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WOMEN’S WARTIME HOURS OF WORK

THE EFFECT ON THEIR FACTORY PERFORMANCE
AND HOME LIFE

X




WOMEN'S BUREAU

BULLETIN NO. 208

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
L. B. SCHWELLENBACH, Secretary

WOMEN’S BUREAU
FRIEDA S. MILLER, Director

Women’s Wartime Hours of Work
The Effect on Their Factory Performance
and Home Life
*

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Bulletin of the Women’s Bureau, No. 208

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1947

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




Price 35 cents

LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

United States Department of Labor,
Women’s Bureau,

Washington, June 7, 1946.
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith the Women’s Bureau study

of the effect of different factory hours on the productive efficiency, attend­
ance record, and home life of women workers. The investigation covered
13 selected plants.
The study was confined to war years. It therefore includes many house­
wives and other women workers who do not normally form a part of the
labor force. Covering a period when the war stimulated all-out production,
and factors more cogent than economic need alone were conducive to stay­
ing on the job, these findings nevertheless indicate, to an extent, the per­
formance that can be expected of women factory workers under different
hour-schedules under normal peacetime conditions. The findings also indi­
cate the many off-the-job responsibilities that must be considered in setting
a suitable and efficient work schedule for women employees.
The report was written by Margaret Kay Anderson, Field Supervisor,
based on an analysis prepared by Bertha M. Nienburg, former Chief
Economist of the Bureau, who also planned and directed the study. The
field work was directed by Margaret Kay Anderson. Basic tabulations were
prepared by Leo Robison of the Statistical Section.

Frieda S. Miller, Director.

Hon. L. B.

SCHWELLENBACH,

Secretary of Labor.

u




CONTENTS

Letter

of

Page
Transmittal............................................................................. ii

Summary of 13 Plant Surveys
Introduction ............................................................................................. 1
Home Demands in Relation to Hours Worked....................................... 3
Hours Preferred by Women Workers ............................ -................. 5
Attendance Record in Relation to Scheduled Hours............................... 6
Productive Efficiency in Relation to Hours Worked............................... 10
Tables:
I. Man-hours lost per 100 possible man-hours by all women studied
under different scheduled hours in each plant...............................
II. Average weekly hours worked by all women studied under dif­
ferent scheduled hours in each plant...............................................
III. Percent of women losing time and average number of absences
per woman among all women studied in each plant under different
scheduled hours ...............................................................................
IV. Productive efficiency and average weekly hours worked by 17
occupational groups with a year or more experience, under dif­
ferent scheduled hours, by plant.....................................................

7
9
10
12

Plan of Study
Characteristics of Plants Suitable for Study........................................... 16
Search for Plants Suitable for Study ..................... ................................ 17
Scope and Method of Study..................................................................... 19
Selection of Occupational Groups for Study ..................................... 19
Selection of Periods for Study ...............................................;........... 20
Data Secured from Plant Records ..................... -.... -......................... 20
Personnel Data ...................................................................-........... 20
Attendance Data ......................................................
21
Production Data ..........................................
21
Illness and Accident Statistics ..............................
21
Miscellaneous Statistics ................................................................... 21
Data Secured Through Home Visits...........................
21
Demands of Home Life on the Woman Worker ........................... 22
Worker’s Attitude and Reaction to Her Job................................... 22
Definitions of Terms Used in the Study .......................................... 22
Stator ' Winders, Armature Winders, Coil Winders, and Allied
Workers—Plant A
Introduction ................................................:........................................... 25
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Home Life ....... .... . 26
The Household .....................
26
Home Responsibilities ......................................................................... 27
Time of Rising and of Reaching Home........ ............. ....................... 27
Workers’ Over-all Day ........................................................................ 28
Workers’ Preferred Factory Hours .............................................. ....... 29
Preferred Hours ........................................................
29
Gross Earnings in Relation to Hours ............................................... 29
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Factory Performance 29
Attendance Record .............
29
Attendance, All Women Studied ...................................................... 29
Attendance, Stable Group of Workers............................................. 32




iii

Causes of Lost Time and Calls to Medical Department ............... 32
Productive Efficiency ......................................................................... 33
Nature of the Job ............................................................................ 33
Payment on the Job ....................................................................... 35
Performance on the Job .............................................................. 36
Performance on the Job — Stator Winders ................................ 36
Performance on the Job — Armature Windersand Connectors 37
Performance on the Job — Nonincentive Operators .................. 41
Performance on the Job — Summary ........................................ 42
Tables:
I. Percent of women losing time under different scheduled hours,
average number and length of their absences, and hours lost by
total number of women studied per 100 possible man-hours, by
shift and occupation—Plant A ..................................................... 30
II. Analysis of time lost by women workers under different scheduled
hours—long-term absences (whole weeks lost) and short-term
absences (time lost within weeks attended), by shift—Plant A.... 31
III. Causes of calls to medical department and of visiting-nurse calls
under different scheduled hours—Plant A ................................... 33
IV. Individual efficiency by length of experience in occupation, under
different scheduled hours, by occupation and shift—Plant A......... 38
V. Summary of possible man-hours, total man-hours worked, total
man-hours worked on incentive jobs, efficiency, and total produc­
tion, based on totals for all women studied, under different sched­
uled hours, by occupation—Plant A ............................................. 44
Punch-Press Operators—Plants B and C
Introduction ............................................................................................. 45
Data Secured ......... .................... ;....................................................... 45
Similar Conditions in the Two Plants ............................................... 46
Characteristics of Personnel ........................................................... 46
Turn-over .............................................,............... .......................... 46
Hours of Work ................................................................................ 46
Unlike Conditions in the Two Plants ................................................. 47
Wage Payment Methods....................................................
47
Working Conditions ........................................................................ 48
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Home Life................ 48
The Household ....................................................................
48
Home Responsibilities ................................................................m...... 48
Time of Rising, of Reaching Home, and of Retiring......................... 49
Workers’ Over-all Day ..........................................................
50
Workers’ Preferred Factory Hours......................................................... 50
Preferred Hours ...........................................................
50
Gross Earnings in Relation to Hours ................................................. 50
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Factory Performance. 51
Attendance Record ............................................................................... 51
Attendance, All Women Studied ..................................................... 51
Attendance, Stable Group of Workers ........................................... 53
Injuries in Relation to Attendance ................................................. 53
Productive Efficiency ....................................................................
57
Nature of the Job ............................................................................. 57
Performance on the Job—Plant B .............................................. 59
Performance on the Job—Plant C................................................... 63
Performance on the Job—Summary ..........................
63
IV




Tables:
I. Percent of women losing time under different scheduled hours,
average number and length of their absences, and hours lost by
total number of women studied per 100 possible man-hours, by
shift—Plants B and C .....................................................................
II. Analysis of time lost by women workers under different scheduled
hours—long-term absences (whole weeks lost) and short-term
absences (time lost within weeks attended), by shift—Plants B
and C....................................................................................... -........
III. Injuries causing calls to medical department under different sched­
uled hours—Plant B .......................................................................
IV. Individual efficiency by length of experience in occupation, under
different scheduled hours, by department—Plant B.....................
V. Individual efficiency, by length of experience in occupation, under
different scheduled hours, by shift—Plant C ...............................
VI. Summary of possible man-hours, total man-hours worked, total
man-hours worked on incentive jobs, efficiency, and total pro­
duction, based on totals for all women studied, under different
scheduled hours, by groups of workers—Plants B and C..~...........

52

54
56
60
64

65

Light Precision Machine Operators—Plant D
Introduction ............................................................................................. 67
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Home Life................. 69
The Household ...............................................................
69
Home Responsibilities ......................................................................... 69
Time of Rising and of Retiring ..............................................-......... 10
Workers’ Preferred Factory Hours ....................................................... 10
Preferred Hours .................................................
10
Gross Earnings in Relation to Hours ................................................. 71
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Factory Performance 71
Attendance Record .......................
71
Attendance, All Women Studied ................................................... 71
Attendance in Relation to Shift Worked......................................... 73
Causes of Lost Time and Calls to Medical Department................. 73
Productive Efficiency ........................................................................... 73
Nature of the Job ............................................................
73
Method of Wage Payment on the Job............................ ...... ......... 78
Performance on the Job ..............................................................
Performance on the Job—Daily Production and Defective Pieces
Produced ...................................................................................... 79
Performance on the Job—Production and Defective Pieces Pro­
duced in Relation to the Time of Day ....................................... 82
Performance on the Job—Summary .........................
82
Tables:
I. Percent of women losing time under different scheduled hours,
average number and length of their absences, and hours lost by
total number of women studied per 100 possible man-hours, by
shift—Plant D .................................................................................. 72
II. Analysis of time lost by women workers under different scheduled
hours—long-term absences (whole weeks lost) and short-term
absences (time lost within weeks attended), by shift—Plant D..... 74
III. Causes of calls to medical department under different scheduled
hours—Plant D ............................................................................. 76




V

IV. Index numbers of total production, hourly production, and re­
jections of defective rotors, for 6 gangs of drill-table operators,
by day of the week, 9 weeks in 1944—Plant D....... ....................... 80
V. Summary of total man-hours worked, efficiency, and total produc­
tion, based on totals for all women in occupations studied, under
different scheduled hours, by occupation—Plant D ....... .............. 83
Light Precision Workers (Bushing-Lappers)—Plant E
Introduction ............................................................................................. 85
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Home Life............... 86
The Household .................................................................................... 86
Home Life and Time of Rising and of Retiring................................. 86
Workers’ Over-all Day ........................................................................ 88
Workers’ Preferred Factory Hours ......................................................... 88
Preferred Hours ................................................................................... 88
Gross Earnings in Relation to Hours................................................... 88
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Factory Performance 89
Attendance Record ............................................................................... 89
Productive Efficiency............................................................................. 92
Nature of the Job.......................................................................... 92
Performance on the Job ............................................................... 94
Performance on the Job—Individual Production ....................... 95
Performance on the Job—Department Production .........
97
Tables:
I. Percent of women losing time under different scheduled hours,
average number and length of their absences, and hours lost by
total number of women studied per 100 possible man-hours, by
shift, for all women in department and for those employed 30
days or more in each of two periods studied—Plant E................... 89
II. Analysis of time lost by women workers under different scheduled
hours—long-term absences (whole v/eeks lost) and short-term
absences (time lost within weeks attended), for all women in
department and for those employed 30 days or more in each of
two periods—Plant E ..................................................................... 91
III. Calls to medical department due to industrial injuries under dif­
ferent scheduled hours—Plant E ................................................... 93
IV. Productive efficiency of all workers in the bushing lapping de­
partment, by weeks in each period studied—Plant E ..... .......... . 96
SOLDERERS, WELDERS, METAL FABRICATORS AND ALLIED WORKERS IN
Radiator Manufacturing—Plant F

Introduction ............................................................................................ 98
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Home Life ............... 99
Workers’ Preferred Factory Hours ....................................
100
Preferred Hours ...................................................................................100
Gross Earnings in Relation to Hours ............................................... 100
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Factory Performance..101
Attendance Record ...............................................................................101
Causes of Lost Time and Calls to Medical Department.... .............. 103
Productive Efficiency ..................................
..103
Nature of the Job.............................................................................103
Performance on the Job..................................................
106
vi




Tables:
I. Percent of women losing time under different scheduled hours,
average number and length of their absences, and hours lost by
total number of women studied per 100 possible man-hours—
Plant F .............................................................................................101
II. Analysis of time lost by women workers under different scheduled
hours—long-term absences (whole weeks lost) and short-term
absences (time lost within weeks attended)—Plant F.................. 102
III. Causes of lost time under different scheduled hours—Plant F...... 104
IV. Causes of calls to medical department under different scheduled
hours—Plant F ..................................................................
105
t

'

ircraft

General Assemblers and Riveters—Plant G

Introduction .............................................................................................108
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Home Life.................109
The Household .....................................................................................109
Home Responsibilities ......................................................................... 97
Time of Rising and of Retiring........................................................... 110
Workers’ Over-all Day .........................................................................Ill
Workers’ Preferred Factory Hours......................................
112
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Factory Performance-112
Nature of the Job .................................................................................112
Attendance Record .............................................-................................ 114
Plant Definition of Lost Time ........ -.................... -..... -.................. 114
Attendance ......................
114
Pay Day in Relation to Attendance...........
118
Tardiness ..........................................................................-............... 119
Causes of Lost Time and Calls to Medical Department..... ......... 119
Attendance in Relation to Personal Characteristics ............. -.121
Plant Efforts to Reduce Absenteeism ...................................
125
Tables:
I. Percent of women losing time under different scheduled hours,
.and hours lost by total number of women studied per 100 pos­
sible man-hours, by shift—Plant G ........... ............. ..................... 115
II. Analysis of time lost by women workers under different scheduled
hours—long-term absences (whole weeks lost) and short-term
absences (time lost within weeks attended), by shift—Plant G—116
III. Causes of calls to medical department under different scheduled
hours—Plant G................................................................................ 120
IV. Causes of lost time under different scheduled hours—Plant G...... 122
V. Number of women losing time and their ratio to total women
reported, and average hours worked per week during weeks in
attendance, under different scheduled hours, by marital status
and age—Plant G............................................................................. 124
VI. Number of women losing time and their ratio to total women
reported, and average hours worked per week during weeks in
attendance, under different scheduled hours, by marital status
and dependents—Plant G ............................................................... 126
VII. Analysis of tyne lost by women workers under different scheduled
hours—long-term absences (whole weeks lost) and short-term
absences (time lost within weeks attended), by race—Plant G.....128




