industry were paid a lower wage than
would properly maintain a self-supporting woman in the neces­
sities o f life.5 The commission, therefore, ordered that after Sep­
5
tember 1,1920, a rate o f not less than $13.25 should be paid to experi­
enced workers and one o f $11 to inexperienced workers in the mercan­
tile industry in F o rt Smith.1 These rates were based upon a weekly
1
budget, considered to represent “ the minimum required to meet the
cost o f living and maintain the worker in health,5 which allowed
5
$8 fo r board and room, $3 fo r clothing, and $2.25 fo r sundries,® or
a total o f $13.25.
The commission stated that in making the award it had considered
the financial condition o f the industry and “ the probable effect
thereon o f any increase in the minimum wage paid.5
5
The commission likewise took into consideration the fact that em­
ployees in mercantile establishments secure their clothing at a smaller
cost than other workers and also receive bonuses and premiums, and
assumed that this custom would continue to be followed by em­
ployers. Attention was directed to the fact that only the necessaries
o f life had been included in the budget; that nothing had been al­
lowed for vacation, doctor, dentist, oculist, newspapers and maga­
zines, self-improvement, or benefit associations, but it was pointed
out that the award was a substantial increase over the wage paid
previously.
1 Acts of 1915, act 191.
(>
Order No*. 2, Aug. 4, 1920.
**Fpr Itemized list of sundries, see table, p. 163.

11




CALIFORNIA

167

The name o f the minimum wage and maximum hour commission
was changed in 19211 to that o f industrial welfare commission, and
2
the personnel was enlarged.
On November 1, 1922, the above rates of $13.25 and* $11 were re­
duced, by Order No. 3, effective December 1, 1922, to $11 for ex­
perienced workers and $10 for inexperienced workers. The same
rates were also established (O rder No. 4) in the mercantile industry
o f L ittle Bock. Before this reduction was ordered a general survey
was made o f the cost o f room and board in these two cities, although
no specific budget was compiled. Employment conditions also in­
fluenced the lowering o f the rate.
C A L IF O R N IA

The Industrial W elfare Commission o f California was created by a
law enacted M ay 26, 1913.1 The commission may on its own motion
3
or on petition hold public hearings and fix the minimum wage for
women in any industry or call conferences and act upon the findings
o f the conference or wage board. The findings o f the conferences
or wage boards are not binding on the commission and, on account o f
the expense, have not been made use o f in all cases. The responsibil­
ity for fixing the wage rests solely with the commission. Before
the order becomes effective, however, public hearings must be held
and after 60 days’ notice the rate set out in the order becomes the
legal rate. Investigations to determine the adequacy o f wages have
been made by the commission on its own initiative and have dealt
entirely with the cost o f living o f the self-dependent woman worker.
These surveys are made by members o f the staff and cover the cost o f
rent, food, and clothing. Figures on room rent are obtained by in­
serting in the newspapers o f the various cities advertisements for
rooms for working women and by visiting the places from which
answers are received. Prices o f rooms are also obtained from lists
o f the Y . W . C. A . and from similar women’s organizations in the
various places. Food prices are obtained from cafeterias and moder­
ate-priced restaurants. Investigations in retail stores enable the
commission to follow changes in the cost o f the articles o f clothing
included in the budget.
During 1914, information relative to wages and working condi­
tions o f wage-earning women in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oak­
land, Sacramento and San Diego was secured by personal visits o f
members o f the staff o f the commission. Information as to the cost
o f livin g was also obtained from about 500 working women in these
cities. From these figures the commission compiled a budgeta
which it considered as representing the lowest cost sufficient to main­
tain the health and welfare o f a self-supporting woman. This
budget totaled $500.45 a year or $9.63 (practically $10) per week.1
4
No wage orders were issued as the result o f this study, nor, indeed,
until 1917 when the Oregon case was decided; the sole exception
Act 140,, sec. 8 , approved Feb. 17, 1921.
Acts of 1913, ch. 324.
California. Industrial Welfare Commission.
Sacramento, 1919, p. 8 .
° For items of budget, see pp. 160 and 163.
12
13
14




Third biennial report, 1917-1918.

168

C H A P. IV .---- M IN IM U M

WAGE BOARDS

was the canning industry, where a minimum rate o f 16 cents per hour
was recommended and accepted by the canners. This recommenda­
tion was made on the basis o f the cost-of-living investigation by the
commission.1
1
The mercantile industry was the first in which the commission
fixed a minimum wage after its powers were established by the
Oregon decision. On July 6,1917, a minimum wage o f $10 per week
was fixed for experienced workers in the industry.1 The investiga­
1
5
6
tion o f 1914 showed that 53 per cent o f the women and minors in
this industry were earning less than the $10 per week estimated as
the minimum livin g wage; like conditions prevailed in the other
industries. During 1917 and 1918, orders were issued by the com­
mission fixing $10 as the minimum wage for experienced workers
in the fish canning, laundry and dry-cleaning, and fruit-packing
industries, in general and professional offices, and in manufacturing,
and $9.60 as the minimum for experienced workers in unskilled and
unclassified occupations. Piece rates in the canneries were also
increased.1
7
On the basis o f the accepted budget, given in the table on pages 160
and 163, the commission fixed, in 1919, a minimum wage o f $13.50
per week for all the industries covered by the 1917 and 1918 orders
and for hotels and restaurants.1 For the fruit and vegetable can­
8
ning industry the commission fixed a minimum rate o f 28 cents per
hour with a piece-rate scale to yield not less than that amount per
hour, or $13.50 per week.1 In 1920 a budget (see table, pp. 160 and
9
163, for items) was adopted establishing $16.11 as the minimum
amount necessary per week for the cost o f living o f a self-dependent
woman worker. On the basis o f this budget the minimum wage in
the industries named above, as well as for agriculture, was fixed
at $16.2
0
In February, 1921, groups o f manufacturers and canners asked for
a reduction in the rate, but as the reduction in the cost o f living was
not sufficient to warrant a decrease, the rate o f $16 was retained. In
October, 1921, the California Manufacturers’ Association formally
petitioned the commission for a rehearing. A public hearing was
held in November, 1921, and a general wage board was constituted in
January, 1922, to consider the question o f livin g costs. The report
o f the wage board was not unanimous, however, and the commission
proceeded to form wage boards in the individual industries, begin­
ning with the needle trades. The general wage board was called
together again in March and on March 30 it recommended “ that the
matter o f the minimum wage be decided in accordance with the
budget that the industrial welfare commission may determine to be
fair, considering the present living conditions.” On the basis o f the
weekly budget,® which was found to cost $14.99 in 1922, the commis­
sion, on A p ril 11, 1922, fixed a minimum wage o f $15 in the needle
trades, but it was restrained from enforcing this order by an injunc­
15 Order No. 1, Feb. 14, 1916.
(California Industrial Welfare Commission. Second
biennial report, 3915-1916, p. 271.)
16 Order No. 5, July 17, 1917.
(California Industrial Welfare Commission. Third
biennial report, 1917-1918. p. 28.)
17 Orders 6-11.
(California Industrial Welfare Commission. Third biennial report.
1917-1918, pp. 103-112.)
18 Orders Nos. 5—
11, amended 1919, and No. 12, July 19, 1919.
19 Order No. 3, amended 1919.
20 Orders 3 and 5-12, amended 1920, and No. 14, July 24, 1920.
®For items of this budget, see table, pp. 160 and 163.




DISTRICT OF C O LU M B IA

169

tion issued by the superior court on petition o f the organized needle
workers. The order was invalidated because o f a technical defect in
the publication o f the notice for the public hearing preliminary to
the order.2
1
In the fall o f 1920 and in 1923, several public hearings and con­
ferences were held and on the basis o f the findings o f the commission
as to the fluctuations in the cost o f living and on the recommenda­
tions o f the wage boards, the $16 minimum wage was reaffirmed in
the fruit and vegetable canning, fish canning, fruit and vegetable
packing, mercantile, laundry and dry cleaning, manufacturing and
hotel and restaurant industries, in professional and general offices, in
nut cracking and sorting, and in unclassified occupations.2
2
D IS T R IC T

OF

C O L U M B IA

The need for a minimum wage law in the District o f Columbia was
made apparent by the study made by the United States Bureau o f
Labor Statistics in 1916 relative to living conditions of 600 wage­
earning women in the District o f Columbia. This investigation dis­
closed that 64 per cent o f these women received $10 a week or less
and that only 6 per cent received as much as $16 per week.2
3
The Minimum W age Board fo r the District o f Columbia was
created by an act o f Congress, approved on September 19, 1918, and
was authorized to ascertain u ( a ) standards o f minimum wages for
women in any occupation within the District o f Columbia and what
wages are inadequate to supply the necessary cost o f livin g to ’any
such women workers to maintain them in good health and to protect
their morals; and (&) standards o f minimum wages for minors in
any occupation within the District o f Columbia; and what wages are
unreasonably low for any such minor workers.” 2
4
The board was directed by the statute to hold conferences with
representatives o f employers, employees, the public, and one or more
members o f the board, and then to establish a minimum rate in any
industry where, in the opinion o f the board, “ any substantial num­
ber o f women workers in any occupation are receiving wages inade­
quate to supply them with the necessary cost o f living.” The board
had no power to change the findings o f a conference, but must either
accept or reject them.
- A t the request o f the board the United States Bureau o f Labor
Statistics made an investigation o f the increase in the cost o f board,
lodging, and sundries for wage-earning women in the District of
Columbia in December, 1918, as compared with their cost in Decem­
ber, 1916.2 From this information a budget was compiled requiring
5
an income o f $16 per week. For purposes o f investigation the board
accepted this amount as an approximate figure below which wages
-would be considered inadequate. During the first year o f the board’s
existence wage surveys were made in the printing and publishing,
mercantile, hotel, and restaurant industries.
31
California. Industrial Welfare Commission. Preliminary report: What California has
done to protect its women workers. Sacramento,. 1923> pp. 6 , 7.
22 Orders 3a, *&a-8 a, 1 1 a ; and letter to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
from the assistant secretary of the Industrial Welfare Commission, Oct. 19, 1923.
23 Monthly Labor Review, January, 1918, pp. 1-12.
24 Pub. No. 215, 65th Cong., sec. 9.
25 District of Columbia.
Minimum Wage Board. Bui. No. 1, Jan. 29, 1919, p. 1,




170

CH A P. IV.---- M I N I M U M

W AGE BOARDS

In 1919 there were about 15,400 women in the District who came
under the operation o f the law. About 900 o f these were employed
in the printing and publishing industries, about 7,000 in the mercan­
tile, and about 2,500 in hotels and restaurants and allied industries.
O f the women investigated in these industries, 68.6 per cent were
found to be receiving less than $16 per week. In the printing and
publishing industry about one-fourth o f the employees were receiving
less than $12 and about one-half were receiving less than $15. In the
mercantile industry about one-third were receiving less than $12 and
only one-fourth $16 and over.
Conferences w^ere held in 1919 fo r the printing and publishing
and for the mercantile industries and the following budgets were
adopted by these conferences:2
6
Printing and
publishing,
June, 1919

Mercantile,
August,
1919

B o a r d a n d roo m
C lo t h in g 27______
S u n d r i e s _________

_

$9.00
3.35
3.15

$9. 30
4.00
®3. 20

T o t a l ____

.

. 15.50

16. 50

The minimum weekly rates shown by the above budgets to be
necessary were adopted by the board and made effective2 on August
8
13, 1919, and October 28, 1919, respectively.
During the year 1920 the board made, surveys o f the wages paid
to employees in the laundry, dry-cleaning, and manufacturing in­
dustries, and to cleaners, maids and elevator operators in office build­
ings, banks, and theaters.
In the laundry industry it was found that over one-half o f the
employees were receiving less than $10 per week and only a little
over one-seventh were receiving $16 per week or over. O f the em­
ployees engaged in the operation and care o f office and other build­
ings, 51.2 per cent or a little over one-half w^ere receiving under $9
per week, over one-fourth were paid less than $7 per week, ninetenths less than $12 per week, and only about 3 per cent were receiv­
ing $16 and over. The employees in the manufacturing industry
were paid better wages than any group investigated by the board.
About one-half o f the employees in this industry (47^2 Per cent)
were receiving $16 per week and over. This was due in large part
to the voluntary increases made by the employers after the mercan­
tile minimum wage order went into effect.2
9
Tw o conferences were held during 1920, one fo r the hotel and
restaurant industry and one fo r the laundry industry.
The budget for the hotel and restaurant employees was difficult
to agree upon because most o f the employees were given their room
and all or part o f their meals at the place o f employment. The sur­
vey o f 1919 had shown, however, that the earnings were not aug­
mented to any appreciable extent, as was commonly supposed, by tip ­
ping, nor did the extra compensation in the form o f board and lodg­
ing bring up the general level o f real wages to a decent standard.
26 District of Columbia.
Minimum Wage Board. Second annual report for year ending
Dec. 31, 1919. Washington, D. C., 1920, pp. 6*-18.
27 Idem.
Second annual report for year ending Dec. 31, 1919. Washington, pp. 17, 18.
(No itemized budget adopted.)
28 Idem.
Orders Nos. 2 and 3.
20
Idem. Third annual report for year ending Dec. 31, 1920. Washington, D, C
*»
1921, p. 9.
For itemized list of sundries, see table, 5 . 100.




171

DISTBICT OF COLUMBIA

A budget was finally adopted and a minimum wage of $16.50 for
the hotel and restaurant industry was recommended by the confer­
ence and adopted by the board.3 This rate allowed for the follow­
0
ing expenditure: Board, $6.30; room, $2; clothing, $4.50; and sun­
dries, $3.70.®
The clothing budget presented by the employees, the amount of
which was adopted by the conference, was as follows:3
1
1
1
8
1
1
1
2
1
3

suit every two years-----------------------------------------------------------coat every two years----------------------------------------------------------waists, at $2 apiece--------------------------------------------------------------dress w aist_______________________________________________________
wool dress every two years_____________________________________
wool skirt_______________________ ________________________________
summer skirts___________________________________________________
dress-up dress every two y ears.^ i_____________________________
hats— summer, winter work hats, and 1 dress hat every
two y e a rs ________________________________________________________
2 wash dresses, at $8 apiece______________________________________
4 pairs shoes, 2 pairs at $8 and 2 pairs at $4_________________
3 pairs gloves— 1 kid, at $2.50, and 2 cotton, at $1.05_________
12 pairs of stockings at 65 cents_________________________________
2 corsets, at $2.50 apiece---------------------------------------------------------4 summer union suits, at $1.25 apiece-----------------------------------3 winter union suits, at $1.75 apiece---------------------------------------6 corset covers, at 80 cents apiece------------------------------------------4 nightgowns, at $1.50apiece----------------------------------------------------2 white petticoats, at $1.50 apiece_______________________________
1 dark underskirt---------------------------------------------------------------------2 dozen handkerchiefs, at 15 cents apiece------------------------------8 aprons, at $1.50 apiece---------------------------------------------------------1 kimono-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------1 p u rse ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1 umbrella every two years----------- :----------------------------------------1 pair rubbers______________________________________________________
Repairs to clothing (suit, skirt, etc.)-------------------------------------Repairing shoes------------------------------Neckwear, 4 sets, at 50cents apiece----------------------------------------Miscellaneous-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

$17.50
19.75
16.00
7.00
12. 50
10. 00
5. 00
15.00

Total per year---------------------------------------------------------------------Total per week----------------------------------------------------------------------

234.40
4.51

14.00
16.00
24. 00
4. 60
7.80
5.00
5. 00
5.25
4.80
6.00
3.00
3.60
3.60
12.00
2. 00
1. 50
1. 50
1. 50
2.50
4.00
2. 00
2. 00

In May, 1920, the laundry conference recommended by a vote, of
6 to 5 a minimum wage of $14.50. This was objected to by the em­
ployees, by a member of the board, and by one of the representatives
of the public as inadequate to cover the cost of living. The question
was resubmitted to the same conference in October, 1920. Both em­
ployers and employees submitted itemized budgets. The employees’
budget totaled $19.88 per week, divided as follows: Room and board,
$10; clothing, $4.86; and sundries, $5.02. The employers’ budget,
which totaled $12.04, was based on information from questionnaires
filled out by 272 women employed in laundries, but upon an analysis
of the schedules it was found that only 53 of these women lived away
from home and the expenses of these 53 women for room and board
averaged $7.59. The average earnings were $10.53, which left only8
1
0
80 Order No. 4, March 26, 1920, amended May 4, 1920. (District of Columbia. Mini­
mum Wage Board. Third annual report, for year ending Dec. 31, 1920. Washington,
D. C., p. 14.)
81 District of Columbia. Minimum Wage Board. Third annual report, for year ending
Dec. 31, 1920. Washington, D. C., 1921, p. 38.
< Amount of mercantile budget, plus 5Q cents for Increased car fare and laundry.
*
105715°— 25------12




172

CHAP. IV.— M INIM UM WAGE BOARDS

about $3 for all other expenses than room and board. A survey was
made of the cost of living of the laundry workers by an agent of the
Women’s Bureau of the United States Department of Labor,3 who
2
submitted an itemized budget, totaling $19.49, which allowed $10.25
for room and board, $4.54 for clothing, and $4.70 for sundries. To
refute this, the employers brought forward certain employees as wit­
nesses to testify that board and room could be secured far cheaper
than $10.25, but upon examination of these witnesses it developed
that the living conditions at places where a room and meals could be
had for less than $5 were not satisfactory. The question of falling
prices entered largely into the discussions. The employees proposed
a minimum wage of $16.50, the employers one of $12. A minimum
wage of $15 per week was set by Order No. 5, issued on January 18,
1921. This order covered about 1,500 employees. No specific budget
was adopted by the conference for the laundry industry.
Owing to the litigation over the constitutionality of the minimum
wage law the board deemed it wise to postpone the establishment of
rates for the remainder of the employees coming under the law. For
that reason no wage surveys were made and no conferences were held
during 1921 and the board occupied itself with the enforcement of
the four orders previously issued.
In 1922 the board reconvened the wage board for the mercantile
industry. The conference was called at the request of the Merchants’
and Manufacturers’ Association. Before deciding to reopen the
question the board requested the United States Department of Labor
to make a study of the cost of living in 1922 for a self-supporting
woman in the district. This study was made by the Women’s Bu­
reau during the month of April, 1922.3 The investigation covered
3
only the cost of room, board, and clothing. It showed minimum
prices for room and board slightly higher than those of the budget
adopted in 1919, $10 being the approximate minimum per week,
whereas $9.30 had been accepted in 1919. The Women’s Bureau rec­
ommended that $4 per week for clothing, the amount adopted by the
mercantile conference in 1919, be retained. The employers did not,
claim that any reduction in the cost of board and room had taken
place since 1919, but did claim that a reduction had occurred in the
price of clothing and produced exhibits to show the quality of arti­
cles that could be bought at the prices quoted by them. The em­
ployees stood by the budget suggested by the Women’s Bureau. The
employers contended that the amount for savings and organization
dues should be eliminated, while the employees claimed that these
items were necessary. After hearing of the evidence presented by
the employers and employees as to the change in the cost of living
since 1919, when the $16.50 rate had been adopted, the three members
of the conference representing the public voted with the employees
on Jtme 29 against any reduction in the minimum wage.34
It has been stated by the minimum wage board that, in general?in
the wage conference the employers favored the maintenance of existing
standards of living in the industry, while the employees contended
32 U. S. Department of Labor. Women’s Bureau. Budget for women employed in the
laundries of the District of Columbia, October, 1920. 7 pp. (Mimeographed.)
33 Idem. Cost of living for women employed in the mercantile stores in the District of
Columbia, April, 1922. 33 pp. (Typewritten.)
34 Monthly Labor Review, August, 1922, pp. 113, 114,




KANSAS

173

that the standards of living should be improved; and that the wage
finally agreed upon was not a scientific determination based entirely
on facts, but a compromise between the opinions of the two groups
modified by the opinion of the representatives of the public.3
5
The constitutionality of the law under which the board functioned
was contested before the courts in two cases, one brought by the
Children’s Hospital, claiming that it could not pay the sum set, the
enforcement of which would amount to confiscation of property, and
the other brought by an employee, claiming that she could not obtain
work at the rate fixed, which amounted to a limitation of the right of
contract. On June 2, 1920, the Supreme Court of the District held
that the minimum wage act was constitutional, and denied the ap­
plication for an injunction. The cases were taken to the Court of
Appeals of the District, which on June 6, 1921, upheld the constitu­
tionality of the law. On a rehearing of the case, however, the Court
of Appeals of the District reversed this decision on November 6,
1922.8 The minimum wage board appealed to the Supreme Court
6
of the United States, which on April 9, 1923,3 gave its opinion that
7
the act could not be sustained on account of its conflict with the fifth
amendment to the Constitution of the United States.3
8
KANSAS

The minimum wage law of Kansas, enacted in 1915, was until 1921
administered by the industrial welfare commission.
The commission’s first investigation was made in the laundry in­
dustry, where it was found that, in the latter part of 1915, of 900
women, 52 per cent were receiving less than $8 per week, while 29
per cent were receiving less than $6 per week. A board was there­
fore organized to consider wages as well as sanitary conditions. It
was suggested by the board, however, that no action should be taken
with reference to wages until the Oregon case was decided. The
public hearing with reference to wages, therefore, was not held until
March, 1918, before a new board, when a rate of $8.50 was set as the
weekly minimum (Order No. 7).
A mercantile board was organized after the commission had made
an investigation of conditions in the mercantile industry, in which it
was found that 40 per cent of the employees were receiving less than
$7 a week and that some of the stores (particularly the 5 and 10 cent
stores) made no pretense of paying a wage sufficient to maintain a
girl not living at home. Cost-of-living estimates submitted by
women in the industry averaged $8.23 per week. The rate fixed by
the board, in its Order No. 6, was $8.50, effective March 18, 1918.
A public hearing was held in July, 1918, to consider the cost of
living of telephone operators. As the hearings revealed that the
wages paid were not adequate to cover the cost of living of these
employees, a State board, which had been appointed by the industrial*
7
8
35 District of Columbia. Minimum Wage Board. Second annual report for year ending
Dec. 31, 1919. Washington, D. C., 1920, p. 18.
3 50 Wash. Law Rep. 721.
6
8 Four other justices concurred in the opinion of Mr. Justice Sutherland. Mr. Justice
7
Brandeis did not vote. Mr. Justice Sanford concurred in the dissenting opinion of Mr.
Chief Justice Taft. Mr. Justice Holmes also rendered a dissenting opinion,.
88 Adkins v* Children’s Hospital, 261 U. S. 525, 43 Sup. Ct. 394.




174

CHAP. IV.— M INIM UM WAGE* BOARDS

welfare commission to deal with questions pertaining to wages
and working conditions of employed women and minors during the
war, was requested by the commission to act as a wage board for
the telephone industry. Different rates were fixed by this board
and adopted by the commission, in its Order No. 8 of July 8, 1918,
for cities and towns according to their population; these ranged
from $7 a week in towns of less than 1,000 population to $9 a
week in towns of over 20,000 population.
The same board also acted as a wage board for the manufactur-*
ing industry. In February, 1919, an order (No. 10) was adopted
fixing a rate of $11 per week; the board stated that while the rate
was not high as compared with rate fixed by order in other States
it was in “ harmony with the increased cost of living and with the
increased knowledge of the board ” in fixing rates.3 This board
9
had stated in an open letter to woman employees that continuous
production of war supplies was the great service that these em­
ployees were called upon to make and that this aim could be secured
only by assuring to the wage-earning women and minors proper
hours, adequate remuneration, and wholesome conditions of work.
To this end the board stated, among other things, that it would
make recommendations for wages in those industries that were not
controlled by previous orders, that would be “ commensurate with the
cost of living.”4
0
CREATION OF COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

In 1921 the State legislature abolished the industrial welfare com­
mission and transferred its powers and duties to the court of indus­
trial relations. The court of industrial relations is empowered to
investigate “ wages, hours, sanitary and other conditions affecting
women, learners, apprentices, and minors in any industry or occu­
pation in the State.” The court may call for a public hearing on
its own initiative or upon the request of not less than 25 persons
working in any industry employing women and children if, after
investigation, the court is or the opinion that the wages are “ in­
adequate to supply the necessary cost of living and to maintain the
worker in health.” At the public hearings any person may appear
and give testimony.4
1
Since the new law further provided that “ all orders and rules
heretofore made by the industrial welfare commission and now in
force shall continue in force until the same may be changed or re­
pealed by the court of industrial relations,” the court decided to
review and revise all orders.
COST-OF-LIVING SURVEY

A cost-of-living study was made by the women’s division of the
court during June and July, 1921, covering all but two of the
towns in the State which had been included in the wage-and-hour
study made in 1920 by the Woman’s Bureau of the United States
8 United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Bui. No. 285 : Minimum wage laws of tbe
9
United States. Washington, D. C., 1921,, p. 112.
40 Monthly Labor Review, July, 1918, p. 114.
41 United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Bui. No. 285: Minimum wage laws of the
United States, Washington, D. C., 1921, p. 105.




KANSAS

175

Department o f Labor.4 In this cost-of-living study, according to
2
the court, an attempt was made “ to determine what amount is ade­
quate to meet the cost o f the essentials o f living, 6consonant with
the health and welfare o f the individual worker.’ Such living
should provide respectable lodgings, three meals a day, suitable
clothing, some provisions fo r laundry, sickness, dentist and oculist
attention, amusement, vacation, life insurance, savings, church, char­
ity, organizations, self-improvement, car fare and incidentals.” 4
3
I t was held also that the fact that a working woman lived at home
should not be considered to justify a lower wage than would other­
wise be given.
Cost o f board, room, and clothing in 38 cities was secured by per­
sonal visits o f agents o f the court; additional information was also
obtained from conferences with merchants, club women, and groups
o f workers and from expense budgets o f individual workers. The
individual budgets showed the average woman employee to be livin g
below the standard which the investigation had shown was neces­
sary for healthful living.
[Prices were taken fo r a standard room, which was defined by the
court to be “ a room having good light, ventilation, adequate neat,
and a closet or a good substitute fo r a closet, in a house o f good
character, sanitary and cleanly, having proper toilet facilities, in­
cluding hot water, and granting parlor and laundry privileges.” The
average weekly rental "for such a room was found to be $3.40 with
one in a room. The single room was considered essential: “ W e have
not made allowance for two in a room, as we believe a standard
budget for the individual worker should not include 6doubling up ’
on a room, any more than it should include a like performance for
clothing. One suit or coat shared by two would be quite as fair
for the individual worker, and probably would inconvenience her
less than sharing a small room with an uncongenial roommate. I t
is possible for two girls to share a room, but it is not safe to assume
that all girls can find a good roommate; therefore in this study an
amount has been allowed that w ill provide a room fo r each worker.” 4
4
A n average o f $6,346 was obtained as a minimum weekly expendi­
ture for board for the State as a whole.
The court felt that clothing allowed should be “ sufficient to protect
the body, to provide changes enough to make a reasonable standard
o f personal cleanliness possible, and suitable enough in appearance
and material to serve on every occasion.” 4 6
5
4
The prices o f the various articles o f clothing itemized in the
budget were secured from over 125 retail merchants, both directly
from the merchants and through agents o f the court.
In some o f the towns an agent o f the court held conferences with
representatives o f women’s clubs, merchants and business men, and
budgets showing the cost o f board, room, clothing, and sundries
were compiled. In the towns where no conferences were held, aver­
ages were made from the information secured by the agents o f the
court. From the information for individual towns and cities, aver­
42 United States Department of Labor. Women’s Bureau. Bui. No. 17. Washington,
D. C., 1 9 2 1 .
48 Kansas Court of Industrial Relations, Women’s Division, Cost of living survey,
Aug. 31, 1921. Topeka, 1922, p. 8.
& Idem, pp. 10-12.
46 Idem, p. 21.




176

CHAP.

I V . -----M I N I M U M

W AGE

BOARDS

age budgets were compiled showing the cost o f clothing in cities o f
over 10,000, in cities between 5,000 and 10,000, and in cities with less
than 5,000 population.
Information as to the amount necessary for sundries was secured
from group conferences, from individual budgets submitted by em­
ployees, and from estimates o f physicians, oculists and dentists.
On the basis o f information gathered in the survey, the women’s
division o f the court made up a budget® showing that the amount
necessary to cover the cost o f living o f a working woman was
$16.93 per week. Inasmuch as the wage study o f 1920 had shown
that 50 per cent o f the women were receiving less than $12 per
week, 10 per cent less than $8, 19.9 per cent less than $9, and 30.4
per cent less than $10, it was evident that many Kansas wage-earning
women were not receiving wages adequate to meet the cost o f living.4
0
The study disclosed that while 85.1 per cent o f the women lived
at home, 6 per cent were supporting total dependents, 39 per cent
contributed all o f their earnings, 36 per cent part o f their earnings,
and only 15 per cent had all o f their earnings to spend.
HEARINGS AND ACTION IN 1922

In 1922 the court o f industrial relations conducted, at different
places throughout the State, 14 hearings on the cost o f living and
Wages o f women employed in the various industries. A t Emporia
the employees testified in their own behalf and presented a budget
which was compiled by a local committee from actual expenses o f the
working women in Emporia; the employers exhibited articles o f
clothing fo r which prices were quoted and the probable wearing qual­
ities stated.
In one o f the hearings, the director o f the women’s division o f the
court, Miss A lice McFarland, urged the necessity o f adopting a
budget and then fixing the wage in accordance with the budget:
T h e r e is no o th e r w a y o f d e te r m in in g th e cost o f J ivin g u n le ss w e h a v e a n
ite m iz e d sta te m e n t s h o w in g w h a t th e d iffe r e n t e x p e n s e s a re .
N ow w e know
s t a n d a r d s v a r y a n d w e k n o w t h a t e v e r y b u d g e t w o u l d n o t b e th e sam e, b u t
th e re is a w a y o f g e t tin g a t a p r o p e r s t a n d a r d w h ic h e v e r y one, p r a c t ic a lly ,
w o u l d ac cep t a s a f a i r a n d decen t b u d g e t.
*
*
*
I fe e l w e m u s t b e a b s o ­
lu t e ly c e rta in , b y a n ite m iz e d ac co u n t a n d ite m iz e d sta te m e n t o f th e cost o f
e a c h e x p e n s e t h a t a s e lf -s u p p o r tin g g i r l w o u l d n a t u r a lly in c u r, t h a t w e a r e
m e e tin g th e cost o f l iv in g in o u r w a g e , b e c a u s e o u r la w s s a y a w a g e a d e q u a t e
f o r m a in te n a n c e a n d th e y a r e n o t b a s in g it u p o n th e m o th e rs a n d f a t h e r s
s u p p ly in g b o a r d a n d room .
O u r l a w d o es n o t say , “ p r o v id e d th e fa t h e r s a n d
m o th e rs s u p p ly th e b o a r d a n d ro o m th e y m a y b e p a id a lo w e r w a g e ,” so w e a r e
in s is t in g th a t a l l ite m s w h ic h a n o r d in a r y w a g e -e a r n in g w o m a n w o u l d in c u r
m u s t b e in c lu d e d in th e b u d g e t.4
4
6
7

She presented two budgets applicable to the entire State— one
“ fa irly liberal ” and the other on a “ very moderate ” basis— total­
ing $13.68 and $12.73, respectively. She stated that i f the amount o f
the budget arrived at from the cost-of-living study o f 1921— $16.93—
was reduced by 20 per cent, the approximate decrease in the cost o f
46 Kansas Court of Industrial Relations, Women’s Division. Cost of living survey, Aug.
31, 1921. Topeka, 1922, p. 40.
47 Matter of the investigation by the Court of Industrial Relations relating la women
in industry. Transcript of testimony. Topeka, 1922, p. 51. (Typewritten.)
a See table, pp. 161 and 163.




Massach usetts

177

living since 1921,4 the result obtained would be $13.55, about the
9
same as the cost o f the “ fairly lib era l5 budget.
5
The court thought, however, that a minimum wage should include
neither savings nor amusements and self-improvement. B y deduct­
ing these amounts from the “ very moderate ” budget, a total o f ’ap­
proximately $11 was obtained which was adopted on May 19, 1922,
as the weekly rate for the laundry and manufacturing industries.
Considering that the mercantile employee could obtain merchandise
at a somewhat reduced rate, a wage o f $10.50 was set fo r this in­
dustry (Orders Nos. 12-14). These rates were made applicable
throughout the industries regardless of the size o f the city. No
change was made in the rates of employees in the telephone industry,
the order o f February, 1919, being continued.
MASSACHUSETTS
POWERS AND PROCEDURE

In 1911 an investigative committee was appointed by the Legisla­
ture o f Massachusetts to inquire into the advisability o f establishing
a board or boards to which could be referred inquiries as to the need
and feasibility o f fixing minimum rates for women and minors in
any industry. This investigative committee found that there was
a need for such legislation and that many industries were paying
wages insufficient to cover the cost o f living and hence were doing
business at the expense o f the employees in other industries. The
committee, therefore, recommended the passage o f minimum wage
legislation. The Legislature o f Massachusetts enacted, on June 4,
1912, the first minimum wage law in the United States. As pro­
vided by the law, the minimum wage commission was created in
July, 1913, to “ investigate the wages paid to any female employee
in any occupation i f it had reason to believe that the wages paid to a
substantial number o f such employees are inadequate to supply the
necessary cost o f living and to maintain the worker in health.” I f
investigation showed the need for a higher wage, the commission was
empowered to appoint a wage board consisting o f not less than
six representatives o f the employers in question and not less than six
representatives o f the employees,5 with one-half as many repre­
0
sentatives o f the public.5 *
1
The recommendations o f the wage board can be accepted or re­
jected by the commission in whole or in part. The commission has
no power to change the recommendation o f the wage boards nor to
compel enforcement o f its orders other than by public opipion. I t
is required, however, by law to publish the names o f the employers
failing to comply with the decrees. The law further provides that
49 Estimated for the whole State from the decrease (18.9 per cent) reported for Kansas
City from July to December, 1921, by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
50 Appointed by the commission from a list of names furnished, by employers and
employees, respectively, provided the nominations were submitted within 10 days from
the date the commission advertised its intention to form a wage board, and provided
twice the number of names required were submitted.
5 By an amendment passed in 1914 (Acts of 1914, ch. 368) the requirement that the
1
wage boards should consist of six representatives of employees and employers was
stricken out, and it was provided that wage boards should consist of an equal number
of representatives of employers and employees and of one or more disinterested persons
appointed by the commission to represent the public, such representatives not to' exceed
one-half the number of representatives of either of the other parties. The amendment of
1919 (Acts of 1919, eh. 350) authorizes the commission to fill vacancies on wage boards.




m

CHAP.

IV .— M I N I M U M

W AGE

BOARDS

the commission may reconvene the old wage board or establish a new
one upon its own initiative or upon petition o f either employees or
employer i f in its opinion the changes in the cost o f livin g render
such action necessary. Up to November, 1923, revisions in rates
due to the changes in the cost o f living had been made fo r nine occu­
pations.
In 1919, upon the reorganization o f the State executive offices, the
minimum wage commission was abolished and the powers and duties
o f the commission transferred to the department o f labor and in­
dustries. The associate commissioners6 o f labor perform the execu­
2
tive duties o f the former minimum wage commission, and the ad­
ministrative work o f that commission is now carried on by the mini­
mum wage division o f the department o f labor and industries under
the direction o f the assistant commissioner, who was secretary o f
the former minimum wage commission.
Although each wage board is instructed under the law to consider
not only the need o f the employees, but also the financial condition o f
the industry and the probable effect thereon o f any increase in wages,
the dominant factor considered is the cost o f living. The employers
have not produced sufficient evidence on the financial condition o f
the industry for this to be as great a factor as the cost o f living.
A n y manufacturer, who w ill file a declaration under oath that the
minimum rate set w ill render it impossible for him to conduct his
business at a reasonable profit, may take the case to the supreme
judicial court, and i f he proves his case to the satisfaction o f the
court, it may order that his name be not published among those
failin g to comply with the order; this, however, has never been at­
tempted by any employer.
Because o f the fact that the financial condition o f the industry
must be considered in the fixing o f a minimum wage, the rate recom­
mended by the wage boards has been, in many cases, scaled down
to an amount which, it was thought, would not seriously affect the
financial condition o f the industry. For instance, in 1921, in the
minor confectionery and food preparation industry,5 no allowance
5
2
3
was made for insurance, “ not because it was disapproved but be­
cause in conditions facing the industry at the present time it was felt
an allowance should be made only for the most necessary expendi­
tures.” 5
4

Of this provision in the law it has been stated that—
T h e r e q u ir e m e n t t h a t th e w a g e b o a r d s t a k e in to c o n s id e ra tio n th e fin a n c ia l
c o n d itio n o f th e in d u s t r y f o r w h ic h a m in im u m r a t e is to b e e s t a b lis h e d b e f o r e
m a k in g t h e ir re c o m m e n d a tio n a s to th e r a t e , is n o t o n ly r e s p o n s ib le f o r p a r t
o f th e e x is t in g v a r ia t io n in de cree s, b u t h a s s u b je c te d th e M a s s a c h u s e t ts l a w
to m u c h c ritic ism .
M a s s a c h u s e t ts is th e o n ly S ta te w it h th is p ro v is io n .
In
e v e r y S t a t e h a v in g m in im u m w a g e le g is la t io n , h o w e v e r , it is p r o b a b le t h a t th e
e ffe c t o f a n in c re a s e in w a g e s on th e in d u s t r y is g iv e n so m e c o n s id e ra tio n .
T h a t is e s s e n t ia l f o r th e w e l f a r e o f e m p lo y e e s a s w e l l a s f o r th e w e l f a r e o f
e m p lo y e rs .
I t w o u l d a p p e a r t h a t som e o f th e M a s s a c h u s e t ts w a g e b o a r d s , d u r i n g th e
firs t y e a r s th e l a w w a s in o p e r a t io n w e r e u n d u ly in flu e n c e d b y th is p r o v is io n
a n d s u b m itte d r e c o m m e n d a tio n s c o n s id e r a b ly b e l o w t h e ir fin d in g s a s to th e
52 These commissioners also constitute the State board of conciliation and arbitration
for adjustment of industrial disputes.
53 This industry covers the manufacture of flavoring extract, confectioners’ and soda
fountain supplies, macaroni, potato chips, peanut butter, prepared flour, blanched and
salted nuts,, chewing gum, etc.
54 Monthly Labor Review, February, 1922, p. 81.




M ASSACHUSETTS

179

cost o f liv in g . T h i s te n d e n c y h a s b e e n ch ec k e d sin ce th e co m m issio n in s t ru c te d
th e b o a r d s t h a t d e fin ite e v id e n c e s h o u ld b e r e q u ir e d in , c a se th e c la im is m a d e
t h a t a n in d u s t r y c a n n o t s ta n d a liv in g w a g e .
O f th e 19 b o a r d s in sessio n
d u r in g th e p a s t fo u r y e a rs , o n ly 3 h a v e s u b m itte d su c h d e te rm in a tio n s .55

A fte r a wage board has been selected by the commission, the lat­
ter is instructed under the law to turn over to the board all pertinent
data in its possession. Such data have included material on wage
conditions in the industry and on the cost o f living. The material
on the cost o f livin g has consisted o f the follo w in g:
1. It e m iz e d c o s t-o f-liv in g b u d g e t s a d o p te d b y o th e r m in im u m w a g e b o a r d s o f
th e State, a n d a n o u tlin e f o r m o f a b u d g e t w it h e x p la n a t io n s a s to w h a t e a c h
ite m is in te n d e d to co ver.
2. O u t lin e s h o w in g co st o f ro o m a n d b o a r d f o r w o r k in g g i r ls in M a s s a c h u ­
setts cities. T h e s e fig u re s a r e o b ta in e d b y a g e n ts o f th e co m m ission .
3. E s t im a t e o f th e c h a n g e in th e cost o f liv in g f o r a w o r k in g g i r l sin ce th e
a d o p tio n o f th e m in im u m c o s t-o f-liv in g b u d g e t f o r th e in d u s t r y con c ern e d .
T h e c h a n g e s in th e cost o f fo o d , clo th in g, r e n t a n d fu e l, a n d s u n d rie s , a s s h o w n
b y th e in d e x n u m b e rs o f b o th th e M a s s a c h u s e t ts C o m m iss io n on th e N e c e s ­
s a r ie s o f L i f e a n d o f th e U n it e d S ta te s B u r e a u o f L a b o r S ta tis tic s a r e
w e ig h te d , in a c c o rd a n c e w it h th e r e la t iv e im p o rt a n c e o f th e se f o u r ite m s in
th e w o r k in g g i r l ’s b u d g e t, a s f o l l o w s : F o o d , 4 % ; clo th in g, 1 % ; ren t, 2 ; a n d
su n d rie s , 1 %.
4. I n d e x n u m b e rs o f th e cost o f liv in g a s c o m p u te d b y th e M a s s a c h u s e t ts
C o m m iss io n on th e N e c e s s a r ie s o f L i f e , a n d b y th e U n it e d S ta te s B u r e a u o f
L a b o r S ta tistic s.
5. R e fe re n c e s on w a g e s a n d th e cost o f liv in g .