vii

\

Light Machine Operators, Bench Assemblers, and Inspectors—
Plants H and J
•

Introduction ..................................................................... -.................... 129
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Home Life ............... 131
The Household and Home Responsibilities .......................................131
Time of Rising and of Retiring .........................................................132
Workers’ Preferred Factory Hours ....................................................... 133
Preferred Hours ...................................................................................133
Gross Earnings in Relation to Hours ................................................. 133
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Factory Performance..l34
Attendance Record ...............................................................................134
Attendance ....................................................................................... 134
Tardiness .........................................................................................137
Pay Day in Relation to Attendance ..........................
137
Causes of Lost Time......................................................................... 137
Productive Efficiency ......................................................
139
Nature of the Job ........... ..................................-............................. 139
Performance on the Job ............................................................... 140
Performance on the Job—Plant H ..........
140
Performance on the Job—Plant J ...............................................141
Performance on the Job—Summary ........................................... 145
Tables:
I. Percent of women losing time under different scheduled hours,
average number and length of their absences, and hours lost by
total number of women studied per 100 possible man-hours, for
time workers and piece workers—Plants H and J ....................... 135
II. Analysis of time lost by women workers under different scheduled
hours—long-term absences (whole weeks lost) and short-term
absences (time lost within weeks attended), for time workers and
piece workers—Plants H and J .....................................................136
III. Causes of lost time under different scheduled hours—Plants H
and J ................................................................................................ 138
IV. Individual efficiency by length of experience in occupation, under
different scheduled hours, by occupation—Plants H and J............142
V. Summary of possible man-hours, total man-hours worked, total
man-hours worked on incentive jobs, efficiency, and total pro­
duction, based on totals for all women studied, under different
scheduled hours, by occupation—Plants H and J ......................... 144

r

*

Hardware Packers—Plant K

Introduction .............................................................................................146
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Home Life ............... 147
The Household .....................................................................................147
Home Responsibilities .........................................................................147
Time of Rising and of Retiring ......................................
148
Workers’ Preferred Factory Hours ......................................................... 148
Preferred Hours ...r........................................................-................................. .............................. 148
Gross Earnings in Relation to Hours .............................
148
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Factory Performance..149
Attendance Record ...............................................................................149
Productive Efficiency.............................................................................152
Nature of the Job ................. :......................... ...»............................ 152
Method of Wage Payment on the Job ....................................
153
Performance on the Job ........................................„..................... 153
vm



v

Performance on the Job—Light-Hardware Packing Department.,153
Performance on the Job—Bulk-Packing and Screw-Wrapping
Departments ................................................................................ 154
Performance on the Job—Summary......................... -................... 156
Tables:
I. Percent of women losing time under different scheduled hours,
average number and length of their absences, and hours lost by
total number of women studied per 100 possible man-hours—
Plant K ............................................................................................ 149
II. Analysis of time lost by women workers under different scheduled
hours—long-term absences (whole weeks lost) and short-term
absences (time lost within weeks attended)—Plant K ............... 150
III. Individual efficiency by length of experience in occupation, under
different scheduled hours, by occupation—Plant K ..................... 155
IV. Summary of possible man-hours, total man-hours worked, total
man-hours worked on incentive jobs, efficiency, and total produc­
tion, based on totals for all women studied, under different sched­
uled hours, by occupation—Plant K .............................................156
Hosiery Mill Operators (Loopers, Seamers, and Transfer Top
Knitters)—Plants L and M

Introduction .............................................................................................157
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Home Life.................159
The Household and Home Responsibilities.........................................159
Northern Households ....................................................................... 159
Southern Households ..................................................
160
Workers’ Over-all Day .....................................................-.............. -160
Workers’ Preferred Factory Hours ...................................-............ -.....161
Preferred Hours ...................................................................................161
Gross Earnings in Relation to Hours .............................. .................... 162
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Factory Perforrr...... 162
Attendance Record—Plant L ........................................................... 162
Attendance Record-—Plant M ...........................................................163
Productive Efficiency ........................................................
165
Nature of the Job ...................................................
165
Working Conditions on the Job ....................................................... 168
Performance on the Job—Plant L ...............
168
Performance on the Job—Plant M ................................................172
Tables:
I. Percent of women losing time under different scheduled hours,
average number and length of their absences, and hours lost by
total number of women studied per 100 possible man-hours, by
occupation—Plant L ....................................................................... 163
II. Analysis of time lost by women workers under different scheduled
hours—long-term absences (whole weeks lost) and short-term
absences (time lost within weeks attended), by occupation—
Plant L .....................................................
164
III. Percent of women losing time under different scheduled hours,
average number and length of their absences, and hours lost by
total number of women studied per 100 possible man-hours, by
occupation—Plant M .......................................................................165




xx

IV. Distribution of the hours 48 loopers worked each day of the week
when permitted to work up to 10% hours per day and 57% hours
per week—Plant M ............................................................__.......... 16g
V. individual efficiency by length of experience in occupation, under *
different scheduled hours, by occupation—Plant L ..................... 170
VI. Summary of possible man-hours, total man-hours worked, total
man-hours worked on incentive jobs, efficiency, and total produc­
tion, based on totals for all women studied, under different sched­
173
uled hours, by occupation—Plant L.....................................
VII. Comparison of individual efficiencies of groups composed of the
same women, under different scheduled hours, by occupation—
Plant M ........................................................... ______........ ______..... 176
VIII. Summary of total man-hours worked, total man-hours worked on
incentive jobs, efficiency, and total production, based on totals for
entire looping department and transfer top knitting department,
under different scheduled hours, by department—Plant M.......... 177
Power Sewing-Machine Operators—Plant N

Introduction .......................................................
J7g
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Home Life.............. 178
Effect of Different Hour Schedules on Workers’ Factory Perfo...........179
Attendance Record .........................................................
179
Causes of Lost Time................................
igQ
Productive Efficiency .......................................................
183
Nature of the Job .................................................
133
Performance on the Job.................................................
183
Tables:
I. Percent of women losing time under different scheduled hours,
average number and length of their absences, and hours lost by
total number of women studied per 100 possible man-hours, by
department—Plant N ...................
IgQ
II. Analysis of time lost by women workers under different scheduled
hours—long-term absences (whole weeks lost) and short-term
absences (time lost within weeks attended), by department—
Plant N .................................................................................
181
III. Causes of lost time under different scheduled hours—Plant N..... 182
Reference List of Other Publications.........................

x




185

WOMEN'S WARTIME HOURS OF WORK
SUMMARY OF 13 PLANT SURVEYS
INTRODUCTION

*

*

^

In a war period with its greatly expanded production program, hours of
work are lengthened, sometimes excessively, and many new workers are hired
as a means of attaining the highest possible output of essential war materials.
Women who are not normally in the labor market are drawn into factories,
and as the war is prolonged, housewives increasingly form the backlog of
war production forces. All pressures upon the wage earning woman are
intensified. The draft of many men into the armed forces increases the urge
for maximum production. At the same time it increases the demands made
by responsibility for children, dependents, and the home.
As months of war work lengthened into years during World War II,
reports of increasing fatigue among women employees became numerous;
absenteeism occasioned much comment; and in the summer of 1943 the
War Production Board reported a slowing down of production. The time
was propitious to seek an answer to the question of what scheduled hours
are best to maintain a stable, healthy staff of women workers able to carry
on a sustained, high-quality production over an extended period.1
To determine the most healthful, as well as the most efficient, workday
and workweek for women employees during a war period or any period, it is
necessary to consider the demands on the woman worker not only on the
job but in the home and in going to and from the place of employment.
Not only must the industrial work she performs, the conditions under which
she works, and the time of day in which the work is done be analyzed, but
these must be correlated with her home demands and home environment.
All these factors sum up her total effort during the day and week and deter­
mine whether her fatigue is such that it can be overcome by rest and recrea­
tion following the day’s work, or whether she fails to recuperate and
becomes more tired every day. Such cumulative fatigue may show itself in
illness, irritation, and general inability to carry on her job and her home
duties with reasonable ease. When such a condition results, not only are
the individual woman and her family affected, but the social implications
are widespread and her fitness to serve the wartime needs as well as the
peacetime needs of the Nation is greatly lessened.
In this study the performance of women workers under different scheduled
hours was reviewed in 13 plants. A great variety of scheduled hours was
covered: daily hours ranged from 7% to 10%, and weekly hours from
40 to 60. A total of 3,261 women were studied in selected occupations in­
volving varying degrees of skill and of physical and mental demands.
The occupations studied, save a few minor ones, were man-paced. Machines
operated included different types of punch presses, drill presses, lapping
machines, coil winding machines, power sewing machines, looping and
1 See p. 185 for a reference list of similar studies made in the United States and Great Britain.




1

2

women’s wartime hours of work

transfer top knitting machines. Hand operations included riveting, soldermg, welding, drilling, stator winding, armature winding, armature con­
necting, coil taping, hand packing, visual and gage inspecting, and various
types of assembling. Neither the machine nor hand operations could be
considered heavy muscular work. Rather the operations called for varying
degrees of finger dexterity and wrist, arm, or shoulder motions.
In some occupations, such as looping, the fatiguing elements were close
eye application, maintenance of the same posture, and performance of the
same tasks at a high rate of speed. In others the complexity and variations
of the tasks relieved the monotony and lessened the speed but increased the
need for alert attention to specifications. In some occupations, such as
punch-press operating, good eye, hand, and foot coordination was necessary,
and knowing the accidents which might result from lack of such coordina­
tion constituted a strain. In a few occupations continuous standing was
necessary. In still others, such as riveting and aircraft assembly, moving
about was excessive, and noise and vibration were necessary concomitants
of the jobs.
The occupational groups included and the products manufactured in each
of the 13 plants studied were:
Plant
Occupational Group
A................................. Stator winders, armature winders,
armature connectors, coil winders,
coil tapers, etc.
8................................. Punch-press operators
C................................. Punch-press operators
D................................. Precision drillers and automaticmachine operators
E................................. Machine lappers
E................................. Metal fabricators, solderers, welders,
and sheet-metal assemblers
G................................. Riveters and general aircraft
assemblers
H................................ . Light-machine operators, bench
assemblers, and inspectors
J.................................. Light-machine operators, bench
assemblers, and inspectors
K................................. Hand packers
L................................. Loopers and seamers
M................................. Loopers and transfer top knitters
N................................. Power-sewing machine operators

,

Product
Fractional horsepower
and industrial motors
Cylinder head gaskets
Oil seals or grease
retainers for ball
bearings
Rotors for artillery
ammunition
Injector bushings for
Diesel engines
Aircraft radiators,
oil coolers, and cabin
heaters
Aircraft
Roller, silent, and
conveyor chains
Electrical connectors
Builders’ hardware
Full-fashioned hosiery
Seamless hosiery
Corsets and brassieres,
and parachutes

The 8-hour day 40-hour week, and varying schedules of 7% to 7% hours
a day and 4214 to 45 hours a week, proved to be the best from the standpoint
of regularity of attendance in the factory; lost time per 100 possible man­
hours of work was the lowest under these hours. There was also a pre­
ponderance of opinion in favor of the 8-40-hour schedule among the women
interviewed, 40 percent preferring this schedule. The women felt they were
best able to meet their off-the-job-responsibilities and still have time for
leisure and rest under these hours. Second in preference was the 8-hour day
48-hour week, which was favored by 19 percent of the women.
It was not possible to compare productive efficiency under widely different
hours because the majority of women limited their hours of work to around




j-

^

,

SUMMARY OF 13 PLANT SURVEYS

3

48 and 50 a week when on a schedule of 54 to 60 hours, which were the
longest weekly hours studied. Regardless of the factory’s scheduled hours,
the women either would not or could not work longer weekly hours for any
extended period. Individual productivity seemed little affected by hours
worked when weekly hours attended were limited to around 48 and 50; the
women could produce at about the same rate whether working 8, 9, or 10
hours a day during days they reported for work.
Thus it would seem that total production of a group of women workers
cannot be increased by lengthening scheduled hours much beyond 48 a week,
because women will not work longer hours than this for any extended period,
even in war times.
This study was made under wartime conditions and included many house­
wives and other women who are normally not a part of the labor force.
Under peacetime conditions when there is not the wartime stimulus for
maximum production and good attendance on the job, it might very well
be that productive efficiency could not be sustained under hours as long
as 48 and 50 a week. More probably, optimum hours for women from a
production standpoint under peacetime conditions would fall somewhere
between 40 and 48 a week, while optimum hours, from the standpoint of
good attendance on the job and from the standpoint of meeting the prefer­
ence of women workers, would be near 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
HOME DEMANDS IN RELATION TO HOURS WORKED

The woman war factory worker was, in the main, a woman with family
and household responsibilities. She tried to maintain and increase her
standard of performance in the factory and still maintain her standards for
home and family. Faced with major difficulties in marketing for food and
in securing any paid household help, she limited her hours of performance
in the plant to permit her partially to fulfill her personal and household
duties regardless of the factory’s scheduled hours. *
Forty percent of the women interviewed preferred the 8-hour day and
40-hour week, believing they could more easily meet their personal and
household responsibilities and still have time for rest and leisure under this
schedule. Also, the best attendance record was made under the 8-40-hour
week and under the varying schedules of 7% to 7% hours a day and 42% to
45 hours a week. Under these hours there was least lost time per 100 possible
man-hours of work.
That fatigue was present under the longer schedules of hours was evi­
denced by the fact that some women went to bed at an earlier hour when
working more than 8 hours a day, and many admitted they were absent
because they were “tired” rather than ill. Under each hour schedule about
Y3 of the workers did not get more than 7 hours sleep regularly. The pro­
portion with less than 6 hours sleep increased under the 9%- or 10-hour day.
The second-shift worker reached home soon after midnight under an
8-hour day; this permitted the woman worker to get to bed while the family
was sleeping. Under the 10-hour schedule she arrived home as the rest of
the family was getting started for the day and had to get her sleep during
the day. While the second shift gave the women time at home to care for
their families, under the longer schedule of daily hours, it cut into their
hours of undisturbed rest.
When the workday was lengthened to 9 and 10 hours and ended between
5 and 6 o’clock, food stores were usually closed before the factory worker