WAGE ORDERS

The first wage order was established in the brush industry in
August, 1914. From that time until November, 1923, 27 such orders
had been issued covering from 70,000 to 80,000 employees in 17
different occupations.
In general, it may be said that the earlier rates were based on
budgets obtained from employees in the industry or on estimates o f
members o f the board after consulting with employees. The later
rates have generally been arrived at by applying the per cent o f
change in the cost o f living to the commodity groups— food, cloth­
ing, rent, and sundries— o f a budget previously adopted for the in­
dustry or o f a budget adopted for some other industry but thought
to be applicable.
The paper box industry was the first industry in which the latter
method was used. The wage board for this industry suggested, in
A p ril, 1920, that future revisions o f the wage order be made in
accordance with the changes in the retail prices o f food as shown
by the United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics for the United
States. The next wage board for this industry was o f the opinion
that a more equitable method would be to apply the percentage
changes in the cost o f each o f the groups o f items entering into the
cost o f living o f a self-supporting woman rather than o f food only,
and the rate adopted by it w as determined in this manner. In the
T
opinion o f the assistant commissioner o f labor, one o f the needed
modifications o f the Massachusetts law is a provision whereby the
55 Massachusetts. Department of Labor and Industries. Some problems connected with
minimum, wage in Massachusetts, by Ethel M. Johnson. [Boston], 1923, p. 6. (Mimeo­
graphed. )




180

C H A P . I V . -----M I N I M U M

W AGE

BOARDS

rates may be adjusted promptly and scientifically in accordance with
the changes in the cost o f living.5
6
Below are given the amounts o f the various cost-of-living budgets
adopted by the wage boards in the different industries,5 the basis
7
upon which these budgets have been compiled, the wage rate estab­
lished and, as nearly as could be ascertained, the factors that governed
in the fixing o f the rates:
COST-OF-LIVING BUDGETS ADOPTED BY WAGE BOARDS IN MASSACHUSETTS AND
MINIMUM WAGE RATES FIXED BY MINIMUM WAGE COMMISSION, 1914 TO 1923
Cost-of-living
budget adopted

Wage rate fixed
Bases of budgets and wage rates

Industry
Amount

Date

Brush

_____

__

1914'

Jan

Candy making................ June___
1915
Feb.......

Lau n dry

Retail stares

_

W om en's elnthing

Apr

1916
Apr___

1917
Men’s clothing............... July___

Men’s furnishings........... July___
1918
Muslin underwear......... Mar___

Retail millinery.

Apr_

_

Office cleaners................. May___

Wholesale millinery........ Oct.......
1919
Canning and preserving- June___

Date

Amount
per week

1914
$8.71 Aug. 15 1$0,155 Budget: Estimates and investigations
of items; actual budgets of employees.
Rates: Cost of living and economic
condition of industry.
8.67
Budget: 40 schedules of self-supporting
00
00
woman employees, 18 years and over.
1915
8.00 Budget: Candy budget, adding 5 cents
8.77 July 1
for laundry and for newspapers and
magazines; investigation by commit­
tee in urban and suburban commu­
nities. Rate: Cost of living and busi­
ness conditions.
8.50 Budget: Previous budgets; personal
8.50 Sept. 15
investigation by board. Rate: Cost
1916
of living and business conditions.
8.75 Budget: Previous budgets; 60 schedules
8.98 Sept. 28
of estimates from employees; investi­
gation by members of board. Rate:
Cost ofliving and economic condition
of industry.
1917
9.00 Budget: Findings of previous wage
10.00 Aug. 31
boards; individual budgets of work­
ers; conferences with workers and
interested parties. Rate: Cost of liv­
ing and economic condition of indus9.00 Budget: Investigation of cost of items
10.45 Oct. 26
by wage board. Rate: Cost of living
1918
and economic condition of industry.
9.00 Budget: Cost-of-living schedules of self9.65 July 1
supporting woman employees; inves­
tigation of cost of room and board in
various cities and towns. Rate: Cost
of living and economic condition of
industry.
11.64 July 1
10.00 Budget: Information secured by mem­
bers of board. Rate: Cost of living
1919
and economic condition of industry.
11.54 Jan. 27 812.00 Budget: Information seemed by mem­
bers of board; previous budgets;
schedules of prices. Rate: Cost of
living; peculiar hours of work of occu­
pation; economic condition of indus­
try.
1918
12.50 Nov. 30
11.00 Budget: Investigation by committee of
board. Rate: Cost of living and finan­
cial condition of industry.
1919
11.00 July 21
11.00 Budget: Schedules of employees and
workers in other industries; opinions
of members of board as to amounts
necessary. Rate: Cost of living and
financial condition of industry.

1 Per hour.
2 No wage decree issued because of technical defect in organization of wage board.
830 cents per hour for night work, if less than 40 hours per week; 26 cents per hour for day work if less than
45 hours per week.
56 Survey, New York, May 13, 1922, p. 242: “ Massachusetts’ minimum wage,” by
Ethel M. Johnson.
67 Massachusetts. Department of Labor and Industries. Division of Minimum Wage.
Statement and decree concerning the wages of women employed. Nos. [1J-25. Boston,




MASSACHUSETTS

181

C O S T -O F -L IV IN G B U D G E T S A D O P T E D B Y W A G E B O A R D S I N M A S S A C H U S E T T S A N D
M I N I M U M W A G E R A T E S F IX E D B Y M I N I M U M W A G E C O M M IS SIO N , 1914 T O 1923—
Continued

Cost-of-living
budget adopted

Wage rate fixed

Date

Date

Industry-

Bases of budgets and wage rates
Amount

Candy making.

1919
June 5

1919
$12.60 July 19

Men’s clothing.

Nov___

16.00 Dec. 27

Corset—
..*____

Nov. 13

13.00 Dec. 27

Knit goods.

Nov. 21

16.30

1920
Mar. 13

Women’s clothing.

1920
Mar......

16.26

May 6

Paper box___

Apr.......

16.50

May 26

Office cleaners.

Dec. 30

15.40 Dec. 30

1921
Confectionery and food Apr.......
preparations, minor
lines.®
1922
Women’s clothing.......... Jan.......

13.50

1921
Oct. 4

1922
13.97 Apr. 21

Brush___

Jan. 31

Paper box.

Mar. 13

14.40
00
13.50 Apr. 27

Men’s clothing.

Feb. 9

14.75

Retail stores. __

00
Apr. 6

Apr. 27
00
13.50 May 19

Laundry.........

(7
)

Amount
per week

$12.60 Budget: Previous budgets, especially
that for canning and preserving in­
dustry; estimates by members of
board. Rate: Cost of living.
15.00 Budget: Estimate of increase in cost of
living since former budget. Rate:
Cost of living and economic condi­
tion of the industry.
13.00 Budget: Investigation and opinion of
members of board as to amount
necessary. Rate: Cost of living and
economic condition of industry.
13.75 Budget: Budgets submitted by em­
ployers and employees; candy budg­
et, with per cent of increase in cost
of items showp by U. S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics. Rate: Cost of liv­
ing and economic condition of in­
dustry.
15.25

Budget: Budgets submitted by em­
ployers and employees; former budg­
et, with per cent of increase in cost
of items as shown by U. S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics. Rate: Cost of liv­
ing and economic condition of in­
dustry.
15.50 Budget: Budgets submitted by mem­
bers of board. Rate: Cost of living
and economic condition of industry.
415.40 Budget: Former budgets, with per cent
of increase in cost of living shown by
U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and
Massachusetts Commission on Nec­
essaries of Life. Rate: Cost of living.
12.00 Budget: Schedules of employees. Rate:
Cost of living and financial condition
of industry.
14.00 Budget: Estimates of members; index
numbers of cost of living and chart
from figures of Massachusetts Com­
mission on Necessaries of Life. Rate:
Cost ofliving and economic condition
of industry.
Budget: Itemized budgets at local
00
prices submitted by each group.
13.50 Budget: Budgets of self-supporting em­
ployees submitted by employers and
employees; former budget with per
cent of decrease shown by U. S. Bu­
reau of Labor Statistics and Massar
chusetts Commission on Necessaries
of Life. Rate: Cost of living and
economic condition of industry.
Budget: Former budget, with per cent
C
9
of increase in cost of living; local
prices of items of clothing, budget of
paper-box industry, April, 1920.
14.00 Rate: Cost ofliving and economic con­
dition of industry.
13.50 Budget: Former budget, with per cent
of increase of cost of living shown by
Massachusetts Commission on Nec­
essaries of Life. Rate: Cost ofliving
and economic condition of industry.

4 Or 37 cents per hour.
6Includes the manufacture of flavoring extract, confectioners’ and soda fountain supplies, macaroni,
potato chips, peanut butter, prepared flour, blanched and salted nuts, chewing gum, etc.
6 No wage decree issued.
7 Minimum amount not accepted by commission; no change made in rate.
*No budget adopted.




182

C H A P . IV .— M I N I M U M

W AGE

BOARDS

COST-OF-LIVING BUDGETS ADOPTED BY WAGE BOARDS IN MASSACHUSETTS AND
MINIMUM WAGE RATES FIXED BY MINIMUM WAGE COMMISSION, 1914 TO 1923—
Continued
Cost-of-living
budget adopted

Wage rate fixed
Bases of budgets and wage rates

Industry
Date

Muslin industry______

1922
Mar. 17

Men’s furnishings..........

(8
)

Brush.............................. Dec. 6

Druggists’ preparations: July 26
Proprietary medicines
and chemical com­
pounds.

Amount

Date

1922
$13.75 Apr. 27

(8
)

Apr. 27

1923
13.92 Jan. 25

13.20 Sept. 27

Amount
per week

$13.75 Budget: Previous budgets; investiga­
tions of members; actual budgets of
employees; cost-of-living figures of
Massachusetts Commission on Nec­
essaries of Life. Rate: Cost of living
and economic condition of industry.
13.75 Rate: Economic condition of industry.
13.92 Budget: Sample budgets prepared by
members of board; per cent of change
in cost of living shown by Federal,
State, and private agencies. Rate:
Cost of living and economic condition
of industry.
13.20 Budget: Previous budgets and per cent
of change in cost of living shown by
Federal, State, and private agencies.
Rate: Cost of living and economic
condition of industry.

8 No budget adopted.

The clothing and sundries budgets adopted by minimum wage
boards in Massachusetts are shown in detail in the table on pages
163 and 164.
MINNESOTA
The Minimum W age Commission o f Minnesota came into existence
in August, 1913.
Under the law creating it, the commission may at its discretion
investigate the wages paid to women and minors in any occupation
in the State, and is required to do so upon the petition o f 100 or
more persons engaged in any occupation in which women and minors
are employed. I f , after the investigation o f any occupation, the
commission is o f the opinion that the wages paid to one-sixth or
more o f the women and minors employed therein are below a livin g
wage, the commission is directed to establish legal minimum rates
fo r that occupation. The law provides that the rate set in the case
o f both women and minors o f ordinary ability and o f learners and
apprentices must be a living wage, defined as the wage “ sufficient to
maintain the worker in health and supply him with the necessary
comforts o f reasonable life,” and that the term “ minimum wage
shall have the same meaning as diving w age/”
The establishment o f advisory boards is le ft to the discretion o f
the commission.
The commission may reconsider old rates and order new rates in
any occupation upon its own initiative or upon the request o f ap­
proximately one-fourth o f the employers or employees in the occupa­
tion.
In 1913 the commission made a detailed study o f the wages and
cost o f living o f working women. Information was secured both by
personal investigation and by questionnaires distributed to the



183

MINNESOTA

women by the employers, labor unions, and other organizations.
About 8,000 questionnaires were filled in by the women employed in
the four principal cities o f the State. The information secured was
tabulated by industries and localities and formed the basis fo r the
orders issued in 1914. The commission found that 42.8 per cent o f
the women employed in Minneapolis and St. Paul and 32.4 per cent
o f those employed in Duluth were receiving less than $8 per week.
A n average made from all the questionnaires received from women
in the Tw in Cities earning less than $12.50 a week showed a total
budget o f $8.38 and an average made from the questionnaires in
which every item was reported showed a total o f $9.26 per week.
In Duluth the average budget o f women earning less than $12.50
amounted to $8.33. On the basis o f these figures the various boards
adopted budgets as follow s:
BUDGETS ADOPTED BY MINIMUM WAGE BOARDS IN MINNEAPOLIS AND ST. PAUL
AND IN DULUTH *
Minneapolis and
St. Paul
Duluth

Item
Mercan­ Manu­
tile
facturing
Room and food__________________________ •
___________________
Clothing___________________ ______________ ______ ___________

$4.80
2.00
1.85

$5.00
1.92
1.90

$4.90
2.00
1.79

Total.................... :..............................................................................

8.65

8.82

a 69

SlindriftsS,.

___

*Minnesota. Minimum Wage Commission. First biennial report, Aug. 1,1913, to Dec. 31,1914 [Min­
neapolis, 1919], p. 37.
3 For itemized sundries budget see table, p. 164.

The orders issued on October 23,1914, on the basis o f these budgets
fixed a minimum wage fo r mercantile and office employees, waitresses,
and hairdressers o f $9 a week in cities o f over 50,000 population; o f
$8.50 in cities o f the second, third, and fourth classes, and o f $8 in
other places (Orders Nos. 1-3). F o r women employed in any manu­
facturing, mechanical, telephone, telegraph, laundry, dry-cleaning,
lunch-room, restaurant, or hotel occupation, rates o f $8.75, $8.25,
and $8 per week, according to the size o f the city in which the work
was performed, were set (Orders Nos. 4-6). Before these orders
could be put into effect, however, the constitutionality o f the act was
attacked, and the rates established were never applied.
Due to this contest over the constitutionality o f the law, the work
o f the commission was suspended from November 23,1914, until the
spring o f 1918. On December 21, 1917, the supreme court o f the
State ruled that the law was constitutional. Beappointments to
the commission were made in A p ril, 1918, and two orders (Nos. 7
and 8) were issued on June 26,1918; which applied to apprentices and
learners in all occupations. On August 7,1918, an order (No. 9) was
issued which established $8 as a minimum rate fo r women and minors
o f ordinary ability in all occupations not already covered. In N o­
vember, 1918, the commission, having investigated the wages paid
to over 57,000 women and recognizing the great increase in cost o f
living, sent out circulars to employers asking that they voluntarily




184

CHAP.

I V . -----M I N I M U M

W AGE

BOARDS

raise the wages, at least to the lowest-paid workers, and suggesting
that the lowest rate be not less than $7 per week.
In July, 1919, the commission revised the rates for apprentices
and learners and also for women and minors o f ordinary ability.
These revisions were based on common knowledge o f the increase in
the cost o f livin g and on investigations o f the cost o f room and
board made by the secretary o f the commission. F or women and
minors o f ordinary ability in all occupations a rate o f $11 per week
was established fo r cities o f 5,000 population and over; for smaller
places a rate o f $10.25 per week was fixed fo r all occupations. In
this order, effective August 5, 1919, the commission stated that in
determining the rate o f $11 per week, $7 was allowed fo r room and
board and 22y2 cents per meal fo r 21 meals, while in determining
the rate o f $10.25 per week, $6.25 was allowed fo r room and board
and 21 cents per meal. These rates were fixed on the basis o f a 48hour week, the commission having “ found and determined * * *
that the number o f hours per week which a person is customarily
employed in performance o f work fo r her or his employer has a
direct and substantial bearing on the minimum amount which such
person needs and requires as a livin g wage in that a person whose
time and energy is not substantially consumed in the doing o f the
work for which she or he is employed may and can do fo r herself
or himself many things which would and do reduce the money
cost o f livin g o f such person.” (Order No. 10, July 5, 1919.)
In the 1914 orders some difference had been made in the amount
allowed for clothing fo r some o f the occupations, but in the orders
o f 1919, no such difference was made, the commission feeling that
in all cases the wage set was more o f an existence wage than a
livin g wage. Variations o f rate were made, however, according to
the size o f the city o f employment, this being done on the ground
that the cost o f livin g was greater in the larger places.
In December, 1920, Order No. 12 was issued, effective Jan. 1, 1921,
fixing $12 as a minimum rate fo r women and minors o f ordinary
ability in all occupations in cities o f over 5,000 population. No
change was made in the rates fo r smaller cities. This action was
preceded by investigation, by the commission, o f the rates o f wages
paid and o f the cost o f livin g; public hearings were also held.
The commission felt that it had in a measure, failed to carry out
the fu ll intent o f the law inasmuch as it had set only an “ existence
w a ge” which was not sufficient to supply the “ necessary comforts.”
The central idea o f the law it felt to be health, and the proper
inclusion o f “ w elfa re” has not yet been found possible. The rate
fixed necessitates continuous employment, since an existence wage
permits no margin, but as the commission stated, “ no way has yet
been found to require employment fo r 52 weeks in the year.” 5
8
B y act o f the State legislature in March, 1921, the minimum wage
commission was abolished and its duties were transferred to the
Industrial Commission o f Minnesota. The minimum wage commis­
sion’s Order No. 12 was adopted by the industrial commission with­
out change on July 1,1921, and is still in effect.
58 U. S. Bureau o f Labor Statistics Bui. No. 285, p. 156.




CHAP. IV.— M INIM UM WAGE B0AKPS

185

NORTH DAKOTA
The minimum wage law o f North Dakota was approved March
The act provides that the workmen’s compensation bureau
o f the State shall ascertain and declare standards o f minimum wages
for women and minors in any occupations in the State and to de­
termine what wages are inadequate to supply such workers with
the necessary cost o f livin g and to “ maintain them in good health.”
The bureau is also given the authority to determine standards o f
hours and conditions o f labor for woman workers. I f , after investi­
gation, the bureau is o f the opinion that any substantial number o f
woman workers in any occupation are working for unreasonably
long hours or are working under surroundings or conditions detri­
mental to their health or morals or are receiving inadequate wages,
the bureau may appoint a conference to discuss these conditions.
The report o f the conference may be rejected or accepted in whole
or in part by the bureau. I f rejected, the report may be resubmitted
to the old conference or to a newly organized one. Public hearings
must be held before the rates are set.
Noncompliance with the orders o f the bureau constitutes an un­
lawful act and is subject to penalty.
In the latter part o f 1919 the bureau made a survey o f wages,
hours o f work, and the cost o f living in 27 cities, covering practi­
cally every class o f employment for women in the State. I t was
found that wages in retail stores ranged from $7 to $13 5 in telefrom $7 to
f hone exchanges, from $7.50 to $14.50; in laundries, in hospitals,
11; in hotels and restaurants, from $3.50 to $18; and
from $6 to $7.50. I t was estimated that the average expenditure
required for board was $7 per week and fo r room $2.25 per week;
30 employees submitted estimates o f sundries averaging $3; and it
was estimated that an average weekly expense for clothing would
be about $4. The women were classed in two groups, one o f which
it was thought required a larger allowance fo r clothing than the
other. The first group included mercantile employees, office and
clerical help, waitresses, and telephone operators. The second group
included laundry workers, chambermaids, factory workers, and
kitchen helpers in restaurants, hotels, and hospitals. The weekly
cost o f a minimum budget was placed at $16.25 for the first group
and $15.50 fo r the second group. Figures o f the United States
Bureau o f Labor Statistics were referred to as warranting the
amount o f the minimum established. Public hearings and confer­
ences were held and the rates adopted were unanimously agreed to
except in the telephone industry where the employers objected. The
following were the weekly rates established by the bureau on June 15,
1920, fo r experienced workers, by Orders Nos. 5 -1 2 effective August
16, 1920: Public housekeeping, waitresses and counter girls, $17.50;
chambermaids and kitchen help, $16.70; office occupations, $2 0 ;
personal service, including manicuring, hairdressing, and similar
work, and mercantile occupations, $17.50; manufacturing occupa­
tions, laundry work, and work in telephone exchanges, $16.50.
Allowances were made to student nurses in addition to full main­
tenance.
The employers attacked the legal constitution o f the bureau, as
one member had been withdrawn by the governor during the hear­
6 , 1919.




186

CHAP.

I V . -----M I N I M U M

W AGE

BOARDS

ings. The supreme court upheld the issuance o f an injunction until
such time as the case could be tried on its merits. No attempt was
made to enforce the orders.
During the summer o f 1921 another cost-of-living and wage sur­
vey was made o f the woman workers o f the State by the minimum
wage department o f the workmen’s compensation bureau in conjunc­
tion with the Women’s Bureau o f the United States Department o f
Labor. The investigators secured the information by personal inter­
views with the employees at their places o f employment, in 27 towns.
Additional information was secured from other interested persons.
The 594 women who gave information were employed in the mercan­
tile establishments, offices, telephone exchanges, laundries, factories,
and hotels and restaurants. The survey on the cost o f livin g covered
only expenses for board and room, laundry, medical, dental, and op­
tical work, and clothing.
O f the 480 women interviewed who received neither board nor
room as part o f their wages, a little over 6 per cent were receiving
less than $12 a week; 20 per cent were receiving from $12 to $14;
21i/2 per cent from $14 to $16; and 20 per cent from $16 to $18 a
week. The survey also showed that 20 per cent o f the women inter­
viewed were contributing toward the support o f others. O f these
the report states:
S e v e r a l o f th e se w o m e n s u p p o rte d t w o o r m o re c h ild r e n ; 10 w e r e th e sole
s u p p o r t o f a d e p e n d e n t m o t h e r ; o th e rs p a r t i a l l y s u p p o rte d e ith e r t h e ir p a re n ts ,
s is te rs , o r b r o t h e r s o r c o n trib u te d r e g u l a r ly t o t h e s u p p o rt o f t h e h om e.
In
fa c t, so h e a v y w a s th e r e s p o n s ib ilit y o f som e o f th e se w o m e n t h a t th e c lo th in g
s c h e d u le o f BO o f th e m c o u ld n o t b e u s e d s in c e th e y h a d b o u g h t n o c lo th in g to
s p e a k o f in th e p a s t t w o o r t h r e e y e a rs , e v e n th o u g h b a d ly n e ed e d .5
9

The results o f this survey were before the members of the different
conferences when the new rates were unanimously agreed to. The
employees’ representatives, however, had argued for higher rates and
the employers’ representatives fo r lower rates than the ones finally
accepted. I t was also agreed in the conferences that there had been
an approximate decrease in the cost o f livin g o f 15 per cent since the
last wage orders were issued. The bureau accepted the wages as
agreed to by the conferences, which were approximately 15 per cent
less than the rates established in 1920, and on February 3, 1922, is­
sued orders (Nos. 1-5) establishing the following weekly rates for
experienced workers: Waitresses and counter girls in public house­
keeping, $14.90; mercantile occupations, $14.50; chambermaids and
kitchen help in public housekeeping, $14.20; and telephone exchanges,
factories, and laundries, $14. Deductions were allowed from these
rates where board or lodging, or both, was furnished. No rate was
set for office workers, fo r employees engaged in personal service, or
fo r student nurses.
OREGON
The minimum wage law o f Oregon was enacted in Oregon in
1913 in order that the working women and minors might be “ pro­
tected from conditions o f labor which have a pernicious effect
on their health and morals,” among which conditions are cited
59 North Dakota. Workman’^ Compensation, Bureau.
Cost-of-living survey, etc., 1921. Bismarck, 1921, p. 20.




Minimum Wage Department.

OREGON

187

! u inadequate wages and unduly long hours and unsanitary condi­
tions.”
The industrial welfare commission created by the act is author­
ized to ascertain and declare standards o f minimum wages fo r
women and minors in any occupation within the State and to deter­
mine what wages are inadequate to supply the necessaries o f life
to such workers and to maintain them in good health.
The commission has full authority to investigate wages and work­
ing conditions o f women and minors either by personal investiga­
tion, or by authorized representatives- I f , after investigation, the
commission is o f the opinion that any substantial number o f woman
workers in any occupation are receiving inadequate wages it may
appoint a conference or wage board for the purpose o f inquiring
into the subject. The commission may accept, reject, or m odify the
reports o f these wage boards.
Immediately after its organization, steps were taken by the com­
mission to secure information relative to wages, hours, and working
conditions o f women employed in the State. Inform al conferences
were held with employees and employers, in mercantile establish­
ments, manufacturing, fru it canning, laundries, restaurants, and
telephone and telegraph industries. Separate wage conferences or
boards were appointed to study the conditions relating to each group
o f workers, and to determine the weekly sum required to “ main­
tain a self-supporting woman in frugal but decent conditions o f
living.” The wage board in the manufacturing industry consid­
ered that the absolutely essential elements o f decent livin g were
“ ( a ) respectable lodging, ( b ) three meals a day ; ( c ) clothing ac­
cording to the standard demanded by the position such employee
fills; ( d ) some provision fo r recreation, care o f health and selfimprovement.” 6
0
The recommendation o f the factory conference that a minimum
wage o f $8.64 be established fo r women employed in the manufac­
turing industry in Portland,, was adopted by the commission after
public hearings, the rate being made effective November 10, 1913
(Order No. 2).
On October 14, 1913, the constitutionality o f the act was attacked
on this order, but was upheld first by the circuit court and then by
the supreme court, after which the case w a j carried to the United
States Supreme Court. There the eight justices voting were equally
divided in their opinion as to the constitutionality o f the law. Mr.
Justice Brandeis did not vote because before his appointment to
the Supreme Court he had presented a brief in behalf o f the com­
mission before the Supreme Court o f Oregon and had also repre­
sented the commission in its case before the United States Supreme
Court. The divided vote o f the court, however, was considered as
upholding the constitutionality o f the law. Though these legal
proceedings hampered the commission in its work, it never was
restrained from issuing and enforcing its orders.
Conferences were appointed by the commission fo r the mercantile
industry and office employment to consider the same questions of
wages as had been considered in the manufacturing industry- The
rates recommended by these boards were adopted by the commission
60 Oregon..
1915, p. 6.

Industrial Welfare Commission.

105715°— 25------IS




First biennial report, 1913-1914.

Salem,

188

CHAP. IV.— M INIM UM WAGE BOAfti>S

which established (by Order No. 3) a rate o f $9.25 per week effective^
November 23, 1913, fo r woman employees in the mercantile estab­
lishments o f Portland and (by Order No. 4) a rate o f $40 per
month, effective February 2, 1914, for woman office workers
throughout the State.
The commission then called a conference to consider conditions
in all industries outside the city o f Portland. On the recommenda­
tion o f this conference, the commission established (by Order No. 5)
a rate o f $8.25 per week, effective February 7, 1914, and applying
to all industries o f the State outside o f Portland.
A special conference fo r the canning industry was called in
September, 1914. This conference recommended a wage o f $8.64 in
Portland and $8.25 in places outside o f Portland. In May, 1917,
the commission fixed, by Order No. 24, an hourly rate o f 16 cents
fo r experienced workers, which would amount to $8.64 fo r a 54-hour
week.
In 1916 the commission revised the orders issued in 1914, re­
affirming the 1914 rates fo r the manufacturing, mercantile, and office
occupations in Portland and fixing rates o f $8.64 per week in P o rt­
land and $8.25 per week in places outside o f Portland fo r the per­
sonal-service, laundry, telephone and telegraph, and public-housekeeping industries. A rate o f $8.25 per week was established for
offices outside o f Portland. These orders (Nos. 7-20) were effective
September 1, 1916.
Although, in some o f the conferences, budgets were presented by
representatives o f the employers and representatives o f the employees,
all o f the rates o f $8.64 per week in the city o f Portland and $8.25
in places outside o f Portland and o f $9.25 for the mercantile oc­
cupations in Portland were based on information secured by the
Consumers5 League o f Oregon6 in 1912 which showed that $10 a
1
week was necessary to furnish the proper livin g conditions in P o rt­
land and that $9.82 was necessary in places outside o f Portland.
The information as to expenditure was secured by questionnaire
from 509 working women in Portland and 101 working women
throughout the State, and by personal interviews with employees.
The budgets are shown in detail in the table on page 165.
Data on wages were secured from employees, from pay rolls o f
employers, and by some o f the investigators working as employees
in some o f the factories. These data, covering 4,523 wage-earning
women, showed that about three-fifths o f the women in Portland
were not earning as much as $10 a week. O f the investigation the
Consumers’ League stated in its report (p. 2 4 ):
The investigation has proved beyond a doubt that a large majority of selfsupporting women in the State are earning less than it costs them to live
decently; that many are receiving subsidiary help from their homes which
thus contributes'to the profits of their employers; that those who do not
receive assistance from relatives are breaking down in health from lack of
proper nourishing food and comfortable lodging quarters or are supplement­
ing their wages by money received from immoral living.

W h ile the orders o f the commission did not establish a minimum
wage equal to the amount called fo r by the budgets, the various wage
boards felt that the amounts established were an improvement on
01 Consumers’ League of Oregon.
ary, 1913, pp. 20-24.




Report of Social Survey Committee.

Portland, Janu­

OREGON

189

the existing wages and that this was about all that could be hoped
for at the time; that the conditions had existed for some time and
could not be made ideal all at once, but that gradually the wage
must be made equal to the amount necessary for the cost o f livin g
o f a self-supporting woman.
In November, 1917, the Consumers’ League o f Oregon called the
attention o f the commission to the fact that the wage rates had not
advanced in proportion to the cost o f living and that they were no
longer adequate, and requested the commission to call a conference
to revise the rates in accordance with the increase in the cost o f
living.
The commission complied with this request and presented to the
conference the material that it had gathered on the increase in the
cost o f living from July, 1916, to October, 1917. Its figures as to the
increase in the cost o f food had been obtained from the United States
Bureau o f Labor Statistics, while those showing the increase in the
other items had been secured from local dealers in Portland. A t the
request o f the commission P ro f. Paul H . Douglas, then o f Reed Col­
lege, submitted an estimate showing that the proportion o f the $8.64
budget spent foi* the, different items would be as follow s: Food and
rent, 54 per cent; clothing, 26 per cent; sundries, 20 per cent. The
conference accepted this apportionment, except that it separated the
items o f food and rent, allowing 39 per cent for food and 15 per cent
for rent. I t was found by the conference that the cost o f livin g o f
the self-supporting woman had increased 34 per cent.6 The confer­
4
ence therefore recommended that the minimum rate be increased 34
per cent and that a minimum o f $11.61 per week be fixed for ex­
perienced adult workers in the following industries: Manufacturing,
laundry, telephone and telegraph, hotel and restaurant, elevator
operation, and personal service (ushers in theaters, manicurists,
hairdressers, and pianists who are sheet-music demonstrators). I t
was also recommended that a minimum o f $48 a month be established
for office workers and o f $11.10 per week for mercantile occupations.
These recommendations were adopted by the commission in its Orders
Nos. 25-34, effective June 12, 1918. In the early orders differences
o f rate were established as between industries, on the ground o f
differences in clothing requirements, and as between cities on the
supposition that the cost o f livin g was higher in the larger places.
I t was found, however, that the cost o f livin g in some o f the smaller
places was higher than in the larger towns; it was also felt that, as
the wage rates set were existence wages rather than livin g wages, no
difference should be made in the minimum as between different occu­
pations. Since 1918, therefore, no variation o f rate has been made on
either o f these bases.
The war emergency conference which had been at work during
October and November, 1918, was dissolved early in 1919. On June
6, 1919, a new conference was formed. Upon its recommendations
new orders (Nos. 37-45 and 47) were issued, establishing a general
weekly rate o f $13.20 for experienced workers in the mercantile,
manufacturing, personal service, laundry, telephone and telegraph,0
4
04 Oregon. Industrial Welfare Commission.
1919, pp. 9-11.




Third biennial report, 1917-1018.

Salem,

190

CHAP. IV.----M INIM UM WAGE BOARDS

and public-housekeeping industries; a rate o f 27y2 cents per hour in
the canning industry,6 which would allow $13.20 for a 48-hour week;
5
and a rate o f $60 per month for office workers.
In establishing rates for minors the commission made no attempt
to fix a livin g wage, first, because it did not desire to encourage young
persons to leave school and, second, because it realized that they were
only learners and not capable o f rendering service justifying a livin g
wage.
WASHINGTON
Like the law o f Oregon, the minimum wage law o f W ashington6
6
enacted in 1913, affirmed that “ inadequate wages and unsanitary
conditions o f la b o r” exert a pernicious effect on the health and
morals o f working women ana minors, and therefore created the
industrial welfare commission, directing it to establish standards
o f wages and conditions o f labor fo r women and minors which would
be “ reasonable and not detrimental to health and morals and which
would be sufficient fo r the decent maintenance o f women.”
POWERS AND PROCEDURE

#

'

The commission was given authority to investigate wages and
working conditions o f women and minors employed in any occupa­
tion, trade, or industry. I f , after investigation, the commission found
that the conditions were prejudicial to morals or that wages were
inadequate to cover the necessary cost o f livin g and to maintain the
workers in health, it was empowered to call a conference composed
o f an equal number o f representatives o f employers and employees
in the occupations in question, together with one or more persons
representing the public, whose duty it would be to recommend to
the commission a minimum wage adequate to supply the necessary
cost o f livin g and maintain the worker m health, as well as to recom­
mend conditions o f labor. The commission could accept or r e je c t'
these recommendations in whole or in part; in case o f rejection it
could refer the matter back to the same conference or submit it to
a newly constituted board. N o conferences were required fo r the
establishment o f wage rates fo r minors. Although the commission
was not required to hold public hearings to consider the recommenda­
tions agreed upon by the conferences and adopted by the commission,
it has been its custom to do so.
According to the law, after a rate had been set fo r any particular
industry it could not be changed fo r one year.
Soon after its organization the commission made preliminary in­
vestigations o f the cost o f livin g and o f wages o f the employees in
the mercantile, factory, laundry, and fish-canning 6 industries o f the
7
State. The investigation took about six months. A ll the principal
cities and many o f the smaller ones were visited by special investi­
gators. Information was secured from the employees and from the
65 For this industry a revised order (No. 47) was issued on May 81, 1922, which classi­
fied the fruits and fixed piece rates for the different classes of fruits. Time rates for
experienced workers at 27% cents per hour and for inexperienced workers a t 22 cents
were retained.
66 The constitutionality of the Washington law has been twice attacked, but i t has
been upheld by the courts of the State.
07 The investigation made in the fish-canning industry showed that the experienced
workers were already receiving a minimum, wage and also that, as this industry operated
for only a portion of'the year, no women were entirely dependent on it for a living.




W

a s h in g t o n

191

records o f the employers. Schedules were filled in by over 11,000
employees in these industries.6 A fte r the information was compiled,
8
conferences in these industries were called. Later, investigations
were made o f the telephone and telegraph, office, and hotel and
restaurant industries, and conferences were called; these were the
most important industries in the State.
These conferences had before them all the wage data collected
by the commission as well as figures on the cost o f livin g which
were secured from actual weekly expenditure budgets- kept by the
women and from their yearly estimates o f these costs. In these con­
ferences the representatives o f the employers and employees and the
public usually presented budgets covering the items which they con­
sidered necessary for the proper living o f woman workers. From all
o f these estimates, an itemized budget was agreed upon which formed
the basis fo r the wage recommended.
WAGE ORDERS OF 1914 AND 1915

In the mercantile conferences held in March, 1914, an annual
budget o f $520 was agreed upon.6 This necessitated the earning o f
9
$10 a week fo r every week in the year. The investigation o f the
commission showed that the most usual weekly rate received by these
women was $8 and that 55.6 per cent o f the 5,155 workers in this
industry were receiving less than $10.7 W age rates recommended
0
ranged from $9 a week, proposed by an employer, to $13.20 a week,
proposed by an employees’ representative. A compromise rate o f
$10 was finally unanimously agreed to fo r experienced workers
over 18 years o f age. This rate was approved by the commission
and, by Order No. 1, issued A p ril 28, 1914, and effective June 27,
1914. In the order the commission declared that any lower wage
would be inadequate to supply these employees with the necessaries
o f life.
T o the manufacturing conference the commission reported that
71.2 per cent o f the 1,753 factory workers were receiving less than
$10, and three-fifths less than $9 a week.7 A t this conference all
1
the three parties submitted budgets, those o f the employers rang­
ing from $399 to $635, those o f the employees from $565 to $601,
and those o f the public from $493 to $526. A fte r studying these
budgets, the conference adopted a budget totaling $462.80, which
would require a wage o f $8.90 fo r every week in the year. W age
recommendations were made, ranging from $9 by an employer to
$10 by an employee, but a rate o f $8.90 was unanimously agreed
upon and was adopted by the commission. A n order (No. 3) was
issued on June 2,1914, making this rate effective August 1,1914.
The conference fo r the laundry industry was convened in May,
1914. In this industry, o f 2,304 employees, 72.4 per cent were re­
ceiving less than $10 and 61.5 per cent were earning less than $9 a
week.7 A t this conference the representatives o f the public did
2
68 Washington. Industrial Welfare Commission. Report on wages, conditions of work,
and cost and standards of living of woman, wage earners in. Washington. Olympia,
March, 1914, p. 16.
69 Idem. First biennial report, 1913—
1914. Olympia, 1915, p. 23.*
70 Idem. Report on wages, conditions of work, and cost and standards of living of
women wage earners in Washington. Olympia, March, 1914, p. 7.




192

CHAP. XV.— M INIM UM WAGE BOAM>S

not submit budgets. The amounts o f the budgets submitted by the
employers and employees varied so widely that it was not considered
fa ir by the chairman that the public should consider them as a
basis tor wage recommendations. t Various wage rates were pro­
posed, the rate o f $8.50 finally being adopted against the votes o f
the employees and o f one member o f the public. The commission,
however, refused to adopt this rate, as its investigation had shown
that the cost o f livin g fo r this group o f workers exceeded $8.50 a
week. A new conference was therefore organized, to which both
employers and employees submitted budgets. The employers’ budg­
ets required a weekly wage o f only $8.33, while the employees’ budgets
required a wage o f $10.30. A fte r many counterproposals a rate o f $9
was agreed upon. This rate was adopted by the commission on June
25,1914, and made effective August 24, 1914, in its Order No. 5.
A t the conference called on June 26, 1914, fo r the telephone and
telegraph industry, the representatives o f employees, employers,
and public submitted budgets. The employers’ budgets ranged
from $7.77 to $8.04, those o f the employees from $8.10 to $8.19, and
those o f the public from $8.89 to $9.51. The necessary annual ex­
penditure, as agreed upon by the conference, was found to be $468, or
$9 a week. This weekly rate was finally agreed upon against the votes
o f the employers, and on July 9,1914, was ordered by the commission,
effective September 7, 1914 (O rder No. 7). In accordance with the
ruling o f the State attorney general that the rate fo r any particular
occupation must be the same over the entire State, this rate was
made applicable throughout the State. In 1915, however, the mini­
mum wage act was amended to permit the commission to establish
in rural communities such rates as it considered reasonable without
reference to the established rates fo r larger cities. A n interesting
situation arose in this conference in that the public representatives
contended fo r a higher rate than did the employees’ representatives
who agreed with the employers that a large number o f the em­
ployees lived at home and, therefore, did not need so large a wage.
The public representatives maintained, however, that i f the parents
had to contribute to the support o f the worker they were m fact
subsidizing the industry to that extent.7
8
The conference fo r hotel, restaurant, and lunch-room occupations
met on December 1 and 2, 1914. Each o f the nine members sub­
mitted budgets, those o f the employers ranging from $11.75 to $15.37
per week, those o f the employees from $13.23 to $16.23, and those o f
the public from $8.04 to $11.26. A budget o f $572 per year or $11
per week was finally agreed upon. The employers proposed a wage
o f $8.50 a week but the employees objected to less than $9. I t was
finally agreed to separate waitresses from the other employees in
the group, a wage o f $11 being proposed fo r waitresses and o f $9
a week fo r all other employees. The commission rejected this
recommendation because its investigation had shown that waitresses
were the most independent o f all the employees included, seldom
receiving less than $6 per week in the smaller places or less than
$8.50 in the larger places, exclusive o f tips. On June 18, 1915, the
commission by Order No. 12, approved the rate o f $9 fo r other em­
ployees ; it did not, however, fix a rate fo r waitresses.
78 Washington. Industrial Welfare Commission.
Olympia, 1915, p. 57.




First biennial report, 1913-1914.

WASHINGTON

193

The conference called to determine the rates fo r office occupations
unanimously recommended a weekly rate o f $10, the budget agreed
upon fo r this class totaling $520, and the estimates o f the employers
and employees being practically the same. The rate was adopted
on December 21,1914, by the commission and made effective February
20, 1915, in its Order No. 10.
A l l o f the above rates continued in effect until the war emergency
orders o f September, 1918.
The itemized budgets agreed to by these six conferences are given
in the table on pages 162 and 165.
WAR EMERGENCY ORDERS

On January 7, 1918, the commission, recognizing that there had
been a marked increase in the cost o f livin g but hesitating to issue
new orders because it was considered at that time that the increase
was only temporary, issued a statement requesting the employers
to increase the wages o f their employees to meet the 35 per cent
increase in the cost o f living. I t also stated that failure to meet
these conditions would compel the commission to take such action
as would be necessary to insure the desired results. Questionnaires
were later sent out by the commission to the employers requesting
them to enter the wages paid in January, 1917, and in January, 1918.
From these returns, covering over 8,000 workers, the commission
found that almost two-thirds o f the employees were receiving less
than the $12.15 per week which it had set as the amount necessary
to meet the increased cost o f livin g by taking the $9 rate set in some
o f the industries and increasing it by 35 per cent.7 A conference
4
was therefore called to consider the question o f wages for all o f the
industries. A t this conference the results o f the investigation o f
the commission were considered and also the figures o f the United
States Bureau o f Labor Statistics showing changes in the cost o f
livin g in Pacific coast cities from 1914 to 1918,7 and in Philadelphia
5
from 1914 to 1917,7 also the figures, prepared by the same bureau
6
fo r the U. S. Railway W age Commission, showing changes in the cost
o f living from 1915 to 1918.7 The employers proposed a rate o f $12
7
and the employees one o f $15. A rate o f $13.20 was finally agreed
upon and was adopted by the commission on September 10, 1918, fo r
all industries and made effective by its Order No. 18, November 10,
1918, fo r the period o f the war.
ACTION SINCE 1920

In accordance with the provision o f the minimum wage law, that
no changes shall be made in an established rate until one year after
the rate becomes effective, the wage rates could not be revised until
after November 10, 1919. The commission’s war order had estab­
lished a six-day week. The employers in the public-housekeeping
industry, however, had questioned the authority o f the commission
in this respect and had been upheld by the court, with the result that
74 Washington. Industrial Welfare Commission. Third biennial report,. 1917-1918.
Olympia, 1918, p. 27.
75 Monthly Labor Review, September, 1918, p. 115.
7« Idem, March,. 1918, p. 112.
77 U. S. Railroad Administration. Report of the Railroad Wage Commission to the
Director General of Railroads, Apr. 30, 1918. Washington, D. C., 1918, pp. $0-§2,




194

CHAP. IV.— M INIM UM WAGE BOARDS

employees in this industry were working seven days fo r $13.20, in­
stead o f six days as in other industries. In view o f this fact, the
commission, in November, 1919, decided to begin with conferences
fo r wage revisions in this industry. A survey was made by a com­
mittee representing both employees and employers and it was found
that the cash wage o f a considerable number o f these employees did
not amount to $13.20. This conference unanimously recommended a
rate o f $18 per week, which was adopted by the commission on A p ril
3,1920, and made effective June 2,1920, by Order No. 21. The work­
ing time was also limited to six days a week fo r female employees
over 18 years o f age.
Considerable complaint was made by the employees in the manu­
facturing industry that the reduced working time produced a wage
o f less than $13.20, and that it was impossible to live on this wage.
The commission made a survey o f this industry and called a con­
ference which voted for a minimum rate o f $18. When submitted to
the commission, however, the four members constituting the com­
mission at that time were evenly divided in opinion and no action
was taken.
On August 10, 1921, the attorney general o f the State issued a
statement that 4 since the status o f the war no longer exists” the
4
order o f September 10,1918, was no longer valid.7
8
In 1921 another investigation was made o f the public-housekeep­
in g industry. A conference was called which thought that
although the cost o f livin g had decreased since the wage o f $18 was
proposed, a higher rate than $13.20 was necessary, and so recom­
mended a rate o f $14.50. This rate was adopted by the commission
on August 5, 1921, the order (No. 23) becoming effective October
4, 1921.
Conferences were also called for the laundry, telephone and tele­
graph, mercantile, and manufacturing industries in October and
November o f 1921. Budgets were presented by employers and em- *
ployees but although prices were fallin g in 1921 the lack o f stabili­
zation in the cost-of-living level fo r 1922 caused the members o f the
conferences to feel that no change should be made in the existing
rate o f $13.20. This condition had greater bearing in these con­
ferences than the cost o f estimated budgets. This view was adopted
by the commission on October 4, 1921, which established (Orders
Nos. 25 and 27-29) the rate o f $13.20 per week effective on December
14, 1921, in the laundry and telephone and telegraph industries, on
December 31, 1921. in the mercantile industry, and on January 22,
1922, in the manufacturing industry.
The duties and powers o f the industrial welfare commission were
transferred to the industrial welfare committee on A p ril 1, 1922,
when all o f the bureaus and commissions concerned with the ad­
ministration o f labor laws in the State o f Washington were con­
solidated in the department o f labor and industries.
The industrial welfare committee reaffirmed Orders Nos. 23, 25, 27,
28, and 29, and on August 28, 1922, issued a new Order No. 31, rela­
tive to wages to minors, which maintains all the rates previously
fixed by the industrial welfare commission.7
9
78 Sec Monthly Labor Review, November, 1921, p. 113.
79 Washington. Department of Labor and Industries.
pp. 100-110.




First Report.

Olympia, 1922,

CHAP. IV.— M INIM UM WAGE BOARDS

195

WISCONSIN
The minimum wage act passed by the Legislature o f Wisconsin
on July 31, 1913, provides that “ every wage paid or agreed to be
paid by any employer to any female or minor employee, except as
otherwise provided shall not be less than a living wage,” the living
wage being defined as 4 compensation for labor paid, whether by
4
time, piecework, or otherwise, sufficient to enable the employee re­
ceiving it to maintain himself or herself under conditions consistent
with his or her welfare,” and the term 4 welfare ” being defined as
4
including 4 reasonable comfort, reasonable physical well-being, de­
4
cency, and moral well-being.”
POWERS AND PROCEDURE

Upon the Wisconsin Industrial Commission is placed the duty and
authority to determine the> livin g wage. The act8 provides that
0
upon complaint o f any person 4 setting forth that the wages paid
4
to any female or minor employee in any occupation are not sufficient
to maintain himself or herself under conditions consistent with his
or her welfare,” the commission must investigate. I f , upon investi­
gation, it finds reasonable evidence that the complaint is justified
it must appoint an advisory wage board, 4 selected so as fairly
4
to represent employers, employees, and the public,” to assist in its
investigations and determinations. The findings o f the advisory
board may be accepted, rejected, or modified by the commission.
Failure to pay the amount o f the living wage established by the
commission is a violation o f the law and the commission may insti­
tute any proceedings necessary to enforce the payment o f a wage
which is not less than the living wage.
SURVEY OF 1913-14

A survey was made by the commission in the latter part o f 1913
and the first part o f 1914, covering occupation, length o f time in
the industry, education, previous occupations, special training, em­
ployment, wages, fam ily and livin g conditions, the amount paid fo r
room and board, and contributions to the family. These data were
prices
4
S lementedo by the securing o f lists o f o f 4 standard articles o f
ing and f comparative price
staple articles o f food in
various cities o f the State and by the obtaining o f working women’s
estimates o f yearly expenditures.” The report o f this study8
1
states:
From a study of all this material some concept w as possible of the present
economic position of the wage-earning woman, of her part in the fam ily
economy; of the actual cost of her living either at home or aw ay from hom e;
of the manner of life possible at such a standard, of its adequacy in terms
o f “ w ell-being” and of the bearing of all this upon the problem assigned to
the commission— the establishment of a “ living wage.” (P . 2.)

The investigation covered 448 establishments in the more impor­
tant industries, employing over 23,000 women, in 41 cities o f the6
0
60 Laws of 1913, ch. 712, sec*. 17298-5, 1729s-7.
Wisconsin. Industrial Commission. Cost of living of wage-earning women in Wiscon­
[ Madison.J May 1, 1913.

sin.




196

CHAP. IV.— M INIM UM WAGE BOARDS

State. Returns were secured from about 75 per cent o f this number.
Additional information was secured from about 4,000 women work­
ing in seasonal industries and from about 1,500 boys and girls under
16 years o f age.
The investigation disclosed that about 18 per cent o f the women
employed in Milwaukee and other cities lived away from home. The
cost o f room and board was obtained separately for women livin g
away from home and those living at home. The report states that—
The most striking effect shown by the investigation w as the comparatively
large amounts contributed to the fam ily income by the wage-earning women
living at home, and the large number of women and young girls who through
the death or disability of the natural head of the fam ily were forced to carry
all or a large share of the burden of the fam ily expenses. Out of 13,68(5
wage-earning women in the State living at home, exclusive of the m arried or
widowed, 38 per cent reported that they gave all their earnings to their families
while only 2 per cent reported that they gave nothing. (P . 14.)

In order to secure the cost o f maintenance o f wage-earning women
at home, detailed information was secured, from 100 families scat­
tered over the State, “ concerning the composition o f the families,
the mode, and standard o f living, [and] the sources and amount o f
income.” From this material and the proportionate cost to each
member o f the fam ily as determined by the United States Bureau o f
Labor Statistics fo r 11,000 families, the cost o f maintenance o f the
individual wage-earning woman was estimated. Many instances
were noted in which 4 the earnings o f the woman wage earner barely
4
cover the cost o f the 4raw m aterial’ o f food and lodging and the
extent to which either the other wage earners o f the fam ily or public
or private philanthropy must subsidize the industry employing
these women at less than a living wage.” (P . 15.) I t was found
that the actual cost o f maintenance o f a g irl livin g at home and one
livin g away from home was about the same.
From the information secured from about two-fifths o f the total
number o f wage-earning women o f the State and from 4 other lines
4
o f investigation,” the commission decided that $9.50 per week was
necessary to supply the proper standard o f room and board and to
allow fo r the purchase o f other basic necessities. This allowance
did not include anything for sickness or emergencies, aid to depend­
ents, contributions to church or societies, insurance premiums, sav­
ings, newspapers and periodicals, or recreation and vacation ex­
penses. A s the commission stated (p .2 0 ): 4 I t allows only fo r the bare
4
necessities that make possible 4reasonable comfort, reasonable phys­
ical well-being, decency, and moral well-being.’ ” This amount o f
$9.50 was apportioned among the expenditure groups as follow s:
Board and room, $6.50; clothing, $1.90°; laundry, 40 cents; dentist
and medical attendance, 20 cents; and car fare to and from work,
50 cents.
No wage orders were issued as the result o f this study, however,
the commission deciding to wait until the constitutionality o f the
Oregon law should be decided. In the meantime the women’s de­
partment o f the industrial commission carried on educational work
designed to convince employers o f the economy o f paying a living
wage.
a

For itemized clothing budget, see table, p. 162.




WISCONSIN

197

W AG E ORDERS OF 1919

On M ay 21, 1918, the Wisconsin Federation o f Labor, the Con­
sumers’ League o f Wisconsin, and the Central Council o f Social
Agencies o f Milwaukee requested that a minimum rate be set for
women and minors o f the State. The commission accordingly ap­
pointed an advisory wage board from the nominations o f their
respective organizations, the employer and employee representatives
being chosen and the representatives o f the public being selected
after conference with the representatives o f the employers and em­
ployees. A survey o f the cost o f room and board to self-supporting
woman #employees was made by the women’s department o f the
industrial commission, these items being considered to form 60 per
cent o f the total minimum expenditures; some items o f clothing were
also priced.
From the information thus secured the advisory board concluded
on June 20, 1919, that a livin g wage for experienced women and
experienced minors over 17 years o f age would be 22 cents per hour,
or $11 for a 50-hour week, allowing the following expenditures:
Board, $4.50; room, $2; clothing, $2.50; and incidentals, $2.8 The
2
board recommended that this rate should be ordered immediately
as the minimum fo r time workers and that the rates to pieceworkers
should be fixed so as to yield this amount. In this recommendation
it was stated: “ I t is understood that the industrial commission w ill
at the end o f each year determine whether there has been any
change in the cost o f living, and w ill revise the rates prescribed in
this order in accordance with changes in the cost o f living.” 8
3
The commission accepted the recommendations o f the advisory
board and in its Order No. 1 fixed a rate o f 22 cents per hour fo r
experienced females and experienced minors over 17 years o f age,
effective August 1, 1919; and applying to all the industries o f the
State. The hourly minimum was adopted because the commission
recognized that there was a connection between the cost o f livin g
and the hours o f labor and that employees working a shorter day
could reduce their cost o f livin g by doing for themselves work
which, with a longer working-day, they would be obliged to pay to
have done fo r them.
Some difficulty, however, arose in the application o f the rate to the
smaller exchanges in the telephone industry. Some o f the telephone
companies had contended fo r the payment o f the operators on the
basis o f the number o f calls handled. This contention was rejected by
both the advisory board and the commission on the follow ing ground:
It is clear that under the la w the minimum wage must be based upon the
cost of living, and it costs just as much to live whether a woman operator
answers few or many calls. Instead, the board and commission adopted the
principle that the telephone companies must pay their operators fo r all of the
time which they can not employ productively in some other work while the night
operators must be paid fo r all of the time they do not get uninterrupted rest.

F o r exchanges o f less than 200 subscribers located in separate
offices, it was required that 11 o f the 16 hours from 6 a. m. to 10 p. m.
be paid fo r at the minimum rate, and that the time paid fo r at the*
8
82 Wisconsin. Industrial Commission. In the matter of minimum, wage rates and
hours of labor for women and minor employees. Order, effective Aug. 1, 1921. [Madi­
son], June 28, 1921, p. 2. (Typewritten.)
88 Idem. Biennial report, 1918-1920. Madison, 1920, p. 12.




198

CHAP. IV.— M INIM UM WAGE BOARDS

minimum rate should increase with the number o f telephones per
exchange. Payment for night work was also based on the size o f the
exchange, with the further provision that a longer period must be
paid fo r at the minimum rate i f the number o f hours o f uninter­
rupted rest was less than the period not paid for at the minimum rate.
A rate o f 20 cents per hour was set fo r apprentices and a rate o f
18 cents per hour fo r young learners. The board considered that the
cost o f providing the necessaries essential to the welfare o f employees
under 17 years o f age was less than the cost o f the essentials fo r
adult females or for older minors. I t was also recognized that these
employees do not have the same degree o f responsibility and efficiency
as the older ones.
SURVEY AND WAGE REVISION OF 1921

In November, 1920, the Wisconsin Federation o f Labor, the M il­
waukee Council o f Social Agencies, and the Wisconsin Consumers’
League petitioned the commission to revise its wage rates and to
establish a minimum rate o f pay fo r women and minors “ more com­
mensurate with a proper livin g standard,” also to limit the hours o f
labor to 8 per day and 44 per week. Public hearings were held in the
principal cities. The women’s department o f the commission, dur­
ing the first four months o f 1921, made another survey o f the cost o f
livin g o f 1,993 woman workers in different industries in 24 villages
and cities in various parts o f the State. The representatives o f the
women’s department personally visited the women and themselves
filled in the schedules from the information given by the women.
“ The main questions asked o f the women concerned the amounts
paid fo r room and board, but attention was also given to the number
o f dependents, cost o f medical attention and recreation and to
several minor items. The cost o f clothing was secured from stores.” 8
4
In Milwaukee the information was secured by representatives o f the
women’s department from managers o f restaurants, boarding houses,
and retail stores.
O f the 1,993 women interviewed, 27.7 per cent lived away from
home. I t was found in this survey that the number o f women livin g
away from home was greater in the smaller towns than in the
larger ones. More than 25 per cent o f the women livin g away from
home spent more than 60 per cent o f their total expenditure on room
and board. The price paid by the largest number o f women fo r room
ranged from $3 to $4 a week and fo r food from $6.65 to $7.70 per
week. Prices secured in 1921 fo r the items o f a clothing budget pre­
pared by the women’s department in 1919 showed that the cost o f
clothing had increased^ about 34 per cent since 1919.
From the cost-ofdiving material presented, the board decided (Or-?
der No. 1, Revision* 1921, effective August 1,1921) that a rate o f 25
cents per hour was necessary to provide a livin g wage fo r selfsupporting women in cities with a population o f 5,000 or more. This
rate, fo r a 50-hour week, would yield $12.50, permitting the follow ­
in g expenditure: Food, $5.25; lodging, $2.50; clothing, $2.5085; and
incidentals, $2.25. F or cities with a population o f less than 5,000
84 Wisconsin. Industrial Commission. Women’s Department,
workers— survey made in 1921, p. 1. (Typewritten.)
85 For itemized clothing budget, see table, p. 162.




Cost of living of woman

W IS C O N S IN

199

the board recommended the former rate o f 22 cents, saying that that
rate in these smaller towns would “ go at least as far as a wage o f 25
cents an hour in cities with a population o f 5,000 or more.” 8
6
In 1919 a lower rate had been allowed for learners on the theory
that to pay to learners a wage below the living wage was “ to render it
possible for beginners to secure employment and training in indus­
tries which offer them a prospect o f steady and remunerative em­
ployment.” In 1921 the advisory board recommended a further de­
crease from 18 cents an hour to 16 cents an hour for learners because
o f complaints from employers and to afford these employees a better
opportunity to secure work.
The commission adopted the recommendations o f the advisory
board, and agreed that a wage o f not less than 25 cents per hour was
necessary to enable female and minor employees who are over 17
years o f age to support themselves in reasonable comfort, reasonable
physical well-being, decency and moral well-being, while elsewhere
in the State the livin g wage is 22 cents per hour.” The order es­
tablishing these rates was effective August 1, 1921. No change has
been made in these rates.
According to the director o f the women’s department o f the in­
dustrial commission, the rates established by the commission, while
conforming fairly closely to what the cost-of-living surveys had
shown was necessary, have represented some compromise. I t has
been maintained by members o f the advisory board that the duty o f
the board was not to set what might be considered “ desirable wages ”
but to set a wage which would protect the weakest worker or one be­
low which the workers in their weakness could not be pushed.8
88 Wisconsin. Industrial Commission. In the matter of minimum wage rates and
hours of labor for women and minor employees, p. 2. (Typewritten.)




CHAPTER V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES
AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES i
INTRODUCTION

In many cases, during the war, agreements were concluded between
employers and employees stipulating that changes in wages were
to be based on changes in the cost o f living. This was particularly
true in the printing industry where the International Joint Confer­
ence Council o f the commercial and periodical branches o f the print­
ing industry1 adopted the following “ cardinal points o f a labor
2
p olicy: ” 3
First. That the industry frankly recognizes the cost of living, as compared
to 1914, as the basic factor in wage adjustments.
Second. The industry to pay at least a reasonable living w a g e ; scales below
this to be adjusted in frank recognition of the basic principle involved.
Third. That, when not in conflict with the existing law s of a constituent
body, local contracts be fo r a period not less than three years, and include a
clause providing for annual readjustments of wages based upon cost of living,
as determined by authorities jointly agreed upon, and upon the economic condi­
tions of the industry at the time of readjustments.
Fifth. That controversies over wages, hours and working conditions be­
tween employers and employees can and should be settled without resorting
to lockouts or strikes, through voluntary agreements to refer disputes, where
unable to settle through conciliation, to joint boards of arbitration composed
o f equal representation of employers and employees, provision being made
for an im partial arbitrator i f necessary. (P . 11.)

On M ay 17, 1920, the council adopted a standard cost-of-living
readjustment clause which it suggested be incorporated into local
contracts. This clause was as follow s:
Effective as of (d a te) to (d a te) subject to opening by either party for
readjustment on (d a te) and at the end of each___________ month period there­
after, v iz :
(d a te) and (d a t e )---------------- only as to the rate of wages set
forth in the w age schedule of this agreem ent; such readjustments to be based
on changes in the cost of living and the economic condition of the industry
at the date of readjustment. The changes in the cost of living are to be

1 For full list of documentary material relating to agreements and cases covered in
this chapter, see Selected bibliography, pp. 456 to 472 of this bulletin.
2'This council is composed of eight members, four chosen by the ratifying employers*
association (two from the United Typothetae of America,, closed-shop branch, composed
of 5,000 employing printers in the United States and Canada and producing 75 to 80
per cent of the commercial printing output, one from the Printers’ Lieague of America,
and one from the International Association of Electro typers) and four by the ratifying
labor organizations (one each from the International Typographical Union, International
Printing Pressmen and Assistants* Union, International Stereo typer s’ and Electrotypers*
Union, and International Brotherhood of Bookbinders). This council was organized in
Cincinnati on March 10, 1919, for the purpose of furthering the principle of voluntary
agreement to refer disputes to boards of conciliation and arbitration composed of repre­
sentatives of employers and employees in the industry affected. (International Joint
Conference Council of the Commercial and Periodical Branch of the Printing Industry.
Constitution and activities, pp. 5, 7, 9.)
3 The adoption by the council of these principles did not compel their acceptance either
by unions or by employers, but, as stated by the council,. “ they show the way to the
elimination of much industrial unrest, to the fair adjustment of wage controversies, to
the establishment of stability and prosperity, and to the progress of those who are
engaged in this branch of the printing industry.” (International Joint Conference Coun­
cil of the Commercial and Periodical Branch of the Printing Industry. Constitution
and activities [1919?], p. 11.)

200



AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

201

computed from 1914 as a base, using the data of the U. S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, where available, and published next prior to 30 days to the date
when the new w age scale, if any, goes into effect; or in lieu thereof when not
available such authorities, for the period defined for the data from the U. S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, as are jointly agreed upon; whatever percentage
is agreed upon is to be applied to the jointly agreed upon 1914 w age scale
o f $------- Either party desiring to open up the wage scale on the dates speci­
fied must give the other party at least_______days’ notice prior to the date
agreed upon for the opening of the wage scale.4

A t the meeting o f the council held in New Y ork on January 10,
1922, it was the unanimous opinion o f the members that a universal
contract form would be desirable and certain basic rules were sugtried
I was
advisable that
f ested to be years out. at clausethought would permit “ the contract
e for three
with
which
a reopening
o f wage negotiations at specified intervals in consideration o f
changes in the cost o f livin g and the economic conditions o f the
industry.” 5
One o f the first instances o f insertion o f such a clause was the
adoption by the Chicago printing industry on August 25, 1919, o f a
clause stipulating that changes could be made each six months pro­
vided a 5 per cent change had taken place in the cost-of-living
index number o f the United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics. I t
was specified that 1914 should be the base fo r all adjustments. Each
supplemental agreement stated the statistical method adopted and the
cost-of-living figures upon which the adjustment was made. '
A fte r a strike and after the case had been taken to the National
W a r Labor Board, the New Y o rk printers’ unions and the New Y ork
Employing Printers’ Association agreed to a clause effective *from
January 1, 1920, to September 30, 1921, for 3 unions and to Septem­
ber 30, 1922, fo r 3 other unions, stating that the question o f wage
scale could be opened by either party at six-month intervals, “ such
readjustment to be based upon the cost o f living and the economic
condition o f the industry at the dates o f the readjustment.” Unlike
the Chicago agreement, this agreement did not state any definite
amount by which the cost o f livin g must increase before the case
could be opened nor did it state the basis for the computations. The
inclusion o f the economic condition o f the industry as a factor also
made the application o f the clause less definite.
For two years the agreement was satisfactory in Chicago. A s
regards the situation in New York, it is the opinion o f Mr. F. A .
Silcox, former director o f industrial relations o f the United Typothetae o f America and now director o f industrial relations o f the
New Y o rk Em ploying Printers’ Association, that i f the New Y o rk
employers had been w illing to agree to the cost-of-living clause in
1918 instead o f insisting that the contract continue in force until its
termination in October, 1919, there would have been no strike, the
case would not have been taken to the National W ar Labor Board,
and employers and employees could have settled their own difficulties.
Under these agreements, many cases were settled between the em­
ployers and employees without taking the matter to arbitration. In
other cases, the interpretation o f the agreement was submitted to
arbitration, as in the New Y o rk printing cases in 1920 and 1921.
4 International Joint Conference Council of the Commercial and Periodical Branch of
the Printing Industry. Constitution and activities fl919?], p. 26.
5 International Typographical Union. The Bulletin., January, 1922, p. 78.




202

CHAP.

Y . -----I N D U S T R I A L

A G E N C IE S

Agreements between employers and employees stipulating that
wage revisions were to be made on the basis o f changes in the cost o f
livin g have, on the whole, worked well. F o r the most part they have
eliminated strife and given the employee greater assurance that his
increased livin g costs would be met. Where such agreements have
existed, there has been a tendency toward stabilization o f labor. Cer­
tain agreements worked out more satisfactorily than others because
their provisions were more specific. The smoother working o f the
agreement in the printing industry in Chicago as compared with the
working o f the agreement in this same industry in New Y o rk illus­
trates this point.
Most o f these agreements were entered into during 1919 and 1920,
after the dissolution o f the Government boards which had regulated
wages during the war. Some o f the unions have claimed that these
early agreements were merely a truce and that their provisions were
reflections o f the policies established in the earlier awards o f Govern­
ment boards, particularly those o f the National W a r Labor Board
and the Emergency Fleet Corporation, in many o f which the effort
was made merely to maintain existing standards, it being considered
that the employees should not take advantage o f the scarcity o f men
to hold out for higher wages. Later agreements providing that wage
adjustments should conform to changes in the cost o f livin g have
been made in some industries, however, as fo r example, in the news­
paper printing industry in Elmira, N. Y ., and Spokane, Wash., in
the street-railway industry in Lexington, K y., and in the book and
job printing industry in Cleveland, all o f these being entered into in
1922.
Under most o f the agreements the change in wages was computed
from cost-of-living figures of the United States Bureau o f Labor
Statistics.
COST OF LIVING SOLE FACTOR IN WAGE REVISION

In certain agreements concluded between employers and employees
it has been provided that changes in the cost o f living should be the
sole factor in determining the changes in wages, it being agreed—
(1)
That on certain dates the wage scale should be revised in
accordance with the change that had occurred in the cost o f living.
Ladies* Garment Industry. Cleveland.—Agreement between Cleveland Garment Manufacturers’
Association, International Ladies’ Garment Workers* Union, and board of referees, 1918 to
date
U p to August, 1918, wages in the Cleveland clothing market had been set
very largely by the employer directly with the employees, the law of supply
and demand governing. In the spring of 1918, as a result of trouble in the
industry and in response to the requests of the employers and of the president
of the International Ladies’ Garment W orkers’ Union, Secretary of W a r Baker
appointed three m en6 as a board of referees, to investigate and adjudicate the
issues in dispute between these employers (manufacturers of ladies’ coats, suits,
waists, skirts, dresses, and knitted outer garments) and their employees, and to
try to establish some plan to keep the industry at peace. The employers, in
agreeing to submit the question to a board of referees stipulated that “ any
subsequent adjustment shall be made on the basis of changes in the cost of
living.” 7

6 Dr. E. M. Hopkins, Maj. Samuel ,T Rosensohn, and Mr. John R. McLane.
.
7 Continuing agreement, Dec. 24, 1019, p. 4 (appendix).




AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

203

The referees went to Cleveland, heard the respective parties and caused an
investigation to be made of the general conditions and wages in the industry
in Cleveland and in other cities which are centers of a similar industry. The
referees then established certain w age scales retroactive to August 1, 1918, and
effective fo r a period of not less than eight months from that date and con­
tinued the stipulation that subsequent adjustments should be made on the
basis o f changes in the cost of living.8 The scales so set were based* very largely
*
on cost-of-living figures presented by the union and the manufacturers’ associa­
tion, and on figures gathered directly by the board.
In the discussion by the board o f referees of the principles which should
be observed in the establishment of the permanent machinery fo r the adjust­
ment of labor troubles, it w as stated:
“ W hile it is of vital importance in an industry performing, side by side
with private work, w ork of fundamental necessity to the Government that
such industry shall be operated with the maximum of efficiency, it is of equal
importance, and a necessary adjunct to such efficiency as may be achieved
in the industry, that there should be a proper respect paid to the essential
human rights o f the workers and an adequate safeguarding of the conditions
under which they labor and of the sufficiency of the remuneration which they
receive. These two factors must be given equal weight.”
(Supplementary
award, etc., Oct. 19, 1918, p. 4.)
In May, 1919, the request of the workers for an increase w as denied on the
ground that there had been no increase in the cost of living since the adjust­
ment in October, 1918.®
In July, 1919, the employees asked for a reconsideration of the case, and
increases approximating 12 per cent were granted solely on the basis of the
increase in the cost of living, as had been agreed upon with the Secretary of
W a r. The chairman of the board of referees, quoting figures furnished by the
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics showing increases in the price of
food, stated in his a w a rd :
“ This hearing arose on petition of the workers for a reconsideration of the
aw ard that w as made by the board in May, continuing in force the former
minimum wages, on the ground that the cost of living has not increased. It
amounts practically to a petition fo r a rehearing as of this date, and fo r a
determination of the wages for the future, based upon the increased cost of
living, the only factor which, under our interpretation of the agreement, we
are entitled to take into consideration, and the only factor upon which a r e ­
hearing could be asked or given. * * *
“ The board has endeavored to reach some conclusion based upon the agree­
ment. The difficulty o f reaching any real determination of the increase in the
cost of living is extremely great, and to make it anything like accurate would
consume an inordinate amount of time, and require very great expense. There­
fore the board does not pretend to say that the announcement it makes is
based upon any scientific determination of the increase in the cost of living.
I t is, however, based upon our fa ir judgment of the approximate increase in
the cost of living as against the time of the last award, an approximate judg­
ment that we have reached after considerable consultation with both sides,
considerable discussion, consideration of many factors, and the determination
which we felt it w as more important to reach, even though it w as not exact,
than to have attempted, with the delay and expense incident thereto, to arrive
at an approximation at some later date. * * *
“ On fu ll consideration w e have come to the conclusion that it would not
be fa ir and just, and it is our business, in so fa r as the agreement permits
us so to do, to endeavor to find a result that w ill be fa ir and just, to determine
on a definite percentage of increase and to apply that horizontally to all the
awards. W e have felt that there should be a differentiation in that percentage,
and that in some instances the lower paid employees should get a higher per­
centage, and on the other hand the higher paid employees should get a larger
flat amount, even though the percentage w as smaller. W e have not been per­
mitted under the agreement to take into consideration in this aw ard the rates
that prevail in other cities. I f the agreement had been otherwise, i f we had
been given a free hand to fix such aw ard as seemed to us right and proper,
w e should certainly have taken into consideration, into most serious considera­

8 Supplementary award of board of referees, and continuing agreement, Oct. 19, 1918,
p. 3.
0 Award of July 15, 1919, p. 4.
105715°— 25----- 14




204

CHAP. V.----INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

tion, the rates paid in competing territories. W e should also, on the other
hand, in taking this into consideration, have given weight to any factors that
justly entitle Cleveland to a differential, as fo r instance, a lower cost of living,
if it be lo w e r; a greater continuity in the work, if there be such a greater con­
tinuity. But, as I say, w e have not given any weight to these factors, because
they did not come within our jurisdiction under the contracts.” (A w a rd o f
July 15, 1919, pp. 3-5.)
The board of referees at this time ruled that the agreement with the Sec­
retary of W a r should continue until December 24, 1919.
On December 24, 1919, a continuing agreement w as entered into between
the Cleveland Garment Manufacturers’ Association, the International Ladies’
Garment W orkers’ Union, and the board of referees, which stated that the
parties accepted the principles affirmed in the agreement with the Secretary
of W a r, and further provided that on or about October first of each year, the
board of referees should make such changes in w age scales as it thought ad­
visable and that these scales should be in force not sooner than December
of that year and should continue fo r the ensuing year “ except that four
months thereafter the subject may be reopened for the purpose o f making
adjustments in conformity with changes in the cost of living, wffiich adjust­
ments shall be made on or about A pril 1 * *
(P . 1.)
This agreement further provided th a t:
“ The w age scale shall be determined after thorough investigation o f all
ascertainable facts, with due regard to the public interest, fa ir and equitable
wages conforming to American standards, and to the progress and prosperity
o f the industry. A united effort shall be made to promote all interests by
increasing continuity of employment.” (P . 1.)
T he agreement also established a permanent board of referees.1
0
On December 27, 1919, an aw ard o f the board of referees granted an in­
crease of approximately 15 per cent over the July, 1919, scale. This w as con­
sidered by the referees as “ more or less guesswork; a matter o f judgment
based on our general knowledge of conditions, both as to the cost o f living,
conditions in other cities, and to the general expectation o f the parties.” D ue
to the preliminary w ork o f establishing production standards, the December,
1920, hearings were postponed until April, 1921. when the July, 1919, w age
schedule w as restored with certain exceptions that had been made to correct
inequalities,11and it w as stated th a t:
1
2
“ The conclusions as to wages tentatively reached at the December hearing,
in so fa r as they w ere based on changes in cost of living, were based not
only upon a reduction in the cost o f living up to that time, but upon a prospec­
tive further reduction. The evidence brought fo rw ard at the M arch hearing
has not changed the conclusions that w e then reached on this question. The
actual reduction in cost of living in the intervening period corresponds ap­
proximately to the estimate made in December. On the one hand, w e are
satisfied that it would be unjust to the workers, in view o f the present cost
o f living, to restore the November, 1918, scale of wages. On the other hand,
w e are satisfied that there has been a substantial decrease in the cost o f
living from the period on which the December, 1919, aw ard w as based. That
aw ard w as based not merely on the then existing cost o f living, but upon
a prospective continuing increase fo r a period of some months which did
actually occur as anticipated.” (Decision o f Apr. 22, 1921, p. 1.)
In order to assure the workers a certain minimum o f annual earnings the
board ruled that the workers were entitled to a guaranty of 20 weeks’ w ork in
each h alf year, with an annual vacation of one week with pay.1
*
“ The manufacturers express their belief that reduction in wages at this time
w ill of itself greatly stimulate trade and insure to the workers a reasonable
amount of continuity with its accompanying larger annual earnings. W e be­
lieve that the reduction in wages decided upon w ill tend toward this result, but
w e do not feel that this w ill be o f itself sufficient or that the risk should be
thrown entirely upon the workers. W e therefore believe that the time has come

10 It was provided that this board should consist of Hon. Julian W. Mack, chairman,
Samuel J. Rosensohn, and John R. McLane. The present board of referees is composed
of Prof. Jacob H. Hollander, Mr. John R. McLane, and Mr. Morris Llewellyn Cooke.
11 The decision also states that the referees were influenced not only by the cost of
living, but also by the serious situation that confronted the industry.
12 For the difference between time worked and 20 weeks, the worker could recover at
the rate of two-thirds of his minimum weekly wage. The employer was liable up to 7%
per cent of bis direct labor cost for the guaranty period,




AGREEMENTS b e t w e e n e m p l o y e r s a n d e m p l o y e e s

205

when the regular workers in the industry are entitled to a guaranteed minimum
period of work or compensation fo r the lack of it. Such guaranty is a proper
and necessary burden on the industry, an obligation which the manufacturers
o f Cleveland have always recognized.” (Decision o f Apr. 22, 1921, p. 3.)
In a later decision— that of A pril 29, 1922— it is stated:
“ W e have given careful and prolonged consideration to the matters sub­
mitted to us and have reached the conclusion that as a general proposition there
should be no reduction from the May, 1921, scale of wages. In arriving at this
decision w e have had in mind all of the elements enumerated in the agreement
as bearing upon the wage question, including the w elfare of the industry as
well as that of the individuals in it. But w e have felt at all times that the
great difficulty in this industry is the seasonal character of the work. The
w age scale itself can form no basis upon which th e ‘Workers can adjust their
standards of living. The important fact is their annual earnings. The union
leaders in this industry have been among the first to realize this and to urge
its consideration by the referees. The referees have felt that in all their
aw ards they must aim to create conditions which would tend to reduce the
seasonal character o f the industry, to increase continuity of employment, and
thus tq give a larger yearly income from the industry to the workers. * * *
“ W ith all of these considerations in mind we therefore aw ard a renewal of
the old w age with the old guaranty provisions.” (P . 1.)
The manufacturers, however, were given the option of a 10 per cent reduction
in the w age scales* upon making better guaranty of employment.1
8
The decision of the board of referees of December 31, 1922, denied an increase
over the wage scale of May, 1921 (which w as the scale of July, 1919), and
reserved a fu ll consideration of the wage question until April, 1923.*4 In the
1
aw ard of A pril 22, 1923, the wage scale of December, 1919, w as restored,1
5
giving an increase of approximately 15 per cent, the decision being based upon
the fact that during the previous four months general business conditions and
conditions in the garment industry had grown substantially better and that the
cost of living in Cleveland had increased, as shown by figures of the United
States Bureau of L abor Statistics.

Another case in which the agreement provided that on certain
dates the wage scale should be revised on the basis o f changes in the
cost o f livin g was—
Agreement between the Kentucky Traction & Terminal Co. (Lexington)
and its employees, effective July 1, 1918, and A pril 21, 1922. '

(2 )
Or that should the cost o f livin g have changed on a specified
date by a specified amount, the wage scale would also be changed
by this amount.
Printing Industry (Newspaper), Seattle.—Agreement between Times Printing Ce. and Post
Intelligencer Co. and Seattle Photo Engravers’ Union No. 23, March 23, 1921.
Paragraph 4 of this contract provided as fo llo w s:
“ It is understood that the index number for Seattle, December, 1920, as
determined by the United States Department of L abor is 94.1. I t is mutually
agreed that should the index number for Seattle as determined by the United
States Department of Labor at or about December, 1921, be 75 or less, or 113
or more, then automatically as of January 1, 1922, the w age as determined
in this agreement shall be 10 per cent less or 10 per cent more (a s the cas$
may be) until June 30, 1922, and thereafter until a new agreement is deter­
mined upon between the parties to this agreement.”
E arly in 1922, the clause above w as put into effect, although the publishers
“ absorbed the difference of the 10 per cent decrease in wages by paying the
men that amount of money as a bonus.”

18 This guaranty was for 41 weeks’ work peir year, for any default of which the manu­
facturer would be liable for the total minimum weekly wage up to at least 25 per cent of
his direct labor wages! (The amount of this percentage was left to the judgment of the
board of referees.)
14 See Monthly Labor Review, March, 1923, p. 58.
15 An additional increase in the minimum scales paid to female operators duo to the
reduction in the differential between the pay of men and women was also provided for.




CHAP. V.----INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

206

A clause to the same effect was also incorporated in—
Agreement between Chicago Employing Elecfcrotypers’ Association and Chi­
cago Electrotypers’ Union No. 3, A pril 1, 1920.

(3 ) Or that i f at any time during the life o f the contract the
increase (as compared with 1913) in the cost o f livin g was greater
than the increase in wages as represented by the rate established by
the contract, the wage was to be changed in accordance with the
change that had occurred in the cost o f living.
Printing Industry (Newspaper), Elmira, N. Y.—Agreement between Elmira Typographical
Union N 19, The Telegram Printing Co., and Elmira Star-Gazette (Inc.), October 30,
ow
1922
The following clause was agreed to and incorporated in the contract exist­
ing between the p arties:
“ I t is hereby agreed that if at any time during the life of this contract the
cost of living, as indicated by the national index figure of the United States
Department of L abor shall increase to a point which shall be in excess of the
cost-of-living figure for the Department of L abor fo r the year 1913, in a per­
centage which shall be greater than the percentage of increase in the w age
paid during the life of this contract over the w age paid under the contract
of 1913, then and in that event the wage to be paid under this contract shall
increase automatically by the same percentage that the* cost of living in­
creases, such increase in the wage to be determined and paid immediately
upon issuance of each index figure by the United States Department of Labor,
and such increase to remain in effect until the index figure shall decline to a
point which shall restore the wage originally provided in this contract, below
which figure it is agreed the wage shall not be reduced.”

(4 ) Or the scale should be revised each year, certain specified
rates being1established to become effective when a certain level o f
the cost o f livin g was reached.
Printing Industry (Newspaper), Spokane.—Agreement between The Spokesman-Review and
Spokane Falla Typographical Union No. 193, November 27, 1922
The agreement between The Spokesman-Review and the Spokane Falls Typo­
graphical Union No. 193, dated November 3, 1919, and extended from January
4, 1923, to January 4, 1926, w as modified on November 27, 1922, to provide
that the scale of wages for ad men, floor men, machine operators, machinists,
proof readers, and all other time workers should be determined on January
4 o f each year for the succeeding year and should be based on changes
in the cost of living, as follow s:
“ Should the index number fo r the cost of living for December as reported
in the L abor Review show 100.41 or higher the day scale for the following
6
year shall be $45 and the night scale $48.

Day
work

Between 100.4 and 70_______________________________ $43.00
70 to 54.8___________________________________________ 42.00
54.8 to 39.6___________________
40.50
39.6 to 24.4_________________________________________ 39.00
24.4 to 9.2_________________________________________
37.50
9.2 to zero__________________________________________ 36.00

Night
work

$46.00
45.00
43.50
42.00
40.00
39.00

“ Should zero ever be reached a scale of $34.50 and $37.50 would prevail
fo r a period of three months after which a scale of $33.63 and $36.63 would
become effective and below this figure there would be no reduction.
* * *
“ The above scales are for six days of seven and one-half hours each, and
the hourly rate shall be calculated upon that basis.”