4

women’s wartime hours of work

could reach them. In a few instances the marketing was turned over to other
members of the family. Usually, however, it had to be done on Saturdays,
if that day was partially free, or the women shopped during the lunch period
or took time off from work during the day to do marketing. The dinner hour
was advanced under the longer hour schedules, and this later dinner hour
left little time for other tasks after dishes were washed. Often Sunday became
a day of laundering and cleaning, rather than a day of rest and recreation.
The home and family demands upon women workers varied with the
woman’s age and marital status, the family’s circumstances, and inherited
or environmental standards of living. Because the plants included were
located in 11 communities ranging from rural towns to metropolitan centers,
because they were in 7 States—Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania,
Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, and Kansas—women studied had different
nationality backgrounds and diverse living and social standards.
These were revealed in attitudes toward the evening meal and care of
the home. A meal of fresh meat, vegetables, and homemade dessert
was regarded as essential for their families by many women workers; to
others delicatessen and canned foods sufficed when they were short of time.
To some women workers, their home, purchased or being purchased and
furnished through careful savings, was a very precious possession to be
kept in good condition regardless of other demands upon them. To many
others, the urge to keep the house or apartment nice was in continuous con­
flict with the “too tired” feeling at the end of a long day of factory work.
To some few, rented quarters made little demand upon their sensibilities for
regular and thorough cleaning.
Eighty-two percent of the women lived in family households, 11 percent
had their own apartment or housekeeping room, and only 7 percent roomed
and boarded.
Thirty-six in every 100 women interviewed in this study not only had the
responsibility for the family but did the major part of the housework them­
selves. This included the ever-recurring marketing and cooking of two meals
a day and the weekly tasks of washing, ironing, and housecleaning. Half
the women shared the household duties with other members of the family.
Only 9 in every 100 women reported that they lived at home but assumed
no continuous household duties.
Sixty-five percent of the women were married, widowed, or divorced.
Half of these women reported they had the general responsibility for the
home and did the major part of the work. They accomplished the following
services with varying degrees of thoroughness: getting breakfast, putting up
lunches, making beds, marketing, preparing the evening meal, washing
dishes, washing and ironing clothes and household linens, housecleaning,
and mending clothes. When the workday ended around 3 or 4 p.m., under
schedules of 8 hours a day or less, marketing could be done on the way
home, an early dinner was served, and there was time for some other house­
hold or personal tasks or recreation at night. When Saturday was a day
free from factory work, it became the day for mass buying of foods, for
doing the laundry, and for major housecleaning. This left Sunday for extra
tasks, rest, and recreation.
Such was the household burden of the half, in the group of married,
widowed and divorced women, who carried the major part of their house­
hold responsibilities alone. The second largest group shared sqme of the
household duties with other members of the family. What was done by the
married woman, and what by her daughter or other relative living in the




SUMMARY OF 13 PLANT SURVEYS

5

household, depended somewhat on the woman’s free time in relation to the
demands on other members of the family. A few lived with relatives who
relieved them of all household duties.
Over a third of all households in which married or widowed women lived
had children under 14 years of age. Care when the mother was away at work
was given these children most frequently by adult relatives living in the
household. The husband on a different shift from the wife served as a second
source for child care. Little use was made of child-care nurseries and only a
few families used paid service to care for children. The school child able to
take care of his own physical needs was the child sometimes left without
anyone in the home to guide him when he came home from school. The
presence of children in the home caused some women to work on the second
or third shift. This permitted them to get the children ready for school and
sometimes to see them when they returned home. Whereas older children
usually helped the working mother with household tasks, unquestionably
the woman with children under 14 years of age had more demands made
upon her energies by her family than any other working woman.
One-eighth of all single women workers visited carried general responsi­
bility for their households and had major household tasks. These were older
women who frequently had the care of elderly fathers or mothers or dis­
abled relatives. Their burden was often heavier than that of many married
women workers, for the single woman was without the financial help or the
household assistance of a man approximately her own age.
Sixty in every 100 single women helped with housework and usually did
their own laundry and room-cleaning. Twenty in every 100 had mothers who
did everything for them. The remaining small percent of single women
roomed and boarded.
HOURS PREFERRED BY WOMEN WORKERS

When the women visited in their homes were asked the hours they pre­
ferred to work, they were also asked to take into consideration the loss of
overtime pay when working no more than 8 hours a day and 40 hours a
week. Forty percent, as stated, preferred the 8-hour day 40-hour week; the
better balance between factory and home demands believed possible under
this schedule meant more to them than did the added overtime pay under
longer hours. Nineteen percent preferred the 8-hour day 48-hour week. No
other specific combination of daily and weekly hours was desired by more
than 6 percent of women workers.
When daily hours alone were considered, 68 percent preferred the 8- or
8}/2'hour day. When weekly hours were considered, 40 percent preferred a
40-hour week; 16 percent preferred over 40 hours, to and including 45 hours;
22 percent, 47^ and 48 hours; and 11 percent, 50 hours a week. The 5-day
week was preferred by 60 percent of the women.
These women were thinking in terms of the wage scale at the time they
were interviewed in 1944 or 1945. When women expressed a preference for
longer hours, it was primarily because of financial responsibilities requiring
all possible earnings for present and future needs. Whereas an overwhelming
number preferred the day shift, there were some women in each plant operat­
ing a night shift who preferred that shift when it began in the late afternoon
and ended around midnight.
Below is a tabulation of the hour preferences of the 566 women inter-




6

women’s wartime hours of work

viewed when they took into consideration the loss or decrease in overtime
pay under the shorter hour schedules:
Number days per week:

Percent of women preferring
specified days or hours

5-day week ...................................................................................................
5 days and short Saturday .......................................................................
6-day week ...................................................................................................

60
16
24

Daily hoars:

Less than 8 hours.............................................................
8 or 8/2 hours..............................................................................................
9 or 9'/2 hours..............................................................................................
10 or 10% hours ............................................................................................

8
68
15
9

Weekly hours:

Less than 40 hours......................................................................................
40 hours .......................................................................................................
Over 40 and including 45 hours.................................................................
47% and 48 hours ......................................................................................
50 hours ...............................................................;.......................................
53 or 54 hours..............................................................................................
55 hours .......................................................................................................
57 or 60 hours............................. ................................................................

5
40
16
22
11
2
3
1

Combination daily and weekly hours:

8 hours 5 days a week...............................................................................
8 hours 6 days a week...............................................................................
7 hours and fractions of an hour, 5 days a week .....................................
9 hours 5% days a week ...........
10 hours 5 days a week...............................................................................
8 hours 5% days a week........................................................................
9 hours 5 days a week...............................................................................
No other combination preferred by more than .......................................

40
19
6
6
6
5
5
2

ATTENDANCE RECORD IN RELATION TO SCHEDULED HOURS2

The women workers studied had the best record of attendance under the
8-40-hour schedule and the different schedules of T1/^ to 7% hours a day
and 42)4 to 45 hours a week. Hours lost per 100 possible man-hours of
work averaged only 8.7 in all plants having a 40-hour schedule and 8.8 in
plants having schedules of less than 8 hours a day. The second best record
of attendance was under the 8-48-hour schedule (8)4-48 hours in one plant),
with 9.6 hours lost per 100 possible man-hours of work.
There was a decided increase in lost time when hours were increased
above 8 a day. Under the different schedules of 9 to 9% hours a day and
45 to 54 hours a week the man-hours lost averaged 12.4. And, man-hours
lost per 100 possible man-hours of work were the very highest under the
10-hour-day and 50- to 60-hour-week schedules, with hours lost averaging
14.6.
Examination of table I reveals the wide range in the proportion of time
lost by women who were working the same scheduled hours in different
plants, but, whatever the proportion of lost time in the shortest-hour period
in each plant, the proportion of lost time increased in the longer-hour periods.
There was a self-adjustment of weekly hours by the women workers to
bring about a balance between home and factory demands; and all the
women included in each plant did not work much over 48 hours a week
over an extended period, even under the longest hour schedules studied which
were 54 to 60 hours a week. Some had personal and home demands that
2 The 8-40-hour period in Plant B is excluded from this attendance summary because of the
high proportion of older women responsible for many long-term absences, in this period as com­
pared with other periods. The 51-54-hour period in Plant D is also excluded from the discussion
because of the competitive production drive which distorted the attendance figures in this period.




#

/

•6i'ZS69

Table I. —Man-hours Lost per 100 Possible Man-hours by All Women Studied Under Different Scheduled Hours in Each Plant

Man-hours lost per 100 possible man-hours in longer-hour periods studied when scheduled hours were1

Scheduled hours in shortest-hour
period studied in each plant

Weekly
hours

Plant 2

8-48 hours
(B), (N)
86z-48 hours
(C)

9^2-47^2 hours
(J)
8^4-51 and
9-54 hours
(D)

9-45 and
914-46 hours
(L)

9^2-52^4 and
10-55 or 56, 2
/
hours(D)

9-54 hours
(D). (B),
(G)
9 4/5-54
hours (E)

7.1

3 5.4

10-50 hours
(G)
10-54 or 55
hours (K)

10-60 hours
(F), (G)

10-55 hours
(A), (H)

8.3

45

D

6.0

7 2/3

44 2/3

E

9.1

7% or 7 3/5

42 y2 or 43

J

11.3

40

B

4 16.8

10.1

8

40

C

11.4

12.1

8

40

L

8.5

8

40

N

6-3

8

48

A

8.0

48

F

10.4

8

48

G

8.6

9

48

H

8.7

17.4

50

K

8.2

SUMMARY OF

Daily
hours

Man-hours lost
per 100 possible
man-hours in
shortest-hour
period studied
in each plant

11.1

7%

9

13.0
16.6

16.1
8.2

**
13.1
11.3
12.4

15.0

SURVEYS

8

13 PLANT

8

I

13.3

19.4

1 Plant designation given in parentheses after each hour schedule.
2 Plant M eliminated because attendance data not comparable to that in other plants. (See report on Plant M.)
3 Less lost time than in shortest-hour period, owing to competitive production drive. (See report on Plant D.)
4 Higher proportion of older women, who had long-term absences, in this period.




-4

8

women’s wartime hours of work

were as important to them as their job responsibilities, and others stated
they were “too tired” to work excessively long hours. The women did, how­
ever, work the scheduled daily hours on the majority of days they reported
for work.
When factory hours were V/> to 7% daily and 42V2 to 45 weekly, the
women actually averaged 38 to 43 hours per week during weeks they were
in attendance (i.e., weeks in which they reported for work at all; absences of
whole weeks were excluded from consideration). Under the 8-40-hour
schedule they averaged 36 to 38 hours per week; under the 8- or S1/^-hour
day and 48-hour week, 44 and 45 hours; under the 9-54-hour schedule, 48
to 50 hours. When factory hours were 10 daily and 54 to 60 weekly, during
the weeks the women reported for work they averaged 48 to 52 hours. Table
II reveals further that in only two plants did women work more than an
average of 50 hours in any period studied, and they averaged only 51 and
52 hours.
In each plant, a higher proportion of women lost time, and the average
number of absences per woman increased with each increase in length of
scheduled hours. This is shown in table III which gives the percent of women
losing time and average number of absences per woman under each hour
schedule studied in each plant.
Causes of lost time could not be compared under different scheduled hours
because too few of the plants had adequate records on causes of absence.
“Personal illness” was the principal reported cause of lost time. Many of the
women workers interviewed admitted that they stayed home when they were
“not really ill but just too tired to go to work.” Also, while minor injuries
to fingers, hands, and arms did occur in some occupations studied, the
numbers were too few to bear any relation to hours worked.
In comparing attendance on the different shifts, it was found that there
was less lost time on the second shift than on the first shift under the 10-hourday schedule. Under the 8-hour-day schedule, lost time on the second shift
was higher in some plants, lower in an equal number, and the same in
one plant.
In an aircraft plant (Plant G) a special analysis was made of the attend­
ance record of 1,237 women riveters and general aircraft assemblers to
show the relation of lost time to marital status, age, number of dependents,
and race. It was found that the proportion of married, widowed, or divorced
women losing time was higher than the proportion of single women losing
time. The single women 25 to 45 years of age were most regularly in attend­
ance under each hour schedule. (This department did not employ a sufficient
number of women 45 years of age and over to permit any statement con­
cerning this age group’s attendance.)
In Plant G, women workers with children under 14 years of age averaged
one hour and 40 minutes more lost time per week under the 50-, 54-, and
60-hour schedules than did women without dependents. Under the 8-48-hour
schedule, the women with children lost a half hour more per week than did
women without dependents.
It was also found that there was little difference between the races as to
the proportion staying away from work one week or more during any period
studied. When at work, the proportion of white women who lost no time
exceeded the proportion of Negro women who lost none because a larger
proportion in the latter group lost a half day or less a week.




Table II.—Average Weekly Hours Worked by All Women Studied Under Different Scheduled Hours in Each Plant

Average hours worked per week in longer-hour periods studied when scheduled hours were1—
Scheduled hours in shortest-hour
period studied in each plant

Weekly
hours

Plant 2

8-48 hours
(B), (N)
8%-48 hours
(C)

7/.

45

D

43.2

7 2/3

44 2/3

E

42/2 or 43

j

38.4

8

40

B

4 35.7

40

C

38.2

40

L

37.8

8

40

N

5 36.7

8

48

A
F

9 4/5-54
hours (E)

44.8

8

48

9-54 hours
(D), (B),
(G)

10-50 hours
(G)
10-54 or 55
hours(K)

10-60 hours
(F), (G)

10-55 hours
(A), (H)

44.0

8

9J4-5214 and
10-55 or 56%
hours(D)

44.2

8

9-45 and
9J4-46 hours
(L)

41.7

71/2 or 7 3/5

8%-51 and
9-54 hours
(D)

9%-47% hours
(J)

43.9

8

48

G

48

H

50

K

45.7

42.9
47.8

41.3
44.6
48.2

48.7

45 5
48 0

........... 1.............................

1 Plant designation given in parentheses after each hour schedule.
2 Plant M not included because attendance data not comparable to that in other plants.
3 Less lost time due to competitive production drive makes actual hours worked high.
4 Higher proportion of older women, who had long-term absences, in this period made actual hours worked low.
5 1.4 of the 3.3 hours lost were due to lack of work.




50.1
50.0

44.9

9

51.1

45.0

9

3 50.6

49.4

50.5

SUMMARY OF 13 PLANT SURVEYS

Daily
hours

Average hours
worked per
week in
shortest-hour
period studied
in each plant

women’s wartime hours of work

10

Table III. — Percent of Women Losing Time and Average Number of Absences per

7Vz

45

D

70.6

2.4

7 2/3

44 2/3

E

74.2

2.3

754 or 7 3/5

4214 or 43

J

92.0

6.0

40

B

4 82.3

4 2.8

74.7

2.5

40

C

85.0

2.3

85.0

3.4

8

40

L

63.5

2.3

8

40

N

70.5

3.3

90.4

4.0

A

68.5

A verage
num ber of
absences

Percent
of women
losing tim e
j

ID'S «
>Sss

A verage
num ber of
absences

-g S**
5s
S
2 2 bp
a> o o

|

Plant2

Percent

Weekly
hours

854-51 and
9-54 hours
(D)

854-48 hours
(C)

of women

Daily
hours

8-48 hours
(B), (N)

losing time

Percent of women
losing time and
average number
Scheduled hours in shortest-hour
of absences in
shortest-hour
period studied in each plant
period studied
in each plant

2.6

8
8

8

48

8

48

F

91.4

48

G

53.9

(G)

9

48

H

69.4

3.0

9

50

IC

88.5

3 2.5

3.1

8

3 60.3

3.6

1 Plant designation given in parentheses after each hour schedule.
2 Plant M not included because attendance data not comparable to that in other plants.
3 Percent of women losing time was less than in the shortest-hour period,' owing
to competitive production drive.
_
4 Higher proportion of older women, who had long-term absences, in this period.
6 Not reported.

PRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY IN RELATION TO HOURS WORKED

In factories manufacturing war goods that involved operations quite
different from their normal peacetime manufacturing processes, there were
constant changes in plant-wide and individual rates of output during the
war period. The same held true for new factories that were built for the
purpose of manufacturing some war item. In both types of plants there
was a continual rise in productive efficiency as new technical and super­
visory staffs were being developed, as retooling was being perfected, as mass
production methods and production shortcuts were developed or improved,
as better utilization was made of all employees, and as new workers gained
experience. In factories where there were such continual changes, it was
impossible to make valid comparisons of efficiency under different scheduled
hours.
The best production comparisons could be made in plants where women
had been employed for many years on the same general processes, whether




SUMMARY OF 13 PLANT SURVEYS

11

Woman Among All Women Studied in Each Plant Under Different Scheduled Hours
Percent of women losing time and average number of absences ii
longer-hour periods studied when scheduled hours were1—

9-45 and
9j&-46 hours
(L)

hours (D)

9-54 hours
(D), (B),
(G)
9 4/5-54
hours(E)

10-50 hours
(G)
10-54 or 55
hours(K)

10-60 hours
(F), (G)

10-55 hours
(A), (H)

100.0

on wartime or peacetime products. On such operations length of experience
on the job was generally the most potent factor in output. Consequently the
best contrasts in productive efficiency could be made among women with
the same length of experience, and among those who had attained proficiency
on the job.
But other plant conditions caused variability in output and sometimes
obscured the effect of changes in hours, even within the groups with the same
length of experience. A noticeable factor in lowering efficiency was the
amount of time spent on nonproductive tasks, such as getting materials and
supplies, or on repair jobs, or on special jobs on an hourly rather than on an
incentive basis. Mechanical difficulties and defective or poor quality materials
also lowered output. Shifting workers from one task to another several times
during the course of a day made it harder for them to build up speed on
any one task. In some plants group spirit was against producing more than
a normal” amount per day or week. Finally, production was affected by
the extent to which friendly relations among top management, supervisors,
and workers served to spur workers on to meet plant production goals.




12

women’s wartime hours of work

Table IV.—Productive Efficiency and Average Weekly Hours Worked by 17 Occupational Groups

O O r-t
C3 T3-5

o
C tA
x|-o £ fc « o5
C w^x5 <U 4)
.§*8 {i
>

Occupational group and scheduled hours
in the shortest-hour period studied

ri

s-

8-48 hours
(B) All occupations
(M) Transfer top
knitters

tS-SS g *

Efficiency
(average
hourly
production)

A verage
weekly
hours
worked

w£* t

m

42 [4

Machine operators,
assemblers, and inspectors

J

2 84.5

38.4

8

40

Punch-press operators
(Depts. 1 & 2) ....................

B

95.4

39.5

89.6

41.7

8

40

Punch-press operators
(Dept. 3) .................................

B

89.9

36.1

96.2

44.8

8

40

Small-press operators
(Dept. 4) ................................

B

91.7

34.1

85.3

45.4

8

40

Seamers .....................................

L

2 74.9

37.5

8

40

Loopers ......................................

L

2 69.9

38.1

8

40

Loopers3 .....................................

M

105.2

39.6

8

40

Transfer top knitters ...........

M

122.8

38.4

122.8

46.6

8

48

Stator winders ........................

A

149.1

45.9

8

48

Coil winders ............................

A

103.1

45.1

48

Armature winders “A” ........

A

149.2

45.7

48

Armature winders “B” ........

A

145.2

45.8

48

Armature connectors.............

A

152.7

47.6

8

48

Coil tapers and
miscellaneous workers-----

A

97.0

44.2

9

48

Machine operators .................

H

2 76.8

45.7

9

50

Light packing ..........................

K

69.0

46.6

9

50

Bulk packing and screw
wrapping ................................

K

61.7

47.2

8
8
8

<u 3 .
t» °T!
ci kj
v4jj? n
<J u >

Occupation

Daily Weekly
hours hours

Plant

^ ai

1 Plant designation, in parentheses, and occupation covered given after each hour schedule.
2 Efficiency is based on average weekly piecework earnings.
3 Women in the third and fourth periods were identical with those in the first.




SUMMARY OF 13 PLANT SURVEYS

13

With a Year or More Experience, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Plant

Efficiency and average weekly hours worked by women workers with 1 year
or more experience in the longer-hour periods studied when scheduled hours were1—
10-54 hours
(K) Light packing

9J4-47J4 hours
(J) All occupations
9-45 hours
(L) Loopers

8 and 9-50 hours
(M) Loopers

2 80.1

A verage

weekly
hours
worked

Efficiency
(average
hourly
production)

A verage

weekly
hours
worked

Efficiency
(average
hourly
production)

A verage
weekly
hours
worked

Efficiency

(average

hourly
production)

A verage
weekly
hours
worked

Efficiency
(average
hourly
production)

weekly

A verage

hours
worked

Efficiency
(average
hourly
production)

!

9*4-46 hours
(L) Seamers

10-55 hours
10-50 hours
(A) All occupations
9-54 hours
(A) Coil tapers
other than
(B) All occupations and miscellaneous
coil tapers and
miscellaneous
52-57 hours
(H) Machine
(M) Loopers
operators
(K) Bulk packing
and screw
wrapping

42.8
90.8
94.7
81.5

2 77.5
2 70.6

51.2

40.5
41.9




112.1

48.5

52.9

147.6

49.9

107.1

49.6

152.3

48.7

151.8
105.7

50.0

149.3

51.0

2 77.3

49 0

44.9

50 0
52.5

14

women’s wartime hours of work

Such variables in plant conditions are normal in both peacetime and
wartime, and will always be an obstacle in getting a very accurate measure
of the effect of hours worked on output. These variables have been pointed
out in each plant study, in the interpretation of production data. Final
conclusions on the best hours from a production standpoint must be
based on plant studies in which these variables were at a minimum.3
The best contrast in relative efficiency under different hours can be made
among women workers with a year or more experience, because in almost
all the jobs studied they would have attained a norm of production with
this length of experience. Seventeen occupational groups had a sufficiently
large number of women with at least a year’s experience to afford com­
parisons in efficiency. Some of the groups were studied under more than
two different hour schedules, so that there was a total of 21 comparisons of
efficiency among the 17 occupational groups. As hours were increased, pro­
ductive efficiency remained the same or practically the same in 10 instances,
efficiency decreased in 4 instances, and increased in 7.
In no occupation did the efficiency of these women vary widely under the
different scheduled hours studied, as can be seen in table IV. The degree
of “increase” or “decrease” in efficiency was often so slight that it had little
relation to hours worked. Where the changes in efficiency were more
marked, various groups often reacted quite differently to the same or similar
changes in hours, and, there was no great difference in the strains or physical
effort in the jobs involved to account for these variations. Sometimes there
was an “increase” or “decrease” in efficiency even though there was little
difference in hours actually worked which indicates that the hours had little
to do with this change in productivity.
_
In no instance was productive efficiency being compared under widely
different hours, as the women either would not or could not work excessively
long hours per week. Even though scheduled weekly hours of as long as
54 to 60 were studied, the majority of women never worked more than 48 to
50 hours under these longer schedules. Individual productivity seemed little
affected by hours worked, when weekly hours were limited to around 48
and 50, regardless of the factory’s work schedule. Many of the experienced
workers had personally set production goals which they tried to meet and
generally could attain, on days they reported for work, regardless of whether
daily hours were 8, 9, or 10, as long as they limited weekly hours to around
48. It was found that even though the women did not work the full scheduled
weekly hours, they did work scheduled daily hours on the majority of days
they reported for work.
_
_
There were 4 occupational groups with at least a year’s experience in
Plants B and M that changed from an 8-hour day 40-hour week to an 8-hour
day 48-hour week. Two had a lower efficiency rate under the longer hour
schedule, one had a higher efficiency rate, and in one group efficiency
remained about the same in each period.
Seamers in a full-fashioned hosiery mill went from an 8-40-hour schedule
to a 9y2-46-hour schedule, and their production increased by 21/2 points,
while loopers in the same plant went from an 8-40-hour schedule to a 9-45hour schedule, and their efficiency remained practically the same. Loopers
in a seamless hosiery mill changed from an 8-40-hour schedule to a 50-hour
schedule of 8 and 9 hours a day, with a resulting increase in efficiency in
the latter period. The overtime pay under longer hours was believed to be a
s Findings in Plants C, D, E, F, and N are excluded from this summary of productive efficiency
because the production data were distorted for efficiency comparisons.




SUMMAKY OF 13 PLANT SURVEYS

15

stimulus to production in this particular plant. When these same loopers
went from a 50-hour to a 52- and 57-hour week, their efficiency decreased
slightly.
It should be noted that valid production comparisons under an 8-40-hour
schedule were possible in only 3 of the 13 plants studied. In other plants
where scheduled hours of more than 40 hours a week were studied, the per­
formance of these same groups under an 8-40-hour schedule is, of course,
not known. Therefore, conclusions on efficiency under an 8-40-hour sche­
dule as compared with longer work schedules are relatively limited.
Plant J went from a 7^-4214-hour schedule to a 9^fj-47%-hour schedule,
and there was a lower efficiency rate under the longer hour schedule.
Three groups in Plant B went from an 8-48-hour schedule to a 9-54-hour
schedule. In two of the groups efficiency remained about the same under the
9-54-hour schedule, and in the other group efficiency dropped. The two
groups that had about the same efficiency in each period actually worked
only 2 hours more per week under the longer work schedule. The group that
had a drop in efficiency worked longer hours under the 9-54-hour schedule
than did the other two groups, averaging 6 hours more a week under the
54-hour week than under the 48-hour week.
There were 5 occupational groups in Plant A that changed from an 8-hour
day 48-hour week to 10 hours a day and 50 or 55 hours a week. Three of
these groups maintained the same general level of efficiency in both periods,
and two had a higher efficiency rate in the longer hour period. However,
average weekly hours worked were not appreciably different under each
schedule, the hours worked averaging only 3 or 4 more per week under
the 54-55-hour schedules as compared with the 48-hour schedule. One group
in Plant H changed from a 9-48-hour schedule to a 10-55-hour schedule, and
the efficiency rate remained practically the same.
Coil tapers and some miscellaneous workers in Plant A went from an
8-48-hour schedule to a 10-50-hour schedule, and they showed an increase
in efficiency although the hours worked remained practically the same, aver­
aging 44.2 and 44.9 in the 48- and 50-hour periods, respectively. Two groups
studied in Plant K went from a 9-50-hour schedule to a 10-54- or 55-hour
schedule, and in one group efficiency remained the same, and in the other it
was higher in the longer hour period.




women’s wartime hours of work

16

PLAN OF STUDY
CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANTS SUITABLE FOR STUDY

The first consideration in determining whether a plant was suitable for
study of women’s performance under various scheduled hours was that at
least two different schedules must have been in operation in a woman-employ­
ing department for extended periods during the war. The stimulation of
effort brought about by the urgencies of war naturally increased production,
so that conclusions derived from a comparison of a short-hour prewar
period with a long-hour war period would be without validity. Scheduled
hours fluctuated with the awarding of new contracts, the cancellation of
others, the pressure for increased production of certain items, the flow of
work, the labor supply available for different occupations, the extent of
relaxation of hours regulations by State labor departments, and mandatory
directives of the War Manpower Commission. It is generally recognized
that workers can speed up their production for a short time, and their
initial response to a change in hours may be different from their response
after the schedule has been in effect over an extended period. Therefore, no
hour schedule was deemed suitable for study until it had been in operation
for at least two months. Nor could very hot summer months nor very cold
winter months be taken for study, as absenteeism usually ran abnormally
high at such times.
The second essential was to preclude as many variables as possible, other
than hours, from the comparison. The performance to be compared under
different hour schedules had to be on essentially the same product, manu­
factured with the same tools and equipment, under the same working condi­
tions. This consideration eliminated almost all shipbuilding and aircraft
assembly from any production comparisons, for in these vital industries
the war production pattern was one of continuous improvement in equip­
ment and development of mass-production methods with much reengineering
when new models were introduced. Also, practically no individual produc­
tion records were kept in such plants. Comparison of performance in an
entire plant was therefore impossible unless only a few processes were
involved and the product manufactured was relatively simple. Conference
with management personnel, check-ups of records, follow-up talks with
foremen were necessary before a department or an occupation could be
found that operated without substantial change in product or equipment
during the periods in which different hour schedules had been worked. Some­
times even after all initial precautions had been taken in selecting a group
for study and the plant survey was under way, records revealed that material
changes affecting rate of output had taken place. Or forgotten happenings
and conditions that had influenced production were recalled by women
workers and verified by supervisors.
Only jobs in which pace was determined in large part by the worker were
deemed suitable for this comparative study. Therefore, the third considera­
tion was that women must be on jobs other than machine-paced operations
requiring only watching on the part of the worker.
The fourth consideration was that individual records must be available
on work history in the plant, quits and transfers, attendance and production.
Although many plants had over-all figures of man-hours worked, of over-all
efficiency and production, without available data to break these totals down




PLAN OF STUDY

17

into their component parts no sound causal relation could be established
between such totals and scheduled hours. Many plants, that in peacetime
had incentive work systems or piecework which necessitated keeping indi­
vidual production records, no longer kept such records when, with the
conversion to war production, workers were placed on straight hourly rates.
Pressure for production and turn-over of personnel also served to prevent
adequate individual-record keeping even in some plants that customarily
kept such records.
SEARCH FOR PLANTS SUITABLE FOR STUDY