(5 )
Or that the question o f scale could be reopened fo r adjust­
ment on a specified date i f cost-of-living figures showed at that
time a specified change.
i6 The “ index number ” of 100.4 referred to was not an index number but the per cent
of increase in the cost of living in the United States in December, 1920, as compared
with 1913, as published by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Monthly Labor
Review. February, 1921, p. 61.




AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

207

Printing Industry (Book and Job), Chicago.—Agreement between the Franklin Division
of the Franklin. Typothetae and Chicago Typographical Union No. 16, Chicago Printing
Pressmen's Union No. 3, I. P. P. & A. U., Franklin. Union No. 4, I. P. P. & A. U., and
Bookbinders and Paper Cutters’ Union No. 8 I. B. of B., August 25, 1919 ®
»
The Franklin division of the Franklin Typothetae of Chicago is an organiza­
tion o f employing printers in Chicago which employs approximately 3,500 com­
positors, 1,800 pressmen, 2,400 feeders, 1,000 bookbinders and several hundred
bindery women, totaling somewhere between 9,000 and 10,000 employees. This
organization controls from 55 to 60 per cent of the production in the book and
job branch o f the printing industry in Chicago.
“ In 1916 the Franklin division of the Franklin Typothetae of Chicago en­
tered into five-year contracts with Typographical Union No. 16, Pressmen’s
Union No. 3, and Franklin Union No. 4, the Feeders’ Union, which were to
expire in the fa ll of 1921. A t the same time a three-year contract w as entered
into with Bookbinders’ and Paper Cutters’ Union No. 8, which through renewals
also came to extend over the same five-year period.
“ According to these contracts the base scale for day work per week for the
Typographical Union w as set at $25 until M ay 1, 1919, when it w as to become
$26, this w age to continue until the expiration of the contract in 1921; the base
scale fo r the Pressmen’s Union w as set at $26 until June 1, 1919, when it was
to become $27, this to continue until the expiration of the contract in 1921; the
base scale fo r the Feeders’ Union w as set at $18.50, to continue until the ex­
piration of the contract in 1921; and the base scale of the Bookbinders’ Union
w as set at $22 until October 1, 1918, when it w as to become $23, continuing
until the expiration o f the contract in the fa ll of 1919.” (P . 623.)
B y 1917 the cost o f living had greatly increased. The decreased purchasing
power of the dollar w as first felt by the members of the lowest-paid union, that
of the press feeders. In December, 1917, these employees demanded an in­
crease of $5 per week and struck illegally. The employers offered $1 and a
compromise w as reached on an increase of $2.50. This increase was then given
to all the other unions.' Although no cost-of-living figures were referred to for
this first adjustment, the increase w as demanded and granted because of the
increase in the cost of living. In May, 1918, the feeders demanded a further
increase o f $5 and again struck illegally. The case w as referred to the N a ­
tional W a r L ab o r Board, which granted an increase of $3.50 “ based solely”
upon the fact that there had been an increase of 16.2 per cent since the ad­
justment in December, 1917.* Bonuses were given to the compositors and press­
6
men approximating the 16 per cent increase in the cost of living. In January,
1919, the feeders, acting under the decision of the National W a r L abo r Board,
which provided that the wage negotiations might be reopened every six months
on the basis of the change in the cost o f living, again asked for an increase. A
supplemental agreement w as entered into on February 3, 1919, which granted
an increase of $4 a week to the feeders’ union and $3.50 a week to each of the
other unions, and it w as stated that “ the increase in the cost o f living of ap­
proximately 5 per cent since the last adjustment w as an important factor in
determining the w age increases granted.” It w as also stipulated in the supple­
mental agreement that the w age question should not again be raised until the
expiration o f the contract in 1921. However, the cost of living continued to
advance and the unions again asked fo r increases. The employers refused to
grant the increases demanded but agreed again to adjust the scales on the
basis of changes in the cost of living.
“ They finally agreed to use retail prices as the basis for the adjustment and
the statisticians fo r both sides were in accord that the United States Bureau
of Labor Statistics fam ily budget index number fo r Chicago w as the most
accurate available. The bureau reported that the index number fo r Chicago
for June, 1919, as compared with the December, 1914, base of 100, w as 174.47.
The employers in turn agreed to apply this index number to the 1914 wage o f
each union and increase the existing wages by amounts necessary to equal the
wages which would be obtained if the 1914 wages for the different unions were
multiplied by 174.47. This method w as finally adopted in working out the
adjustments except that at the request of the union representatives, the total

* Except where otherwise noted, data and quotations are from American Economic
Review, December, 1921: “ The cost of living as a factor in recent wage adjustments in
the book and job branch of the Chicago printing industry,” by Francis H. Bird, director
of industrial relations section of United Typothetae.
6 Cost-of-living figures used were index numbers of the United States Bureau of Labor
Statistics for Chicago of 14J.8 for December, 1917,. and 164.9 for August, 1918.




208

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

cost-of-living increase to which the unions were entitled w as distributed in
such a w ay that the lower-paid employees received a larger increase than the
higher paid. A s the actual cost-of-living computations showed that each union
w a s entitled to an average spread increase of $4.91, and as three o f the unions
were granted a $5 increase and one o f the unions a $5.50 increase, the employ­
ers gave the unions at this time an average spread o f 21% cents more than
the cost-of-living figures showed. The employers insisted, moreover, that a
definite method o f w age adjustments at stated intervals be provided fo r the
remaining duration o f the 1916 contracts. They recognized the futility of
expecting an immediate period o f price stabilization, but they desired to get
a w a y from the haphazard methods of adjusting wages to changes in the cost
o f living, which they had hitherto followed, and to arrange fo r future w age
adjustments, i f any, at certain specified intervals.
(Pp . 630,631.)
' ‘A s a result, a supplemental agreement w as entered into between the Frank­
lin division and the various unions under date o f August 25, 1919, which con­
tained an automatic cost-of-living adjustment clause providing fo r the adjust­
ment o f wages upwards or downwards at intervals o f six months during the
duration o f the different contracts, if the cost-of-living figures fo r Chicago,
reported by the United States Bureau o f L abo r Statistics, showed a change o f
5 per cent in either direction. Under no condition w ere the base w age scales
set forth in the supplemental agreement to be reduced. The method o f w age
adjustment w as specifically stated in the supplemental agreement as fo llo w s:
“ Unless it can be shown by the cost-of-living figures o f the United States
Department o f Labor, B ureau o f Statistics, that during the six months’ period
from the date this contract is effective, and at intervals o f six months there­
after, the cost o f living has increased 5 per cent or more, then and then only
shall the officers o f the unions herein represented have the right to ask fo r a
further readjustment fo r the w age scales herein set forth, provided, that the
percentage o f increase shall apply only to the 1914 scales, the same basis as
has been used to w ork out present scales, as embodied in this agreement, and,
further provided, that should the cost o f living for one o f the six months’
periods decrease by an amount equal to or exceeding the increases, then any
increases above the amount now granted in this agreement may be decreased
in the same proportion, provided that no figures shall reduce the scales below
those set forth in this agreement. * * * c
“ The trend o f the cost o f living continued upward. A s the date o f expiration
o f the first six months’ period provided fo r in the August 25, 1919, agreement
approached, it w as quite evident that the unions would have grounds fo r
asking fo r another w age adjustment as the cost o f living had meanwhile in­
creased more than 5 per cent on the 1914 base. E arly in February, 1920, the
scale committee of the Franklin division held conferences with the joint scale
committee o f the different unions to determine under the cost-of-living clause
o f the August 25, 1919, supplemental agreement just w hat the new adjustments
in wages were to be. Much of the tenseness and heated argument which were
so characteristic o f former conferences o f this kind w as lacking. Both sides
had assembled at a specified time to adjust wages by a specified method on the
basis o f specified data. Statisticians were employed by both sides, and it w as
jointly agreed that the best available United States Bureau o f L abo r Statistics
cost-of-living data at that time were the retail food prices fo r Chicago as o f
January 15, 1920,d which the United States Bureau o f L abo r Statistics re­
ported as being 97 per cent higher than in 1914. On the basis o f the 97 per
cent figure, and following the same practice as previously requested by the
unions— the lower paid receiving a larger proportion than the higher paid— a
flat average spread increase o f $5 w as granted to the various crafts. This
w as not following the method exactly which w as prescribed by contract, but
the departure w as by mutual agreement. B y this method the actual cost-ofliving computation showed that each union w as entitled to an average spread
increase of $4.93. The employers settled by granting each union a $5 increase.
A supplemental agreement w as entered into between the employers and the
various unions jointly, which provided fo r the new wage adjustment and in­
corporated in detail a description o f the statistical method which had been
used in working out the adjustment. Because it is unusual a portion o f this
supplemental agreement is reproduced below:
e Supplemental agreement of Aug. 25, 1919, to the supplemental agreement of Feb. 3,
1919, to the original contracts of 1916.
d This was because the computation of the index numbers of the United States Bureau
o f Labor Statistics for the total cost-of-living budget was not then completed.




A&BEEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYEES ANi> EMPLOYEES

209

“ ‘ It is hereby mutually agreed by all parties that, according to the best
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics figures available to our statisticians
as provided in the supplemental contract, the increased cost of living shown by
these figures for the period from June 15, 1919, to January 15, 1920, on a 1914.
base shows an increase of 22.53, which percentage of increase is to be applied
to the 1914 scale of wages of the above-named unions according to their original
contracts, which are now in fu ll force and effect in determining the scale o f
wages effective February 25, 1920.
‘ It is mutually agreed by the parties above mentioned that in lieu of the
percentage increase shown above applied to the 1914 scale of each union, a flat
increase o f $5 per week shall be applied to the scale of journeymen of each of
the four unions.* * * *
‘“ It is further understood and agreed that the increase on the basic wage
effective on and after February 25, 1920, is based and granted on the United
States Bureau of L abo r Statistics retail food cost-of-living figures which show
the increase on January 15, 1920, over December, 1914, fo r Chicago to be 97
per cent or 22.53 points over 74.47 per cent, the United States Bureau of Labor
Statistics cost-of-living fam ily budget figures used in the w age adjustment of
August 25, 1919, and which showed the increase in the cost of living measured
by the fam ily budget, from December, 1914, to June, 1919. It is understood
that the cost-of-living figure used in this w age adjustment is 97 per cent on a
1914 base. ’ ” ( Pp. 630-632.)
On August 25, 1920, the cost of living had further risen as compared with
February, 1920, and wages were again increased in accordance with the cost-ofliving agreement and a new supplemental agreement w as entered into as
fo llo w s:
“ In accordance with the stipulations of a supplemental contract entered into
by and between the Franklin Division o f the Franklin-Typothetae of Chicago,
and the Chicago Typographical Union No. 16, Chicago Printing Pressmen’s
Union No. 3, I. P. P. & A. U., Franklin Union No. 4, I. P. P. & A. U., and Book­
binders’ and Paper Cutters’ Union No. 8, I. B. o f B. dated August 25, 1919, it is
hereby mutually agreed by all parties, that according to the best United States
Bureau of L abor Statistics figures available to our statisticians, as provided
in the supplemental contract, the increased cost of living shown by these figures
fo r the period from December 15, 1919, to June 15, 1920, on a 1914 base, shows
an increase o f 17.6 per cent which percentage of increase is to be applied to the
1914 scale o f wages of the above-named unions, according to their original
contracts, which are now in fu ll force and effect, in determining the scale of
wages effective August 25, 1920.
“ A n additional 3 per cent on a 1914 base is applied to the 1914 scale of
wages o f the above-named unions, according to their original contracts,, which
are now in fu ll force and effect, in determining the scale of wages effective
August 25, 1920. This 3 per cent it is understood is allowed on the basis of
the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics cost-of-living fam ily budget
figures of December 15,1919, which were not available in fu ll at the adjustment
of February 25, 1920.
“ It is mutually agreed by the parties above mentioned that in lieu of the
percentage of increase shown above, applied to the 1914 scale of wages of each
union, a flat increase of $5 per week shall be applied to the scale of wages of
journeymen of each of the four unions and it is further understood and agreed
that the increase on the basic scale of wages effective on and after August
25, 1920, is based and granted on the United States Bureau of L abor Statistics
cost-of-living fam ily budget figures, which show increase on June 15, 1920, over
December, 1914, fo r Chicago to be 114.6 per cent or 17.6 points over base used
in the scale of wages adjustment of February 25, 1920, and allowing for an
additional 3 per cent on a 1914 base on the basis of the United States Bureau
of L abor Statistics cost-of-living family budget figures o f December 15, 1919,
which were not available in fu ll at the adjustment of February 25, 1920.
“ It is understood that the cost-of-living figures used in this scale of wages
adjustment is 114.6 per cent on a 1914 base, which is the United States Bureau
of L ab o r Statistics cost-of-living family budget figure for Chicago fo r June 15,
1920, on a 1914 base.e
“ In terms of dollars and cents, the actual cost-of-living computations fo r the
six months’ period under consideration showed that each union w as entitled to

• Extract from supplemental agreement to supplemental agreement of Aug. 25, 1919,
effective Aug. 25. 1920.




210

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

an average spread increase of $3.85. The employers added 65 cents to the
$3.85 when they took into account the 3 per cent discrepancy of the preceding
six months’ period. This made $4.50. In response to the appeal of the union
representatives that the trend of the cost of living w as still upward, the em­
ployers added 50 cents more, making a total o f $5 average spread increase
granted to each union.” (P . 633.)
On February 25, 1921, at the end of the next six months* period, during which
time prices had been declining, the employers asked fo r a reduction in the w age
of $4.65. This amount w as computed by the same method as the increases had
been and represented the average spread decrease as computed from the
United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics June index number of 114.6 fo r
Chicago, which had been used in August, and the index number of 93.3 for
December, 1920, as compared with 1914. The unions, however, objected to the
reduction in wages and contended that wages should remain unchanged fo r the
next six months to compensate them fo r what they had lost in purchasing
power o f wages between dates of adjustment.
The case w as finally referred to a board of arbitration of which Prof. Ralph
E. Heilman, dean of commerce at Northwestern University, w as chairman.
Below is given the decision of this b o a rd :
“ Your board of arbitration decides as fo llo w s :
“ (1 ) The agreement between the four unions and the Franklin division,
which created this board provides that the controversy upon which a decision
is desired by said board, is whether wages shall be reduced, and if so how
much, or whether the wage scale now being paid shall be maintained.
“ Counsel for the unions has urged that costs o f living and other considera­
tions entitle the employees to an advance o f $5 per week.
“ But under the above-mentioned provision it is evident that this board
had no authority or power to grant an increase in wages.
“ (2 ) Counsel fo r the unions has urged that the board should reach its de­
cision by formulating a reasonable standard of comfort, or a ‘ living w a g e ’
representing the amount necessary to purchase the necessities, and a reason­
able amount of the comforts of life.
“ Under the agreement creating this board it is provided that the board shall
decide whether there shall be a reduction in wages, and if so how much, or
whether the w age scale now being paid shall be maintained, by reason of the
meaning and present application of the following section in the supplemental
contract of August 25, 1919, subject, however, to a review of all previous and
subsequent adjustments, contracts, and supplementary agreements from, on,
or about September 30, 1916, to d a te :
“ ‘ Unless it can be shown by the cost-of-living figures of the United States
Department of Labor, B ureau of Statistics, that during the six months’ period
from the date this contract is effected, and at intervals o f six months there­
after, the cost of living has increased 5 per cent or more, then and then only
shall the officers of the unions herein represented have the right to ask for a
further readjustment of the wage scales herein set forth, provided, that the
percentage of increase shall apply only to the 1914 scales, the same basis as
has been used to work out present scales, as embodied in this agreement, and,
further provided, that should the cost o f living fo r one o f the six months’
periods decrease by an amount equal to or exceeding the increases, then any
increases above the amount now granted in this agreement may be decreased
in the same proportion, provided that no figures shall reduce the scales below
those set forth in this agreement.’
“ The board’s power is limited simply to determining the meaning and
present application o f this section, subject to a review of the various adjust­
ments made from time to time. Therefore, it is evident that the theory of a
reasonable standard of comfort can not be given consideration in reaching
our decision.
“ However desirable it might, or might not be, fo r the board to endeavor to
formulate such a standard, it is apparent that it has no power to do so. It
can not substitute its own judgment regarding a ‘ standard of liv in g ’ fo r the
contracts which were entered into between the unions and the Franklin di­
vision, in 1916, and in 1919, and which are still in force. The board’s power
is limited to making a proper application o f said contracts.
“ (3 ) It has been urged that the present economic conditions o f the in­
dustry require a material reduction in wages. M ost of the plants are running
at only a fraction of their normal capacity, and many of the members of the
unions are out of employment. It has been urged that if wages were reduced,




AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

211

business would be stimulated, that a larger number of the men could obtain
employment, etc.
“ There is doubtless much force to this argument. But upon careful con­
sideration, it now appears that the board, in reaching its decision, has no
authority to consider this argument. For the agreement of 1919, which pro­
vided that wages should be adjusted on the index number of the cost of living,
still stands. The board can only interpret and apply this agreement, which
contemplates an automatic adjustment of wages, to correspond to the changes
in the cost of living.
“ (4 ) It has been contended before the board that since the w age advance
granted in August, 1920, w as $5 per week, there could now be no reduction
under this provision unless the cost-of-living figure for December, 1920, shows
a decline of at least $5 per week, compared with the June figure.
“ The agreement o f 1919 provides as fo llo w s:
“ * Further provided, that should the cost of living for one o f the six months*
periods decrease by an amount equal to or exceeding the increases, then any
increases above the amount now granted in this agreement may be decreased
in the same proportion, provided that no figures shall reduce the scales below
those set forth in this agreement.’
“ The wage advance granted in August, 1920, amounted to only $3.85 as based
upon the cost-of-living figure. The other $1.15 then granted w as over and
above a strict cost-of-living wage. In the light of this fact, the board holds
that the * increases ’ referred to in the above section refer to increases in cost
o f living and not to increases in wages. This w as clearly the intent when the
agreement of 1919 w a s entered into.
“ Therefore, it is the opinion o f the board that a reduction in wages may be
ordered i f it can be shown that the latest United States Bureau o f Labor
Statistics cost-of-living figure shows an average decrease of $8.85 per week,
compared with the figure fo r June, 1920.
“ (4 ) The board finds that the cost-of-living figure for Chicago, as an­
nounced by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, w as 193.3 fo r
December, 1919, as compared with 214.6 fo r the preceding June. Using the
‘ spread m ethod’ in such a w ay as to equalize the burden o f the reduction
among the members o f the four unions, this would require an average re­
duction o f $4.65 per week, in the basic scale of each of the four unions in­
volved.
“ I t w as contended early in the proceedings that the cost-of-living cut,
properly computed, would be $6.09. This figure w as arrived at by adding to
the $4.65 figure $1.44. This latter figure represents the aggregate amount of
certain additions which have been made to the basic w age scales. These
additions were over and above the cost-of-living advance, granted by the
employers.
“ But after careful study and reflection, and a careful weighing of the
agreement of 1919, it has n o y become clear to the board that its power is
limited to reducing present wages by a strict application of the cost-of-living
figure. The board has no authority nor power to take from the employees
amounts which, when granted, did not rest on the cost of living. The reduc­
tion must be limited to the actual reduction as indicated by the cost-of-living
figure. This is $4.65 per week.
“ The present application of the contract o f 1919 would, therefore, require
an average reduction o f $4.65, in the absence of strong consideration's to the
contrary. A re there any such considerations?
“ (5 ) It has been urged*that the previous adjustments made every six
months under the agreement of 1919 were not proper and adequate, that the
employees did not get all they were entitled to under such previous adjust­
ments, and that, therefore, wages ought not now to be reduced.
“ This argument w as developed at length by counsel for the unions. It
rests upon the assumption that there has been ‘ a l a g ’ between the wage
advances and the cost of living. That is, it is argued that wages were ad­
vanced only once every six months, whereas the level o f commodity prices w as
advancing regularly, day by day. Therefore, it w as urged that this so-called
‘ l a g ’ should now be compensated by maintaining wages at the present level.
“ The board has given careful and earnest attention to this argument. W e
find that the so-called lag naturally divides itself into parts: First, the six
months’ period, during which wages remain fixed, while prices may be fluc­
tuating either upwards or dow nw ards; second, the ten weeks’ period between
the date of the w age adjustments (in February or August) and the date for
which the index number is announced (as of December 15 or June 15).




212

CHAP. Y.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

“ The board does not feel that any importance can be attached, fo r purposes
o f this decision, to the six months’ period. It rests this decision upon the
following grounds:
“ ( a ) I t w as not contemplated by the agreement of 1919 that wages should
alw ays correspond to the penny with the cost o f living. This is shown by
the fact that the agreement provides there shall be no readjustment o f wages
whatever, at the expiration of the six months’ periods, unless the cost* o f
living has increased or decreased by at least 5 per cent
“ ( b ) Such a ‘ l a g ’ if any exists, can not be definitely ascertained, computed,
or measured, since the Department o f L abo r announces the index figure only
once every six months.
“ (c ) Such a theory could be admitted, only if it could work both ways. B ut
it is evident that if, during any six months’ period, the cost o f living should go
down rather than up, the theory could not be applied. F o r wages would re­
main at the same point fo r the six months’ period, even though the cost o f
living declines.
“ Thus, the employer would have paid wages to the employees during the
period, in excess o f the cost o f living.
“ B ut there is no w ay by which this overpayment could be recouped to the
employer. The employees could not be compelled to dig down into their own
pockets to make this up to the employer. N or would it be feasible to reim­
burse the employer by permitting him to reduce wages, fo r the succeeding six
months, to a point low er than would be justified by the cost-of-living figures.
To do this would lower and undermine the employees’ standard of life.
“ Obviously, the la g theory, in so fa r as it concerns the six months’ interval
between wage adjustments, could not apply both ways. It could not w ork
when living costs are going down. Therefore, it is inadmissible.
“ (6 ) However, the board is inclined to attach some importance to the tenweek period, between the dates of the various semiannual w age adjustments,
and the dates to which the cost-of-living figures apply. D u rin g each o f these
ten-week periods referred to, that is, from December 15 to February 25, 1920,
and from June 15 to August 25, 1920, wages were being paid based oh the
index number fo r the previous six months’ period. Therefore, it may be said
that the w age adjustments did not completely compensate the employees fo r
the increased cost of living.
“ This w as through no intent nor design upon the p art of anyone. It w as
the natural and inevitable result of the fact that the w age adjustments w ere
made ten weeks later than the date to which the index number applied. True,
this arrangement, including the date o f the semiannual adjustments, w as
made by mutual agreement. B ut it w as probably not anticipated, in 1919,
that the increase in the cost o f living would be so marked, nor so rapid.
Ordinarily, this ‘ l a g ’ during a ten-week period might not prove important.
B u t in 1919 and 1920 prices were rising rapidly.
“ W e are, therefore, inclined to feel that under its power to ‘ review all pre­
vious and subsequent adjustm ents’ made under the agreement of 1919, the
board should give some weight to whatever losses, i f any, may have been
incurred by the employees, due to the fact that the dates for which the index
numbers were issued. In doing so, the board is in no sense abrogating the
agreement o f 1919— but it is simply considering the adequacy of the applica­
tions which have been made of the method of w age adjustment, therein
agreed to.
“ (7 ) A s against any losses, deficiencies, o r ‘ la g s ’ which may have arisen,
w e must compare the payments which have been made by the employers, from
time to time, over and above what would have been paid, i f wages had been
based strictly on the index number o f the cost of living, since August 25, 1919.
“ (8 ) The board finds, by making such a comparison, that the aggregate
amount received by employees, has been about $7.50 less than would have
been received had the dates of the w age adjustments corresponded to the dates
represented by the index figures.
“ (9 ) W h ile it is true that the adjustments of February, 1920, and of A u ­
gust, 1920, were mutually agreed to, when made, and that, therefore, the em­
ployees can assert no vested right to this $7.50, the members o f the board,
whose signatures are attached, believe that it would be a fa ir and reasonable
application of the present contract i f this $7.50 should be taken into considera­
tion, in the present w age adjustment. W e are, therefore, w illing to modify
the proposed cut of $4.65 in such a w a y as to make up to the employees
this $7.50.




AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

213

“ Since this aw ard is to remain in effect fo r six months, the board has
decided that the cut in wages shall be $4.65 per week, minus that amount
which, during the next six months, w ill cover this $7.50. Such a deduction
would be about 30 cents per week.
“ (10) In accordance with this conclusion, it is herewith decided that the
reduction in the basic scale of wages, for the next six months, shall be $4.35
per week, fo r the members of Typographical Union No. 16, Printing Pressmen’s
Union No. 3, Franklin Union No. 4, and Bookbinders’ and Paper Cutters’
Union No. 8.” f
The general situation in the industry during the period covered by the agree­
ments is summed up by Mr. B ird as fo llo w s :
“ During the first two years of the period [1916-1918] the wage adjustments
were brought about by * direct action ’ on the part of a union made up of the
lowest paid and the least skilled, who felt most the pressure of the increasing
cost of living. The other unions in turn profited. Then followed a period of
Government regulation which ended in the employers and the union finally
themselves adopting a method by which through constitutional processes wage
adjustments were made at specified times according to a specified statistical
method on the basis of specified cost-of-living data. For Government regula­
tion w as substituted Government cooperation in the prompt furnishing of re­
liable cost-of-living data.
“ A s a result of the cost-of-living wage adjustment clause inserted in the
August 25, 1919, supplemental agreement, practically continuous production
w as obtained at a time when the demand for printing was enabling employing
printers to get back on their feet again financially after several years of rather
slack business and making it possible for them to grant substantial increases
in wages.
“ It was a time when other industries were experiencing expensive shutdowns
because of labor trouble principally due to the depreciation of the purchasing
power of money wages. Cessation of production during this period would have
been costly to both employers and employees in the Chicago printing industry.
They succeeded, however, in stabilizing conditions by substituting fo r * rule of
thumb ’ collective bargaining, a more accurate method based on a process of
investigation of the facts at specified intervals. True, when the facts showed
that the employers were entitled to a reduction in wages the unions resisted,
but they eventually capitulated when the facts were reviewed by an arbitration
board.” (P . 641.)

Printing Industry (Book and Job), Detroit.—Supplementary agreement between dosed Shops
of Detroit and Typographical Union No. 18, November 10, 1919
The contract between Typographical Union No. 18 and the closed shops of
Detroit, which became effective M ay 1, 1919, w as modified on November 10,
1919, by a supplementary contract in which w as included the following pro­
vision :
“ Section 3. Unless it can be shown by the cost-of-living figures of the United
States Department of Labor, Bureau of L abor Statistics, that during the six
months’ period from November 8, 1919, and at intervals of six months there­
after during the life of this agreement, the cost of living has increased 5 per
cent or more, then and only then, shall the officers of Typographical Union
No. 18 have the right to ask for a further readjustment of the wage scales
herein set fo rt h ; provided, that the percentage of increase shall apply only to
the 1914 scale, which fo r the purpose of future cost-of-living computations is
mutually agreed to be $21; and further provided, that should the cost of living
for one of the six months’ periods decrease by an amount equal to or exceeding
the increases, then any increases in the amount granted in this agreement may
be decreased in the same proportion, provided, that no figures shall reduce the
scales below thirty-eight dollars and fifty cents ($38.50).”
Under the terms of the clause an adjustment w as due on M ay 1, 1920. Con­
ferences were held between the director of industrial relations of the United
Typothetae of America and the secretary of the Detroit Typographical Union.
I t w as agreed that there had been an increase in the cost of living of more than
5 per cent, and an increase in the w age from $39.50 to $44.50 w as agreed upon.
This was based on the estimated increase in the cost of living of 111.5662 per

/ Decision of the Arbitration Board, Franklin Division, Franklin Typothetae of Chicago
v . Typographical Union No. 16, Printing Pressmen’s Union No. 3, Franklin Union No. 4,
and Bookbinders’ and Paper Cutters’ Union No. 8, May 5, 1921, effective until Novem­
ber, 1921.




214

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

cent since 1914 which, applied to the accepted 1914 wage of $21; gave $44.428902.
The estim ate of the increase in the cost of living was arrived a t in the follow­
ing manner:
“ Food.—The increase for food is estimated a t 104.6 per cent. This estim ate
is based on statistics published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statis­
tics * * *. The relative weight of food in the family budget was found by
Government investigation to be 35.2 per cent in Detroit. (See U. S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, June, 1919, pp. 108-109.) Multi­
plying 104.6 per cent, the food increase, by its relative weight 35.2 per cent,
we find th at the increase in food as related to the total budget increase
is 36.8192.
“ Clothing.—The increase for clothing is estimated a t 177 per cent. A Gov-1
emment investigation shows th at the price of clothing in Detroit increased
from December, 1914, to June, 1919, 125.20 per cent. (U. S. Bureau of La­
bor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, September, 1919, page 109.) The
National Industrial Conference Board estimates th at the price of clothing for
the United States as a whole increased from July, 1914, to the end of March,
1920, 177 per cent. For the purposes of this estimate the last figure is m ulti­
plied by 16.6, the relative weight of clothing in a Detroit family budget. We
have 177 by 16.6, or 29.3820, which is the relation of the increase of clothing
to the total budget increase.
“ Rent.—The increase fpr rent is estimated a t 75 per cent> The Government
investigation shows th at the price of rent in Detroit increased from Decem­
ber, 1914, to June, 1919, 45.23 per cent (See U. S. Bureau of Labor Statis­
tics, Monthly Labor Review, September, 1919, page 109.) The National In­
dustrial Conference Board in its Research Report No. 25, page 7, lists D etroit
as one of the 14 cities where rents increased 61 to 70 per cent between
July, 1914, and November, 1919. To bring this estim ate up to date the figure
of 75 per cent is assumed. I t is known th at Detroit is a high-rent town but
allowance has been made as will be observed by comparing the 75 per cent
figure taken with 49 per cent, the increase estimated by the National Indus­
tria l Conference Board in its Service Letter No. 9, April 26, 1920, fo r the
country as a whole between July, 1914, and March, 1920. Multiplying 75 per
cent by 17.5 per cent, the relative weight of rent in Detroit family budget, we
get 13.1250, which is the relation of the increase of rent to the total budget
increase.
[The percentage increase in rent was later changed to 100 per cent, which
multiplied by 17.5 gave 17.50, the relation to the total budget. This increase
was made to meet the abnormal rent conditions in Detroit and was based on
information secured from the Detroit Housing Bureau.]
“ Fuel and light.—The increase for fuel and light is estim ated a t 55 per
cent. A Government investigation shows th at the price of fuel and light in
D etroit increased from December, 1914, to June, 1919, 47.57 per cent. (See
U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, September, 1919,
page 109.) The National Industrial Conference Board in its Service Letter
No. 9, April 26, 1920, estimates th at heat and light increased 49 per cent for
the country as a whole from July, 1914, to March, 1920. For the purpose of
this computation a figure of 55 per cent increase for Detroit has been assumed.
Multiplying 55 per cent by 6.3, the relative weight of fuel and light in a family
budget we get 3.4650, which is the relation of the increase for fuel and light
to the total budget increase.
“ Sundries.—The increase for sundries is estimated a t 100 per cent. A Gov­
ernment investigation shows th at the price of miscellaneous articles increased
80.26 per cent and. furniture and furnishings increased 129.31 per cent between
December, 1914, and June, 1919. (See U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Monthly Labor Review, September, 1919, page 109.) Lumping furniture and
furnishings with miscellaneous and calling the results sundries we get a figure
of 92.5 per cent, since furniture and furnishings makes up about one-fourth of
the expenditures under sundries. The National Industrial Conference Board
in Service Bulletin No. 9, April 26, 1920, estimated the increase in sundries
from July, 1914, to March, 1920, to be 83 per cent. In view of the Government
figures quoted above for Detroit, 100 per cent increase is assumed as an esti­
mate for the purposes of this computation. Multiplying 100 per cent by 24.4,
the relative weight of sundries in a Detroit family budget, we get 24.4 per cent,
which is the relation of the increase in sundries to the total budget increase.
“ A ll items.—Adding together the different ratios referred to above to the
total budget increase we get a total budget increase of 107.2 per cent. The




AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

215

National Industrial Conference B oard estimates an increase of 94.8 per cent
for the country as a whole fo r the same period, relatively. A recent cost-ofliving study in Philadelphia estimates an increase of 102 per cent in that city
fo r the same period.”
[T h e increase of 107.2 per cent, by the change in the percentage increase in
rent, w as changed to 111.5662 per cent.]
It w as agreed, however, that the secretary of the union might have a few
weeks longer to introduce any new cost-of-living data if such were available.
On or about June 15 he notified the Detroit closed-shop employers that he
had some new material. H e and the assistant director of industrial relations
of the United Typothetae of America met in conference and decided on the
basis of later figures of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for food
that a further increase of 25 cents per week w as warranted. A rate of $44.75
per week was therefore set.
The contract under which the above adjustment had taken place expired
October 31, 1920. The adjustment o f the new wage w as referred to an arbitra­
tor, Mr. Thos. M. Cotter. The cost-of-living provis on w as continued by him, in
the suggested agreement fo r the period November 1, 1920, to A pril 30, 1921,
and w as signed by both sides.
In May, 1921, the employers sought a reduction under the terms o f the
provision but the unions refused to negotiate for a reduction in wages unless
there w as a reduction in working hours per week from 48 to 44 hours. This
the employers refused to grant and conditions were continued until the expirat'on of the contract on October 31, 1921, when the majority of the em­
ployers placed their plants on an open-shop basis.

A similar agreement was—
Supplemental agreement between Publishers’ Association o f Indianapolis
and Indianapolis Stereotypers’ Union No. 38, October 21, 1919.

(6)
Or that the wage scale could be readjusted i f a material
change occurred in the cost o f living.
Street-Railway Industry* San Francisco.—Agreement between San Francisco-Oakland Termi­
nal Railways and Division 192, Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway
Employees of America* January 29, 1920
This agreement which w as effective until January 1, 1921, continued the
proviso that—
“ Either party shall have the right to ask for a readjustment as of or after
July 1st, 1920, by a board of arbitrat on, but the party asking for such read­
justment shall first prove and an arbitration board shall specifically find that
living costs have substantially changed since January 1st, 1920.” 1
7
On the basis of this clause, an increase in w age rates w as agreed to on
July 1, 1920. On August 1, 1921, on the basis of a decrease in the cost of l !ving, a reduction of 6 cents per hour in the scales w as agreed upon. W ith
reference to the reduction in 1921, the notice given to the newspapers by the
representatives of the parties stated that the cost of living at the time of the
negotiations w as compared with the cost of living of the year following the
signing of the armistice and w as “ carefully analyzed,” and that the costof-living comparisons were based on “ local investigation and the statistics
of the United States Department o f Labor.” In a letter to the United States
Bureau of L abor Statistics, dated July 20, 1921, the former manager of
the research and efficiency department of the San Francisco-Oakland Ter­
minal Railways, s a id : “ I would say that 'n our conferences with the em­
ployees’ committees the fact that living-cost changes were based upon investi­
gations of your bureau w as a deciding factor. Reliability of your tables was
readily conceded by all concerned.”

Similar cases were—
Agreement between N ew York Building Trades Employers’ Associat?
on
and B uilding Trades Council, November 20, 1919; and agreement be­
tween Clothiers’ Exchange of Rochester and Amalgamated Clothing
W orkers’ Union, August 3, 1920.

17 Agreement, p. 10. The agreement effective from Aug. 1, 1921,. to Aug. 1, 1922, does
not contain this provision but provides that the wage scale may be readjusted a t sixmonth periods after Feb. 1, 1922, upon 30 days’ written notice.




216

CHAP. y .----INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

COST OF LIVING AND ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE INDUSTRY TO GOVERN
IN WAGE REVISION

In certain instances the parties have agreed that the factors
governing wage changes should be the cost o f livin g and the
economic condition o f the industry.1
8
Printing Industry (Book and Job), Baltimore.—Agreement between Typothetae of Baltimore
and Baltimore Pressmen and Assistants' Union No. 61, and International Printing Press­
men and Assistants' Union of North America, September 1, 1919
This agreement, which w as effective until A pril 30, 1921, contained the
following clause:
“ Upon 30 days’ notice by either party following each six months’ period
from September 1, 1919, the question of the scale of wages can be opened
fo r an increase or a reduction, providing such increase or reduction amounts
to five per cent or more, the increase or reduction to be determined by two
factors:
(a ) The increase or decrease in the cost of living determined by
the B ureau of L abor Statistics of the United States Department of L a b o r;
( b ) by the economic or physical condition of the industry, to be determined
by conference of the parties to this agreement.”
A t the expiration of the second six-month period, the parties to the con­
tract, not being able to agree on the meaning of the clause, submitted its
interpretation to D r. Frank J. Goodnow, president of Johns Hopkins U ni­
versity. H is opinion rendered October 11,1920, w as in part as fo llo w s :
“ So fa r as the increase or reduction in the scale of wages is to be deter­
mined by an increase or reduction in 'the cost of living, the statistics of the
B ureau of L abor must control.
“ B ut the cost of living is not by the agreement the only controlling factor.
A n y increase or reduction in the scale of wages must , as w ell take into con­
sideration the economic or physical condition o f the industry, to be deter­
mined by conference between the parties to the agreement. An increase or
reduction in the scale of wages justified by a consideration o f the increase
or reduction of the cost of living alone might not be justified when regard
w as had fo r the condition of the industry. The actual increase or reduction
in the scale of w ages might be greater or less than the increase or reduction
o f the cost of living dependent upon the condition of the industry.
“ Finally, the condition of the industry is to be determined by conference
between the parties to the agreement. I f at such a conference it w as deter­
mined that the condition of the industry had improved an increase in the
scale of wages greater than the increase in the cost o f living would be justified.
I f on the other hand it were determined at such a conference that the condi­
tion of the industry had decreased an increase in the scale of wages less
than the increase in the cost of living would be proper.
“ So long as factor ( b ) is to be considered in determining the increase or
reduction in the scale of wages, it is necessary under the agreement that the
actual increase or reduction in the scale of wages be determined by con*
ference between the parties to the agreement at which the condition of the in­
dustry is to be determined.”
In accordance with the suggestion o f Doctor Goodnow, conferences were held
but no agreement could be reached, and the case w as referred by the parties
to Doctor Goodnow as arbitrator. B elow is given his decision o f December 9,
1920:
“ It is admitted by both sides that the cost of living has since the last set­
tlement o f the w age scale increased 16.3 per cent 1 and since the $3 increase
9
w a s made, 8% per cent. It is not, however, clear whether under the agree­
ment the increase of wages due, because of the increase of the cost of liv in g
should be 16.3 per cent of $36 or 8% per cent o f $39. It has, therefore, been
agreed by both parties that the difference between these methods of computa­
tion shall be split.*
0
1

18 The economic condition of the industry has been difficult to prove, however, and in
these cases also the main factor has been the cost of living.
10 Cost-of-living figures of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for Baltimore
show a percentage increase from June, 1919, to June, 1920, of 16.3 per cent. (Monthly
Labor Review, September* 1920, p. 76.)




AGREEMENTS b e t w e e n e m p l o y e r s a n e > e m p l o y e e s

21*7

‘‘ In view of the fact that satisfactory evidence has not been presented as
to the physical and economic condition of the trade, I have decided that no
weight whatever shall be given to factor (6 ) in the agreement, and that
the pressmen shall receive 7.8 per cent of the w age now received by each,
occupation specified in the agreement, which increase has been determined
exclusively by a consideration in the increase in the cost of living.” 2
0
A t the end of the third six-month period, the publishers proposed a reduc­
tion, which the union would not accept, and the matter was referred to Judge
M orris A. Soper as arbitrator. The decision o f Judge Soper, of A pril 8, 1921,
w as as fo llo w s :
“ The question fo r decision is the application by the Typothetae fo r a re­
duction in the scale of wages paid in the industry, to take effect as of March 1,
1921. The application is made in accordance with the terms of the agreement
between the parties wherein it is stipulated that an increase or reduction of
wages shall be determined by two factors: (a ) The increase or reduction in
the cost o f living, determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; ( b ) the
economic or physical condition of the industry, to be determined by conference
of the parties to the agreement. It is obvious that the arbitrator has no gen­
eral authority to fix the scale of wages, but is confined to the interpretation
and application of the agreement between the parties, and on one occasion by
arbitration. I t is fa ir to assume that the scale of wages heretofore existing
was normal and proper, and that any change that may be made at this time
should be governed by the difference between the conditions existing on March
1, 1921, and the conditions existing when the scale w as last fixed.
“ I t is agreed between the parties that there has been a decrease in the cost of
living of 8.2 per cent as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.2 It
1
follows that the wages should be reduced a corresponding amount unless the
consideration of factor ( b ) leads to a different conclusion. There has been
some discussion during the arbitration as to the meaning of the phrase * eco­
nomic or physical condition of the industry,’ The term ‘ economic’ relates
to matters o f income and disbursement. A s applied to an industry, i f the in­
come exceeds the disbursement, so that there is a balance to be distributed
amongst the investors in the enterprise that would be considered a fa ir return
upon the investment, the economic condition of the industry is good. The
question resolves itself largely into one of profits. It involves not only a
consideration of the price at which the product of the industry is sold, but also
the volume of business and the cost at which the product is produced, includ­
ing all the elements which enter into income and outgo. Figures have been
submitted which convince the arbitrator that the economic condition of the
industry on M arch 1, 1921, w as not as good as it w as on September 1, 1920.
During the six months’ period the amount of the output w as decreased, the
amount of new business w as reduced, and the percentage of profit w as like­
wise diminished. The agreement between the parties does not specify precisely
w hat weight should be given to the economic condition of the industry. It is
left to the agreement of the parties, and failing that, to arbitration. Indeed
it is impossible to express precisely what consideration should be given to
this factor. I t is difficult or impossible to express the changes in the economic
condition of the industry in terms of percentage, and also difficult to determine
w hat effect an unfavorable economic condition should have upon the scale o f
wages, which is only one of the elements entering into the cost of .production.
“ The proper result must rest upon sound judgment, after fa ir consideration
is given to all facts submitted.
“ In this particular instance the arbitrator believes that side by side with
the reduction in the cost of living there has been a reduction in the prosperity
of the industry, which has gone to even a greater extent than the reduction
in the cost of living. Considering both of the factors, the arbitrator decides
that a reduction of 10 per cent in the scale of wages, to be effective from March
1 to M ay 1, 1921, as provided by the terms of the agreement, would be fa ir
and proper.”

20 Letter from Dr. Frank J. Goodnow to Mr. George K. Horn and Mr. W. J. Goodwin,
representatives of the Typothetae and the Pressmen’s Union, Dec. 9, 1920.
21 Percentage change in cost of living in Baltimore from June, 1920, to December, 1920.
(Monthly Labor Review. February, 1921, p. 52.)




218

CHAD. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

Printing: Industry (Book and Job), New York.—Agreement between New York Association
of Employing} Printers, Closed-Shop (Pfinters* League) Branch, and Various Printing:
Unions, January 1, 1920
The owners of the printing plants of the book and job branch of the in­
dustry belong to the Association of Employing Printers of N ew York City.2
2
There are three groups of employers within this association: ( a ) The closedshop (Printers* League) branch; (6 ) the open-shop branch; and (c ) firms
not affiliated with either the closed or open shop organization. Companies in
the first group recognize one or more of the 14 unions with whom the League
has contractual relations as a unit. W h ile the second group includes many
firms which are union in effect, either in their entire shop or. in one or more
departments, predominantly, however, this group consists o f open-shop plants.
The third group consists of firms of much the same type as the second group
except that they remain unaffiliated. Scale readjustments in the second and
third groups are usually automatic, in accordance with scale changes in the
closed shops. The Printers’ League section represents about 250 shops. Practi­
cally all the big plants are members of the League and it is estimated that their
output forms about 75 per cent of that of all firms having relations with the
unions.2
3
The number of workers employed by the closed-shop group is approximately
22,000. The number o f workers employed in all other printing plants in the
city is perhaps not more than 8,000 or 10,000. The workers employed by the
closed-shop branch belong to the following unions: Typographical Union No. 6 ;
M ailers’ Union No. 6 ; N ew York Printing Pressmen and Assistants’ Union No.
51; N ew York Pressmen’s Assistants’ and Feeders’ Union No. 23; N e w Y ork
Platen Pressmen and Platen Pressmen’s Assistants’ Union No. 1; N ew Y o rk
Paper Handlers’ Union No. 1 ; Bookbinders No. 1; Bindery W orkers (W o m en )
No. 43; Stampers and Layers No. 22; B lank Bookbinders No. 6; Paper Rulers
No. 9 ; Paper Cutters’ Union No. 119; and Bookbinders’ Union No. 24.
From 190.6 (the year of the eight-hour strike and lockout) to 1917, con­
tracts providing fo r arbitration24 existed between employers and employees
and the industry w as free from any serious controversy.
Although the cost o f living did not become a very specific factor in the
adjustment o f wages in this industry until 1917, yet it had been discussed and
w age increases had been granted because o f the increase in the cost o f living.
In 1911 the press feeders made their request fo r an increase in wages from
$16 to $18 per week on the basis of the increase in the cost of living and
“ because they need more money to get along in life, and fo r no other reason.”
T he arbitrator, Mr. B. P. Willett, stated that one reason fo r granting an in­
crease in the w age scale from $16 to $16.50 on October 1, 1911, and to $17
on October 1, 1912, w as because he believed “ that the minimum scale of $16
now paid to the members o f the Franklin Union is not quite in accord with
the increased cost of living.” 2
5
B y 1917 the cost of living had begun to press very heavily upon the press
feeders who formed the lowest-paid group o f employees in the industry.
Accordingly, although recognizing that the contract did not expire until Octo­
ber 1, 1919, the press feeders requested a conference with the employers with
the idea of adjusting wages in accordance with the increase in the cost o f
living. This request w as refused by the employers. Other unions also pre­
sented th,eir claims for an increase due to the increase in the cost of living
but the reply of the employers w as the same— that the terms of the contract
must be fulfilled. A fter six months o f unsuccessful effort on the part of
the unions to obtain through conferences an increase in the scale to meet
the increase in the cost o f living, members of the Feeders’ Union went on
strike in October, 1917. Three days later the request of the union fo r an
increase o f $4 per week w as granted and the men went back to work.2
6

22 All kinds of printed matter are produced in these shops, viz, hooks,, catalogues, trade

apers, weekly papers, magazines, business stationery,
forms,
P badges. (See Silcox, F. Acalendars, labels, paper blanks,boxes,Jobadvertising literaure and advertising novelties,
bags,
posters,, show cards,
and
.: New York Situation Book and
Branch Printing

Industry. Industrial conflict, 1919— events leading up to it. P. 2. (Typewritten.))
28 Silcox, F. A .: New York Situation Book and Job Branch Printing Industry. Indus­
trial conflict, 1919— events leading up to it. P. 6.
24 These were customarily long-term contracts, running for from three to five years.
25 Arbitration between Printers* League of America, New York Branch No. 1, and
Franklin Union No. 23, September, 1911. Proceedings, pp. 10, 49, 68. For figures cited,
see p. 220 of this bulletin.
26 Silcox, F. A .: New York Situation Book and Job Branch Printing Industry. Indus­
trial conflict, 1919— events leading up to it. Pp. 11, 13, 26.




AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYEES

219

From the original date of the contracts up to and including the strike settle­
ment of November 2, 1917, an increase of $6 had been made for all unions
except Franklin Union No. 23, which secured $7. This w as in addition to $1
increase provided for in the contracts for December, 1917, and January, 1918.
The cost of living -continued to increase and in the early part of 1918 the
unions requested further wage adjustments. This constant pressure for fu r­
ther adjustments led to an appeal by the employers to the National W a r
L abor B oard in October, 1918. A t the hearing before the board, the unions
requested an increase of $6, basing their request entirely upon the increase
in the cost o f living, and bringing some o f their members from N ew York to
testify as to the need fo r this increase.
In its aw ard the National W a r Labor B oard granted an increase of $6 to
the feeders and a smaller increase to the other, higher paid, unions. This
decision w as later supplemented by decisions granting to all unions the same
increase of $6 per week. These decisions stipulated that the question o f the
scale could be reopened in May, 1919, should changes in conditions w arrant it.
In 1919 when conferences were called by the representatives of the league
and of the unions, it w as decided that there had been no great change in con­
ditions and it w as agreed that the scales then in effect should continue until
October, 1919, when the contracts would expire. The main question at this
time w as the introduction of the 44-hour week. A fter a strike of about 8
weeks, all the unions, except Pressmen’s Union No. 51, went back to w ork on
the terms offered by the league which had been based on figures of the B ureau
of Labor Statistics. These terms provided for an increase of $6 effective
October, 1919, and an additional increase of $3 effective January 1, 1920.
Pressmen’s Union No. 51 took its case to arbitration before Judge M artin T.
Manton who aw arded practically the same increase that had been accepted
by the other unions.
The first request of the unions for an increase in wages due to an increase in
the cost o f living w as supported by figures from the Annalist, by wholesale
prices of the Departments of Commerce and Labor, and by retail food prices of
the Department of Labor. The decisions of the National W a r L abo r Board
established the use of the figures of the cost of living of the Bureau of Labor
Statistics and from this time on it w as recognized in these cases that figures
showing the changes in the cost of living could be used as a measurable factor
in w age adjustments.
The employers proposed the inclusion in the new contracts effective from
January 1, 1920, o f a clause providing for revision of the w age scale at sixmonth intervals if the index of the cost of living of the United States Bureau
o f Labor Statistics showed an increase or decrease of 5 per cent or more.2 The
7
employees, however, contended that the economic condition of the industry
should also be considered, for while the cost of living might have dropped when
the time came for the wage revision to take place, the employers might be
making more money than they had ever made before, and the workers felt
that that should be taken into consideration in determining the reductions or
increases in wages. To this the employers agreed.2
8
In the contracts w ith Printing Pressmen’s Union No. 51, Job Pressmen and
Job Press Feeders’ Union No. 1, and Paper Cutters’ Union No. 119, effective
from January 1, 1920 to September 30, 1922, therefore, a clause was incor­
porated providing that wage adjustments were to be based upon the cost of
living and the economic conditions of the industry at the dates of the read­
justments.2 Practically the same provisions were included in the contracts
9
w ith other unions.8
0
A t the conference on September 23, 1920, between the committee from the
Printers’ League Section, Association of Employing Printers and the unions,
the director of industrial relations of the United Typothetae of America pre­
sented figures from the Annalist, D un’s, Bradstreet’s, the National Industrial
Conference Board, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
He

27 Silcox, F. A .: New York Situation Book and Job Branch Printing Industry. Indus­
trial conflict:, 1919—events leading up to it. P. 31.
28 Preliminary scale negotiations. Proceedings of conference between committee from
Printers’ League Section of Association of Employing Printers of New York and repre­
sentatives of International Printing Pressmen & Assistants’ Union No. 51, et al., Jan.
16, 1920, p. 3.
29 Printers’ League Section, Association of Employing Printers. Shop rules and scales,
International Printing Pressmen and Assistants’ Union No. 51, in effect Jan. 1, 1920, to
Sept. 30, 1922. New York, p. 3.
80 Bindery Women’s Union No. 43, Mailers’ Union No. 6, and Typographical Union
No. 6.
105715°— 25------15




220

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

pointed out the superiority of retail over wholesale prices fo r measuring cost
of living and quoted figures from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
to show that retail prices o f food in N ew York City had declined 6 per cent
from July 15 to August 15.
D ata were also presented showing the general economic conditions and the
economic condition of the printing industry.
I t w as agreed that the parties should appoint statisticians to agree upon the
cost-of-living figures to be used in wage adjustments. The memorandum sub­
mitted by these statisticians to the conference and agreed to by it, on September
28, 1920, w as in part as follow s:
“ 1. That retail and not wholesale prices should be used as a basis fo r w age
adjustments, and among the present available published data the figures o f the
United States Department of Labor, B ureau of Labor Statistics, should be given
precedence.
“ 2. That the Department of Labor figures are, taken as a whole, the most
comprehensive and impartial available.
“ 3. That the Department of Labor figures are, for rent, very conservative,
i f not low.
“ 4. That food figures are compiled by the United States B ureau o f L abo r
Statistics fo r N ew York as a whole and not by districts, which would probably
show some variation if so compiled.
“ 5. That the Department of Labor figures for the 22 items o f food show,
according to published index figures, a drop of 6 per cent from July to August.
A n opinion is not ventured as to whether this drop is temporary or permanent.
“ 6. Taking all of the factors into consideration and offsetting drop in food,
with possibility of increase in the rent figure, and considering the time, effort,
and energy it would take to compile an independent study, the impartiality of
which could be questioned, the statisticians have come to the conclusion that
the composite budget figure o f 119.2 per cent as of June 15, 1920, given in the
mimeographed circular letter, No. 808, of the United States Department of
Labor, Bureau of L abor Statistics, as compared with December, 1914, be ac­
cepted as the reasonable, fa ir figure fo r the joint committees to negotiate.”
The demands of the various unions were then presented. Pressmen’s Union
No. 51 requested an increase of 40 per cent, pointing out that the M arch 19,
1920, decision of Judge Manton had been based on an increase in cost o f living
over 1914 of 89 per cent and that the latest index of the United States B ureau
of L abor Statistics fo r the city of N ew York stood at 119.2, or 30 per cent above
the index at the time of the Manton award. The union therefore asked fo r
this 30 per cent increase, plus an additional 10 per cent to allow fo r an improve­
ment in living conditions and to “ take care of the admitted rising costs.” a
The employers countered with the assertion of a 7.55 per cent increase in the
cost of living and proposed new scales based on this figure. The unions were
unanimous in rejecting this proposal and in December, 1920, submitted their
cases to three arbitrators.
From December, 1920, until the expiration of the agreements containing the
cost-of-living clause arbitration w as resorted to by all the unions. The figures
o f the United States Bureau o f L abor Statistics were accepted as the authentic
guide for the determination of the amount of the change in the cost of living,
and as the economic condition of the industry w as hard to establish the cost-ofliving factor became the decisive one.
Below are given extracts from the decisions of the arbitrators under the
cost-of-living clause, showing their interpretations of this clause.
Decision of Dr. George W . Kirchwey, in the case o f Typographical Union
No. 6, December 24, 1920:
“ * * * From the agreed statement of facts submitted to the arbitrator
it appears that the union claims an advance of $18 a week fo r all its mem­
bers over the existing scale (ranging from $45 to $51 per w eek ), w h ile
the employers insist that under the terms of the agreement no increase w hat­
ever is warranted. Both parties agree that any aw ard that may be made sh all
be retroactive and take effect as of October 1, 1920.*
6
1

* Preliminary scale negotiations. Proceedings of conference between committee from
Printers’ League Section of Association of Employing Printers of New York and repre­
sentatives of International Printing Pressmen and Assistants’ Union No. 51 et. al., Jan.
16, 1920, pp. 36-39.




AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

221

“ The case, which w as elaborately presented and ably argued on both
sides, covered a w ide range of information, statistical and other, covering the
two points specifically involved by the terms of the agreement, viz: The in­
creased cost of living and the economic conditions o f the printing industry,
and also the further question of the relation of the existing wage scale to a
proper standard of living. A s no form al objection w as made to the presenta­
tion o f the evidence on the latter point, it w as admitted, although, in the
opinion which the arbitrator has formed of the case, such evidence w as not
relevant and could not properly be considered by him.
“ In the view that the arbitrator took o f his function he w as not at liberty
to set up an entirely new basic wage scale nor to revise the contract which
had, by its specific enumeration o f the bases on which a w age readjustment
might be effected, barred from consideration the question of the ability of the
industry to provide the members of the union with an adequate standard o f
living.
“ A real issue was, however, raised by the conflicting views of the parties
as to the proper interpretation o f the clause of the contract which provided
that the October readjustment, i f any, should be ‘ based upon the increased
cost o f living— at the date o f readjustment,’ but furnished no clue as to the
date from which the increase w as to be computed. The union insisted that
w hat w as intended w as the total increase since 1914, while the employers
contended that the adjustment of January, when the clause in question became
effective, w as a settlement o f the cost-of-living question up to that time and
that the clause providing for a readjustment could have reference only to
a subsequent increase, that is from January 1, to October 1.
“ Inasmuch as the estimated rise in the cost o f living from 1914 to June,
1920, was 119 per cent, while compositors’ wages had in the same period ad­
vanced only 84 per cent, and the cost-of-living increase o f June over January
w as only 7.55 per cent, it w ill be seen that the difference w as vital. The
point w as strongly contested but, in the absence o f any direct evidence as to
the intention of the parties, the arbitrator could not avoid the conclusion that
the contract, speaking in January and having in view the adjustment which
has just been made, aimed to provide only for such subsequent readjustment
as a further increase in the cost of living might render necessary.
“ This conclusion involved the assumption that the January adjustment w as
intended to be a definite settlement of the cost-of-living issue up to that time,
an inference that w as further supported by the fact that the w age scale then
adopted represented an increase of 84 per cent over that of 1914, which cor­
responded almost exactly with the accepted percentage increase in the cost
o f living (83.1) during the same period. B ut the settlement thus attempted
w as vitiated by an unfortunate mistake o f fact. The estimate of 83.1 per cent
which w as based on the latest available data furnished by the Bureau o f
L abor Statistics o f the United States Department o f Labor, w as in fact more
than 20 per cent short o f the actual increase at that date, which w as subse­
quently ascertained to be 103.81 per cent by the report o f the United States
B ureau of L abo r Statistics not released till M ay 3, 1920. It seems reasonable
to assume that in an adjustment which was, like the present one, based on the
two factors o f the increased cost of living and the economic conditions o f the
industry, the increase in the w age scale then agreed upon w as to a greater or
less degree affected by this error.
“ Under these circumstances the arbitrator is o f the opinion that, in estimat­
ing the weight o f the factor o f the increased cost o f living in its bearing on
the present award, he may properly make some allowance fo r the error which
entered into the January adjustment.
“ Turning now to the increase in the cost o f living from January 1 to the
date o f readjustment, October 1, the only reliable data are those furnished by
the United States B ureau o f L abor Statistics covering the first six months o f
the period, which fix the increase at 7.55 per cent fo r the city o f N ew York,
and this may fa irly be taken to represent the state o f the case at the date
o f readjustment. W h ile w e can not shut our eyes to the fact that there
have been recessions since June in some o f the items that make up a fam ily
budget, these have not been considerable in amount and have in some
degree been balanced by a general increase in rents. There are, indeed, indi­
cations that there may be a more substantial reduction in living costs, with
the exception of rents, during the next fe w months, but this is too problemati­




222

CHAP. V.----INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

cal and speculative to be considered as an element in the aw ard now to be
made.
“ The other factor in the problem— the economic conditions o f the printing
industry— is harder to appraise. There is no index number to show the degree
o f its rise or decline nor any accepted standard o f what constitutes a state of
prosperity fo r the industry. It is obvious that the industry must bear the
burden o f proof by establishing the fact that it is not in a condition to stand
such an increase in the w age scale o f its workers as the increase in the cost o f
living would, in and o f itself, seem to justify. W h ile the industry need not, to
sustain this burden, prove that it would be forced into bankruptcy or even
seriously embarrassed to maintain itself, it is not enough to show that its
business is not now up to the standard o f prosperity o f the last fe w years
or o f the first nine months o f the present year and that it is facing a further
decline. It may be in a position to absorb this decline together with a reason­
able increase in the w age scale without any serious impairment o f its activities
or its prosperity. The difficulty w as that not even the accredited representa­
tives o f the industry had at their command the facts required to justify their
apprehensions as to its future.
“ But, although their evidence on this point fell fa r short of a demonstration,
they were able to show that the printing industry w as to a considerable extent
reflecting the general industrial depression which h a s recently set in, as evi­
denced by a progressive decline in the volume o f its business, a marked fallin g
off in periodical advertising, etc., and by that means to communicate some part
o f their apprehensions to the arbitrator. W h ile the extent and duration o f this
depression are too conjectural to be capable o f exact estimation, they form an
element in the situation which had to be taken into account.
“ In view o f all the considerations above set forth it is the opinion o f the
arbitrator that the increase in the cost o f living justifies a moderate increase
o f $5 in the present w age scale and that the industry should be able without
embarrassment to sustain this addition to the present cost o f operation, the
aw ard to be retroactive to Ocober 1, 1920.” (Decision, pp. 4-6.)
[A s the decisions of Doctor Kirchwey in the case of the Printing Press Feed­
ers and Assistants’ Un*on No. 23 and Job Pressmen and Job Press Feeders’
Union No. 1 were substantially as in the case of Typographical Union No. 6,
these decisions are. not given. The decision in the Typographical Union case
also affected about 500 printers in the State of N ew Jersey.]
Decision o f Prof. W illiam F. Ogburn, in the case of Printing Pressmen’s
Union No. 51, December 24, 1920:
The union asked fo r an increase o f $10 in the basic minimum w age rate of
$46 a week, while the employers asked fo r a continuance of the existing rate.
Professor Ogburn held that—
“ The arbitrators are not * * * making a decision fo r new contracts
but are readjusting wages only under an existing contract The arbitrators
are also limited, by the agreement, in making readjustments to considerations
only o f the cost of living and the economic conditions of the industry at the
date o f readjustment.
The readjustment under arbitration concerns the
rate o f wages in effect since January 1, 1920, and the date fo r readjustment
is October 1, 1920.” (Decision, p. 7.)
H e referred to the fact that according to the Bureau of L a b o r Statistics the
cost o f living had advanced 7.55 per cent since the date o f the previous
adjustment, which percentage applied to the scale would mean an increase of
$3.47 per week.
“ * * * A n increase, therefore, o f $3.47 would be possible under the
provisions o f the contract relating to the cost o f living, the economic condi­
tions of the industry permitting. According to strict, literal interpretation,
no greater increase would be warranted. However, there are certain consid­
erations relating to the cost o f living which make difficult a restriction to
such a technical interpretation.”
These “ considerations ” were the fact referred to by Doctor Kirchwey, that
w ages had been adjusted in January, 1920, on the basis of an 83.1 per cent
increase in the cost o f living, whereas later figures o f the Bureau o f L abor
Statistics showed it to have been 103.81 per cent.
“ * * * Therefore, the fact that the cost-of-living increase fo r January
1, 1920, w as not known and w as underestimated probably justifies on a costof-living basis alone an increase in the w ages o f the pressmen larger than
simply 7.55 per cent or more than the $3.47 per week. I f the pressmen’s




AGREEMENTS- BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

223

weekly minimum basic wage be increased $5 then the new scale w ill be 104
per cent increase over their 1914 scale. The figure fo r the increased cost of
living nearest the date of readjustment is 119.2. A fu ll increase of the press­
men’s wages to 119.2 per cent increase over their 1914 scale does not seem
fa ir to the industry, however, when it is remembered that the readjustment of
wages is under an existing contract and fo r a definite period.
“ B ut the readjustment o f wages may be on the basis o f the cost o f living,
only provided conditions o f the industry at the date of readjustment are con­
sidered and presumably warrant such an increase.
“ In regard to general economic conditions it is true that the index num­
bers for wholesale prices do show a decline. There is considerable unem­
ployment in some industries, and certain industries feel the depression quite
acutely.
Strictly, the arbitrators are probably confined to a consideration
of economic conditions up to the date o f readjustment. Practically, however,
it is difficult and probably not unwise to observe the movements since the
date of readjustment and to endeavor to look forw ard into the future. It is
difficult, of course, to predict the future, but it seems clear that the general
business conditions of the country are sound in all fundamentals and the
best evidence seems to point to a revival in A pril or May. The outlook for
the future in general is certainly not one of pessimism.
“ In regard to the economic conditions of the printing industry, there has
unquestionably been some evidence of recessions. There is a decrease in the
volume of business and some idle machinery. But to show quite conclusively
whether the industry as a whole can or can not stand a small increase in
wages necessarily means a rather fu ll and free use of the records of the
plants in the industry. The industry as seen, not over a period of weeks,
but over a period of several months, may very well be able to stand such an
increase in wages as is provided for in the contract on., the basis o f the
change in the cost of living. A n increase in wages equivalent to the increase
in the cost of living may presumably be made according to the contract, un­
less it can be shown that the industry can not stand such an increase. It
should be observed that the terms of the contract make it possible to reopen
the matter of the readjustment of wages approximately three months from
the present date.* It is possible, therefore, to have another readjustment on
April, 1921.
“ The aw ard is, therefore, an increase of $5 per week on the basic mini­
mum scale of $46, the aw ard to be retroactive to October 1, 1920.” (Decision,
pp. 7-9.)
[Prof. Ogburn also handled the cases of Paper Cutters’ Union No. 119 and
N ew York Paper Handlers’ Union No. 1, his decisions being substantially the
same in all three cases.]
Decision of Dr. W illiam M. Leiserson in the case of M ailers’ Union No. 6,
December 24, 1920:
The union presented a request to the employers for a 30 per cent increase
in the scales of wages for mailers and for stampers. The employers refused
to grant this request and made a counter offer o f an increase of $3 per week,
which w as rejected by the union.
The union contended before the arbitrator to whom the case w as referred
that their wages did not allow the maintenance of a proper standard of living.
A s to this contention, the decision of the arbitrator h e ld :
“ The scale contract provides clearly that any wage adjustment made on
October 1, 1920, must be limited to an amount that corresponds to the in­
crease in cost of living from January 1 to this date. This contract set a stand­
ard o f living for the mailers which w as represented by the buying power of $37
per week on January 1 and it provided that this standard shall be maintained
until October 1, 1921, with the proviso that if on October 1, 1920, cost of living
had increased so as to lower the buying power of $37, then wages might be
increased to an amount that would provide the same standard of living that
$37 allowed in January, 1920. The board has no authority to change this
standard of living no matter how strongly it may feel that another standard
ought to be set. It is bound by the terms of this contract. W hen the con­
tract expires on October 1, 1921, then the question of setting new wage stand­
ards may be taken up.”
Doctor Leiserson referred to the error of taking 83 per cent instead of 104
per cent as the increase in the cost of living in January, 1920, but held that
this had no bearing in the present case, since the increase granted in January




224

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

had brought the wages of mailers up to 105% per cent over the wages of 1914,
so that “ if the case with which this board is concerned were to be based on the
increase in cost o f living since 1914, an actual decrease in wages might be
justified. The board feels that it can not go back o f the w age scale agreed
upon by the parties in January and must assume that it w as satisfactory to
both parties. I t must concern itself with what happened between January
and October, 1920, and nothing before January or after October.”
“ The provision in the contract that the condition o f the industry as
w ell as increased cost' o f living shall be considered in readjusting wages does
not, in the opinion o f the board, mean that the mere fact o f a declining
^market shall prevent a w age increase to correspond with the rise in the cost
o f living. I f living costs rose after January 1, 1920, then the, real w age s'
o f the mailers were being reduced from month to month as prices went up.
Under the contract on October 1 they were guaranteed that whatever reduc­
tion in real wages w as caused by rising prices would be restored to them;
and only if the condition o f the industry made this absolutely impossible
could this increase be denied to them. The burden o f proof is on the employer
to show that this guaranteed increase could not be borne by the industry and
the general statements about poor business and reduced business did not
provide such proof. D urin g the first year o f the w age contract the rising
prices meant reduced real wages to the mailers and more profits to the em­
ployers. I f therefore during the second year of the contract the employers*
profits are decreased, it w ill be merely giving the employers the same ex­
perience that the mailers had when wages lagged behind prices. The board
finds that the evidence regarding economic conditions of the industry shows
that this is likely to happen. It does not prove that the industry can not
afford to add to the scale of wages the amount necessary to offset the re­
duction in real wages that had been caused by the rise 3n prices up to October
1, 1920.’*
On the basis of the 7.55 per cent increase in the cost o f living the arbitrator
aw arded an increase of $3 per week.
“ This decision w as reached because the board feels that it is bound by
the agreement o f the parties to this dispute and must not impose its own
ideas of what would be right and proper for the industry. H owever much
w e may like to see a higher standard o f living fo r the workers in this craft
and however much w e may wish to avoid adding any financial burden to an
industry that is in a state o f .depression and compelled to lay off its em­
ployees, w e can do nothing else but enforce the contract which w as made by
the parties themselves. A nd this is what’ the board feels it has done in
this decision. The contract in our opinion prevents the making o f any other
decision.” (Decision, pp. 10-13.)
[D octor Leiserson also handled the case o f Bindery Women’s Union No. 43,
in which his decision w as substantially the same as above.]
Decision of Prof. W illiam F. Ogburn, Mr. Raymond B. Fosdick, and Mr.
Allen T. Burns, in the case o f Printing Press Feeders and Assistants’ Union
No. 23, Job Pressmen and Job Press Feeders’ Union No. 1, and Paper
H andlers’ Union No. 1, A p ril 1, 1921:
Tile employers asked the arbitrators for a reduction in wages of 25 per
cent and the unions requested an increase o f $7 a week.
The decision of the arbitrators pointed out that according to figures of the
United States Bureau of L abor Statistics the cost of living had declined 8.12
per cent since the previous w age adjustment, and went on to emphasize that
“ when wages are reduced by the same percentage that the cost of living
has declined, there is no reduction in the purchasing power of wages.”
“ A s to economic conditions, the printing industry has declined in prosperity
on several counts. The volume of sales has diminished, appreciable unem­
ployment exists, advertising volume and revenue have decreased, failures have
increased in number and liabilities, and the various business barometers indi­
cate a continuance of the general business depression. The arbitrators really
needed, however, more specific and detailed information, particularly as to
profits, losses and analyses o f costs than the aforementioned general tendencies,
in order to measure carefully the worth o f the employers’ claim fo r a reduc­
tion in wages of 25 per cent, when the cost of living has declined only 12
per cent. A cut in ‘ r e a l’ wages is a very serious thing fo r employees, and
before taking so drastic a step arbitrators should know precisely how much




AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

225

depressed the particular industry is. In the judgment of the arbitrators the
employers failed to present adequate information as to just what this slump
amounts to. This failure seems to be due, however, not to the representatives
of the employers who pressed their case most ably, but to those employers
who fo r one reason or another did not furnish sufficient original material
which their representatives might use. A summary tabulation sheet w as
presented showing partial analyses of costs and sales over eight months for
48 members of the association. O f the printing establishments, 48 is only
a small number, and it w as difficult to ascertain how true a sample they
represented. Moreover, from this tabulation the true rate of profits w as not
clear; and there w as confusion and lack of detail in the analyses of costs.
Indeed, it w as possible to argue from these data that the printing industry
had been much less hard hit than other industries. The members of the
league would have to furnish data, clearer analyses and show more accurate
measurement of their inability to pay before they could hope to impress
arbitrators with the necessity of depressing ‘ r e a l’ wages, i. e., the standard
of living of the employees. Gains in the standard of living by the mass
o f workers constitute a fundamental advance o f civilization. A lowering of
this standard can be granted by those interested in human progress only be­
cause of dire necessity and no such situation has been positively proven from
the incomplete tabulation o f cost sheets presented at the hearings.
“ It is, nevertheless, clear that tiiere is a serious economic condition in the
printing industry, although its exact measurement has not been achieved. In
this connection the matter of the 44-hour week should be considered. The
agreement to put the employees of the printing industry on a 44-hour week with
no reduction in wages on M ay 1,1921, probably means a fairly serious addition
to costs. W hile the relevancy of this fact in the present arbitration is perhaps
questionable from a strictly literal reading of the terms of the contract, the
agreement is nevertheless a factor in the economic condition of the industry for
the period of adjustment, for the present depression in marketing does affect
the financial conditions o f the printing industry more adversely because of the
agreement to introduce the 44-hour week.
“ In making use of the foregoing analyses and evaluations to arrive at a
decision, the arbitrators are of the opinion that the existing contract does not
mean that a decrease in ‘ money ’ wages, still less in real wages, can be justi­
fied merely by the fact of a decrease in the cost of living, regardless of the
economic conditions of the industry. I f exceptional profits, such as seem for
instance to have been made in the recent probably unprecedented prosperity of
the printing industry, at present existed, arbitrators might be justified in
raising still further the ‘ real ’ -wages of the employees by keeping ‘ money ’
wages at least the same in the face of a declining cost of living or even in
raising money wages.
However, this condition does not appear to exist.
There is a real depression in the industry. Therefore, if the ‘ m oney’ wages
of employees were kept the same, they would be receiving an advance in ‘ real *
wages in a period when the industry w as suffering from a depression. The
business depression, in conjunction with the additional costs due to the 44-hour
week, seem to make necessary a reduction in wages though not a reduction in
‘ r e a l’ wages.
“ Therefore, after a careful consideration of the facts of the cost o f living,
of the evidence on the economic conditions of the industry, and of the nature
of the contracts, the conclusion of the arbitrators is that the wages of the job
pressmen should be set at $38.50, of the press assistants at $37.50, of the job
press feeders at $28, and of the paper handlers at $33, effective A pril 1,1921.
“ F or the members of the union this represents a decrease of approximately
12 per cent of their present wages. It should be observed, however, that the
purchasing power of these wages is still somewhat greater than the purchasing
power of the wages at the beginning o f the contract, January 1, 1920. Thus
there w ill have been no lowering o f the standard of living as a result of this
aw ard from the standard determined by the contract on January 1, 1920.
Furthermore, the wages of the job pressmen as set by this decision are 103
per cent higher than their 1914 scale, while the cost of living is only 92.9 per
cent higher than in 1914. The readjusted wages of the press assistants are
121 per cent higher than the 1914 scale; those of the job press feeders are
133 per cent high er; and the paper handlers’ wages are 106 per cent higher.
“ To the employers the decision means a cut in the pay roll, as made up o f
the members of these unions, of approximately 12 per cent, which ought tq




226

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

relieve somewhat the pressure due to the present business depression on the
printing industry, which is, from the financial point of view, adversely affected
by the agreement to introduce the 44-hour week.” (Decision, pp. 3-8.)
[T h e decision in the cases of Pressmen’s Union No. 51 and Paper Cutters*
Union No. 119, which were handled by Professor Ogburn individually, were
almost identical with the one given fo r the above-named unions.]
Decision of Prof. W illiam F. Ogburn, in the case o f Printing Pressmen’s
Union No. 51, November 14, 1921:
The employers asked the arbitrator to reduce wages by a percentage equal
to the fa ll in the cost of living as shown by the United States Bureau o f Labor*
Statistics index number. The union asked fo r an increase in wages o f $5 a
week, which would make their wages $51 a week.
In his decision the arbitrator stated:
“ Upon examination of the evidence, it is seen that according to the wording
o f the contract a readjustment of wages since the date of the last readjust­
ment, on the basis of the change in the cost of living would mean a reduction
by the percentage decline in the cost o f living, which is, from the United
States Bureau o f L abo r Statistics index number, 6.8 per cent or approximately
$3 a week. I f such a reduction is made, the wages o f the pressmen would be
$48. This w age o f $43 a week is, it is true, only 72 per cent more than their
1914 scale o f $25 a week, while the cost o f living, according to the figure fo r
September, 1921, is 79.7 per cent more than in 1914. The pressmen would
thus not be getting as much in purchasing power as they got in 1914. This
situation is to be deplored, but it is hard to remedy under the terms of the
contract which provides fo r readjustments only and not fo r the setting o f a
new w age scale. A t the beginning o f the contract, the basic wages of the
pressmen were set at only 84 per cent over their 1914 scale, while the cost of
living w as 103.8 per cent more than in 1914. Strictly, the wages can only
be readjusted under provisions in their existing contract. B u t since, when
the pressmen signed the present contract the figure" 103.8 referred to above
w as not known, it is perhaps permissible to take some cognizance of this
fact in interpreting the contract. I f the wages of the pressmen be set at
$44 instead of $43 they w ill be brought a little more in harmony with the in­
creased cost o f living since 1914. A t $44 a week their wages would be 76 per
cent higher than their 1914 scale while the cost of living is 79.7 ; a difference
o f only 3.7 points.”
A s to the contention o f the men that their skill and importance in the
industry should be reflected in the w age scale, Professor Ogburn said:
“ The interrelationships of the different crafts in the matter o f skill and
w ages is o f course a matter of great importance. The arbitrators recognize
the great value o f the pressmen to the industry, but the arbitrators are
limited in making special recognition in financial compensation by the terms
o f the contract and by the fact that this arbitration applies only to the
pressmen. T he aw ard to be made therefore is not to be construed as re­
flecting upon the relative ranking o f the pressmen among the different crafts.
“ The aw ard is therefore $44 a week.
“ B y this aw ard the standard of living o f the pressmen comes nearer to
th^ir 1914 level than at any other period of readjustment or than at the be­
ginning o f the contract. W hen the contract w as signed, the pressmen’s wages
w ere 19.8 percentage points behind the increase in the cost o f living. A t
the first readjustment there were 15.2 points difference. A t the second ad­
justment there were 8.9 points difference, and at the present, or third, read­
justment the difference is only 3.7 points. Furthermore, this aw ard reducing
the w age from $46 to $44 does not mean that, on the average, the standard of
living o f the pressmen w ill have fallen from what it w as at the date of the
last arbitration, fo r $42.87 w ill buy on the average w hat $46 bought at the
time of the last arbitration. A s a matter o f fact the aw ard means that the
wages, in terms o f purchasing power, have not been lowered but on the
other hand have been raised since the date of the last arbitration. - The
pressmen’s ‘ real* wages (a s wages are sometimes called when measured in
units of purchasing power instead of in units of gold) are raised by this
aw ard about 2.5 per cent over what they were just after the last readjustment,
and 8.5 per cent higher than they were when the contract w as signed.” (D e ­
cision, pp. 1-5.)




AGREEMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

227

Decision of Dr. W illiam M. Leiserson in the case of Press Feeders’ and A s­
sistants’ Union No. 23, December 6, 1921:
This case w as referred to Doctor Leiserson as arbitrator after the nnion
had refused to- accept a reduction in wages from $37.50 to $35 per week,
or 6.8 per cent, which, the employers contended represented the reduction in
cost o f living from A pril 1, 1921, when the last readjustment w as made,
to October 1, 1921.
A firm o f accountants w as employed jointly by the league and the union
to survey the financial condition o f the industry. This survey w as neces­
sarily incomplete because of the short time in which it had to be made and
only 48 firms were covered out of about 200 members of the league. A fter
studying this report the arbitrator announced in his decision that he found
nothing either in this report or in the other evidence presented to modify
any decrease in wages that might be justified by the decline in cost of living,
between A pril and October.
* * * * *
The condition o f the industry is not good, so that if there has
been a drop in cost of living the employers are properly entitled to the re­
duction in w ages which the scale contract authorized in conformity to the
changes in living costs. On the other hand the conditions of the industry are
not so bad a s to justify a greater decrease in wages than the drop in cost
o f living.”
H e concluded therefore that the “ economic condition o f the industry ” might
in this case be disregarded and the wages be fixed on the basis o f the cost of
living alone.
**In previous arbitration decisions it has been fu lly settled that when the
scale contract says w age readjustments may be based on the cost of living,
it means readjustments to offset any changes in cost of living that may have
taken place between the dates of w age adjustment. It does not mean that
the arbitrators may fix a new w age based on a new standard o f living.
This interpretation is now accepted by both parties; but there is wide dis­
agreement between them as to the amount of change in cost of living that
has taken place between A pril 1, 1921, when wages were last readjusted,
and October 1, 1921, the date of the present proceedings.
*‘ The league submits figures showing that in A pril the arbitrators who
fixed the wage^ of $37.50 for 'lo c a l union No. 23 took the figure 192.9 as
representing the cost o f living at that time, (December, 1914, to be 100). In
September the United States Department of Labor reported cost of living
stood at 179.7. Therefore, the league contends that there w as a drop in cost
o f living from A pril to October of 13.2 points, or 6.8 per cent.
**The union, however, denies that there was a 6.8 per cent drop in cost
o f living between A pril and October. It contends that at the most the drop
w as 1.1 per cent; and this contention is based on the fact that the figure
192.9 used by the board of arbitration in A p ril w as an estimate. In place
o f this estimated figure the union substitutes the published figure of the D e­
partment of L abor fo r May, namely 181.7 claiming that this is the nearest
actual figure. W hen the September index 179.7 is deducted from 181.7 the
reduction is two points, or 1.1 per cent.8
1
“ The board of arbitration finds it extremely difficult to decide between
these two contentions. On the one hand it seems fa ir to measure the drop
in cost o f living since A pril from the figures used in readjusting wages at
that time, fo r i f the actual figure w as lower than 192.9, then presumably the
arbitrators would have reduced wages in A pril more than they did.
On
the other hand, the arbitrators in A pril did not intend to readjust wages on
the basis of the cost of living alone. They state clearly * that the purchasing
power of these wages ($37.50 fo r press assistants) is still somewhat greater
than the purchasing power of the wages at the beginning of the -contract,
Jan. 1, 1920.’ If, therefore, in the present case we were to grant a reduc­
tion based not on the actual drop in cost o f living between A pril and October,
but on a subtraction from the assumed figure for April, w e would be undoing

81 “ The union, also challenges the rent figures of the Department o f Labor, and claims
that if these were properly corrected practically no decrease in cost of living would be
shown and perhaps even an increase. In regard to this contention, the board of arbitra­
tion is inclined to- feel that the rent figures o f the Department of Labor for New York
City are probably somewhat low, but since the index of the Department of Labor has
been used in making wage increases under this contract it would not be fair now to
change the measure.”




m

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

the work of the previous arbitrators who presumably had good reasons
for fixing a scale somewhat above the change in cost of living since the
beginning o f the contract. * * *
“ W h at w as the actual increase in purchasing power o f the press assistants’
wages from A pril to October? The union claims it is 1.1 per cent or 41 cents,
basing its claim on the difference between the published figures o f the D e ­
partment of L abor fo r the nearest dates, May, 181.7, and September 179.7.
B ut the scale contract requires w age readjustments to be made on the basis
o f indices fo r A p ril and October, and the monthly figures o f food prices pub­
lished by the Department o f Labor shows that the cost of living in M ay.
w as considerably lower than in April, while the October figure w as slightly
above that fo r September. The board, after considering carefully the e s ti-,,
mates of the statisticians o f both parties and checking them up with calcula­
tions o f an independent statistician, is o f the opinion that in A p ril the cost
of living w as properly represented by a figure somewhat below 185, while
in October it w as close to 180. This is equivalent to a reduction o f somewhat
less than 3 per cent.
“ Expressed in terms of dollars, this means that an account o f the reduc­
tions in prices from A p ril to October, $36.50 in October would buy just about
as much as $37.50 could buy in April.
“ Inasmuch as w e have found that the economic conditions o f the industry
are such as to justify decreasing wages in accordance with the change ih cost
o f living, but not more or less than that, the board o f arbitration rules, in
accordance with the requirements of the scale contract that the rate o f wages
must be reduced $1 per week, making the scale $36.50.” (Decision, pp. 1-5.)
In April, 1922, when the question o f w age scales could have been reopened
fo r Pressmen’s Union No. 51, Press Feeders’ and Assistants’ Union No. 23, Job
Pressmen and Job Press Feeders’ Union No. 1, Paper Handlers’ Union No. 1,
and Paper Cutters’ Union No. 119, it w as agreed to let them continue until the
expiration of the contract on October 1, 1922.
A s the contract containing the clause that wages were to be adjusted on the
cost of living and the economic condition of the industry expired fo r Typo­
graphical Union No. 6, M ailers’ Union No. 6, and Bindery Women’s Union No.
43 on October 1, 1921, the arbitration case between Typographical Union No. 6
and the Printers’ League before D r. J. G. Elliot in October, 1921, w as not
governed by the clause and hence is not discussed under this section. In that
case, as in the arbitration cases that have occurred with the other unions
since October, 1922, these two factors have been the most emphasized and as
the economic condition of the industry is difficult to prove, the change in the
cost of living has continued to be the most important factor.