States with basic hour laws permitting women to work more than 8 hours,
and States in which wartime amendments permitted such employment,
naturally were the most suitable areas in which to search for plants whose
conditions warranted the study under consideration. Michigan, Missouri,
Kansas, Tennessee, and Rhode Island were chosen as States representing
the group first mentioned; Ohio, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, as States
permitting wartime extension of hours. Through the courtesy of the War
Production Board and the War Manpower Commission, files were searched
to determine what war-contract firms in these States had reported changes
in hour schedules for women during the war period. Reports of State labor
commissioners were also checked. With lists thus obtained, visits to specific
plants began.
A total of 150 plants was covered in 11 States, and only 13 of these
plants in 7 States were found suitable for study.
Michigan.—Michigan has a 54-hour law permitting an average 9-hour
day but a 10-hour-maximum day for women in factories. Personal visits were
paid to 18 Michigan plants making guns, tanks, spark plugs, engines, and
parachutes; calls were also made to 20 foundries in search of women em­
ployed on heavy work. While many foundries were employing or had
employed women in the core-making department, hours did not exceed
48 a week except in a few plants where some women were employed among
the men coremakers, and the number of women was too small to study. In
the munitions plants, one-third of those visited had not employed women
more than 48 hours a week. Some of these plants had operated womanemploying departments on a 9-hour day, but there had been too many
changes in manufacturing methods and too frequent shifting of women from
job to job to meet the prerequisites of the hours study. Other plants had no
individual production records. Of 38 Michigan plants visited, 4 were chosen
for study, 2 that had changed schedules from 40 or 44% to 54 hours, and
2 that had changed from 40 to 48 hours.
Kansas and Missouri.—Missouri has a 9-54-hour law for women of 16
years and over in manufacturing establishments, while Kansas has a 9-hour
day and 491/2-hour week. Seven firms were visited in these States. Two of
the plants in Kansas proved suitable for study. The others had no schedules
beyond 48 hours that could be studied, or production methods had been
changed too frequently to warrant consideration as study material, or the
plants were operating on a straight time basis of pay without keeping indi­
vidual production records.
Rhode Island.—The Rhode Island labor law sets a limit of a 9-hour day
and a 48-hour week, except that when 48 hours are worked in 5 days the
daily hours may equal but not exceed 9%. In 1943, following investigation
of need, the director of labor under a wartime grant of authority issued 111




18

women’s wartime hours of work

permits to exceed legal hours of work, covering 3,681 women. Some pro­
vided for a 10-hour day and 5-day week, others for 6 days of 9 hours, and
a few gave permission for Sunday work, but these permits were issued for
emergencies only, not to exceed 30 days, though renewal was possible. The
Bureau visited 24 Rhode Island firms that employed large proportions of
women, but found no plant that had a schedule exceeding 48 hours a week
over a 2-month period. Rather, much ingenuity had been shown in adjust­
ing the daily hours to suit the family demands of women workers. One firm
that permitted women in the same department to choose different hours of
work was chosen for study to see how this arrangement affected attendance.
Ohio.—Ohio’s labor law calling for a maximum 8-hour day and 45-hour
week for manufacturing establishments was amended to permit, during the
war emergency, the employment of women for 10 hours a day and 50 hours
a week. However, employers with war contracts could employ women in
excess of these hours and on the seventh day also if this was necessary to
meet production schedules vital to the war effort. Any such overtime had to
be reported to the director of industrial relations within 48 hours.
Twenty plants were visited in the Columbus and Dayton area. While
scheduled hours for women had increased in these plants, the majority
had increased hours from 40 to 45, 48, 49, or 50 a week. Six plants had
employed women on schedules of 55 to 60 hours. Two of these were chosen
for study; two others had such material changes in contracts that the work
done under different scheduled hours was not comparable, and two had gone
on the longer schedule only just before the Bureau representative’s visit.
Connecticut.—The Connecticut hours-of-work law for women in manu­
facturing establishments provides for a maximum 9-hour day and 48-hour
week. In cases of emergency, the commissioner of labor could allow 10 hours
a day and 55 hours a week for not more than 8 weeks in any 12 months.
Employment between 10 p. m. and 6 a. m. was prohibited. By the War
Powers Act the governor was authorized to extend the overtime period
beyond 8 weeks and to suspend the limitations on night work.
Seventeen firms that had been granted permits for a 10-hour day were
visited, but only two were found suitable for study. The other plants had
either not used their permits at all or used them for short emergency periods
only, or there was no continuous short-hour period to contrast with the
long-hour period, or there had been so many changes in production tech­
niques and shifting of women from one job to another that production data
would have been invalidated.
Pennsylvania.—The Pennsylvania hour law for women in manufacturing
provides a maximum 44-hour week and 8-hour day; if only 5 days are
worked, 10 hours are allowed in one day as long as total hours do not exceed
44. As a wartime measure, permits could be granted for the duration to
work 48 hours a week. Under an emergency provision, further relaxations
were allowed plants on war work, but an attempt was made to limit such
special permits to 54 and 56 hours.
Twenty-three plants in which the product manufactured called for heavy
machine tool operations were covered in the Philadelphia labor market
area, including one plant in Camden, N. J. None of these plants proved to
be suitable for study; 10 firms either had no women on heavy machine tool
operations or the group on such work was too small for study; 5 had no
individual production data; 6 had no change in hours; and 2 had a change
in hours too recent for purposes of this study.




r

‘

^

.

PLAN OF STUDY

19

Two additional plants, both hosiery mills, were visited in Philadelphia.
While hours did not exceed 48 per week, the plant with an 8-hour-day and
a 9-hour-day comparison was selected for study. One department studied in
this plant operated under an 8-40-hour and under a 9-45-hour schedule;
another department was studied under an 8-40-hour and under 9V2-46-hour
schedule.
Massachusetts.—An optical plant was visited in Massachusetts, where the
law sets a 9-48-hour schedule with provision for emergency extension of
hours. A group of about 400 women had worked 44, 48, and 50 hours as
regular schedules for extended periods. They would have been suitable for
study had not so many lived in rural areas, and home visits been almost
impossible during the period of heavy snows—the time of survey.
Ten/lessee.—'Tennessee’s law sets a maximum of l01/2 hours a day and
57 hours a week for women 16 years of age and over in manufacturing
establishments. Its wartime legal provisions permit the governor and the
commissioner of labor to suspend the hours law in manufacturing plants
on the written request of a representative of the War or the Navy Department.
Visits were made to 17 firms producing hosiery, shoes, knitwear, or cotton
uniforms. Ten had continuously been on a schedule of 40 or 45 hours so
that no contrast in widely different hours was possible. While some depart­
ments in a few plants worked overtime occasionally to keep a steady flow
of production, such overtime was too infrequent or of too short duration to
be of value in this study. Two others had changed from a 40- to a 48-hour
schedule, but records were inadequate. Three had worked 50 or 54 hours
without change throughout the entire war period. Only two were found that
had worked the legal maximum of 57 hours at any time during the war
period. One of these had been unionized and returned to a 48-hour week.
The initial emotional stir resulting from unionization was believed to have
interfered with smooth operation under the 48-hour schedule and have
made production data of questionable value. The last firm, in which one
department had shifted from 40 to a maximum of 57 hours, finally was
taken for study.
Georgia.—A hosiery mill was visited in Georgia, where the law provides
for a 10-hour day, 60-hour week. The loopers had worked the longest hours
because of the shortage of such workers, but they had been allowed to work
almost any hours they wished. This policy of allowing the women workers
to work hours to suit their convenience resulted in such irregularity in daily
and weekly hours that no study was possible.
SCOPE AND METHOD OF STUDY

The factory performance of 3,261 women was reviewed under different
scheduled hours. These women were employed in selected occupations in
13 plants. Approximately 15 to 40 percent of the women studied in each
plant were visited in their homes to determine not only their home demands
and the effects of different hour schedules on their home and personal life,
but also to get information that aided in the interpretation of production
data secured in the plant. A total of 566 women were interviewed.
SELECTION OF OCCUPATIONAL GROUPS FOR STUDY

The variations in occupations and working conditions in the different
departments of the plants made it necessary to confine the study to specific
operations in one or more departments except in one small plant (Plant F),
all of whose women production workers were included. Jobs were selected




women’s wartime hours of work

20

that involved varying skills, strains, physical and mental demands.
Each job was analyzed in detail in order that any influences of varying
physical and mental demands would be ascertainable. The job descriptions
included:
Purpose of job.
Tools and machines used.
Materials used.
Reiterated tasks, occasional tasks, and other tasks performed.
Posture.
Physical and mental demands of the job, continuity of attention.
Relation of individual task and pace to group task and pace.
Training or experience required.

For each job described, any exceptional conditions of temperature, 1
humidity, dust, ventilation, light, noise, vibration, crowded aisles, and so
forth, were noted.
Sometimes all the women employed in the specified occupation during
the weeks selected for study were included in the survey. Other times only
those employed a specified period of time, such as 30 days or more in each
of two periods studied, were included. Women who had worked only a
short time in the periods studied were usually eliminated from the study of
plants with very high turn-over; their inclusion would have made such a
change from one period to another in the composition of the group studied
that findings would have been distorted. The basis for selecting the groups
studied is described in each plant report.
SELECTION OF PERIODS FOR STUDY

Effort was made to get as many varieties of scheduled hours to study as
possible, in order that performance under these varying schedules could be
contrasted. However, the selection of periods had to be confined to the war
period beginning January 1942, so that the same urgency for maximum
production and the same strains and wartime conditions would be present
in all periods studied.
No period was considered unless the scheduled hours had been in opera­
tion over two months, thus permitting an adjustment to the new schedule.
The periods of different hour schedules studied were 4 to 8 weeks in length.
In choosing the 4- to 8-week periods for comparative study, abnormal weeks
iri which the department did not operate fully or worked overtime, holiday
time, weeks of hurricanes, floods, and influenza epidemics, as well as the
very hot summer months and very cold winter months, were eliminated.
DATA SECURED FROM PLANT RECORDS
Personnel Data

Having decided on the occupations and the periods of study, the next step
involved determining the women who were employed in such occupations
during the weeks selected for study. This was usually ascertained by check­
ing the pay-roll register or clock cards of the department or group under
consideration. Names were traced in the personnel files to get the address,
telephone number, clock number and Social Security number (when needed
to trace worker on pay roll), together with date of birth, last grade of school
completed, marital status, and the data on number of children and other
dependents that some personnel records contained. All changes in status
of the worker from the first period under study through the last period and
up to the date of plant visit were entered on the Bureau schedule. Shifts
from one job to another or between departments, wage changes, shift




PLAN OF STUDY

21

changes, clock-number changes, quits and reasons therefor, leaves of absence
and reasons, and rehires were noted.
Attendance Data

The hours worked, for every day of every week in the periods covered,
were recorded for each woman included in the study. If she had worked
in another department during the period, her total time included such work
as well as that done in the department being studied. Where lateness was
noted, this was recorded. The attendance record of every woman included
was complete for the periods under study.
When records of causes of absence were available, these were copied.
Production Data

Getting individual production data necessitated determining the actual
hours each woman worked on the task under consideration as apart from
total hours worked. Not only were some workers shifted from one depart­
ment to another, but they were sometimes assigned to a new or to a repair
work job on a straight hourly basis, or to other work not a part of the pro­
duction process. Then, too, there were machine break-downs, delays in
getting materials, and other causes that decreased the time on productive
tasks. In determining individual efficiency, all losses of time from the pro­
ductive job under consideration were deducted and the actual time on the
job studied was computed.
Whenever over-all production data for the entire group studied were avail­
able, these were secured in addition to the individual production data.
In most of the individual plant studies there are two basic production
tables. One shows individual efficiency by length of experience in the occu­
pation studied, and all the information is based on individual averages. The
other production table is composed of index numbers based on totals for
the entire group studied, i.e., aggregate figures on possible man-hours, total
man-hours worked, average hourly production, total production, and so forth.
Illness and Accident Statistics

Reasons for calls to the medical department made by the women during
the periods studied were recorded when such data were available. In a few
plants nurses visited workers who were reported as out ill, and reports on
such visits were also checked. All such data were compiled for comparison
under different scheduled hours.
Miscellaneous Statistics

Gross earnings of the women studied under different scheduled hours were
obtained for background use. Dates of changes in wage rates and other facts
necessary for making valid comparisons between periods studied were
secured.
Turn-over reports for the department studied were also secured when
available.
DATA SECURED THROUGH HOME VISITS

A 15- to 40-percent sample of the women studied in each plant were
interviewed in their homes. A total of 566 women were interviewed. The
sample was based on occupation, extent of employment in the periods studied,
age, marital status, and distance between home and plant. The size of the
sample varied with the number of women studied and the degree of variation
in composition of the group.
_ As only the woman worker herself could answer certain of the questions,
visits to all day-shift workers had to be made in the evenings and on Sun-




22

women’s wartime hours of work

days. The method of conducting such interviews was to gain the interest of
the woman in the study and to bring out her reactions by directing the
conversation rather than by asking specific questions.
Demands of Home Life on the Woman Worker

The personal and work-history data secured from the plant were, checked
with the women. The membership of the family household during each
period under study, and the relation to persons in the armed services, were
secured. The home duties of the woman worker, and whether carried fully
or with assistance from other members of the household; the hour of rising
and of leaving home, transit time, and hour of reaching home and of retir­
ing; method of transportation in each period—all these were discussed.
Personal adjustments to meet demands with changes in hours, were ascer­
tained. In the interview attempts were also made to ascertain the usual
reasons for long-term absences, or Saturday absences, or numerous short
absences and latenesses.
Worker's Attitude and Reaction to Her Job

The Women’s Bureau agent in charge of field work framed a special set
of questions to be asked concerning the actual work done and its effect on
the worker under different scheduled hours. The individual’s record of
efficiency was known to the interviewer. The woman was asked to describe
what she did from the time she reached the factory, what differences there
had been in her work, in material and equipment, or in conditions of work
in the various periods of study.
.
In obtaining this detailed description of their duties, much information
was secured concerning non-productive work that reduced the hours on
productive work. Sometimes additional information on other factors affect­
ing production, that plant records did not show or management failed to
mention, was also secured through these interviews. The worker’s conception
of how long it took her to learn her job, comments on her own production
pace and the hours under which she thought she worked to best advantage;
her degree of fatigue on different days of the week or hours of the day; her
relationship with fellow workers, her attitude toward her supervisors, her
liking for her job as compared to other jobs she had had—all gave insight
to the worker’s attitude and reactions toward her work and their influence
on attendance and production.
Finally, she was asked the length of the workday and week that, taking
into consideration the extra rate paid for overtime, would be most suitable
At times individual-worker interviews brought up matters that required
further checking in the plant. This follow-up work was done to verify or
qualify statements made by workers. The women were found to have good
memories on changes that had occurred but to be uncertain of the exact
dates on which such changes had taken place.
DEFINITIONS OF TERMS USED IN THE STUDY

In order to treat data from all firms uniformly, firm customs concerning
termination of employment and their definitions of absence had to be
disregarded in favor of an interpretation that would lead to the same measure­
ment of women’s performance from firm to firm. When should a woman be
considered as on the pay roll for attendance-record purposes? When should
she be considered as a “quit”? Firms had very different policies with regard
to termination of employment during absence. One stated that workers




PLAN OF STUDY

23

names were taken off the pay roll after an absence of 5 days; another, only
after 5 weeks. It was found, however, that regardless of what they stated,
such policies were not carried out by the firm with any regularity during
the periods under study.
With the plant history of each individual available, all women whose per­
sonnel pay roll or clock card records showed them assigned to the depart­
ment and the job under consideration prior to the period of study, and who
worked on the job during part of the periods under study, were considered
“at work” and their “possible man-hours of work” were for the entire period
charged to the department. If beginners left soon after their employment,
whether or not the personnel record had listed them as “quits” or “lay-offs,”
they were so regarded and omitted from the detailed study. If experienced
persons had absences without any notice of “quit” in the office and were
continued on the pay roll, they were counted as “absent” until the final date
of termination.
Because some women were hired and others were terminated within weeks
studied, “possible man-hours” for each woman naturally could not equal the
number of weeks studied times the scheduled weekly hours. Rather, possible
man-hours for each woman is the total of all hours she could have worked
during the weeks or days that the records show that she could be considered
employed on the job studied.
In many absenteeism studies only absences of a whole day are counted
as “lost time” and absences of a half day, several hours, or less than an
hour are disregarded. For purposes of this study, “lost time” consists of all
absences from work of more than 15 minutes duration. Sometimes workers
came late in the morning or were late in coming back from lunch; some­
times they left early, usually with permission; frequently they worked less
than half a day. These, in addition to absences of a day or many days,
were included as “lost time” in this study.
When a worker was less than an hour late in reporting for work at the
beginning or middle of a shift, this was tabulated as “lateness.” When a
worker was more than an hour late this was counted as an absence. In the
attendance tables, latenesses of less than 15 minutes were not included in
lost time, but latenesses in excess of 15 minutes were included in lost time.
“Average weekly hours worked” are actual hours worked during the
weeks a woman reported for work in the period studied. Only absences
within the weeks of reporting for work enter into this average, and whole
weeks missed are not used in computing the average. However, time lost
per 100 possible man-hours of work includes long-term absences of whole
weeks missed as well as absences within weeks attended.
“Average number of absences,” as shown on the attendance tables ana­
lyzing man-hours lost per 100 possible man-hours of work, is based on the
average number of absences among the women having absences rather than
absences among the total women studied.
“Length of time in occupation” was from the time hired on the occupation
in the plant studied to the first week in each period studied.
In most of the plants studied there were incentive wage systems with indi­
vidual efficiency ratings that indicated comparative production. These plants
had a standard unit time set on all productive operations. “Standard hours
produced” divided by actual hours worked on an incentive basis gave a
quotient called “efficiency.” These efficiency rates were used as a measure­
ment of relative efficiency under different scheduled hours in these plants.
698249°—47—3




24

women’s wartime hours of work

In other plants average hourly piecework earnings were used as a measure
of efficiency. Instead of a standard time being set on each operation, a unit
piece rate was set on each task.
When identical pieces were produced and the operation on that piece
remained the same, the number of units produced could be used as a measure
of output. However, more often there was such a variation in the sizes and
types of parts produced and in operations performed, that total units could
not be used to indicate volume or rate of output.




PLANT A

25

STATOR WINDERS, ARMATURE WINDERS, COIL WINDERS,
AND ALLIED WORKERS — PLANT A
INTRODUCTION

Plant A had been engaged in the production of fractional horsepower
motors and industrial motors for many years. Its peacetime product had
been used in industrial or household equipment, and its wartime product
was being used in aircraft or other war equipment, but the essential pro­
cesses involved in making the motors were the same. The plant had always
employed many women. Of a total of 7,200 employees in April 1944, approxi­
mately 2,000 were women. Women had always been employed in the occupa­
tions in which performance under differing hour schedules is compared in
this study. These occupations are armature winding and connecting, stator
winding, coil winding, and a group of miscellaneous jobs.
The turn-over rate in the departments studied was low, a large number of
the women having been with the firm for many years. In the more skilled
occupations under study women had been working at their respective occupa­
tions in this plant for 6 years or longer.
War demands called for a greater volume of production from this factory.
As the area in which the plant was located had many war industries and
vastly expanded units of the Air Service Command, women’s employment
there had increased by nearly 50 percent since 1940. Additional workers
were difficult to secure; therefore, management resorted to increasing the
hours of work. However, even as late as January 15, 1943, some depart­
ments had employed women on an 3-40-hour basis, with no work on Satur­
day. This was advanced to an 8-45-hour schedule, then to one of 8-48, and
finally a 10-hour day with 5 hours on Saturday was adopted.
The periods chosen for study were periods when specific hour schedules
had been in effect for some months and there were no abnormal conditions
to affect attendance or production. The 8-48-hour period covered 6 weeks in
September and November 1943. The 10-55-hour period covered 6 weeks in
January and February 1944 except for armature winders and connectors
who were studied over a 5-week period. In the second period the coil tapers
and some of the workers on the miscellaneous group jobs worked the 10-hour
days but did not work on Saturdays because there was not enough work to
keep these occupational groups busy Saturdays. A small group of 60 arma­
ture winders and connectors were also studied under an 8-40-hour schedule
covering 4 weeks in January 1943.
Below is a resume of the periods and groups studied;
Period
Schedule
Stator Winders and Miscellaneous Workers (Coil winders, coil tapers, etc.)
1st period:
September-November 1943 (6 weeks) Day shift: 6:30 a.m.-3 or 3:30 p.m.
8-hour day, 6-day 48-hour week
(30-minute or 1-hour lunch period)
Night shift: 3 p.m.-ll:30 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
2d period:
January-February 1944 (6 weeks)
Day shift: 6:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
10-hour day, 5-hour Saturday,
(1-hour lunch period)
5%-day 55-hour week
Saturday—6:30 a.m.-ll:30 a.m.
10-hour day, 5-day 50-hour week
Night shift: 6:30 p.m.-5:30 a.m.
(Coil tapers and some other
(1-hour lunch period)
miscellaneous workers did not
Saturday—3 p.m,-8 p.m.
work Saturday)




26

women’s wartime hours of

WORK

Armature Winders and Connectors
period:
September-November 1943 (6 weeks) Day shift: 6:30 a.m.-3 or 3:30 p.m.
(30-minute or 1-hour lunch period)
8-hour day, 6-day 48-hour week
Night shift: 3 p.m.-ll:30 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
2d period:
Day shift: 6:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
january-February 1944 (5 weeks)
(1-hour lunch period)
10-hour day, 5-hour Saturday,
Saturday—6:30 a.m.-ll:30 a.m.
5%-day 55-hour week
Night shift: 6:30 p.m.-5:30 a.m.
(1-hour lunch period)
Saturday—3 p.m.-8 p.m.
Special 40-hour period:
January 1943 (4 weeks)
6:30 a.m.-3 or 3:30 p.m.
(30-minute or 1-hour lunch period)
8-hour day, 5-day 40-hour week
1st

Personnel data were secured for the entire group of 455 production
workers in the four occupations under study. Occupational changes were
noted, as well as length of experience in the plant and in the occupation.
Actual hours worked each day by each worker during the weeks under study
were copied. Causes of absences were noted, and calls at the medical depart­
ment and the causes of such calls were recorded. The hours worked on
efficiency-rated jobs, the amount produced as measured by standard pro­
duction hours, and the resultant efficiency ratings were secured for each
individual for each week. Gross earnings also were secured.
In order that the casual worker who did not stay long enough to acquire
skill might not warp the picture of plant performance, women who were
employed less than 4 weeks of the 12 weeks studied were excluded from
the study. Also, those who had been transferred to other departments in
either period were not considered in the detailed analysis of attendance and
production, as records concerning their performance were incomplete. Thus
the total of 455 women employed in the periods studied was reduced to 406
in the detailed analysis of attendance and productive efficiency. However,
information on causes of calls to the medical department included the entire
455 women employed.
Personal visits were made to women workers in their homes. Women called
upon represented a cross-section of those employed in the four occupations,
with the sample weighted according to experience, marital status, and dis­
tance between home and plant. These women were questioned concerning
personal and family adjustments necessary under the differing hour sched­
ules, their household responsibilities, forms of recreation, and means of
travel from home to plant. Their attitude toward their work and their fellow
workers, their ideas concerning production in relation to hours worked and
earnings, and their reactions concerning resulting changes in their own
physical condition were ascertained.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON WORKERS' HOME LIFE
THE HOUSEHOLD

Over four-fifths of the women workers visited lived in family households.
This was true in spite of the fact that over half the women employed were
single. It was not unusual to find daughters living with father or mother, or
sisters living together in the old family household. Households ranged in
size from 2 persons to 12 persons; however, those of 2, 3, 4, or 5 persons
predominated. One-third of the households had children under 14 years




PLANT A

27

of age. Obviously, the hours of work, the physical condition, and mental
attitude of these women workers have repercussions on the family life.
The women visited were in several age brackets, but the majority were
20 and under 35. Over a third were married, and an eighth were widowed.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES

When home was reached, half the women who were or had been married
had all or the major responsibility for household duties. Even with the longer
hours it was not possible for this group to shift the responsibility to others.
Some lived with parents or other relatives who did some of the chores.
Marketing and cooking were the two tasks that some married women were
able to transfer to others—sometimes to children—after the 10-hour day
went into effect.
One married woman, who was busy washing windows while her husband
cooked the dinner on the Sunday she was visited, stated her case thus:
Now we have a late dinner, 7:30 or 8 o'clock, and it does not agree with us.
Regular markets are closed and we are forced to buy in the delicatessen except for
Sundays. I do keep up my housework.

Another explained:
I cannot cook roasts or cakes when I get home at 6:30, so we must eat fried
foods and canned vegetables.

This “late” dinner hour and “keeping up” the house by doing a little each
evening seemed to be the practice of many married women whose attitude
was expressed by:
You can’t let things go when you own a nice house and want to keep it nice.

Others said that with a 10-hour day, all they could manage was to wash
the daily dishes, make beds, and prepare meals; all else had to be done
Saturdays and Sundays, or let go entirely.
Working on the night shift gave married women an opportunity to pre­
pare breakfast and see the children off to school, but they did not get to bed
until 9 a. m. or later. Saturday was a particularly difficult time for them:
arriving home after 6, and with children around the house on Saturday
mornings, there usually was little opportunity for them to sleep; some time
had to be spent on week-end food shopping. As a result many women went
back to work at 3 o’clock Saturday without any sleep.
The single women interviewed usually did not have major responsibility
for households, but two-thirds carried some responsibility, the larger num­
ber doing laundry and cleaning. However, a fourth did the cooking for
the family, and a fifth did marketing. Women workers who roomed and
boarded out were very few in number.
TIME OF RISING AND OF REACHING HOME

Day workers rose from 4:30 to 6 o’clock during both periods, as the
factory work began at 6:30 in the morning. How it was possible to rise at 6
and punch the factory time clock at 6:30 was explained by one woman:
Six of us regularly report to work without breakfast. We have a system. Each
day one of us goes to the plant store, buys coffee and doughnuts, and brings them
upstairs where each of us eats at her bench.

While there were some changes in residence and from the use of busses
to the use of private cars in the second period, in both periods the largest
group had an over-all transit time of from over a half hour to an hour.
About 10 percent in the 8-hour period and 8 percent in the 10-hour period




28

women’s wartime hours of work

spent from 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours or more in travel to and from the plant.
About a fourth spent not over 30 minutes in transit. About half used public
vehicles in the first period and a somewhat smaller proportion did so in
the second. Less than 10 percent walked to work.
_ The real difference occasioned by longer daily hours for day workers was
in the time of reaching home. Instead of arriving a little after 4 o’clock as
under the 8-hour schedule, many women under the 10-hour schedule did not
get home until after 6 o’clock. More time was lost also in getting on public
vehicles that were already crowded when they reached the plant at the
5:30 closing hour. The night shift, which under the 8-hour schedule had
reached home sometime after midnight and could get to bed while other
members of the family were sleeping, under the 10-hour schedule did not
reach home until after 6 a. m.
Under the 8-hour schedule the time away from home was from 9 to 10
hours for 56 out of every 100 women workers and from 10 to 11 hours for
another third. Under the 10-hour schedule the time away from home was
11 to 12 hours for a third, 12 to 13 hours for over half, and 13 hours and
over for 13 of every 100 women.
WORKERS' OVER-ALL DAY

v

.