Similar cases w ere:
Arbitration agreement between employing printers <book and jo b ) and
Cleveland Typographical Union No. 53, M ay 1, 1922; agreement between
National Association of Employing Lithographers and Amalgamated
Lithographers of America, August 15, 1919; and agreement between
W aterfront. Employers’ Union and Longshoremen’s Association of San
Francisco and B ay District, December 10, 1919.

OTHER COST-OF-LIVING PROVISIONS

In other cases the agreement has merely provided that at the time
o f arbitration the cost o f livin g would be considered, without nam­
ing other factors or specifying i f any other factors were to be con­
sidered.
Collective agreement between Associated F u r M anufacturers and Furriers’
Union of N ew York, February 3, 1919.

In one instance it was agreed that a cost-of-living bonus should be
paid which would fluctuate with the changes in index numbers o f the
Annalist, Bradstreet, and the Department o f Labor.
Agreement between Louisville (K y .) Courier-Journal, Louisville Times
Co., etc., and Stereotypers’ and Electrotypers’ Union No. 32, M ay 16,1920.




INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

229

In some cases the arbitration agreement required that the arbitra­
tion board consider the cost o f livin g in the city in question as com­
pared with other cities in the same locality.
Agreement of arbitration between San Francisco-Oakland Terminal R ail­
ways and Division No. 192, Amalgamated Associated of Street and Elec-*
trie R ailw ay Employees o f America, August 25, 1917.

In certain cases, the agreement o f arbitration has provided thatthe cost o f livin g and working conditions o f men employed in similar
occupations throughout the united States be among the factors con­
sidered by the board o f arbitration.
Agreement of arbitration between Division No. 192, Amalgamated Asso­
ciation of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America and San
Francisco-Oakland Terminal Railways, December 17, 1919.

In other cases the considerations which should control the arbitra­
tion board in fixing the wage rate were to be those specified by the
transportation act o f 1920, one o f which is “ the relation between
wages and the cost o f living.”
Agreement between the Connecticut Co. and its employees, June 12, 1922.

INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS8
2
INTRODUCTION

A n analysis is given below o f certain o f those cases in which the
parties were unable to reach an agreement as to wages and therefore
referred the matter to a single arbitrator or to an arbitration board
usually selected by each side choosing one or two representatives afid
these agreeing upon a neutral or impartial chairman.
In some industries, permanent arbitration machinery has been vol­
untarily established. This is true on a national scale in the electrical
construction industry and in the newspaper printing industry, where
it is agreed that questions which can not be settled by local arbitra­
tion boards shall be referred to a national board composed o f an
equal number o f representatives o f employers and employees. In the
electrical construction industry the decision o f the national board
must be unanimous.8 In the newspaper printing industry, i f the
3
International Arbitration Board can not agree, the case is referred
to a seventh man chosen by the board.3 More or less permanent arbi­
4
82 For full list of cases covered in Chapter V, as well as the documentary material to
which references are made, see pp. 456 to 472 of this bulletin.
83 In 1920 the Council on Industrial Relations was created ini the electrical construc­
tion industry. The council is composed of five members of the National Association of
Electrical Contractors and Dealers, with about 2,400 members, and five representatives
appointed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, representing approxi­
mately 150,000 men. (The name of the employers’ association was changed in October,
1922, to Association of Electragists, International. Its constitution was also changed a t
this time to provide for a union section and an open-shop section.)
The broad purpose of the council is to secure continuous peaceful operation of theindustry. The right of employers and employees to agree upon wage scales is recognized
but should these parties not be able to reach an agreement, the council may suggest that
the matter be referred to a local conciliation, board and appoint the chairman of this
board. Should this local conciliation board not be able to reach an unanimous agreement,
the question is referred to the council. (For a more detailed description of the origin
and purposes of the Council on Industrial Relations of the Electrical Construction Indus­
try see The Council on Industrial Relations for the Electrical Construction Industry in
the United States and Canada, its origin, function, and purpose (published by the council,
March, 1921) ; also Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, January, 1922, p.
75; and Monthly Labor Review, August, 1923, pp. 26-43.)
34 See Monthly Labor Review, July, 1923, on. 15-33 : “ History of arbitration in Ameri­
can newspaper publishing industry/’ by David Weiss,




230

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

tration machinery exists in the building industry in San Francisco.3
5
Arbitration machinery with a permanent chairman has been estab­
lished by agreement in the cloth hat and cap industry in New Y o r k 3
6
and Chicago; the fur industry in New Y o r k ; 3 the clothing industry
7
in Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, and Rochester;8 and in the silk
8
ribbon,3 fancy leather goods,*0 shirt, and boys’ waist industries4
9
4
1
in New York. In other industries, the principle o f arbitration has
been quite generally accepted and i f the two parties are unable to
agree, it is generally proposed by one side or the other that the con­
troversy be referred to arbitration. In many o f these industries the
agreement contains a clause that all questions which can not be
settled between the parties shall be referred to arbitration.
In practically all cases voluntarily referred to arbitration the cost
o f livin g has been considered as a factor, though one o f Varying
weight. In the decisions o f some o f the arbitration boards the cost
o f livin g has exercised the controlling influence, and some decisions
have been based entirely upon this ground.4 In others the arbi­
2
trator has considered the cost o f livin g an important factor, but has
also considered the economic condition o f the industry, or other
factors,4 while in some cases these latter considerations have had
3
much more weight than has the cost o f living.4
4
In recent arbitration cases most o f the unions contended that
wages should not be based entirely on changes in the cost o f livin g
85 In the early part of 1918 a committee known as the joint conference committee, con-*
sisting of five representatives of the Building Industries Association and five representa­
tives of the Building Trades Council, was formed in the building industry in San Fran­
cisco. This committee functioned until August, 1920, when a demand by I I crafts for an
increase in wages was refused. After negotiations between the Builders* Exchange and
the Building Trades Council, three impartial arbitrators were chosen, and an arbitration
agreement covering all questions of wages, hours, and conditions in the building trades
was signed on Jan. 18, 1921. The arbitrators, Rev. Edward J. Hanna, Hon. M. C. Sloss,
and Mr. George I* Bell, rendered a temporary award Mar. 31, 1921, effective, from Apr.
11, 1921, for six months. Following the declaration of open-shop principles by the Build­
ers’ Exchange and the subsequent strike of the union men„ an impartial arbitration board
was set up, due largely to the efforts of the Industrial Association of San Francisco.
This board, consisting of Rev. E. J. Hanna, Mr. C. F. Michaels, and Mr. Henry U.
Brandenstein, was asked to determine the wages for such period as it thought
wise. Its award of Nov. 12, 1921, did not become effective until Jan. 1, 1922,
but in the meantime the Industrial Association had enforced the scale of the previous
board. The award was effective until Dec. 1, 1922. This award was not officially ac­
cepted by the unions, and no agreements were signed. It did, however,, establish the
prevailing wages in this industry in San Francisco, which rates, are stall in effect.
(Letters of Mr. George L. Bell, of the Industrial Association of San Francisco, Apr. 22,
1922,, and Dec. 6, 1921; also, argument o f John S. Partridge, attorney for Builders’
Exchange: Arbitration between the Builders’ Exchange and the Building Trades Council,
p. 1.)
86 Monthly Labor Review, September,,, 1922, pp. 135-138.
87 Idem, March, 1922, p. 104.
88 Idem, June, 1922, pp. 1-16.
88 This agreement has recently been discontinued. See. U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bui. No. 341.
40 Proceedings of Academy of Political Science, January, 1922. No. 4, pp. 86-92.
41 Monthly Labor Review, March, 1922, pp. 101-104.
42 For example, the decisions in the fur industry of New York in 1919; the newspaper
printing industry of Boston in 1912, of New York in 1919 and 1920, and of Washington
in 1921; in the building industry of San Francisco in 1921; in the electrical construction
industry of Detroit, Cleveland, and Indianapolis in 1921, and of Cleveland, Baltimore,
and Hamilton, Ohio, in 1922; in the book and job printing industry of Washington in
1919 and 1921, and of S t Louis in 1920; and in the street-railway industry of Seattle
and San Francisco in 1918, of Syracuse in 1920, of Springfield, Mass., in 1922, and of
Cleveland in 1923.
48 For example, the decisions in the cloth, hat and cap industry of Boston in August,
1922; in the book and job printing industry of Kansas City in February, 1922, of Wash­
ington in January, 1922, and in March, 1923, and of New York in December, 1922; in the
shoe industry of Chicago and Rochester in 1921; and in the street-railway industry of
Memphis in 1919, of Haverhill, Mass., and Ithaca, N. Y., in 1921, and of New Haven in
1922.
44 This was true in the decisions in the men’s clothing industry of Chicago and Roches­
ter in 1921, and of Chicago in 1923: in the ladies’ garment industry of Cleveland in
April, 1923; in the fancy leather goods industry of New York in 1921; and in the shirt
and boys’ waist industry of New York in June, 1921, -and January, 1922.




INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

231

(which method they had agreed to during the war period), but
that more attention should be given to the payment o f a living wage
and to an improvement in the standard o f living. Thus certain local
divisions o f the Amalgamated Association o f Street and Electric
Railway Employees o f America in arbitration proceedings in 1921
with The Connecticut Co. in New Haven, argued this point,4 claim­
5
ing that even though wages were increased by the same percentage
that the cost o f livin g had increased, this method allowed the worker
no opportunity to improve his economic status or to save money
for the period o f economic dependence.4
6
The justification fo r a livin g wage was also the main contention
against any reduction in wages when the cost o f livin g declined.
In their argument for a living wage the unions in most instances
submitted cost-of-living budgets. In many instances these budgets
were compiled by applying local prices to the quantities listed in
the budget prepared by the United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics,
and published in the Monthly Labor Review fo r June, 1920,4 or
7
by applying local prices to the budget o f the Department o f Labor
o f Canada. The workers have also used budgets, prepared by certain
o f their number, o f the quantities o f articles considered by them
necessary for the maintenance o f a family.4 In other cases, the
8
budgets compiled by various agencies on earlier dates, were brought
up to date by increasing the original costs in accordance with the
change in the cost o f livin g since the time o f the compilation o f the
budget. Attempts by the union to show the yearly amount neces­
sary to support a family, and just what items o f the cost o f livin g
could be purchased fo r a specified yearly sum, have demonstrated
the need for a budget whose total cost w ill be accepted by the em­
ployers as covering necessary requirements fo r the health and wel­
fare o f the worker and his family. F or the complaint o f the em­
ployers against the budgets submitted has not been so much with
the individual items as with the total cost.
T o meet the employees’ argument fo r a livin g wage, the employers,
in most arbitration cases, denied that a livin g wage was not being
paid.4 In some cases they brought up to date the same earlier
9
budgets used by the employees, or they compared the wages paid by
themselves with those paid" in other crafts in the same city or in the
same craft in other cities. Their arguments were that because o f
the economic condition o f the industry the payment o f the amount
requested by the unions was financially impossible,5 that the national
0
income did not permit o f such a wage to every wage earner, and that
48 See, also, Kansas City printing industry—Pressmen Assistants’ Union. No. 20 v .
Kansas City Employing Printers, 1922 (Union brief, p. 24, and Union counterbrief, pp.
16-18) ; New Haven street-railway industry— The Connecticut Co. v . Employees, 1921
(Union brief, pp. 11, 68-70,, 73, 80, 81, 101, 102) ; Chicago clothing industry— Amalga­
mated Clothing Workers v . Chicago Clothing Manufacturers (decision of arbitration
board, Apr. 14, 1921, pp. 9-12) ; Rochester, N. Y., clothing industry— Rochester Clothiers’
Exchange v . Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, 1921 (Proceedings, p. 177) ;
Springfield, Mass., street-railway industry—Worcester Consolidated Street Railway Co. et
al. v . Amalgamated Association of Street and Electrical Railway Employees of America,
1922 (Union brief, pp. 21-23, 28) ; New York fancy leather goods industry—Associated
Leather Goods Manufacturers v . Fancy Leather Goods Workers’ Union No. 5, 1921
(Union brief, pp. 7-9, 13) ; Cleveland garment industry— Cleveland Garment Manufac­
turers v . Employees (Hearings, Apr. 22-23, 1922, union brief, pp. 22-23, 64).
46 New Haven street-railway industry.— The Connecticut Co. v . Employees, 1921
(Union brief, pp. 10, 68-70.)
47 See pp. 295 to 305 of this bulletin.
48 See p. 312 of this bulletin.
49 See pp. 290 to 281 of this bulletin.
80 See p. 284 of this bulletin.




232

CHAP. V.----INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

the amount requested by the union was not necessary since the
average fam ily did not consist o f five persons, or i f it did, that there
was more than one wage earner to the fam ily.5
1
In other cases the employers accepted the average fam ily expendi­
ture as determined from the cost-of-living survey o f the United
States Bureau o f Labor Statistics in 1918-19. B y the application
o f index numbers showing the changes in the cost o f living, these
average expenditures were reduced to a 1914 base and also brought
up to a recent date. The objection to the use o f these figures has
been that they represent the average fam ily expenditure by income^
groups. Arbitrarily to place employees within a certain income*
group and to compute fo r these employees the cost o f livin g from
the average expenditure o f families within that income group would
o f course show a lower expenditure than existed fo r those employees
near the upper lim it o f the group. The difference between income
groups might be so much larger than the difference between the
wages o f the employees considered that a hardship would be caused.
Moreover, the figures showing expenditures were not intended, when
compiled by the United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics, to rep­
resent the cost o f the necessary requirements fo r health, but simply
to show the amounts actually paid out by a worker’s fam ily meeting
certain requirements as to size and source o f income.
In some cases, the employers agreed with the men that the stand­
ard o f livin g should be raised from time to tim e5 while in other
2
cases they held that wages should not be fixed according to certain
standards o f living, but that standards were established by the cus­
tomary receipt o f a certain wage. Thus, in the building industry in
Kochester, the Building Trades Employers’ Association declared:
It is a vicious error to claim that wages are fixed by the standards o f
livin g; rather, it is true that the standard o f living is fixed by wages.
W h a t one gets into the habit of spending depends upon what he gets to spend,
not w hat he gets to spend depending on what he is in the habit o f spending.
A standard o f living is nothing more than an established habit of expendi­
ture, derived from the level of income which has permitted it. N o one w as
ever naive enough to hold that rents of lands are fixed by the proprietor’s
living requirements, or business profits by the allowance apportioned to
wives and daughters; no more can labor fix its wages by wanting them.5*

W hile living costs were advancing, it was usually the employees
who referred to the percentage change in the cost o f living, and
offered these figures as argument fo r increased wages. When
livin g costs were declining, however, it was the employers who re­
ferred to the percentage changes in the cost o f livin g as justifica­
tion fo r a reduction in wages, while the employees offered budgets
in order to show the actual amount necessary fo r the maintenance
o f a family.
Most o f the arbitration boards, whether they are permanent or
selected for the adjustment o f a specific case, have stated in their
awards the bases upon which the decision has been made. W h ile the
Bureau o f Labor Statistics has not been able to secure a copy o f
every award or even o f every award in which the cost o f livin g
was a considerable factor, it is believed that the present report
covers practically all o f the important cases. The cases analyzed8
3
2
1
81 See pp. 282 to 283 of this bulletin.
82 See p. 281 of this bulletin.
83 Rochester building industry—
-Building Trade Employers' Association r. Various
Building-Trade Unions, 1921. (Employers*^ brief in rebuttal, pp. 1, 2.)




INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

233

present the typical arguments relative to the cost o f living as a
factor or to the use o f cost-of-living figures in the adjustment of
wages. The awards in those cases where the cost o f living has
been an element o f considerable importance have been analyzed
and an attempt has been made not only to show the attitude o f
the arbitrator, or o f the arbitration board, toward the recognition
o f the cost o f livin g as a factor in the adjustment, but also to show
to what extent cost-of-living figures have entered into the determi­
nation o f the rate set by tne award. F o r those cases where the
arbitration board, whether permanent or temporary, has stated that
the cost o f livin g figured in the fixing o f the wage, an analysis also
has been made o f the contentions o f both the employers and o f the
employees in so far as it has been possible to obtain records o f the
evidence. The attempt has been made to show the attitude o f the
employer and o f the employees toward the consideration o f cost o f
livin g in wage adjustments, what figures on the cost o f livin g have
been referred to, and to what extent the decision has been based
on these figures.
DECISIONS OF BOARDS54
COST OF LIVING

In some cases the wage established by the arbitrator or the arbi­
tration board has been based entirely on the changes in the cost of
living—
(1 )
( a ) The arbitrator applying the change in the cost o f living
since the last adjustment to the wage o f that date.
New York Printing' Industry (Newspaper) .-—
Decision of Mr. William A. Kelly, arbitrator.
June 8, 1920 6
5
“ In the previous proceedings I presume that the basis of settlement was
taken on the increased cost of living and the skill required by prin ters; there­
fore the duty which devolves upon your arbitrator at this time is to determine
w hat has been the increase in the cost of living from the last fiscal year, and
has arrived at his conclusion from the mass of evidence submitted and se­
cured. * * *
“ An analysis o f the above indicates that the cost of living during the last
fiscal year (A p r il 1, 1919, to M arch 31, 1920) has increased approximately
twenty-four (24) per centum, and therefore is the basis of the wage scale in
this settlement.
“A compilation of the estimates of the United States Department of L abor
discloses that there is an approximate increase of 25 per cent in the cost of
living during this last fiscal year. Bradstreet places this approximate increase
at 22 per cent. The National Industrial Conference B oard (printers’ Exhibit
L ) places this increase at 21 per cent; Mr. E dw ard W . Buckley, secretary N ew
Y ork State Industrial Commission, article of A pril 23, 1920 (publishers’ E x ­
hibit C ), places this increase at 26 per cent.
“ Each of these is an authority and has studied the subject thoroughly, still
each arrives at a different conclusion. One authority states that the peak has
been reached; others state that there w ill be an upward trend for some time
to come.
“ Your arbitrator would be justified in accepting the figures of the highest
approximator as he would the lowest, in so fa r as the ability of the approxi­
mator is concerned, but in order that justice may be rendered your arbitrator
has arrived at a medium percentage and therefore places the increase at 24 per
cent.” (Proceedings', p. 108.)
The w age scales were accordingly increased by approximately 24 per cent,
or from $43.50 day and $46.50 night to $55 day and $58 night.*
5

n In this section, unless* otherwise stated, quotations and data under each case are
4
from document to which reference »s made in title to case.
55 Typographical Union No. 6 v . Publishers’ Association, New York City. Arbitration
proceedings and findings and award, 1920, pp. 108-110.




234

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

Street-Railway Industry, Syracuse.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Judge Arthur S. Suther­
land, chairman, June 28, 1920 6
6
In this case the employees asked for an increase over the aw ard of the
National W a r L abor Board, or for 85 cents per hour, on the ground of the
increase in the cost of living. The company asked for the maintenance of the
existing rate of 45 cents, on the theory that the cost of living w as going down.
The arbitration board ^warded a maximum of . 60 cents, effective fo r one year
from M ay 1, 1920.
“ The aw ard now made increases the basic hour rate fo r motormen and con­
ductors from 45 cents to 60 cents per hour, effective M ay 1, 1920, an increase
of 33% per cent. This increase is justified and made necessary by the increased
cost o f living. Between M ay 1, 1914, and M ay 1, 1920, according to the statis­
tics furnished by governmental bureaus, the cost o f living fo r the average
fam ily f$r the necessities o f life, including housing, clothing, food and the like,
has been 100 per cent, of which 100 per cent,6 68 per cent accrued between M ay
7
1, 1914, and the time o f the aw ard made by the W a r L abor B oard in 1918.6
®
The remaining 32 per cent o f the 100 per cent has accrued from June, 1918, to
M ay 1, 1920.
“ It should be stated that the 100 per cent above mentioned, from 1914 to
1920, is greater than is shown by the tables submitted by the company which
indicate an increase o f only 88 per cent instead of 100 per cent. W e have given
the benefit of the doubt to the men and accepted the Government bureau figures
fo r the purpose of the award.” (A w ard , p. 3.)
The N ew York State Railw ays operates electric railw ays in and about the
cities o f Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica, including city, suburban, interurban,
and electrified steam divisions. The company operates about 550 miles of track
and about 2,700 employees were affected by this decision.

Similar decisions were rendered in—
F u r manufacturing industry, N ew York— Associated F u r M anufacturers v.
Furriers’ Union (a w a rd of conference committee, February 3, 1919) ;
Printing industry ( booh and job), Washington, D. C.— Pressmen’s Union
No. 1, Press Feeders’ and Assistants’ Union No. 42 v. Typothetae o f
Washington (decision of Mr. George L. Berry, arbitrator, September 20,
1919) ; Printing industry ( newspaper), Boston— Newspaper publishers v.
Typographical Union No. 13 (decision o f local arbitration board, Mr.
Charles S. Hamlin, chairman, February, 1912) ; Printing industry (news­
paper), Indianapolis— Indianapolis Newspaper Publishers’ Association v.
Typographical Union No. 1 (a w a rd of local arbitration board, Mr. E lias
Jacoby, chairman, A pril 14, 1921); Street-railway industry, Erie, Pa.—
Buffalo & Lake E rie Traction Co. v. Division 568, Amalgamated Asso­
ciation of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees o f America (decision
o f arbitration board. Rev. P. M. Cauley, chairman, November 14, 1919).

(6 )
Or refusing to grant the increase requested by the employees,
on the ground that there had been no increase in the cost o f livin g
since the last wage adjustment.
Ladies ’ garment industry, Cleveland— Cleveland Garment Manufacturers
v. Garment W orkers’ Unions (decision of board of referees, July 15,
1919).

Or refusing the request o f the employers for a reduction in
wages on the ground that there had been no appreciable reduction
in the cost o f livin g since the last rates were set.5
7
(c)

58 Arbitration between New York State Railways and Amalgamated Association of
Street and Electric Employeesi of America, local divisions in Rochester, Syracuse, and
Utica. Award of arbitration, board, June 28, 3920.
57 Index number of cost of living for 31 localities, December, 1919. was 199 as com­
pared with 1913, showing a 99 per cent increase. (Monthly Labor Review, June, 1920,
p. 79.)
r8 Index number for December, 1914, was 103 and for December, 1918. 174, showing a
percentage increase of 68.9 per cent. (Monthly Labor Review, June, 1920, p. 79.)




INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

235

Printing: Industry (Book and Job), Washington, IX C.—Decision of Judge Walter W. War­
wick, arbitrator, July 29, 19216
9
The employers requested a 10 per cent reduction in wages. The union asked
fo r an increase from $40 for hand w ork and $42 for machine work per week
to $1.04 per hour.
The decision of the arbitrator was, in part, as fo llo w s:
“ * * * I find that there has been no material reduction in the cost of
living in Washington since January, 1920. The charges fo r rent, fuel, and
lights; car fare, etc., which an employee can not control or escape are not
reduced. Some have increased substantially. Taxes and water rents were
raised pursuant to law.
“ W hen we go back to 1918, as w e may in this case, and view the changes
in living costs up to this date as such costs are shown by reliable statistics
and actual experience, it can not be said that the existing rates of pay of
$40 and $42 are excessive. They are hardly adequate in my opinion, but when
the change from 48 to 44 hours is considered I am unable to find from the
evidence such a discrepancy as would justify a change in the w age scale.”
(Proceedings, pi 2.)

Street-Railway Industry, Western Massachusetts.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Hon. Samuel
W. McCall, chairman, September, 19229
0
In 1921 an agreement w as entered into between the Berkshire Street R ail­
w ay Co. and its employees to accept the aw ard in the case of The Connecticut
Co. v, its employees. In 1922, however, the employees of the Berkshire Co.
refused to accept that aw ard and demanded separate arbitration proceedings.
The arbitration board to which the case w as referred in making its award,
made reference to the fact that the arbitrators in The Connecticut Co. case
had found a decrease in the cost o f living from June, 1921 to June, 1922 of 7.1
per cent according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 per cent
according to the figures of the National Industrial Conference, and 2.4 per cent
according to the Massachusetts Commission on the Necessaries of Life.
“ * * * j n the pending case a long delay occurred in agreeing upon the
arbitrators and the hearings were not held until the latter p art o f August.
During the interval between the hearings in the case of The Connecticut Co. and
its employees in June, 1922, and the hearings in the present case, a considerable
time had elapsed and there w as a change in conditions so that the arbitrators
in the present case had the benefit of developments material to be considered
upon the probable cost of living during the year in question. The continuance
of the coal strike had made it clear that there would be during the coming
winter a considerable increase in the cost of coal and consequently of other
fuel. The cost of fuel in a cold climate like that o f Berkshire County forms an
appreciably larger element in the budget of the fam ily of the working man than
in other parts of the country. Then there w as seen an upward tendency in the
cost of other important elements in the fam ily budget. Furthermore there
w as clearly seen a general tendency toward increase of wages in the country.”
(A w ard , pp. 2, 3.)
The board therefore ruled that the wage scale in effect for the year beginning
June, 1921, should be continued fo r the year beginning June 1, 1922.

A similar case was that o f—
Printing industry ( newspaper), Washington, D. C.— Columbia Typographical
Union No. 101 ix Newspaper Publishers’ Association (Decision o f local
arbitration board, Judge W alter I. McCoy, chairman, A p ril 5, 1921).

(2 )
O r the reduction in the cost o f livin g from the peak has been
applied to the wage received at that time.9
0
*
6
5
59 Arbitration, between Columbia Typographical Union No. 101 and the Typothetae
(Closed-Shop Division) of Washington, D. C. Decision of the arbitrator.
60 Arbitration between Berkshire Street Railway Co. and its employees, members oi
division 496 of Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees ot
America. Award of arbitration board, September, 1922.
105715°— 25----- 16




236

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

Street-Railway Industry, Springfield, Mass.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Mr. James J.
Storrow, chairman, February 23, 1922 6
1
The board in its report presented a chart showing the relation between the
standard maximum rate paid to conductors and motormen fo r a nine-hour
day in Springfield and the cost of living, as shown by the United States
Bureau o f L abo r Statistics fo r Boston and by the Massachusetts Commission
on the Necessaries o f L ife for the State o f Massachusetts. The board stated:
“ * * * It has been pointed out that the Department o f L abor has been
maintaining these figures fo r a longer time, and, therefore, due to longer ex­
perience, may have succeeded in attaining greater accuracy. On the other
hand, it has been said that the Massachusetts Commission has probably made
a more intensive study o f the cost o f living in Massachusetts and fo r this
reason its figures may be more applicable to conditions in Springfield and
Worcester.
“ The board is left by the evidence in a quandary in regard to these two
standards. W e have decided to consider the determining figures fo r the pur­
poses of this arbitration as midway between the two authorities.”
(A w ard ,
p. 13.)
The decrease in the cost o f living in Boston from June, 1920, to December,
1921, as compiled by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, w as ap­
proximately 19 per cent. A 19 per cent reduction from $6.24 the peak w age
that would have been paid according to the figures o f the Department o f
Labor, gave a daily w age of $5.04. The index numbers as shown by the
Massachusetts Commission on the Necessaries o f L ife fo r Massachusetts
showed a reduction in December, 1921, o f approximately 21 per cent from the
peak. This reduction applied to the peak wage ($5.76) that would have been
paid in accordance with the peak index o f these figures, gave a daily wage
o f $4.54. The chairman of the arbitration board continued the rate of 68
cents per hour fo r motormen and conductors in W orcester from January 1,
1922, to March 1, 1922, and reduced the rate to 58 cents from M arch 1 to
January 1, 1923, making a daily rate of $5.22. The same rates were estab­
lished fo r Springfield.

(3 )
Or the arbitrator has attempted to restore the pre-war pur­
chasing power o f the wages o f the employees.
Electrical Construction Industry, Detroit.!—Decision of Council on Industrial Relations for the
Electrical Construction Industry, New York, February 17, 1921 6
2
The employers asked that the hourly wage be reduced from $1.25 to $1. The
union asked that the existing scale of $1 be continued, which the council granted.
“ * * * The adequacy of the wage to satisfy all o f the worker’s needs is
regulated by the cost o f living, and w ill vary with the fluctuating purchasing
power of the. dollar. Embodied in that statement is the principle upon which
the council has reached its decision on the Detroit dispute.
“ Instead of making up a budget of costs fo r the workman and his family,
which would necessarily involve the consideration of extremely unstable re­
tail prices fo r the purpose of this decision, the council feels justified in as­
suming that in general, the scales of wages prevailing in the years immediately
preceding the w a r were sufficiently high to satisfy all o f the worker’s needs.
In making this assumption, however, the council does not express an opinion
as to the sufficiency of the wages paid in these years. B ut in order to avoid
being misled by purely local and unstable or artificial conditions as reflected
by a low wage in one city and a considerably higher w age in a neighboring
city, and at the same time to avoid introducing the national wage factor, the
council has taken the average of the wages paid inside wiremen in the year
1914 in Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Detroit, which average is $4.56
per day of eight hours. The council selects 1914 as the base year fo r the
reason that it is the last normal year as shown by the wholesale commodity
price index numbers established by the Bureau of L abor Statistics, and fo r the
additional reason that there was then an apparent general satisfaction with
the w age standard.*
2
8

61 Arbitration between Springfield Street Railway Co. et al. and Amalgamated Associa­
tion. of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America. Division 448 of Springfield,
e t al. Award Feb 23 1922.
—
82 Council on Industrial Relations for the Electrical Construction Industry Bui. No. 1,
Mar. 15, 1921, pp. 2-0.




INDUSTRIAL. ARBITRATION BOARDS

237

“ The 4cost of living,’ or more specifically for our purpose, the cost o f food,
clothing, and shelter, is, as already stated, subject to wide and rapid fluctu­
ations when expressed in retail prices. The council therefore turns to whole­
sale prices which are fixed by national rather than local market conditions.
Wholesale prices reflect the commodity purchasing power of the dollar, which
purchasing power is in reality the value of the dollar. The changing value o f
the dollar is recorded by the wholesale price index number and fo r the pur­
pose o f computing the ratio of dollar values in various years the council
has adopted the Index numbers published by the Bureau o f L abor Statistics,
United States Department of Labor, for the reason that they are the only
index numbers with the authority o f the Government behind them. W ith
these index numbers at the most reliable medium for measurement, the council
computes the increased cost of living upon the year 1914 as the b a s e ; the year
1914 being selected fo r the same reason that it w as selected in connection with
establishing the base fo r a fa ir wage.
“ The average wholesale price index number for the year 1914 is 100.
“ The average wholesale price index number fo r the 12 months from Decem­
ber 1, 1919, to December 1, 1920 (the November, 1920, index number being the
Inst available), is 248.333.
“ The ratio between these two, an increase o f 148.333 per cent, indicates the
increase in the cost of living over that in 1914, and gives the correct ratio
between the wages paid in 1914 and the wages that should be paid to-day.
“ The average wage for journeymen electricians in the four cities mentioned
for the year 1914 was, as already stated, $4.56.
“ It would seem proper to increase the whole wage in the ratio established
by the index numbers, but the council recognizes the obligation which now
rests upon every citizen regardless o f his economic or social status to share
the burden of the national debt by making sacrifices wherever possible.
“ In its Research Report No. 30 of December, 1920, the National Industrial
Conference Board publishes a budget for the skilled workman’s family, in
which the expenditures are apportioned 79.6 per cent to the cost of subsistence
and 20.4 to ‘other purposes.’
“ It would be unjust and oppressive to reduce the allowance made for the
imperative necessities o f life. The sacrifice must be made therefore in the
allowance for satisfying the worker’s other requirements. The council there­
fore carries the 20.4 per cent of the budget apportioned to the satisfaction of
the worker’s needs other than imperative necessities into the present w age as a
constant expressed in dollars. In other words, only that part o f the wage
apportioned to meet the cost o f imperative necessities has been increased in
the ratio fixed by the index numbers.
“ Thus the council establishes a wage of $9.94 for journeymen electricians
as a fair w age in its relation to the present cost of living, the latter as fixed by
the wholesale price index numbers.6
3
“ In the interest o f simplifying the make-up of pay rolls the council increases
the $9.94 to $10.”
It was therefore the decision of the council that the w age scale of $10 in
effect in Detroit prior to January 21, 1921, be continued in effect until July 1,
1921.
The union, however, yielded to the claim of the employers that a lower rate
would stimulate business, and on A pril 1, 1921, reduced the rate to $9, and on
M ay 1, 1921, to $8. In May, 1923, the union before a local arbitration board
claimed that because of these voluntary reductions it w as fa ir that the $10
rate be restored and that this request w as justified because of the increased
cost of living. The council decided on June 1,1923, that a rate o f $8.18 per day
or $1.0225 per hour, would be justified if fixed on the basis of the change in
the cost o f living as shown in the figures o f the United States Bureau o f Labor
Statistics6 since the $10 rate w as established. The council, however, allowed
4
fo r a corrective factor of 10 per cent in view of the prevailing rates in other
branches of the building industry in Detroit and established a rate of $1,125 per
hour.

63This computation was made as follows: 79.6 per cent of $4.56 equals $3.63, which,
multiplied by the index number of 248.333, give® $9.01; 20.4 per cent of $4.56 equals 93
cents, which, added to $9.01, gives $9.94.
64 Percentage decrease in the cost of living in Detroit between December, 1920, and
March, 1923, was approximately 18 per cen t (Monthly Labor Review, May, 1923, p. 94.)




238

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

Printing Industry (Book and Job), St. Louis.—Derision>of Arbitration Board, Mr. Henry S.
Caulfield, chairman, November 1, 19208
5
“ The sole question submitted to me as the fifth arbitrator is:
“ ‘ W h a t shall be the minimum scale o f wages for hand compositors per
week fo r day work?*
“ Both sides to this arbitration have submitted fo r my consideration cer­
tain principles agreed upon by the International Joint Conference Council,
an organization of the printing industry in America in which both sides have
representation, together with certain comments and explanations thereon,
from the same sourca These principles, explanations and comments as they
have been offered in evidence, may, therefore be said to be conceded herein.
They are as fo llo w s:
•“ F ir s t T hat the industry frankly recognizes the cost o f living, as com­
pared to 1914, as the basic factor in w age adjustments.
“ ‘ Regardless o f the deliberately untruthful propaganda which has been
so widely circulated during the past four years, the facts are that the wages
o f hundreds o f thousands of workers have not been increased sufficiently
to meet the increased cost pf living. The inevitable result has been that the
pre-w ar standards o f living o f these workers have been reduced.
“ ‘ The Joint Conference Council, by the adoption of this principle, meets
this issue squarely and decisively. Since reduced standards of living have
been the basic factor in creating industrial unrest, the basic factor in re­
moving industrial unrest is the restoration of at least pre-w ar standards.
“ ‘ The members o f the Joint Conference Council have no thought o f estab­
lishing a fixed standard of living fo r any worker, nor have they arbitrarily
decided that all o f the wage scales o f 1914 were equitable. M anifestly some
o f them were not. * * * ’
“ The first principle obviously contemplates that the w age should be ad­
justed to meet the increase in the cost of living since 1914, so as to prevent
the workers’ standard of living being brought lower than it w a s in 1914.
“ The third factor, ‘the economic conditions o f the industry at the time o f
readjustm ent’ is not to be considered in making this first adjustment to
meet the increase in the cost o f living. Note the language, above quoted, ac­
companying the statement o f the third principle, as follow s:
“ ‘ F a ir adjustment to meet existing conditions having been made, then the
economic conditions of the industry becomes one of the basic factors to be con­
sidered.’
%
“ Evidently it is intended, at all hazards, to prevent the lowering o f the
standard of living below that o f 1914. * * *
“ Proceeding then to apply the first principle I find that the time as o f
which I must determine the cost o f living to be compared with that o f 1914
is October 1, 1920, fo r it is as of that time that the old contract between the
arbitrating parties expired and the new one w as made, and it is agreed that
my finding shall be effective as of that date.
“ The employers in their brief assert ‘ that 100 per cent is a reasonable ap­
proximation o f the increase in the cost o f living id St. Louis between 1914
and September 30, 1920.’
“ They submit statistics from governmental and other sources which tend
to support their assertion. B u t these statistics are unsatisfactory because the
one that deals with St. Louis alone touches only upon the retail prices o f food
which it places at 101.9 per cent greater on September 15, 1920, than in 1914.®®
The other deals with the entire cost o f living in the whole United States and
places the increase between July, 1914, and September, 1920, at 99.4 per cent.®7
Because these statistics show a downward tendency the employers assume
that 100 per cent is a reasonable approximation of the increase on September
30, 1920. I w ill accept this approximation, although somewhat doubtfully,
feeling that it is very probably too low, because I have no better evidence
upon which to base a higher figure.
*
“ I t m ay be assumed then that 100 per cent is a fa ir approximation o f the
increase in the cost o f living between 1914 and October 1,1920.6
5
— -----------------------------------

65 Arbitration between St. Louis Printers* League and St. Louis Typographical Union
No. 8. Decision Nov. 1, 1020.
66 Monthly Labor Review, November, 1920, p. 43, gives the increase in the retail cost of
food in St. Louis in September, 1920, as 110 per cent higher than in 1913.
87 National Industrial Conference Board. Percentage increase in the cost of living in
the United States, September, 1920, compared with July, 1914.




*

INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

239

“ It is agreed that the wage scale in 1914 w as $21 per week.
“ To adjust the wage scale to meet such 100 per cent increase in the cost o f
living, it must be increased at least 100 per cent or to at least $42 per week.”
(Decision, pp. 1, 3.)
The arbitrator also considered the principle established by the International
Joint Conference Council that the industry should pay a living wage.

Decisions made on a similar basis were—
Building industry, San Francisco— W age aw ard of board of arbitrators
for San Francisco Bay district, Rev. E dw ard J. Hanna, chairman,
March 31, 1921; Electrical construction industry , Cleveland— Electrical
contractors v. Local No. 38, International Brotherhood of Electrical
W orkers (decision of local arbitration board, Mr. W . R. McCornack,
chairman, June 11, 1921) ; Electrical construction industry , Indianapo­
lis— Decision of Council on Industrial Relations, July 8, 1921; Electrical
construction industry, Cleveland— Decision of Council on Industrial
Relations, A pril 18, 1922; Printing industry (booh and job), N ew
York— N ew York Employing Printers’ Association, closed-shop (Printers*
League) branch v. Printing Pressmen’s Union No. 51 (decision of arbi­
tration* board, Judge M artin T. Manton, chairman, March 19, 1920) ;
Printing industry ( newspaper), N ew York— Publishers’ Association v.
Typographical Union No. 6 (decision of Mr. Frank Morrison, M ay 2,
1919).