The longer work schedule increased the number of women who had an
over-all day of 18 to 19 hours, and it also caused a slightly earlier retirement
for others who “just were too tired.” Under both hour schedules 43 in every
100 women were active from 17 to 19 hours, leaving but 5 to 7 hours for
sleep. Another group, slightly smaller, were up 16 to 17 hours. Under the
10-hour work schedule only one-fifth of the women reported that they
secured 8 hours’ rest in bed each day.
For married women this long day was almost a continuous round of
chores. “I seldom go out and it is growing very boring to live like a machine
from Monday through Saturday. It’s very tiring.” “No leisure time what­
soever.” “You meet yourself coming and going.” “I used to enjoy caring
for my grandson; now I find he annoys me.” “I liked the job until the
darn 10-hour day started. Now I’m crabby and irritable all the time.” (The
family concurred.)
It was customary for single women to seek recreation after work or in the
evenings under the 8-hour schedule. Many attended the movies regularly
once a week when work ended at 3 or 3:30. Others went to dances, went
bowling, or visited in the evening. Under the 10-hour schedule recreation
was limited chiefly to Sundays. Some women reported they were “too tired
at night to dress and go anywhere.” “I never feel like doing anything and
have no time to have any fun.”
The night-shift workers had other difficulties. The single girls wished the
society of other people on Sundays, and so slept Sunday night and got up
with the family Monday morning. This upset them on Monday night when
they worked from 6:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.
Women who had work to do in the home quite generally reported that
“10 hours was too long because of greater fatigue.” The usual comment
was “no particular ailment but more tired.” Others complained of specific
illnesses such as sinus heachaches, eyestrain, legs swelling, shoulder pains,
and so forth, that might or might not have been the result of being “too
tired.” The younger women with fewer responsibilities found that the 10-hour
workday made life rather boring.




k

_

v

PLANT A

29

WORKERS' PREFERRED FACTORY HOURS
PREFERRED HOURS

Fewer than 5 in every 100 women expressed preference for the 10-hour
day (these wanted a 5-day week), and this small group did so because the
time-and-one-half rate added an extra day’s pay. Eighty-eight in every 100
preferred the 8-hour day. There was a difference of opinion concerning
Saturday work; while over half of all those interviewed preferred a 5-day
week, others divided between a half day and a full day on Saturday.
One-fifth of the women reporting preferred the night shift; this preference
was due to the better opportunity afforded, in their opinion, to care for
their children.
GROSS EARNINGS IN RELATION TO HOURS

That the preference of 95 percent of the interviewed women for the shorter
day is probably representative of all the women studied is borne out by the
fact that under the 10-hour-day schedule they did not work the full schedule
(see Attendance Record, below), in spite of the opportunity to increase
earnings by time-and-a-half rates for overtime. Average gross earnings—
$40.20 under the 48-hour schedule and $45.83 under the 55-hour schedule—
differed by only $5.63.
Gaining experience and working on the more difficult jobs also were
means of increasing earnings. Class A armature winders and armature con­
nectors earned $1 or more an hour in both periods studied; stator winders
averaged 98(4 cents in the 48-hour-week period and $1 in the 55-hour-week
period. The less experienced (Class B) armature winders and the coil
winders and tapers averaged 85 to 87 cents an hour in the first period and
90 to 93 cents an hour in the second. Armature connectors had the highest
gross earnings in both periods, averages of $48.72 and $54.03, in the first
and second periods, respectively. Coil tapers’ average gross earnings were
$38.24 in the first period, $40.85 in the second.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON
WORKERS’ FACTORY PERFORMANCE
ATTENDANCE RECORD
Attendance, All Women Studied

As already stated, in the first period the departments under study operated
a schedule of 6 days at 8 hours, or 48 hours a week. In the second period the
schedule was 10 hours a day, 5 hours Saturday, 55 hours a week, i. e., for
all but coil tapers and some women on miscellaneous jobs who did not work
Saturdays and were on a 10-50-hour schedule. Workers on miscellaneous
jobs (some of whom worked a 55- and some a 50-hour schedule) and coil
tapers have been combined in the attendance tables; their scheduled hours
averaged 51.1 in the 6 weeks studied in the second period.
There was also no Saturday work for armature winders and connectors
in the last 2 weeks of the 5 weeks they were studied in the second period.
Consequently, scheduled hours averaged 52.5 for the “B” armature winders
and 53 for the “A” armature winders and connectors over the 5-week period
studied.
In analyzing attendance under different hour schedules, forced lay-offs,
vacations, and extended sick leave periods—when a person was not con­




30

women’s wartime hours of work

tinued on the company pay roll but was subject to reinstatement—were
excluded from lost time.
The proportion of women workers losing time, the average number of
absences, and the actual hours absent, each increased under the 55-hour
schedule, as is shown on table I. The total man-hours lost per 100 man-hours
of work was 8 under the 48-hour schedule and 13.7 under the 55-hour
schedule among day-shift workers. This higher rate of absenteeism in the
second period occurred in each occupation and on both day and night shifts.

Women losing time
Period studied,
scheduled hours, shift,
and occupation

1st period (8-48 hours)

...................

Total
number of
Average
women
studied Number Percent number of
absences

352
343

241
283

Average
hours per
absence

H ours lost by
total num ber of
women per 100
possible m an ­
hours of work

Table I. — Percent of Women Losing Time Under Different Scheduled Hours, Average
Number and Length of Their Absences, and Hours Lost by Total Number of Women
Studied per 100 Possible Man-hours, by Shift and Occupation — Plant A

68.5
82.5

2.6
3.2

11.9
14.2

8.0
13.1

By shift
Day shift:
1st period (8-48 hours)
2d period (10-55 hours)
Night shift:
1st period (8-48 hours)
2d period (iO-55 hours)

.............
.............

249
246

159
210

63.9
85.4

1.7
2.9

12.7
13.6

8.0
13.7

.............
.............

103
97

82
73

79.6
75.3

2.1
1.9

10.2
16.7

8.0
11.4

By occupation
Stator winders:
1st period (8-48 hours) .............
2d period (iO-55 hours) .............
Coil winders:
1st period (8-48 hours) .............
2d period (iO-55 hours) .............
Coil tapers and miscellaneous
workers:
1st period (8-48 hours) .............
2d period (10-50 or 55 hours) ..
Armature winders, Class B :
1st period (8-48 hours) .............
2d period (10-55 hours) .............
Armature winders, Class A,
and armature connectors:
1st period (8-48 hours) .............
2d period (iO-55 hours) .............

46
58

29
51

63.0
87.9

2.4
3.4

11.5
17.0

6.1
15.7

50
51

39
43

78.0
84.3

3.4
4.1

11.0
13.8

10.5
15.0

78
72

58
68

74.4
94.4

3.4
3.7

10.0
12.8

9.1
15.1

134
119

90
95

67.2
79.8

2.1
2.6

13.6
14.3

7.9
11.6

44
43

25
26

56.8
60.5

1.8
2.3

8.8
12.7

5.9
6.7

1 Coil tapers and some miscellaneous workers were on a 10-50-hour schedule with no Saturday
work in the second period.

How was this time lost? The proportion of women who stayed out a full
week or more in the 48-hour period was doubled in the 55-hour period. In
the first period 95 in every 100, and in the second period only 90 in every
100 worked at least part of each week of employment.
During weeks in which women worked at least part of the week, 32 percent
of the women lost no time in the 48-hour period; this proportion was re­
duced to 19 percent under the 55-hour week. The result was that the schedules
of 48 and 55 hours were reduced by absenteeism to 44.8 and 48.2 hours,
respectively.




Table II. — Analysis of Time Lost by Women Workers Under Different Scheduled Hours — Long-term Absences (whole weeks lost)
and Short-term Absences (time lost within weeks attended), by Shift—Plant A
Number who lost a week or more

Period studied,
scheduled hours,
and shift

Total
number
of
women
studied

Number
working
all or
part of
each
week
employed

Total

1
week

2
weeks

3
weeks

4
weeks

5
weeks

Attendance record of women within weeks
of partial or full attendance

6
weeks

Total
number
of
women

Number
with
no lost
time
in
weeks
attended

Number of women
whose average time
lost per week in
weeks attended was—
Over
Vi day
. ancl
including
1 day

Over
1
day

1st period (8-48 hours) :

Percent ...............
Night shift:
Number .............
Percent...............
2d period (10-55 hours) i1
Number .............
Percent ...............
Day shift:
Number .............
Percent ...............
Night shift:

352
100.0

335
95.2

17
4.8

6
1.7

4
1.1

1.1

3
0.9

352
100.0

114
32.4

140
39.8

62
17.6

36
10.2

44.8

249
100.0

234
94.0

15
6.0

5
2.0

4
1.6

1.6

2
0.8

249
100.0

93
37.3

94
37.8

39
15.7

23
9.2

45.0

103
100.0

101
98.1

2
1.9

1
1.0

1
1.0

103
100.0

21
20.4

46
44.7

23
22.3

13
12.6

44.2

343
100.0

308
89.8

35
10.3

10
2.9

12
3.5

2
0.6

5
1.5

4
1.2

2
0.6

3 338
100.0

64
18.9

164
48.5

55
16.3

55
16.3

48.2

246
100.0

220
89.4

26
10.6

6
2.4

9
3.7

2
0.8

3
1.2

4
1.6

2
0.8

2 241
100.0

40
16.6

119
49.4

43
17.8

39
16.2

48.1

97
100.0

Percent ...............
Day shift:

88
90.7

9
9.3

4
4.1

3
3.1

97
100.0

24
24.7

45
46.4

12
12.4

16
16.5

PLANT A

'A day
or
less

Average
hours
worked
per
week
in
weeks
attended

48.4

2
2.1

1 Coil tapers and some miscellaneous workers were on a 10-50-hour schedule with no Saturday work in the second period.
2 Total is less than total number of women studied because some were absent the total number of weeks they were on the pay roll in the period studied.




W

32

women’s wartime hours of work

The difference between day- and night-shift attendance was slight. Under
the 48-hour schedule the day shift averaged 45 hours, the night shift 44.2
hours; under the 55-hour schedule the day shift averaged 48.1 hours, the
night shift 48.4.
That the inconsistency between hours scheduled and hours worked is not
attributable to a relatively few persons irregular in attendance is shown by a
comparison of women who worked in every week during each period studied.
This group, representing over one-half the employees studied, averaged
45.4 hours under the 48-hour schedule and 49.1 under the 55-hour schedule.
The practice of staying away up to half a day during the week spread to a
larger number of workers as the hours were increased.
Attendance, Stable Group of Workers

An additional study was made of 60 armature winders and connectors
employed not only in the periods when the 8-48- and 10-55-hour schedules
were in effect, but in an earlier period, under an 8-hour 5-day week, which
fell in January 1943. These women were experienced workers who averaged
less lost time than did the entire group of women studied.
The proportion of women who lost time under the 40-hour schedule was
doubled under the 8-48-hour schedule and continued to increase under the
10-55-hour week. The average number of absences of women trebled under
the 48-hour week and continued to increase under the 55-hour schedule. The
average length of absence was 11.9 hours under the 40-hour, 13 hours,
under the 48-hour, and 11.5 hours under the 55-hour schedule. To sum up
this record—the hours lost per 100 man-hours of work were 4 under 8-40
hours, 5.4 under 8-48 hours, and 7.3 under 10-55 hours.
Under the 40-hour week, 70 percent of the women lost no time whatsoever.
The proportion dropped to less than 40 percent under the 48-hour week,
and to 34 percent under the 55-hour week. The average hours worked per
woman were as follows:
Hours scheduled
8-40 ......
8-48 ......
10-55 ......

Average
...............
..............
..............

hours worked
39.3
46.2
49.5

Causes of Lost Time and Calls to Medical Department

As already stated, women employed less than 4 weeks of the 12 weeks
studied and those who had transferred to other departments were excluded
from the study. However, records of calls to the medical department were
checked for all 455 women employed.
Detailed reports on causes of lost time were not available for the 48-hour
period and comparison between causes in this and in the 55-hour period are
therefore not possible. Under the 55-hour schedule 63 of every 100 women
reporting time lost gave personal illness as the cause; personal illness was
given as the cause in one-third of the absences and for almost three-fifths
of the hours lost. Causes such as, “Sometimes I’m not really ill, but I’m just
too tired to go to work,” would be reported under personal illness. Absences
for personal reasons other than illness, such as shopping, business, or
recreation, accounted for 18 percent of the absences and over 8 percent of
the time lost. Causes attributable to the family, such as illness in the family,
return of relative from service, or home duties, were given as the cause of
absence by 22 of every 100 women; these reasons accounted for 10 percent of
the absences and 13 percent of the hours lost. Causes attributable to the




93

33

PLANT A

company, such as shortage of materials, excused for patriotic meetings, and
so forth, added to the numbers of absences but accounted for less than 3 per­
cent of the time lost.
No records of the nature of the illnesses that kept women away from
work were available, but there were records of causes of calls to the plant
medical department for both periods studied. Both the number of women
receiving medical attention and the number of calls increased slightly during
the 55-hour week, owing chiefly to the contacts with scarlet fever reported
in this period. In both the first and second periods about a third of the
women went to the medical office with colds. The next largest group went
to have finger or hand cuts or bruises attended to or redressed. Foreign
bodies in the eye and headaches and dysmenorrhea rated next among condi­
tions requiring medical assistance.
PRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY
Nature of the Job

The jobs studied—armature winding and connecting, stator winding,
coil winding, and the miscellaneous jobs—were entirely man-paced. Each
Table III. — Causes of Calls to Medical Department and of Visiting-nurse Calls Under
Different Scheduled Hours — Plant A
2d period (10-55 hours)

1st period (8-48 hours)
Causes of calls for medical aid and
of visiting-nurse calls

Women
Num­
ber

Visits

Women

336
235

36

359
211

Women making medical calls or having visit292

Women reporting reasons for making medical

100
59

148

100
64

121

Visits

Num­ Per­ Num­ Per­
ber cent ber cent

Per­ Num­ Per­
cent
cent ber

41

f

366

1131
128

292
269

100
92

1148
140

366
339

100
93

35
44

56
55

19
19

32
48

52
67

14
18

26
17

9
6

16
19

17
29

8

8
13
10
8
12
5
8

16
14
14
13
12
10
9

5
5
5
4
4
3
3

3
20
8 1.........
10 .........
11
6
4

5
25
11
13
11
7
4

1
7
3
4
3
2
1

8
4
3
3
3
2

8
5
5
4
3
2

3
2
2
1
1
1

4
8

4
11

1
3

2
4

2
5

1
1

14
4
1

23
7
2

8
3
1

70
6
27
16
1
1

19
2
7
5
(3)

3

5

29
6
13
6
1
1
1

2

1
4

(3)

1

1

(a)

1
4

3

3

1

Finger-hand injuries—cut, bruise, abraEye—foreign body in—irritation; plio17
15

<►

Other abrasions, cuts, bruises, etc.,

Medical consultation; examination af-

Other ailments 2...........
Scarlet-fever contact ..........................
General malaise ...........................................
Visiting-nurse calls . ...................
Colds, flu, sore throat, etc........................
Indigestion, gastro-intestinal, etc.........
Teeth—extraction; toothache ...........
Operations ...................................
Nervous condition; nerves, etc.................
Scarlet fever ................................
Other ailments 2 ......................
No response when nurse called...............