In other cases the decision o f the board has—
(1 )
Been based upon the change in the cost o f living, although
the exact figures have not been applied.
Building- Industry, Rochester, N. Y.—Decision of Mr. George Eastman, arbitrator, June 13,
1921 68

“ The facts upon which the discussion has been based are: (1 ) The scales
o f wages for all the building trades in Rochester from 1913 to 1920, which were
submitted and accepted by both Mr. Spencer and Mr. Friederich; (2 ) the
statistics regarding the cost of living in Rochester from 1914 to date, compiled
by the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and which were accepted by both
Mr. Spencer and Mr. Friederich. Both the figures regarding the wages and
the cost of living in Rochester were plotted by the statistician o f the East­
man Kodak Co., the charts prepared were accepted by both Mr. Spencer and
M r. Friederich as the basis for discussion. * * *
“ The cost of living during the first quarter of 1921 w as 14 per cent below
the average during the year 1920, while wages remained the same. It has
been carefully estimated that the average cost of living during the ensuing
year (A pril, 1921-March, 1922), w ill-be approximately 23 per cent below the
average cost of living during the year 1920— the May, 1921, cost of living was 20
per cent below the 1920 level. A 15 per cent reduction in wages w ill there• fore leave a margin of 8 points between the cost of living and wages during
the ensuing year. This margin, together with the margin which existed during
the first quarter of 1921, when wages remained at the high level of 1920, w ill
overcome to a large extent the discrepancy which existed between the cost of
living and wages in 1919.
“ I have therefore made the aw ard of a 15 per cent reduction in the scale
o f wages of masons; that the wages of masons, which prior to A pril 1, 1921,
were $1.25 per hour, be reduced to $1.06Vi per hour.”

Similar cases were—
Building industry, Cleveland— Building Trades Employers* Association v.
building-trade unions

(decision of arbitration board, June 9, 1921) ;

M ilk distribution industry, N ew York— N ew York M ilk Conference
Board i v local unions of International Brotherhood of Teamsters,-Chauf­
feurs, etc., of America (decision of arbitration board, Judge E dw in
L. Garvin, chairman. January 22, 1921); Printing industry (book and
job), Indianapolis— Typothetae of Indianapolis v. Printing Pressmen’s0
8

08 Arbitration between Mason Contractors’ Association and bricklayers’, stonemasons’,
plasterers', marble masons’, and tile layers’ unions. Decision, (Th§ Post Express, Roch­
ester, June 13, 1921.)




240

CHAP. V.----INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES
Union No. 17 and Press Assistants’ Union No. 39 (a w a rd of Mr. Frank
Wicks, November 1,1921) ; Printing industry ( book and job), N ew York—
Printers’ League of America, Branch No. 1 V. Franklin Union No. 23
.(decision of Mr. B. P. Willet, September 5, 1911) ; Printing industry
( book and job), Washington, D. C.— Typothetae of Washington, ClosedShop Division, r. Journeymen Bookbinders’ Union No. 4 and Women’s
Bindery Union No. 42 (decision o f arbitration board, Judge Jennings
Bailey, chairman, April, 1921) ; Printing industry ( newspaper), St.
Joseph, Mo.— Typographical Union No. 40 v. St. Joseph Gazette and St.
Joseph News-Press (decision of local arbitration board, Rev. Robert P o r­
ter, chairman, June 16, 1921) ; Printing industry ( newspaper), Portland,
Oreg.— Portland Newspaper Publishers’ Association r. Stereotypers and
Electrotypers’ Union No. 48 (decision of local arbitration board, Mr. Coe
A. McKenna, chairman, December 19, 1921); Street-railway industry ,
Boston— Division 589, Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric
R ailw ay Employees of America v. Boston Elevated R ailw ay Co. (a w a rd
o f Mr. Henry B. Endicott, February 28, 1918) ; Street-railway industry,
Boston and Worcester— Boston & Worcester Street R ailw ay Co. v. D i­
vision 620, Amalgamated Association o f Street and Electric R ailw ay
Employees of America (a w a rd of arbitration board, Mr. -Arthur Thad
Smith, November 14, 1921); Street-railway industry, Erie, Pa.— Buffalo
& Lake E rie Street Traction Co. v. Division 568, Amalgamated Associ­
ation of Street & Electric R ailw ay Employees of America (decision of
arbitration board, Rev. P. M. Cauley, chairman, November 14, 1919,
and decision of arbitration board, Rabbi M ax C. Currick, chairman,
June 11, 1921) ; Street-railway industry , Lexington, Ky.— Kentucky
Traction & Terminal Co. v. Division 639, Amalgamated Association of
Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America (a w a rd of Messrs.
George McLeod and A. A. Bablitz, A pril 14, 1921).

(2 ) O r been supported by cost-of-living figures, as in—
Building industry, Chicago— Building Construction Employers’ Association
v. building-trade unions (decision of Judge Kenesaw M. Landis, Jan­
uary 31, 1922) ; Printing industry {newspaper), Boston— Typographical
Union No. 13 v. Newspaper publishers (decision of Prof. George E.
Swain, July, 1921) ; Printing industry ( newspaper), Chicago— Typo­
graphical Union No. 16 v. Franklin Association of Chicago (decision of
Mr. H. Frank Pennington, June 13, 1922).

In other cases, while Jbhe award has not been based entirely on
the cost o f living, this factor has exerted a great influence in the
decision o f the arbitration board.
Boot and Shoe Industry. Chicago.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Prof. Charles E. Merriam,
chairman, November, 1921 6
9
This case was arbitrated on application of the Florsheim Shoe Co., for a #
reduction of 25 per cent in wages paid to its shopworkers under an agreement
between the company and the Boot and Shoe W orkers’ Union by the terms o f
which either party might ask fo r a revision of the wage scale on October 1 o r
A pril 1. The arbitration board denied the request of the company.7
0
“ Extended argument w as presented by both parties upon the question o f
the relation between increased and decreased cost of living on the one hand and
increased and decreased wage scale on the other. It is clear, however, that
unless so stipulated in the form of agreement, living costs can not be regarded
as an absolute standard in fixing wage scales, although, of course, they will
always be taken into consideration.
“ Generally speaking, the wage scale of the workers in the boot and shoe
industry in the United States remained behind others in wage increases during
the w a r times. This is shown by the following table taken from the report
of the National Industrial Conference Board No. 35:

69 Arbitration re application
the wages of the employees
Review, March, 1922, pp. 114,
70 In April, 1922, by mutual




of the Florsheim Shoe Co. for reduction of 25 per cent in
of the firm. Award, November, 1921. (Monthly Labor
115.)
agreement, there, was a reduction of 10 per cent.

241

INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

Per cent of increase
Industry
Men
Chemical
_
_
_
_
___ _
Hosiery and knit goods _ __ _____ _____ ___ _ ________ ____
......... -..........................................-............................
Wool
Paper......... ............ ....................... .................. ... ............
Boots and shoes..... .................... .....i............................... ...
Rubber_____________________________________________________

Women

19
5
14
4
18
3
12
3
84
71

17
5
14
2
7
1

“ The following table shows the difference in the present case between the
w age received and the w age adjusted to increased living cost in the years 1914
to 1921:

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WAGE RECEIVED IN CHICAGO BOOT AND SHOE INDUSTRY
AND AMOUNT NECESSARY TO COVER COST OF LIVING, 1914 TO 1921
Weekly wage neces­
sary to cover in­ Weekly wage received
creased living cost
Year
Amount

Per cent
of increase
over 1914 *

Difference
as com­
pared with
living cost

$15.61
18.11
21.48
26.10
31.22

3.0
19.3
41.8
72.2
100.6

$15.16
15.80
17.12
17.93
24.06
24.79

+$0.19
-.9 9
-3.55
-1.94
-6.43

32.53
29.30

114.6
93.3

27.86
27.86

-4.67
-1.44

27.05
26.57

78.4
75.3

27.86
27.98

+.81
+1.41

1914 _____

1915...................................................................................
1916..................................................................................
1917..................................................................................
1918..................................................................................
1919...................................................................................
1920:
January to June........................................................
July to December......................................................
1921:
January to May................... ....................................
October 8...................................................................

Amount

1 Per cent of increase in cost of living in Chicago, from Monthly Labor Review, Novdbaber, 1921, p. 78.
“ These figures indicate (Oct. 8, 1921) an increase in wages of 84.5 per cent
over the 1914 basis, and an increase in cost of living of 75 per cent over the
1914 period. O r as indicated in the table, the average wage is now $27.98,
while the average wage adjusted to the cost of living would be $26.57. A re­
duction of $1.41, or 5 per cent, would produce a wage translated in terms of
living costs. This is true only providing there are no offsets. In this case,
there are a number o f offsets which must be considered.”
The “ offsets” which the board thought should be allowed for were (1 ) the
lag between wages and the cost of living during the w ar period; (2 ) deferred
purchasing during the period of high prices; (3 ) increased cost of living dur­
ing the winter months; (4 ) allowance .for general elevation of standards of
living each year.
The board also considered (1 ) general business conditions with the general
downward trend of prices and wages, (2 ) competitive conditions affecting the
company, and (3 ) the ability of the company to pay. The company, however,
declined to consider the question of the ability of the company to pay as a
part of the inquiry and little information w as presented) relative to competi­
tive conditions, hence the decision not to grant any reduction w as mainly based
upon the cost of living.

The same has been true in other cases:
Boot and shoe industry, Rochester— Rochester Boot and Shoe Manufac­
turers’ Association v. Joint Council No. 6, United Shoe W orkers of
America (decision of arbitration board, Col. Sanford E. Thompson,
chairman, October 22,1921) ; Building industry, San Francisco— Builders’
Exchange v. Building-Trade Unions (decision o f wage board, Rev.
Edw ard J. Hanna, chairman, December, 1921) ; Cloth hat and cap in­
dustry, Boston— Boston Cap Manufacturers’ Association v. Local No. 7,




242

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES
%
%

United Cloth H a t and Cap Makers of America (decision of Judge
Thomas H. Connelly, August 4, 1922) ; Cloth hat m d cap industry, N ew
York— Cloth H at and Cap M anufacturers’ Association v. United Cloth
H a t and Cap M akers o f North America (decision of board, Dr. Paul
Abelson, chairman, M ay 21, 1921) ; Men’s clothing industry , Chicago—
Decision of Prof. H. A. Millis, April, 1921; Paper industry , United States
and Canada— Paper Manufacturers v. employees (decision o f Judge
Frank Irvin e; letter to United States Bureau of L abor Statistics) ;
Printing industry, Cincinnati— United States Printing & Lithograph Co.
v. Electrotypers’ Union No. 31 (decision of Prof. E arle E. Eubanks, Feb­
ruary 16, 1922) ; Printing industry (hook and job), K ansas City— Em ­
ploying printers v. Press Assistants’ Union No. 20 (a w a rd of arbitra­
tion board, Mr. J. T. Franey, chairman, February 28, 1922) ; Printing
industry (hook and joh), N ew York— N ew York Employing Printers’
Association, Closed-Shop (Printers’ League) Branch v. Typographical
Union No. 6 (a w a rd of Judge A lfred J. Talley, December 21, 1922) ;
Print'ng industry (hook and joh), Washington, D. C.— Typothetae o f
Washington, Closed-Shop Division v. Printing Pressmen’s Union No. 1
(decision of Rev. James Shera Montgomery, January 21, 1922) ; P rin t ing industry (hook and joh), Washington, D. C.— Press Feeders and
Assistants* Union No. 42 v. Typothetae o f Washington, Closed-Shop D i­
vision (decision o f Mr. James L. Wilmeth, March 15, 1923) ; Printing
industry (hook and joh), Washington, D. C.— Typothetae o f W ashing­
ton, Closed-Shop Division, v. Columbia Typographical Union No. 101
(decision pf Judge Fenton W . Booth, M arch 31, 1923) ; Street-railway
industry, Haverhill, Mass.— Massachusetts Northeastern Street R ailw ay
Co. v. Divisions 595 and 785, Amalgamated Association of Street and
Electric R ailw ay Employees o f America (decision of arbitration board,
Mr. Thomas H. Mahoney, chairman, August 9, 1921); Street-railway
industry, Ithaca, N. Y.— Ithaca Traction Co. v. Employees (decision of
Judge Frank Irvine, October 28, 1921) ; Street-railway industry, Mem­
phis, Tenn.— Memphis Street R ailw ay Co. v. Employees (decision of
arbitration board, Bishop Thomas F. Gailor, chairman, October 6, 1919) ;
Street-railway industry, N ew Haven— The Connecticut Co. v. Employees
(decision o f arbitration board, Judge John K. Beach, chairman, June
12, 1922) ; Street-railway industry, Syracuse— N ew York State R ail­
w ays v . Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric R ailw ay Em ­
ployees o f America, local divisions of Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica
(decision of arbitration board, Judge Arthur E. Sutherland, chairman,
June 18, 1921).

In the decisions o f some arbitration boards greater emphasis was
placed upon the increase in the cost o f livin g when fixing rates fo r
the lower-paid employees.
Street-Railway Industry, Boston.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Mr. James J. Storrow,
chairman, January 15, 19147
1
“ There is another consideration which the board has felt it should have
in mind in dealing with the increase in the cost of living, and that is that
the cost of living probably does determine, or nearly determine, the wages
of the man receiving the smallest p a y ; but, as you rise in the scale of wages,
you obviously gradually depart from the mere cost of living, and, instead of
paying to a man a w age determined by the necessary cost o f living, you begin
to take into account skill, ability, judgment, knowledge, and other factors.
I f a company needs in its employ a man having ability, skill, knowledge, and
judgment, it must pay fo r these qualities. It can not secure such a man by
saying to him, ‘ W e w ill pay you the cost of living.’ These qualities have a
value, and a man is paid accordingly. Then the employee so paid for these
qualities proceeds, as is the custom with all sensible men, to live upon a scale
which is in accord with his income; but the scale o f living is not the cost of
living, and it is confusing to treat these two things as being the same. This
consideration has inclined the board in dealing with the w age question to
place greater emphasis upon the increase in the cost of living, when consider­
ing wages at or near the minimum.” (Pp. 15, 16.)

71 Arbitration between the Boston Elevated Railway Co. and the Boston Carmen’s
Union. Report, Jan. 15, 1914, pp. 14-16 and 53-86.




INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

243

In this case no cost-of-living figures were presented by the company. The
figures presented by the union were accepted. The board took the average
for the 10-year period 1890 to 1899 as the basis for measuring the increased
cost of living rather than the year 1897, as presented by the union, and
“ found and has had in mind that the cost of living has increased since 1903
(that is to say, between 1903 and 1913) approximately 14 per cent, and since
1908 (that is to say, between 1908 and 1913) approximately 8 per cent.”
The increase in the cost of living since 1897, as presented by the union, w as
not applied to the 1897 w age because in many instances there w as no record
of what this w age w as nor of whether it w as adequate. The board con­
sidered that the w age advances paid the men since 1897 had offset -as fa r
as they went the increase in the cost of living. The wages awarded by the
board were increased slightly for each o f the three years for which the aw ard
was effective.

Some arbitration boards objected to basing wages on the figures
showing per cent o f change in the cost o f living—
(1 )
Because they considered that the workers should not neces­
sarily return to the real wage o f 1914.
Printing Industry (Book and Job), Washington, D. C.—Decision of Judge Fenton W. Booth,
arbitrator, March 31, 1923 7
2
'‘ Next, it is contended by the Typothetae that 'P e a k wages o f w a r times
are still in effect’ The Typothetae, much to its credit, is now paying the
highest minimum w age scale it has ever paid. The argument advanced to
sustain this proposition as a cumulative reason why wages should be decreased,
is rested largely upon the same hypothesis as the decline in the cost of living.
It is asserted that the cost of living has increased 56 per cent since 1914, and
the wages of the union since that time have been advanced 125 per cent. The
result expressed in percentage is mathematically correct, but argumentatively
fallacious. I f it is to be accorded probative force it must be shown that the
minimum w age scale of 1914 w as compensatory and not below the standard
the industry w as financially able to pay.
“ The mere fact that labor agreed to accept such a wage scale is only one
factor in establishing the fairness o f the same. Undoubtedly the wages paid
during the months when w a r w as flagrant are being paid now in almost every
line of human activity, and this fact alone is not of any force in warranting
a reduction in wages, unless it appears that the wages paid in any particular
instance, may not be paid, and leave the owner, or owners, of the industry a
just, reasonable and compensatory profit fo r his labor and investment.”

Street-Railway Industry, Dayton, Ohio.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Prof. J. E. Hagerty,
chairman, October 27, 19207
3
“ The objection to the application of increased percentages, the costs in de­
termining wages, consists in the assumption of the adequacy of a wage at the
time the comparison is made. For instance, if we know what wages were in
1914, and if they were adequate then, from our knowledge of the increased
cost of living from 1914 to 1920, w e would know what wages should be now.
The real question in the use of the method of increased or decreased percent­
ages is, were wages adequate in 1914, or the form er date from which it is de­
sired to make a comparison? On this question this method throws no light.
“ In 1914 the car men received in Dayton 27 cents an hour. Since then the
cost of living in the United States has increased 110 per cent.7 To have the
4
same standard o f living in 1920 as the car men had in 1914 on 27 cents, they
should now receive 57 cents an hour. W e do not believe that w age earners
should necessarily return to the wages of 1914, and our aw ard is in excess of
this amount.”

72 Arbitration between the Typothetae of Washington, closed-shop division (Inc.) and
Columbia Typographical Union No. 101. Decision of arbitrator, Mar. 81, 1923.
73 Arbitration of a wage scale between the street-railway companies of Dayton and the
street-railway companies^ Award and statement of the board, Oct. 27,
employees of
1920, p. 5.
74 The increase in the cost of living in the United States in June, 1920, compared with
1913, was 116.5 per cent, according to figure® of the U. iS. Bureau of Labor Statistics
(Monthly Labor Review, October, 1920, p. 65), and 104.5 per cent in July, 1920, as com­
pared with July, 1914, according to the figures of the National Industrial Conference
Board Research Report No. 30, p. 27.




244

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

(2 )
Because it was not considered just to settle the controversy
merely on the basis o f a reduction in the cost o f livin g without know­
ing the capacity o f the business to pay the existing wage, the rela­
tion o f the labor cost to the total cost, and whether or not the reduc­
tion requested was necessary to the revival o f the business.
Meat-Cutting Industry, Portland, Oreg.—Decision of Mr. Walter H. Evans, impartial member
of Arbitration Committee, August 13, 19217
5
“A s the third member of the arbitration committee I wish to say that I do
not care to settle such an important matter solely upon the change in the cost
o f living, for so to do would mean to eliminate the question of the capacity
o f your business, to pay the present wage, to forget the relation of the labor
cost to the total cost, and, therefore, to the prices, and to fa il in determining
whether this reduction is necessary to a revival in the business of the retail
sale of meats. I f I were compelled to settle the question solely on the testi­
mony before us, I would say that a reduction in wages is in order, because
the testimony shows that the retail butcher business has fallen off from 40
to 50 per cent during the last year, and that the cost of living has come down
even a greater percentage, but, nevertheless, I am not satisfied that the men
are getting a higher minimum than is required for their proper subsistence,
nor am I satisfied that the business, generally speaking, w iU not be able to
maintain the present standard.”

Some boards made allowance in their awards fo r the rising cost o f
living.
Electrical construction industry , Cleveland— Decision of Council on Indus­
trial Relations, A pril 18, 1922; Electrical construction industry , H am il­
ton, Ohio— Local No. 648, International Brotherhood o f Electrical W orkers

v . Electrical Contractors* Association (decision of Council on Industrial
Relations, July 20, 1922); Street-railway industry , Erie, Pa.— Buffalo &
Lake E rie Traction Co. v. Division 568, Amalgamated Association o f
Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America (decision o f arbi­
tration board, Rev. P. M. Cauley, chairman, November 14, 1919).

O r thought that allowance should be made fo r the increased cost
o f livin g during the winter.
Boot and Shoe Industry, Chicago.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Prof. Charles E. Merriam,
chairman, November, 19217
6
“ * * * Some allowance must be made fo r the increased cost o f living
during the winter months. The period under consideration covers the time
between October 1 and A p ril 1, and therefore coincides with the winter season
in Chicago. The Rochester (N . Y .) board estimated the increased cost of
living during the winter months at 5 per cent. W ithout accepting this figure,
it is sufficient to state that some allowance should be made fo r the additional
cost o f clothing and fuel during the winter period.

This stand was also taken in—
Boot m d shoe industry, Rochester— Rochester Boot and Shoe M anufac­
turers* Association v. Joint Council No. 6, United Shoe W orkers o f
America (decision of arbitration board, Col. Sanford E. Thompson, chair­
man, October 22, 1921) ; and Street-railway industry , Ithaca, N. Y.—
Ithaca Traction Co. v. Employees (decision of Judge Frank Irvine,
October 28, 1921).

78 Letter of the third arbitrator, Mr. Walter H. Evans, to the Retail Meat Market
Men's Association, Portland, Oreg., and the Meat Cuttters’ Union, Local No. 143, Port­
land, Oreg., Aug. 13, 1921.
76 Arbitration re application of the Florsheim Shoe Co. for reduction of 25 per cent in
the wages of its employees. Award, November, 1921, (Monthly Labor Review* March,
J022, p. 115.)
*




245

INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

Or provided fo r future adjustments to be made on a certain date
on the basis o f cost-of-living figures.
Boot and shoe industry, N ew York— Shoe Manufacturers’ Board of Trade
of N ew York v. American Shoe W orkers’ Protective Union (decision of
arbitration board, Judge E dw ard B. Thomas, chairman, December 1,
1921) ; Building industry , Rochester— Mason Contractors’ Association v.
certain building-trade unions (decision of Mr. George Eastman, June 18,
1921).

The lag in wages when the cost o f livin g was advancing was taken
into consideration by some arbitrators.
Electrical Construction Industry, Washington, D. C.—Decision of Council on Industrial Rela­
tions for the Electrical Construction Industry, May 1, 19227
7
The union requested that wages be increased from $1.06% to $1.25 per hour.
The employers offered a rate of $1.12%, effective A pril 6, 1928, and $1.25,
effective March 1, 1924. Being unable to agree, the parties submitted the case
to the Council on Industrial Relations for this industry fo r arbitration. The
council averaged the 1914 rate paid in several cities and determined that the
1914 rate paid in Washington w as 1.9 cents less per hour than that paid in
the other cities, but concluded that the rate in Washington in 1914 w as “ a
reasonably satisfactory rate to both employers and employees.” The average
rate in these other cities (N e w York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis,
Boston, Pittsburgh, and N e w a rk ) in May, 1923, w as $1,116. From the purchas­
ing power of the dollar as determined by the cost-of-living figures of the N a ­
tional Industrial Conference Board, the council computed the loss in real wages
to the employees from 1914 to 1922 to have been $633.68 or $70.40 per year.
Considering the average wage in other cities mentioned above, the fact that
“ the wage earner had sustained an actual loss for the nine years o f $633.68 ”
and that “ every effort at stabilizing and equalizing wages means in its last
analysis the correction of inequalities and the removal of causes of discontent ”
the council decided that a rate of $1.12% per hour should be paid from A pril 16,
1923, to October 1, 1923, and of $1.18% from October 1, 1923, to February 29,
1924.
The following table w as used by the council to show the loss in real wages
since 1914 to the employees in the electrical construction industry of W ash­
ington :
LOSS IN REAL WAGES TO EMPLOYEES OF ELECTRICAL CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
IN WASHINGTON, D. C., 1 1 TO 1 2
94
92

Year

1014
_ ....... .....................................
1915...........................................................................
1916............................................................................
1917 ......................................................................1918.............................................................. -...........
1919...........................................................................
1920......................................................-....................
1921
. ..... ........................................... —
1922
.........................................................
Total............................................... -..............
Average per year______________________

Annual in­
come based
on working Value of
year of 270 dollar®
days at pre­
vailing rate
$1,296.00
1,296.00
1,296.00
1,296.00
1,620.00
2,160.00
2,160.00
2,295.00
2,295.00

100.0
99.5
92.0
76.2
65.7
58.1
48.9
61.3
64.6

Real income

Amount

$1,296.00
1,289.52
1,192.32
987.55
1,064.34
1,254.96
1,056.24
1,406.82
1,482.57

b

Loss (— or
)
gain (+) as
compared
with 1914
-$6.48
-103.68
-308.45
-231.66
-41.04
-239.76
+110.82
+186.57
—
633.68
-70.40

« Computed from cost-of-living figures of the National Industrial Conference Board for July, 1
915,1916,
and 1 1 ; June, 1 1 ; July, 1 1 , 1 2 , and 1 2 ; and March, 1 2 .
97
98
99 90
91
92
Obtained by multiplying the value of the dollar by the wage received.
77 Council on. Industrial Relations for the Electrical Construction Industry Bui. No. 8,
May 1, 1923, pp. 3-5: The Washington decision.




246

-CHAP. V.— ItfDtTSTRlAL AGENCIES

Street-Railway Industry* Springfield, Mass.—Decision of Arbitration Board* Mr. James J.
Storrow, chairman* February 23* 19227
8
In the hearing before the arbitration board a chart w as presented showing
the trend in the cost of living and in the standard pay for the standard ninehour day in Springfield from June, 1912, to January, 1920. Concerning the
rise in wages compared with the rise in the cost o f living the board s a id :
“ Starting June, 1912, with the per diem rate of $2.85 for the ten-hour day
then prevalent in Springfield, and taking the cost of living as it prevailed at
that time, a comparison is made between the rise in the wages of these
employees depicted by the rectangular black line and the rise in the cost of
living to June, 1920, depicted by the undulating red line. A comparison o f
the two lines shows that during this period the increase in wages only once,
and then only for a short period, exceeded the rise in the cost of living, and
that fo r extended periods and in spite of the rapid rise in wages the pay of
these employees lagged materially behind the rise in.the cost o f living. The
chart brings out clearly the justice of these first four w age increases, and, in
fact, indicates that in the summer of 1918 wages could have been raised
with justice to $4.30 instead of $3.87 actually fixed. * * *
“ W e have pointed out, in connection with the diagram shown on page 9,
that the advances in the pay of these men lagged behind the rise in the cost
of living. Thes# men, therefore, are entitled to an offsetting lag in w age
reduction as the cost of living goes down.” (A w ard , p. 20.)
The board ruled that the rate of 68 cents per hour for motormen and con­
ductors should be continued in Worcester from January 1, 1922, to M arch 1,
1922, and reduced to 58 cents per hour from March 1, 1922, to January 1, 1923.
The same rates o f wages were to be applied to Springfield. In this connection
the board said: “ W e have postponed putting into operation the lower rate
until March 1st because we think the men are entitled to this amount o f lag
because of the lag in their wages as the cost of living w as going up.”

Other cases in which a similar position was taken w ere:
Boot and shoe industry , Chicago— Florsheim

Shoe Co. v. employees
(decision of arbitration board, Prof. Charles E. Merriam, chairman,
November, 1921) ; Building industry , Rochester— Mason Contractors’
Association v. Certain Building Trade Unions (decision of Mr. George
Eastman, June 13, 1921); Men's clothing industry , Chicago— A m al­
gamated Clothing W orkers of America v. Clothing Manufacturers (d e­
cision of arbitration board, Mr. James H. Tufts, chairman, December
22, 1919) ; Printing industry , Cincinnati— United States Printing &
Lithograph Co. v. Electrotypers’ Union No. 31 .(decision of Prof. E arle
E dw ard Eubanks, February 16, 1922) ; Street-railway industry , Boston
and Worcester— Boston & Worcester Street R ailw ay Co. v. Division
620, Amalgamated Association o f Street and Electric R ailw ay Em ­
ployees o f America (decision of arbitration board, Mr. Arthur Thad
Smith, chairman, November 14, 1921) ; Street-railway industry , N ew
Haven— The Connecticut Co. v. Employees (decision of arbitration
board, Judge John K. Beach, chairman, October 15, 1921) ; Streetrailw ay industry, Syracuse— N ew York State R ailw ays v. Amalgamated
Association o f Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of Am erica (de­
cision o f arbitration board, Judge A rthur S. Sutherland, chairman,
June 28, 1920).

Other arbitrators, however, refused to consider this factor.
iSlectrical Construction Industry, Baltimore.—Decision of Council on Industrial Relations of
the Electrical Construction Industry* October 19* 1922 7
8
“ The council does not accept that theory o f w age adjustment which seeks
to make compensation fo r what may be considered prior underpayment.”

This position has been taken in other cases:
Electrical construction industry , Terre Haute— Decision o f Council on
June 28, 1920).7
9
8

78 Arbitration, between Springfield Street Railway Co. et al. and Divisions 448 and 22,
Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America, Award,
Feb. 23, 1922, pp. 9, 12, 20.
79 Journal of Electrical Workers!* December, 1922, p. 42.




INDUSTRIAL. ARBITRATION BOARDS

247

ilton, Ohio— Decision o f Council on Industrial Relations, July 20, 1922;

Printing industry, N e w Y ork— Employing Electrotypers’ and Stereotypers’
Association v. Stereotypers’ Union No. 1 (decision of Mr. Lawrence T.
Hinch, A pril 12, 1922).

Some arbitration boards considered that deferred purchasing* dur­
ing the war should be allowed for.
Boot and Shoe Industry, Chicago.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Prof. Charles E. Merriam,
chairman, November, 1921 8
0
“ * * * * during the period o f high prices there has been a considerable
amount of deferred purchasing. This has been made necessary by inability to
buy and has involved continued use o f articles ordinarily replaced.
No
statistical data are available showing the amount o f such deferred purchases,
but no observer of living conditions can ignore the substantial character o f this
item.”

Certain arbitration boards took into consideration the rates o f
wages and the cost o f livin g in similarly located and economically
conditioned towns.
Electrical Construction Industry, Terre Haute.—Decision of Council on Industrial Relations
for Electrical Construction Industry, July 1, 19228
1
In this case the employees requested a rate o f $1 per hour and employers
requested a rate of less than 90 cents per hour.
“ It is not possible in the opinion of the council, when considering the wage
rate of journeymen electricians, in Terre Haute, to entirely ignore the rates of
wages and the living costs in similarly located and conditioned towns, because
the available data, of undoubted and unbiased authority, pertaining to the eco­
nomic conditions in any one town are too meagre to form the basis of a wage
adjustm ent; and because of the further and more important fact of the partial,
if not complete, industrial dependence of such towns as Terre Haute on the
near-by larger industrial communities, which serve as centers of supply fo r
food, clothing, materials, labor, and banking facilities.
“ The council has therefore considered wages and the cost of living in such
cities as Springfield, 111., Indianapolis, East St. Louis, and Evansville, as well
as the average cost of living in the 51 cities which have been selected fo r
analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“ W h ile it has not been possible for the council to discover a cost of living
index number applicable specifically to Terre Haute, yet sufficient general data
are available from which to construct such a number which w ill be accurate
within 1 per cent. That number is 160. * * *
“Applying the approximate cost-of-living index number to the average w age
paid to journeymen in the five towns before mentioned, the resultant wage would
be 86.4 cents per hour. The average 1922 wage in Springfield, Evansville,
Indianapolis, and E ast St. Louis is $1.06. * * *
“ B y giving due weight to the method of wage adjustment by the use of
cost-of-living index numbers, and also due weight to the principle of stabiliza­
tion of the w age in towns similarly situated geographically and economically, it
appears that the rate fo r journeymen electricians in Terre H aute should be
95 cents per hour, hnd the council so decides.”

This procedure has been followed in other cases:
Electrical construction industry , Baltimore-—Institute of Electrical Con­
tractors of Maryland, Inc., v. Local 28, International Brotherhood of
Electrical W orkers (decision of Council on Industrial Relations, October,
19, 1922) ; Electrical construction industry , E ast Liverpool, Ohio— Con­
tractor-Dealers v. Local 93, International Brotherhood of Electrical

80 Arbitration In re application Florsheim Shoe Co. for reduction of 25 per cent in
wages of its employees. Award, November, 1921. (Monthly Labor Review, March, 1922,
p. 115.)
81 Arbitration between Local No. 725, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
of Terre Haute, Ind., and certain electrical contractors of Terre Haute. Decision.
Council on Industrial Relations for the Electrical Construction Industry Bui. No, 5, July
1, 1922, pp. 2, 3.




248

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES
W orkers (decision o f Council on Industrial Relations, M ay 18, 1022):

Electrical construction industry , Hamilton, Ohio— Electrical Contractors*
Association v. Local 648, International Brotherhood of Electrical W orkers
(decision of Council on Industrial Relations, July 20, 1922) ; Street-rail­
way industry , Syracuse— N ew York State R ailw ays v. Amalgamated
Association of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees o f America
(a w a rd o f arbitration board, Judge A rth u r E. Sutherland, chairman,
June 28,1920.)

In some cases the arbitrator considered not only the wage rate
but the possible amount that could be earned during the year..
Building Industry, Chicago.—Decision of Judge Kenes&w M. Landis, September 7, 19218*
2
“ W hile it may be true that since the existing scale w as fixed, living costs
have been reduced approximately 20 per cent, and that the rates here an­
nounced may impress persons unfam iliar with these trades as high, when
compared with wages paid in other industries, it' must be remembered in the
building trades, workers are limited by weather conditions and other causes
to from 150 to 200 days’ work per year.”

Paper Industry, United States and Canada.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Judge Fran’
Irvine, chairman, effective August 22, 1921 8
8
“ It is also evident that the w elfare of the workers depends upon the ag­
gregate compensation paid fo r a considerable period rather than upon the
rates of wages per hour or per day. A lower rate with steady or substan­
tially steady employment affords greater compensation than a higher rate on
part time or with long periods o f idleness.”

Other boards have also taken this stand:
Boot and shoe industry , Rochester— Rochester Boot and Shoe M anufac­
turers’ Association v. Joint Council No. 6, United Shoe W orkers o f
America (decision o f arbitration board, October 22, 1921, Col. Sanford
E. Thompson, chairman) ; Building industry , San Francisco— Builders’
Exchange v. Building Trades Council (decision of board, Rev. E dw ard
J. Hanna, chairman, December, 1921) ; Garment industry, Cleveland—
Decision of board of referees, April, 1921, and April, 1922.

I t was held by some arbitration boards that the fact o f a wage
having been agreed upon at some prior date does not prove that the
wage so agreed upon was fair.
Street-Railway Industry, Boston and Worcester.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Mr. Arthur
Thad Smith, chairman, November 14, 19218*
4
“ * * * O f course it is true that the mere fact that the parties entered
into an agreement does not mean that they were satisfied or that the amount
fixed w as a fa ir wage.” *
The chairman of the arbitration board, however, contended that in this case
neither o f the parties w as at any disadvantage at the time of entering into
the contract, and that there w as no difference in their strategic position or
power. And, from the wages previously paid and the fluctuations in the cost
o f living and general business conditions, the chairman considered that the
maximum rate of 60 cents per hour agreed upon in November, 1920, w as fa ir
and did not consider it necessary to go farther back than this agreement as a
basis to determine upon a fair w age fo r the year 1921-22.

82 Arbitration between the Building Construction Employers Association and certain
building-trade unions. Decision, Chicago,. Sept. 7, 1921, p. 5.
88 Arbitration between a group of manufacturers and the labor organizations in the
paper industry in the United States and Canada. Decision. Proceedings of board of
arbitration, book No. 1, p. 7.
84 Arbitration, between Boston & Worcester Street Railway Co. and Amalgamated Asso­
ciation of Street and Electric Railway Employees and Division 620 thereof. Finding and
award, Nov. 14, 1921, p. 4,




IN roST E IA L ARBITRATION BOAM)S

m

Other boards have also done this:
Street-railway industry, N e w Haven— The Connecticut Co. v. Employees
(decision o f arbitration board, Judge John K. Beach, chairman, Octo­
ber 15, 1921) ; Street-railway industry , Springfield, Mass.— Springfield
Street R ailw ay Co., et al. v. Divisions 448 and 22, Amalgamated Asso­
ciation of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America (decision
of arbitration board, Mr. James J. Storrow, chairman, February 23,
1922).

In the following case, although the basis fo r the decision was not
stated in the award, practically all the testimony by both employer
and employees related to the cost o f living:
Printing Industry (Newspaper), Seattle.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Mr. U. C. Gates,
chairman, March 12, 19238
5
In the local arbitration case between the newspaper publishers o f Seattle
and Typographical Union No. 202, the publishers asked that wages fo r day­
work be reduced from $8 to ^$7.75, and for night work from $8.50 to $8.20.
The union argued for the continuance of the existing scale.
The publishers based their argument for a decrease mainly on the decrease
in the cost of living,8 contending that the decrease should be applied to the
6
budget o f cost of living instead of to the wage, and showing the difference in
results arrived at by these two methods.
A press release of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics dated Jan­
uary 20, 1923, showing changes in the cost of living from December, 1914,
to December, 1922, in 31 cities, w as submitted as the publishers’ Exhibit “A ” :
“ W e refer you to page 6 o f this exhibit and you w ill note thereon the
figures for Seattle, W ash.
“ In December, 1919, on which the present typographical scale w as based,
the index number w as 197.7, and in December, 1922, it w as 166.7, a decrease
o f 31. To arrive at the actual decrease in the cost of living w e divide the
decrease o f 31 by the original December, 1919, figure, plus the basis of 100, on
which it is made. Therefore, dividing 31 by 197.7, we have an actual decrease
in the cost o f living in Seattle of 15.7 per cent between the two periods.
“ The w agg scale determined in December, 1919, and January, 1920, w as $8
fo r daywork and $8.50 fo r night work and based on the cost-of-living figure
of 197.7.
“ W e now take 15.7 per cent of $8, which is $1.26, and 15.7 per cent of
$8.50, which is $1.33. Deducting these amounts from the wages now paid
would leave $6.74 for daywork and $7.17 fo r night work, which should be the
exact scale fo r Seattle at this time.” (Proceedings, p. 26.)
Inasmuch as no budget w as available fo r 1914, the employers based their
argument as to the fairness of the wage on a budget prepared by the Labor
Bureau (In c .) of N ew Y ork City fo r the printing trades of that city in N o­
vember, 1920.
“ W e also state that the application of cost-of-living figures direct to wages
is incorrect reasoning. F o r instance, if wages in 1913 were $5 per day and
to-day the cost of living has increased 70 per cent, the correct w age to-day
would not be 70 per cent of $5 added to $5, or $8.50 per day.
“ The correct w ay to apply cost-of-living figures to wages is to find in this
case, first, w hat w as the budget fo r a $5 per-day man in 1913, which budget
or living cost would be less than $5, for the intelligent man alw ays spends less
than his wages. I f we could determine a budget fo r that 1913 date, then we
could multiply the budget by the increased cost of living and get his budget
fo r to-day. Therefore the union chart exhibit handed in is incorrect, fo r at no
point have they allowed a budget to be shown. N o budget was worked out
until 1920. * * *
“ The index number for N ew Y ork in December, 1920, w as 201.4.
“ The index number for Seattle in December, 1920, w as 194.1.

85 Arbitration between publishers of Seattle Daily Times et al. and Seattle Typographi­
cal Union No. 202. 1923.
86Other factors argued by the publishers were: (1) Wage reduction to aUied printing
crafts in Seattle, and (2) the wage scale, working conditions, etc;, in. the same craft in
other States of the Northwest and of the United States.




m

CHAP. V.— -INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

“ The Seattle figures are 7.3 less than N ew York, which amounts to 3.7
per cent, which shows the cost of living at that time to have been 3.7 per cent
higher in N e w Y ork than in Seattle.
“ B y deducting 3.7 per cent from the budget figure o f $2,632.68, w e get a
figure of $2,535.27, which represents the corresponding budget in Seattle in
November, 1920.
“ In November, 1920, and ever since, this union has been receiving as wages
a minimum of $2,496 per year on the day side and $2,652 on the night side.
The cost of living having fallen 15 per cent since November, 1920, the budget
fo r Seattle would now be 15 per cent off o f $2,535.27, or $2,154.98, when, in fact,
they are receiving $2,496 and $2,652 per year per man, or $78 per year per
man. Even with this reduction of 25 cents per day per man the scale w ill
provide fo r an ample saving margin, which is as it should be. A lso please
bear in mind that the union has had the advantage of their present high wage
while this cost-of-living decrease has been taking place.
“ I f the correct wage were paid, i. e., $2,154.98, divided by 313 working-days,
equals $6.88 per man per day as the fa ir w age to-day to maintain his standard
of living. W e ask that you compare this method of computing the scale as
against our application o f living-cost reduction of 15.7 per cent on the 1920
scale, bringing the figure down to $6.74, just 14 cents less per day per man
than when figured on the budget comparison as outlined above. Evidently the
1920 scale must have been just about correct. * * *
“ * * * w e have shown your board by two different methods— one of the
budget and cost-of-living comparisons and the other by the application o f the
present index figures to the 1920 scale— that we are fu lly entitled to a decrease
in the w age of approximately $1 per day more than we do ask for.” (P r o ­
ceedings, pp. 182-184.)
The union contended that the w age should be based on the wages of 1913,
which represent the result o f 10 years o f agreements between the parties,
and on the increase in the cost o f living since that time. It submitted the
w age contract and copies of the Monthly L abor Review fo r May, 1922, and
February, 1923, to show the increase in the cost of living in Seattle since
December, 1914, and also a chart of the trend o f wages and in the cost o f living
during this period showing that wages had not increased so fast as the cost
of living* and that they did not show such a high percentage of increase at the
peak. It submitted also a table showing fo r nine years since 1916 the loss in
w ages when compared with a w age increased by the same percentage as the
cost o f livingr
“ I offer a chart showing the rise in cost of living and w age increases fo r the
period December, 1914, to December, 1922, comparing the rise in the cost of
living with the rise in wages. This w as prepared from the figures which were
contained in the two bulletins introduced here, beginning with the period D e ­
cember, 1914, when the Department o f Commerce and L abo r [sic] commenced to
gather this information. Our wages are shown here in steps as the increases
occur, and the rise is shown here by years and sometimes by semiannual periods
and sometimes in quarterly periods, as indicated. The peak w as reached in
June, 1920, of 110.5 per cent for the city o f Seattle. It stands on December,
1922, as 66.7 per cent— an increase of 47.87 per cent, contrasted with 52.58 per
cent— the difference between the two represents the w age loss by the union.
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
“ W e want you to make this inquiry in order to determine fo r yourselves
whether there has been a proper, adequate, and proportional increase or adjust­
ment o f wages paid to our members during these years. * * *
“ * * * The union is right here pleading that they have at all times since
1914, w ith the exception o f 1915, undergone a reduction in wages due to
the maladjustment of w age scales as compared with the increase in living
Costs. * * *
“ Living costs in Seattle reached the peak in June, 1920, of 210.5, as disclosed
by the Bureau of L abor Statistics index number for that month. W e were still
operating under the w age forced upon the union when the index figure stood at
197.7. You thus have the spectacle o f an increase o f 13 per cent in living costs,
fo r which the publishers made no compensating advances.” (Proceedings, pp. 117,
i, 152, 374, 377.)
The board of arbitration on M arch 12, 1923, decided that the $8 and $8.50
scale be continued. The aw ard w as accepted by both sides.




INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

251

In other cases, although the award has not specified the basis upon
which it was determined, the fact that practically all o f the evidence
submitted related to the cost o f livin g showed that this was the most
important factor. This was true in the arbitration cases in the
street-railway industry in Salt Lake C ity in 1920 and 1921, in the
building industry in Rochester in 1921, in the street-railway industry
in Memphis in 1921, and in the newspaper printing industry in K an­
sas City in 1922.
THE LIVING WAGE

Many arbitration boards held that a living wage should be paid.
Electrical Construction Industry, Cleveland.—Decision of Local Arbitration Board, Mr. W. R.
McCornack, chairman, June 11, 19218
7
“ A wage that is less than the equivalent or the cost of living on a health
and decency budget plus an allowance for improvement in the Unes of the
worker and his dependents, w ill not improve citizenship nor reduce the cost
of construction.”

Electrical Construction Industry, Detroit.—Council on Industrial Relations for Electrical Con­
struction Industry, February 17, 19218*
8
“ A direct obligation rests on the industry which employs a wage earner to
offer him the opportunity to work fo r such wages and fo r such periods as
w ill furnish him and the dependent members of his fam ily food, clothing, and
shelter. These he must have fo r himself and his dependents whether he is
employed or not. I f he has no opportunity to provide them, the community
must and does, and he and his dependents become public charges. But in­
dustry owes more than a bare subsistence to its workers. W e need not discuss
this obligation from the standpoint of morals or ethics. Self-interest would
seem to demand of an industry that it satisfy these needs of the worker which
contribute to a right mental attitude as well as his material needs, fo r out of
the satisfaction of the former grows undivided interest in the job, loyalty to
the work, unreserved application of energy and good will, all of which con­
stitute the basis of industrial morale.
“ * * * a fa ir wage, in the opinion of the council, is one which, upon an
assumption based on statistics as to the duration of employment, w ill satisfy
as nearly as possible all of the worker’s needs.”

Electrical Construction Industry, Indianapolis.—Decision of Council on Industrial Relations
for Electrical Construction Industry, July 8, 1921 8
8
“ * * * Moreover the council does not look with favor on the idea which
is fundamental in the scheme of adjusting wages in relation to the cost of
living, of standardizing the fam ily budget. It prefers a method which pre­
supposes the utmost possible latitude for expression of individual w age
earner’s discretion, tastes and personality in the expenditures of his w age
income. The council w ill not lend its support, even by implication, to any
practice which tends toward establishing wages at the minimum figure which
w ill purchase only the imperative necessities of life. The wage to be fair
should include an allowance over and above the bare cost of living which
[should be] proportioned to the increase in production and national wealth.”

Street-Railway Industry, Dayton.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Prof. J. E. Hagerty, chair­
man, October 27, 1920 9
0
“ This board adopts the theory of the W a r Labor Board and other boards
which in substance is that the able-bodied industrious wage earner should

87 Arbitratioii between electrical contractors and Local No. 38 of the International
Brotherhood of Electric Workers, Cleveland. Decision of local arbitration board, June
11. 1921,, p. 1.
88 Council on Industrial Relations for the Electrical Construction Industry Bui. No. 1,
Mar. 15, 1921, pp. 4, 5.
80 Council on Industrial Relations for the Electrical Construction Industry. The In­
dianapolis wage. July 8, 1921, p. 2.
00 Arbitration of a wage scale between the street-railway companies of Dayton and the
employees of the street-railway companies. Award and statement of the board, Oct. 27,
1920, pp. 2-4, 6.

105715°—25----- 17



252

CHAP. V.----INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES
i

receive a w age that w ill maintain himself and fam ily in reasonable and fru gal \
comfort in conformity with American standards of living. '‘A s human values
are more important than property values,’ this w age should be a charge
against industry before interest is paid on capital.
“ Both sides to the controversy were in agreement that the w age earner
should receive a living wage, but difference of opinion prevailed as to w hat
constitutes a living wage and the means of arriving at it.
“ The board has labored under a handicap because no im partial study has
ever been made of living conditions in Dayton. One side of the controversy
produced figures intended to show that Dayton is one of the cheapest cities in
the country and the other figures to show that it is one of the dearest cities of
the country to live in.
“ Statistics bn fam ily budgets and price ranges have been collected by the
United States B ureau of Labor Statistics, the National Industrial Conference
Board, the W a r L abor Board, State departments of labor, and other organiza­
tions. O f the studies made the board is inclined to follow chiefly those of the
National Bureau of Labor Statistics, because it is a Government study, and
fo r this reason is an impartial study, and because its methods have been tested
by a far-reaching study over a continuous series of years.”
The board accepted the family-budget plan as the best basis fo r the deter­
mination of a living wage.
“ W ith whatever shortcomings it may possess the family-budget plan is ac­
cepted as the most accurate method of determining w hat a reasonable w age
should be. The family-budget plan is based on the cost of living of a fam ily
of five, two adults and three children, the latter o f given ages. In this plan
efforts have been made to determine the quantities and kinds of foods, of cloth­
ing, etc., such a fam ily should have and the cost of producing these things. In
foods 22 standard articles in general use are taken and weighted and their costs
obtained. O f course, such a budget can not be scientifically accurate in the
present state of knowledge. It serves only to get at an approximate statement
of costs of maintaining a family. The somewhat different results secured in
different studies show this. A s w as pointed out by one side in the controversy
families do not follow the consumption here indicated. In a period of rising
costs substitutes are often purchased which are cheaper than the ones listed
and wearing apparel, especially, is often used a longer time than is assumed in
the study. W hen the family-budget system is accepted with all reservations
that should be made, it is the most accurate method of determining costs of
living.
'“ Objection is made to taking a fam ily of five as a hypothetical and in no
sense an average American family. It is said that some families are larger
and some smaller and the children are seldom ever of the age combinations
taken from the fam ily budget. This is true that some families are larger,
some smaller, some more expensive, and some less expensive than this fam ily
o f five. This is as it should be if we are to get at an approximation o f aver­
age costs. Moreover, there is a point in assuming a sufficient number of chil­
dren fo r each fam ily on account o f the social necessity of perpetuating the
race.
“ In applying this budget plan the board does not take into account the
earnings of the other members of the household, the keeping o f boarders, nor
the garden. W e feel that if the fam ily income is increased from the abovenamed sources, these increased earnings should not be a part o f the minimum
budget, but should constitute a surplus. * * * 9
1
u Following the Bureau of Labor Statistics w e find that the fam ily budget
fo r Cincinnati in June, 1919, is $1,759.30; fo r Cleveland, $2,196.19; and Indian­
apolis, $2,023.65. These cities are taken because they are the nearest cities
to Dayton fo r which the bureau has published the complete figures on cost of
living. A t 62 cents an hour, 9 hours a day, 313 days in the year, the Dayton
carmen w ill earn $1,746.50. This is considerably below the fam ily budget fo r
Cleveland and Indianapolis, and somewhat below the budget for Cincinnati.
A s w as stated above, the family-budget plan is not scientifically accurate, and
we believe that with substitutions and reasonable economies the Dayton w age
earner can maintain a satisfactory standard of living upon the aw ard made
him.”*
8
5

91 The board awarded the following hourly rates: For the first 3 months of service,
58 cents; for the next nine months of service, 60 cents; after 1 year of service, 62
cents.




INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

253

Street-Railway Industry, San Francisco.—Report of Board of Arbitration, Dr. Paul A. Sinsheimer, chairman, July 3, 19184
)
2
“ The w age earner must have his operating expenses; that is, the ordinary
and reasonable living expenses of himself and his family. H e must be granted
a sum which shall correspond to the depreciation reserve of the corporation.
This is his insurance and the provision for his old age. Finally, the worker
must be permitted what may be termed the return to himself, which should
be an adequate sum over and above the mere necessary living expenses and
the amount to be set aside for emergency and his later years.
“ Upon this basis we find the present wage scale inadequate. W e believe
the wages should be adjusted to permit of the enjoyment of something more
than a mere social minimum— the w age should provide not alone for the
working-man, his w ife and family, but should be sufficient to enable him, by
the practice of a reasonable thrift and economy, to take out a protective in­
surance and to set aside a reasonable sum to be accumulated fo r his later
years.
“ In this connection, w e are at variance with the proposition as here ad­
vanced of the social minimun. W e conceive the social minimum as neces­
sarily predicated upon the competitive theory of individual labor.
In its
last analysis, this, in turn, is founded upon the theory that labor, in unfet­
tered competition, w ill serve for the smallest sum upon which it can exist.
Inevitably the cheapest labor would, under this rule, set the standard. And
the cheapest labor would automatically mean the cheapest living.
“ W e dismiss this as antisocial and impracticable in modern industry.
L abor has emerged from this plane by the system of group bargaining. This
very existence of the union in the industry here under discussion defeats the
theory of the social minimum. * * *
“ Furthermore, the very fact that this subject has been submitted to a
board of arbitration denies the theory of a competitive minimum and estab­
lishes the proposition of social and industrial equity.
“ In relating this theory to a practical basis, w e may first assume the av­
erage fam ily to consist of three children. W e may further assume, as the
company seeks its new employees among men from 25 to 35 years of age, that
the beginner contributes less in service and carries a lesser financial respon­
sibility in living expenses than his experienced and older coworker.
“ W e have also taken into account the pension system of the company and
the death benefits extended by the union itself. W e have also assumed that
a certain proportion of the average fam ily may become self-supporting at
later age, through industry or matrimony. The burden upon the householder
thus gradually increases to a maximum and then declines as the years o f
his services with the company are increased. * * *
“ I t is essential to recognize that the harmonious w age basis which existed
fo r 10 years has only now been disturbed by the sudden rise in living costs.
W e have, therefore, given fu ll attention to the adjustment of the existing
w age scale to a new basis, by adding thereto a proper proportion to cover
the increase in living costs. * * *
“ W e believe that the men who become regular and established employees
of the company should enjoy a return for their labor at least commensurate
with that standard of living which has been here outlined as fitting fo r Am eri­
can citizens. On the basis of the 10-hour day heretofore agreed upon, between
the employees and the company, we believe that such a standard requires,
as a minimum, the sum of approximately 40 cents to 42 cents an hour.
“ W e are the more persuaded to this conclusion as w e come to it inevitably
by every logical pathway and process of reasoning. I f we use the harmonious
wage scale of 1907-1917 as a basis and add thereto a proper amount for the
increased cost of living, we attain to the same result. It is the goal also to
which we are led by a comparison with the w age schedules paid by the
municipality of Oakland and by industries generally in Alameda County.”9
2

92 Arbitration in the wage controversy between San Francisco-Oakland Terminal Rail­
ways and Carmen’s Union No. 192, Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Rail­
way Employees of America. Report, July 3, 3918, pp. 6—
11.




254

CHAP. V.— INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES
\

Street-Railway Industry* Seattle.—Majority Statements and Recommendations Supplementary
to award of Arbitration Board, Dr. Henry Suzzallo, chairman, January 2, 1918 9
3
The board accepted the principle of granting a minimum comfort w age and
considered that its aw ard of November 8, 1917, granted this amount to each
employee.9
4
“ It w as decided that the increased cost of living made it necessary to raise
completely trained and competent platform men to a minimum comfort wage
for a fam ily of four. The benefits of increased pay would fa ll upon all the
members of the w age earner’s family. The decrease in working hours would
be a benefit falling mainly on one individual, the working member of the
family. Hence, allowing platform men to take two days a month for recrea­
tion and five days a year fo r illness, every fu lly trained man with a fam ily of
four w as allowed a minimum comfort wage.”
The board requested Prof. W illiam F. Ogburn, then of the University of
Washington, to submit a budget o f the cost o f living fo r a fam ily of a street
railw ay employee. The expenses fo r the budget were determined by investiga­
tions made by Professor Ogburn and other members of the faculty and students
o f the University o f Washington o f the expenditures o f actual families in
Seattle and Tacoma in the fa ll of 1917. The budget submitted by Professor
Ogburn, covering a fam ily o f five, w as taken as the basis fo r the w age award,
although allowance w as made by the board for only two children instead o f
three.
The “ minimum comfort budget ” which w as used as the basis fo r the aw ard
o f the arbitration w as as fo llo w s: 9*
5
7
9
F o o d _____________

_

..

$533.40

Clothing:
M a n _________
W o m a n _____
G irl of 8 or 9______
Boy of 14_____
.
Boy o f 5 or 6 . .

90.50
87.00
32.50
48.50
33.00

..

Total___________________

291.50

F u e l__________________________
Gas___________________________
Electric light________________
Rent and w ater-------------------Maintenance of household
equipment-------------------------

60.00
20.00
15.00
184.00

Education____________________
Church, fraternal dues_____
Medicine, doctor, dentist—
___ ____
Insurance____ Reading matter, music_____
Savin gs____ ________
_______
Street-car fare______________
Tobacco, ice cream_________
Recreation, movies, etc _ _
Incidentals— stamps, barber,
etc_________________________
Miscellaneous---------------------

11.00
20.00
60.00
30.00
(06)
100.00
35.70
30.00
30.00
25.00
20.00

Total b u d g e t_________ 1,505.60

40.00

The detailed expenditures and remarks of Professor Ogburn on the allow­
ances fo r clothing, food, and sundries are given b elo w :

F ood
“ Various dietaries with differing proportions o f meats, vegetables, fats,
etc., have been constructed and each totals nearly the same figure.
The
calorie requirements are slightly over 12,000 a week fo r a fam ily o f five, dis­
tributed as fo llo w s: Man, 8,400; woman, 2,700; boy of 18 or 14, 2,700; girl of
8 or 9, 2,000; boy of 5 or 6, 1,500. The figure for meat is a little low er than
is actually found among the carmen’s families, but is quite probable that
during w a r time the item fo r meat w ill become progressively lower.”

93 Arbitration! between. Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Co., The Tacoma Railway
& Power Co. and their employees. Majority statements and recommendations supple­
mentary to award, Jan. 2, 1918.
94 The hourly rates granted by the board were as follow s: First six months, 33 cen ts;
second six months, 34 cents; second year, 35 cents; third year, 36 cents; fourth year,
37 cen ts; fifth year, 38 cen ts; sixth year, 40 cents. Allowing two days per month for
recreation and five days a year for sickness would leave 336 working-days, which, as­
suming a 10-hour day at 40 cents per hour, would yield earnings of $1,344.
95 National War Labor Board. Memorandum on the minimum wage and increased cost
of living. Washington, 1918, pp. 17, 18.
98 See item “ education.”
97 National War Labor Board. Memorandum on the minimum wage and increased cost
of living. Washington, 1918, pp. 19-21.




INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS
Cereal____________________________
Vegetables______________________
Fruit____________________________
Meat and meat substitutes_____
Flour____________________________
B read___________________________

$26.00
78.00
41. 60
98. 80
16.64
52.00

255

Fats_______________________ „____ $98.60
Sugar____________
28.40
M ilk_____________________________
87. 36
Coffee and tea___________________
16.00
Total_____________________ 533.40

Cl o t h in g
“ The clothing estimates are made on the assumption that the w ife does
some sewing and remaking of some garments for the children. The figures are
based on estimates of the life of garments to fractions of years. The clothing
is also for a generalized family.”

Man
Topcoats (mackinaw-overcoat,
sw eater)_______________________ $12.50
Suits
(uniform, suit, extra
tro u s e rs )------------------------------ 34.00
14.00
Shoes (and re p airs)__________
Overshoes______________________
1.50
Underwear
(woolen
and
c o tto n )________________________
6.00
Night garm ents________________
1. 50
H ats (uniform cap and h a t )_ _
3.00
Shirts (flannel and cotton)—
6.50

Socks___________________________
Gloves
( average
conductor
and m otorm an)______________
Ties, collars, and handker­
chiefs__________________________
Suspenders and garters_______
Incidentals
(cuff
buttons,
brush, e t c .)_________________
Total_____________________

$3.00
5.00
2.00
1.00
. 50
90.50

Woman
Topcoat_________________________
Suits_____________________________
Shoes (and re p a irs )------------Rubbers___________________,_____
U nderw ear______________________
Nightgowns-----------------------------Underskirt______________________
Corset___________________________
Kimono___________________ ______
W aists___________________________
House dresses___________________

$8. 00
12.50
14.00
.50
5.00
3.00
2.00
3.00
. 50
4.50
5.00

Street d ress___________________
H ats------------------------------- „-------Gloves___________________________
Incidentals (veils, pins, purse,
brush,
slippers,
handker­
chiefs, e t c .)_________________
Stockings________________________
Aprons__________________________
Um brella________________________
Total_____________________

$7.50
9.00
2.50

4.50
2.50
2.00
1.00
87.00

Boy of IS or 14 years
Topcoat
(m ackinaw
and
s w e a t e r )_____________________
Suit ( and trousers) _____________
Shoes ( and repairs) ____________
Underw ear_____________________
N ight garments_________________

$4.50
14.50
15.00
4.00
1.50

H a t s ___________________________
Shirts___________________________
Stockings_______________________
Ties, handkerchiefs, etc________

$2.00
3.00
2. 50
1.50

Total_____________________

48.50

G irl of 8 or 9 years
Topcoat (and sw eater)______
Shoes ( and repairs) ____________
Underwaists and garters_______
Dress ( school and b e s t)________
Petticoat (o r bloom ers)________
Night garments_________________
H ats_____________________________

$5.00
12.00
1.50
5.75
1.00
1.50
1.75

Stockings------------------------------$2.00
Ribbons and handkerchiefs____
1.00
Um brella
____________________
1.00
Underw ear-'_____________________
.00
Total_____________________

32.50

Boy of 5 or 6 years
Top coat (and sw eater)--------Shoes (and re p a irs )---------------Suits (wash, best, and cover­
alls) __________________________
Rubbers_________________________
Underwaists and garters-------Night garm ents-----------------------




$4.00
11.00
8.00
1. 50
1. 50
1. 00

H ats (and cap s)______________
W aists (and blouses)_________
Mittens, ties, handkerchiefs___
Stockings_______________________
U n d e rw e a r_____________________

1.25
2.00
.75
2. 00
. 00

Total____________________

33.00

256

CHAP. V.----INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES
S u nd r ies

“ The insurance and savings item is larger than actually occurs, due probably
to the fact that expenses and wages do not at present permit saving. The
item is conservatively low. Medical and dental care varies widely, but $60 seems
to be near the present average. The miscellaneous item is included because
it actually exists.”
Amusements (movies, vacations, picnics, etc.)-------------------------------------- $30.00
Education and literature-------------------------------------------------------------------------- 11. 00
Insurance and savings----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 130. 00
Comforts (tobacco, candy, Christmas, etc.)------------------------------------------30.00
Organizations-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------20.00
Dental and medical care____________________________________________________
60.00
Incidentals (stamps, barbers, stationery, etc.)-------------------------------------- 25.00
Household (furniture, laundry, tools, etc.)--------------------------------------------- 40.00
Miscellaneous (exigencies and w a s te )---------------------------------------------------- 20.00
Total___________________________________________________________________ 366. 00

In one case the arbitration board recommended that the agreement
include an endorsement o f the livin g wage fo r the employees and a
just return on investment for the owners:
Street-railway industry , N ew Orleans— Report of special masters, Charles
J. ThSard, chairman, September 20, 1920.

Other cases in which it was held that a living wage should be paid
were as follow s:
Printing industry (book and job), Chicago— Typographical Union No. 16
v. Franklin Association of Chicago (decision of Mr. H. Frank Penning­
ton, June 13, 1922) ; Printing industry , Cincinnati— United States
Printing Lithograph Co. v. Electrotypers’ Union No. 31 (decision of
Prof. E arle E. Eubanks, February 16, 1922) ; Printing industry ( book
and job), Detroit— Closed-Shop Printers of Detroit v. Typographical
Union No. 18 (a w a rd of arbitration board, Mr. Thomas M. Cotter, chair­
man, January 25,1921) ; Printing industry ( book and job), Indianapolis—
Typothetae of Indianapolis v. Printing Pressmen’s Union No. 17 and
Press Assistants’ Union No. 39 (a w a rd of Mr. Frank S. C. Wicks,
November 1, 1921) ; Printing industry ( newspaper), Louisville— N ew s­
paper Publishers v. Stereo typers’ and Electrotypers’ Union No. 32 (de­
cision of local arbitration board, Mr. L. A. Shafer, chairman, July S,
1921) ; Printing industry (ne'ivspaper), Portland, Oreg.— Oregonian PubUshing Co. et al. v . Multnomah Typographical Union No. 58 (decision
of local arbitration board, Mr. F. A. Rasch, chairman, M ay 19, 1920) ;
Street-railway industry, Boston— Boston Elevated R ailw ay Co. v. D ivi­
sion 589, Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric R ailw ay
Employees of America (decision of arbitration board, Mr. James L.
Doherty, chairman, June 7, 1920) ; Street-railway industry, Boston—
Boston Elevated R ailw ay Co. v. Carmen’s Union (report of arbitration
board, Mr. James J. Storrow, chairman, January 15, 1914) ; Streetrailw ay industry, Cleveland— Cleveland Street R ailw ay Co. v. Local 268,
Am algamated Association o f Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees o f
America (decision of arbitration board, Mr. Fielder Sanders, chairman,
A pril 28, 1923) ; Street-railway industry, East St. Louis, 1 1 E ast St.
1 .—
Louis & Suburban R ailw ay Co. v. Local 805, Amalgamated Association
o f Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America (decision of
arbitration board, Mr. R. T. Brownrigg, chairman, November 29, 1921) ;
Street-railway industry, San Francisco— Division 192, Amalgamated A s­
sociation of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America v . San
Francisco-Oakland Terminal Railw ays (a w a rd o f arbitration board, Mr.
W arren Olney, Jr., chairman, January 12, 1920).

(1)
O r that wage rates should not be reduced below what would
yield a livin g wage.




INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

257

Building Industry* Cleveland.—Decision of Arbitration Board, June 9, 1921 08*
“ Among other things, the problems before the board have been how
to revive this industry so that the shortage of buildings and the prevalence
of unemployment may be relieved, and how to reconcile the rate of pay with
the falling cost of living without sacrifice of a living wage.”

Street-Railway Industry, New Haven.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Judge John K. Beach,
chairman, October 15, 1921 «
The company requested a reduction from a maximum of 60 cents to 50 cents
per hour, or 17% per cent. The men contended for the continuation of the
existing scale. The arbitrator granted a reduction to a maximum of 55 cents
for motormen and conductors. The wage rate of all the other employees
affected was reduced 8% per cent. The aw ard affected about 2,500 men in
all departments.
“ The board adopts the proposition, contended fo r by the men and not
disputed by the company, that the fundamental principle which ought to
govern the wage determination of arbitrators is the grant of a living wage. A
living w age is generally defined as a sum which w ill support a fam ily of five,
consisting of man and wife and three wholly dependent children, and will
supply them with food in sufficient quantity and of good quality,
living quarters with sanitary conveniences, and large enough to meet the
requirements of decency, clothing warm and o f good appearance, heat, light,
medical attendance, and a provision for some amount of recreation, for what­
ever period of enforced nonemployment may be expected in the particular
industry and for membership in some mutual benefit society. In general,
the opportunity for savings is supposed to be found before and after the period
during which three wholly dependent children must be supported.”

Other similar decisions w ere:
Boot and shoe industry , Chicago— Florsheim Shoe Co. v. Employees (de­
cision of arbitration board, Prof. Charles E Merriam, chairman, Novem­
ber, 1921) ; Boot and shoe industry , N ew York— Shoe M anufacturers’
Board of Trade v. American Shoe W orkers’ Protective Union (decision
of arbitration board, Judge E dw ard B. Thomas, chairman, December 1,
1921) ; Building industry , St. Louis— M aster Builders’ Association v.
Carpenters’ District Council (decision of Rev. Timothy Dempsy, April
28, 1922) ; Cloth hat and cap industry , N ew York— Cloth H at and Cap
Manufacturers’ Association r. Joint Council of N ew York o f United
Cloth H at and Cap Makers o f North America (decision of Dr. J. L.
Magnes, February 17, 1922) ; Paper industry , United States and Canada—
Manufacturers v. Labor Organizations (decision of arbitration board,
Judge Frank Irvine, chairman, 1921) ; Printing industry {book and job ),
N ew York— Typographical Union No. 6 v. N ew York Employing Printers’
Association, Closed-Shop (Printers’ League) Branch (decision of Dr.
John L. Elliott, November 28, 1921) ; Printing industry {newspaper),
N ew York— Publishers’ Association of N ew York City v. W eb Pressmen’s
Union No. 25 (decision of arbitration board, Judge M artin T. Manton,
February 21, 1922) ; Street-railway mdustry, Boston-Worcester— Boston
& Worcester Street R ailw ay Co. v. Division 620, Amalgamated Associa­
tion o f Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of America (a w a rd of
arbitration board, Mr. A rthur Thad Smith, chairman November 14,1921) ;
and Street-railway industry , Syracuse— Rochester & Syracuse Railroad
Co. v. Employees (decision of arbitration board, Mr. Louis L. W aters,
chairman, July 25, 1921).

(2)
Or that each adjustment should mark progress toward a rea­
sonable livin g wage.
Printing mdustry {book and job), St. Louis— St. Louis Printers’ League
v. Typographical Union No. 8 (decision of Mr. Henry S. Caulfield, N o ­
vember 1, 1920).

08 Arbitration, between the Building Trades Employers’ Association and certain buildingtrade unions. Decision, June 9, 1921, p. 1.
a Arbitration between The Connecticut Co. and its employees.
1921. Findings and
award.




258

CHAP. V.----INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

In determining upon the amount o f livin g wage, one arbitrator
accepted the cost-of-living budget presented by the union as fa ir and
practically based his decision upon the relation between the amount
o f the budget and the average yearly earnings o f the employees.
Printing Industry, New York.—Decision of Mr. Laurence T. Hindi, April 12, 1922 99
The existing w age w as $59 per week. The employers requested a reduction
to $52 and the union an increase to $64.
“ Your chairman considers upon the evidence presented that the nature of
the trade and the work performed by finishers is such as to demand a very
high degree o f skill and preparation. It requires great care under exacting
conditions, and the workers may safely be said to be in the very highest degree
skilled laborers. A s such they should be entitled to more than a mere living
wage. Y our chairman’s decision is founded upon this assumption; that the
workers are entitled to a compensation which w ill not be a mere existence
w age but w ill enable them to live in moderately comfortable circumstances, to
raise a fam ily decently, and in general on a scale somewhat above that o f
unskilled labor or skilled labor of a less highly trained nature.
“ Y our chairman w ill first consider this question from the standpoint o f w hat
would be a fa ir w age to the worker upon such a basis, and then w ill take up
the matter of economic conditions in the industry which might modify such
w ages one w ay or the other in justice to the employer.
“ The evidence submitted as to what should constitute a w age fa ir to the
worker has been mainly in the form of cost-of-living budgets. The budgets
submitted by both parties vary greatly as to the class of labor involved and as
to the localities where such labor has been performed.
“ O f the 17 budgets submitted by the employers, not one relates to the cost
of living for a skilled worker’s fam ily in N e w York City. Y o ur chairman feels
that the great m ajority of these budgets are justly open to the considerable
criticism voiced in the rebuttal brief of the union, with a few exceptions they
profess to provide an absolute minimum standard fo r the workers in the
locality involved, a standard below which the fam ily could not fa ll without
outside aid or physical deterioration. H e has already made clear that in his
opinion the workers involved in these proceedings are entitled to a better stand­
ard of living than this. The budgets submitted for Pacific coast workers, the
one used in the Seattle and Tacoma street-railway arbitration, W . F. Ogburn’s
comfort budget, and the budget fo r clerical workers in N ew York City are the
only ones apparently professing to give more than an absolute minimum or a
scale for workers at all comparable to finishers.
“ In considering them, your chairman finds that wages are generally lower in
cities of small population than they are in N ew York, and that they can serve
only as an indication, but can not be directly applied in justice to this case.
“ Y our chairman finds that the union budget, based on the United States
B ureau of Labor Statistics budget, and moderately changed to provide fo r more
than a minimum of health and decency fo r skilled worker’s fam ily in N ew
Y ork City, is an eminently fa ir and reasonable one. H e has examined with
great care the detailed items and prices quoted in this comprehensive budget.
H e feels that while it provides fo r a very comfortable and happy standard
of living it is in no w ay exorbitant either in its price quotations or in the
items allowed. On the contrary, he feels that the standard of living indi­
cated is in every w ay thoroughly consonant with that which should prevail
fo r the type of worker that the finisher represents. In particular he wishes
to recognize the claim made by the union in submitting this budget that the
allowance for a 46 per cent rent increase in N ew York City as presented by the
employers from the United States B ureau of L abor Statistics is insufficient,
and that the union has compiled a fa ir set of figures on rent.
“ This budget calls fo r an average annual expenditure of $2,938 to meet the
standard of living shown therein at the prices quoted, both of which your chair­
man considers reasonable estimates.8
9

89 Wage-scale adjustment between the Employing Electrotypers’ and Stereotypers’ Asso­
ciation of New York and New York Stereotypers’ Union. No. 1. Review of evidence by
arbitrator and decision, pp. 10-13. The decision in the case of the Employing Electrotypers’ and Stereotypers’ Association of New York v . Electrotypers’ Union No. 100,
rendered by Judge George H. Lambert, was practically based upon the decision of Mr.
Hinch. (Wage-scale adjustment between the Employing Electrotypers and Stereotypers’
Association of New York and New York Electrotypers’ Union No. 100. Review of evi­
dence by arbitrator and decision, May 17, 1922, 19 pp.)




INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION BOARDS

259

“ The union shows that the average annual earnings of finishers at the
present rate of $59 per week, making allowances for overtime and lost time,
is actually $2,869.55. This was the actual average earnings of the members
of the union during the past year. Thus the budget accepted as fa ir by your
chairman calls for about $70 per year more than the average earnings on the
present wage scale. * * *
“ In view of the general conditions prevailing your chairman would not feel
justified in aw arding any increase in wages over $59 per week to meet the
slight discrepancy between the budget which he accepts as fair and the
average annual wages of the finishers. A decrease of $70 per year from such
a very liberal budget is not a hardship and should be accepted by the union.
“ On the other hand, your chairman feels that conditions as presented in
the evidence are such that no decrease in the wage scale of finishers and ap­
prentices is necessary to a prosperous continuation of the industry.
“ In conclusion, your chairman decides that wages remain unchanged.’’

Some boards found the budgets useful in assisting in wage deter­
minations but considered that no definite sum could be fixed as a
wage requirement on the basis o f the data submitted.
Boot and shoe industry , Rochester— Rochester Boot and Shoe M anufac­
turers’ Association v. Joint Council No. 6, United Shoe W orkers of
America (decision of arbitration board, Col. Sanford E. Thompson,
chairman, October 22, 1921) ; Street-railway mdustry, N ew Haven—
The Connecticut Co. v . Employees (decision of arbitration board, Judge
John K. Beach, chairman, October 15, 1921) ; Street-railivay industry ,
Springfield, Mass.— Springfield Street R ailw ay Co. et al. v. Divisions 448
and 22, Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric R ailw ay Em­
ployees of America (decision of arbitration board, Mr. James J. Storrow,
chairman, February 23, 1922).

Some arbitration boards held—
(1)
That a living wage should be paid, irrespective o f whether
or not the company was financially successful.
Street-Railway Industry, Boston.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Mr. James J. Storrow, chair­
man, January 15, 1914 a
The union requested increases in wages, while the company argued that no
increase should be made. The aw ard of the board of arbitration, granting
varying amounts of increases, affected approximately 7,000 union members
and 2,000 other employees not members of the union and established rates of
pay effective from M ay 1, 1913, to A pril 30, 1916.
“ The union contends that all evidence of the financial condition of the
company is immaterial, as it claims that the obligation of the company to pay
adequate wages does not depend on its financial condition, but that, on the
contrary, even i f the elevated company were unable to pay its rentals and
the interest on its outstanding bonds the receiver would still be obliged to
pay the men adequate wages.
“ W e attach great weight to this argument made on behalf of the men
that i f the elevated company is to furnish all the improvements demanded by
the community they ought not to come out the pockets of the men, that the
men are entitled to fa ir and adequate wages so long as they are employed,
and that it is for others to decide whether the company is to be gradually
bankrupted, the passengers pay more, or the community as a whole to come to
the rescue of the situation. W e think the argument of the men on this point
should prevail. W e have not thought it right, therefore, to permit the plight
or alleged plight o f the company to materially affect our findings, except that
every sensible man knows that in the modern complex and interrelated life,
i f you insist upon the exact 100 per cent of justice to one man, your supply
may run short, and that the next man— or in this case it may be widow— w ill
receive no justice at all, but instead a notice in the morning mail saying that
her income has been stopped. W e go so fa r in assenting to the men’s argu­
ment on this point that we would agree that if the company were to be operated
by a receiver the receiver ought to pay them the wages to which they are
entitled.” (Pp . 28, 29.)

•Report of the board of arbitration in the matter of the controversy between, the
Boston Elevated Railway Co. and the Boston Carmen’s Union, Jan. 15, 1914, pp. 28-29.




260

CHAP. V.----INDUSTRIAL AGENCIES

Street-Railway Industry, San Francisco.—Report of Board of Arbitration, Dr. Paul A. Sinsheimer, chairman, July 3, 1918 1
“ W e believe it is proper to give heed, to a reasonable degree, to the reve­
nues of the company, but this element enters essentially as a matter of profit
sharing. I t would represent a further sum to be added to the w age scale
which has been found by an independent process to be a reasonable minimum.
“ W e do not concur in the suggestion that wages and profits should be given
equal consideration. W ages, of course, have the prior claim. In this regard
w e may quote the words of Abraham Lin co ln :
“ ‘ L abor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit
of labor and could never have existed i f labor had not first existed. L abor is
the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital
has its rights, which are as worthy o f protection as any other rights. N or is it
denied that there is and probably alw ays w ill be a relation between labor and
capital producing mutual benefits.’
“ There should be no misunderstanding on this point. In a public-utility
enterprise it is not the earnings which determine the wages. It is the wages
which help to determine the earnings. * * *
“ W e are conscious of the fact that the schedule which w e here propose
w ill add approximately $140,000 annually to the expenses of this company,
but we declare without hesitation that the rights of the employees should take
precedence over the privileges of the stockholders.
“ W e assert this as a principle which must form the cornerstone of such
a proceeding as this. A t the same time w e are not insensible to the rights of
the company. W e view a problem such as this— the problem of a sudden rise
in living costs and the necessity which springs therefrom of increasing the
wages of men engaged in a public-utility service— not as an isolated business
consideration fo r the company alone to solve but as a community issue. In
recommending an increase of wages it is not our purpose to throw this burden
w holly upon the company but to urge that this entire matter be given fu ll
weight and consideration by the Railroad Commission of the State of C ali­
fornia, which is the body constituted to determine how fa r this added cost
should fa ll upon this company and to what extent it may properly be dis­
tributed among its patrons.”
F o r the consideration o f the Railroad Commission o f the State of C alifornia
the board submitted certain principles which it thought should be considered
in the deliberations of the commission upon the request o f the company for
financial relief. Four of the eight principles set forth in the report were as
fo llo w s :
“ (1 ) W ages are measurable only by their relation to the costs of life.
“ (2 ) W ages adjusted by arbitration must be reasonable and equitable per se.
“ (3 ) Capital can not successfully urge its right to pay less than a reason­
able standard, because of financial impairment. This would mean that each
purchaser could adjust prices to his financial means.
“ (4 ) I f the sum available to capital and labor be limited, capital may w ait
fo r its return and still live. „ Labor can not.”

Cases in which a similar stand was taken by the arbitrator w ere:
Street-railway industry , Atlanta— Employees v. Georgia R ailw ay & Po w er
Co. and Atlanta Northern R ailw ay Co. (decision of arbitration board,
Judge John D. Humphries, chairman, March 9, 1920) ; Street-railway
industry, Cleveland— Cleveland Street R ailw a y Co. v. Division 268, Am al­
gamated Association o f Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of
America (decision of arbitration board, Mr. Fielder Sanders, chairman,
A pril 28, 1923) ; Street-railway industry , Salt L ak e City— Employees v.
Utah Light & Traction Co. (decision of arbitration board, Mr. Joseph
F. Merrill, chairman, M ay 13, 1918) ; Street-railway industry, San F ran ­
cisco— San Francisco-Oakland Terminal R ailw ay v. Division 192, A m al­
gamated Association of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees o f
America (a w a rd of arbitration board, Mr. W arren Olney, jr., chairman,
January 12, 1920).

(2 )
Others, however, modified this principle somewhat, holding
that the financial condition o f the company was entitled to some
1 Arbitration, in the wage controversy between San Francisco-Oakland Terminal Rail­
ways and Carmen’s Union No. 19-2,. Report, July 3, 1918, pp. 10-12.




IN D U S T R IA L

A R B IT R A T IO N

BOARDS

261

consideration in determining, above a certain required level o f
wages which must be paid in any event, the amount o f the advance
in wages.
Street-Railway Industry, Boston.—Decision of Arbitration Board, Mr. James L. Doherty,
chairman, June 7, 1920 s
“ It has been laid down by arbitration boards of eminent standing that the
condition of an employing corporation was not to weigh in determining the
amount of wages which should be paid to the employees. This view is urged
by counsel for the carmen’s union. The board can not assent to that proposi­
tion without modification. Above a certain required level of wages which
must be paid in any event, it is of the opinion that weight should be given to
the financial situation in which a company finds itself, and that situation
should largely determine whether wages should be advanced to meet reasonable
requirements on a more liberal basis.
“ In this case at this time the interests of the employing company and the
carmen have much in common and the financial situation of the company is
entitled to some weight in settling the advance to be made. * * *
“ * * * It is said by some that the interests of the public are predominant.
I f this means that the public is to determine its interest as against any par­
ticular group whose w age rates are under consideration at the time, it would
seem unsound. The public, including the particular group whose individual
interests are being considered, is to be considered as a whole, and in so con­
sidering it seems fa ir that each individual group as its claims are presented
must receive treatment entitling it to an existence of self-respect, decency,
and with a reasonable guaranty against hardships and privations.”

Similar cases w ere:
Boot and shoe industry, Chicago— Decision of arbitration board, Mr. E. T.
Gundlach, chairman, June, 1921; Street-railway industry , eastern M assa­
chusetts— Eastern Massachusetts Street R ailw ay Co. v. Amalgamated
Association of Street and Electric R ailw ay Employees of