1

'

(3)

details. add to more than total because some women made medical calls for more than one
illness or injury, or had both medical and visiting-nurse calls.
and hemorrh ‘^1^S mc^ut^e: -^xcess temperature, kidney trouble, diarrhea, epistaxis, cancer sores,
3 Less than one-half percent.




34

women’s wartime hours of work

involved a number of hand operations requiring the manipulation of small
hand tools with or without the use of automatic or semiautomatic winding
machines. The fingers, the wrists, and the muscles of arms and shoulders
were involved in continuous activity. Lifting was but a slight factor. The
degree of attention required and the frequency of repeated operations varied
in the four major operations under study. The more skilled operations of
stator winding and Class A armature winding and connecting involved
working on all types of stators or armatures. The more variation in types,
the more difficult the winding, the greater the attention required; the larger
the size of the part, the longer time required to complete the j ob. Only when
the same winding was done repeatedly and when the parts were small, as
for B armature winding, could a rhythm be developed that relieved eye
concentration. These workers were seated at their fixtures all day and had
little opportunity to change position.
The miscellaneous group of jobs included such operations as coil taping,
coil connecting, assembling coils, forming coils, scratch-brushing leads,
and drilling. These miscellaneous jobs and coil winding had fewer opera­
tions and were more repetitive in nature. The girls were shifted from one
task to another, partly to relieve the monotony of the job. A few physical
strains were involved in some of these jobs. The operator of the semiauto­
matic coil-winding machine held and guided wire into slots while the
spindle operated automatically. Though she wore finger stalls to protect
her fingers and wire guides to protect her arm and wrist from the pull of
the rewound wire, there was a tension on hand and arm. Coil connectors
and electric-drill operators stood at their work, but the strain of standing
was occasionally relieved by shifting to jobs in the department at which
they could sit.
Plant morale was excellent. In the departments studied the women were
congenial. They liked the forewoman and held the department supervisor
in high regard. Women workers considered the firm a good employer. As
one aging worker put it, “If I had to quit work I would die, I’d miss it so.”
Indicative of the friendly atmosphere that prevailed was the custom of recog­
nizing unusual events in the lives of fellow workers on the floor by singing
special songs in their honor and doing a bit of decorating for the occasion.
Holidays, too, were observed in similar fashion. The monotony of everyday
life was thereby broken, and interest and good will promoted among the
workers.
During the periods covered by the study, the departments included were
located in a section of a large unpartitioned factory floor where other manu­
facturing processes were performed. Lighting was excellent, a new fluorescent
lighting system having been installed. Noises were those usually heard in a
factory, the noise of the job itself, the hum of machines in adjoining depart­
ments, the clanging of elevators, hand and motor trucks, the ringing of
signal bells, and the talking of some hundreds of workers. Music records,
played about 3 hours of each shift, were heard over a loud-speaker system
throughout the floor.
Despite the use of exhaust fans, the air at times seemed stuffy and the
temperature high to visiting representatives. As windows were the chief
source of ventilation, the usual ventilation problem occurred, workers
nearest the windows complaining of drafts when windows were open and
those in the center of the room complaining when windows were closed.
However, one of the departments under study was moved to an air-condi­
tioned room during the period workers were being interviewed, and com­




35

PLANT A

plaints about ventilation in the air-conditioned room far exceeded com­
plaints about the stuffiness in the large workroom. A major objection to
the air-conditioned room was that, being unable to see what was taking
place in the main work area, the workers’ sense of sociability was restricted.
Aisles were wide and there were no underfoot obstructions. Floors were
clean and dry. There was no crowding. All women workers who could be
seated while at work were provided with comfortably backed chairs and
with footrests at correct height for the worker.
Coil winding and miscellaneous jobs required about 6 weeks to learn
and about 6 months in which to become skilled in all the types of wTork.
Stator winding and armature winding required 6 weeks to 2 months in
which to learn the simpler operations. To attain speed and achieve maximum
efficiency on these simple types of jobs took 6 months. To become proficient
enough to wind any type of stator or armature assigned to this department
required at least a year.
The differences in skill required accounted for differences in the experi­
ence and age of workers in the several occupations covered. At the time of
the first week included in the study, almost all the stator winders and the
Class A armature winders and connectors had been employed in the plant
6 years or more, many of them over 10 years. Most of these women had
been on the particular job they were doing for almost as long. They were
fully experienced, trusted employees. Only a few of the Class B armature
winders, winding small armatures of not over 1 3/4 pounds, had been on
their jobs for as long as 6 years. Only a tenth had a year or more of experi­
ence, a third had over 6 months but less than a year’s experience, and the
remainder had 6 months’ or less experience. Among coil winders and
workers on miscellaneous jobs a little more than a third had a year’s experi­
ence, and about an equal proportion had less than 6 months’ experience.
Payment on the Job

Stator winders, armature winders, and armature connectors were paid on
an incentive basis. Coil winders, coil tapers, and the workers on miscellaneous
jobs were paid on a time basis, but individual efficiency records were kept.
Low-speed, medium-speed, and high-speed workers had been timed on all
operations. Their average output was considered 100-percent efficiency. In­
dividual efficiency rates were computed by dividing the number of “standard
production hours” the operator achieved by the number of hours she actually
worked on time-studied jobs. Workers were paid on the basis of their average
efficiency for the week.
The scale of hourly rates based on average efficiency for the week is shown
below.
Efficiency
rate
(percent)

Corresponding
hourly rate
(cents)

Class A
Starting rate
Rate after
1 month
100 (after 3
months)-101
102-103
104-106
107-109
110-112
113-115
116-118
119-121
122-124
125-127




Efficiency
rate
(percent)

Corresponding
hourly rate
(cents)

Class A—cont.
66
71
76
77
78
79
80
81
82 ,
83
84
85

128-130
131-133
134-136
137-139
140-142
143-145
146-148
149-151
152

86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94

Efficiency
rate
(percent)

Corresponding
hourly rate
(cents)

Class B
Starting rate
Rate after
1 month
100 (after 3
months)-10 5
106-111
112-117
118-123
124-129
130-135
136-141
142-147
148-153
154

65
70
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84

36

women’s wartime hours of work

The pace required for the standard 100-percent efficiency was reached
by the majority of the workers by the end of the first 3 months of employ­
ment. A limit was placed on earnings—efficiencies beyond 152 percent or
154 percent were not reimbursed—but this limit was set close to the point
of maximum sustained production. Experienced women reported that they
could exceed this limit during some weeks but could not do so continuously
on all types of work. There was no belief on the part of the women that they
would turn out more production continuously if the wage ceilings were
removed.
An incentive worker was paid for hours on repair work or on a new job
that had not been timed at the same rate she had maintained on incentive
work during the week. Experienced workers knew how long any given
operation should take. If their production was retarded by stiff wire, not
enough or too much wax on the wire, ragged edges on insulation paper, or
other poor material, they were permitted to charge this slowed-down pro­
duction to hourly-rated work, which tended to keep their record of efficiency
at an even level. The winder entered her own hourly rated time on her card,
giving the reason for the entry.
As soon as a worker could maintain 100-percent efficiency for 2 con­
secutive weeks, she was guaranteed the 100-percent-efficiency rate. Others
were guaranteed the 100-percent-efficiency rate after 3 months’ employment.
No worker in Class A was paid a straight time rate of more than 94 cents
an hour, which was the rate for 152 percent efficiency, and no worker in
Class B was paid more than 84 cents an hour, the rate for 154 percent
efficiency.
The nonincentive workers, including coil winders and workers on mis­
cellaneous jobs, were paid 71 cents as beginners, 76 cents after 1 month,
and 81 cents after 3 months.
Night-shift workers received a premium of 5 percent on gross earnings.
The methods and rates of pay were not changed during the periods
studied, but in the later period studied the change from an 8-hour day to
10 hours brought payments of time and a half for the last 2 hours worked
each day.
Performance on fhe Job

Whereas this study compares productive efficiency under an 8-48-hour
schedule and under a 10-55-hour schedule, the actual hours worked by the
women were such that the comparison becomes one of 45 with 48.1 hours
on the day shift, and 44.2 with 48.4 hours on the night shift. Because of the
differences in experience and tasks involved in the several occupations, it
appeared desirable to consider efficiency in relation to occupation and
length of experience, as shown in table IV.
Performance on the Job — Stator Winders

In both the first and second periods stator winders worked only a day
shift. During the 48-hour week, when averaging 45.8 hours, they actually
worked 39 hours on operations computed in their efficiency rating and the
remainder were counted as hourly-rated time. Their efficiency rating was
148. During the 55-hour week, when the stator winders averaged 49 hours,
41.9 of which were on incentive work, their efficiency dropped by only one
point to 147.1 The change in hours did not appreciably affect the efficiency
1 These figures do not include a group of women who worked in this department a few weeks
in the second period and then were transferred to other departments. Their efficiency was low,
owing to lack of experience.




PIANT A

37

of this stable group of workers, the majority of whom had a year or more
experience.
_
Of the 35 stator winders who worked each week during both periods,
27 made at least top efficiency in all or all but one week during each period.
Sixteen of these women occasionally exceeded top efficiency. One never
made top efficiency during either period; two maintained it in the first period
but never reached it in the second; two maintained it in the second but did
not reach it in the first, when they had less experience; and three were
erratic in production during both periods. A number of records of those
who lost a week or more of time showed a slowing down before leaving and
a slow pace when first returning. In fact, a change in pace was shown for
some workers even when they were out only a few days.
Reports of the girls’ comments on their production under different hour
schedules are significant:
A

B
C
D
E’s
F
G,
H
J

did best work in the morning. Quit work about 4:30 p.m. and “just fussed
around.” Got tired about 2:30 or 3. Whole department did the same and only
pretended to be busy. Did not produce enough additional work on a 10-hour
day to pay.
had been tired since second month of 10-hour day.
did not think she got out as much in 10 hours as in 8 hours. (Record showed
that she always had an efficiency rating of 152 or more.)
always produced more on an 8-hour day than on a 10-hour day. Fatigued about
3 p.m. and from Wednesday on. (Record showed an efficiency rating of 152
each period.)
production was much lower on a 10-hour day.
used to do better than do today. (Record showed increase in second period.)
on an 8-hour day always kept a day’s ticket ahead. On a 10-hour day did well
to keep ahead for 4 or 5 hours.
did best work in morning and had to make enough to take care of afternoon
slack.
_
let down about 4 p.m. and “just messed around.”

As has been stated, the 12-week record of production of stator winders
showed approximately the same degree of efficiency in both periods. This
is not surprising, in view of the fact that the average weekly hours on incen­
tive work differed by only 3 hours a week and did not exceed 42 hours in
either period. The statement of many stator winders that they did not pro­
duce much after 3 or 3:30 p.m. when the quitting time was 5:30 on the
10-hour day could not be verified because the day’s production was entered
without regard to the time of day on which it was completed, and the
women reported they sometimes held tickets back to submit on days when
their production fell below normal.
Performance on the Job — Armature Winders and Connectors

Class A winders were armature winders sufficiently experienced to per­
form all types of winding. All had 1 or more and the majority had 7 or
more years’ experience in the plant. In the 8-48-hour period the day-shift
workers averaged 46.9 hours a week, 44.7 of which were on incentive work.
In the 10-55-hour period these women averaged 50.2 hours a week, 47.9 of
which were on incentive work. Their efficiency was 151 in both periods. In
the first period the night shift averaged 43.7 hours, 42.4 of which were on
incentive work, and achieved an efficiency of 146. In the second period the
night shift worked 48.9 hours, 47.5 of which were on incentive work, and
achieved 147-percent efficiency.
Armature connectors also were a group with years of experience. Their
efficiency was at maximum in both the first and second periods with 153




38

WOMEN S WARTIME HOURS OF WORK

Table IV. — Individual Efficiency by Length of Experience in Occupation

Total
1 year or more

Num ber of

A verage weekly
hours worked

A verage weekly
hours on effi ­
ciency-rated work

39.0
41.9

148
147

44
43

45.9
49.9

38.8
41.2

hours)..........................
hours)..........................

27
26

43.3
49.2

36.4
42.3 •

100
96

10
13

45.0
50.0

38.2
45.4

hours)..........................
hours)..........................

23
25

43.8
49.3

39.0
46.3

109
110

1
5

46.3
49.9

42.1
44.4

Coil tapers and miscellaneous workers: 1
Day shift:
1st period (8-48 hours)..........................
2d period (10-50 or 55 hours).............
Night shift:
1st period (8-48 hours)..........................
2d period (10-50 or 55 hours).............

60
55

44.2
45.5

37.4
37.9

96
104

28
27

44.2
44.9

37.5
39.4

18
15

43.7
45.8

39.2
42.5

94
103

3
2

44.4
45.3

40.7
43.0

Armature winders, Class A:
Day shift:
1st period (8-48 hours)..........................
2d period (10-55 hours)..........................
Night shift:
1st period (8-48 hours)..........................
2d period (10-55 hours)..........................

21
20

46.9
50.2

44.7
47.9

151
151

21
20

46.9
50.0

44.7
47.9

12
12

43.7
48.9

42.4
47.5

146
147

12
12

43.7
48.9

42.4
47.5

86
74

45.0
47.9

44.0
47.1

131
147

9
9

46.2
48.0

44.8
46.8

48
43

44.7
48.4

41.7
47.6

131
146

4
3

45.0
51.0

43.8
50.6

hours)..........................
hours) ......................

9
9

47.7
50.8

40.1
48.4

153
152

9
9

47.7
50.8

40.1
48.4

hours)..........................
hours)..........................

2
2

47.5
51.5

25.6
21.5

154
153

2
2

47.5
51.5

25.6
21.5

Stator winders:
Day shift:
1st period (8-48 hours)..........................
Coil winders:
Day shift:
1st period (8-48
2d period (10-55
Night shift:
1st period (8-48
2d period (10-55

Armature winders, Class B:
Day shift:
1st period (8-48 hours)..........................
2d period (10-55 hours)..........................
Night shift:
1st period (8-48 hours)..........................
2d period (10-55 hours)..........................
Armature connectors:
Day shift:
1st period (8-48
2d period (10-55
Night shift1st period (8-48
2d period (10-55

women studied

efficiency

45.8
49.0

scheduled hours

rating

A verage weekly
hours worked

46
57

period studied, and

A verage

N um ber of
women studied

A verage weekly
hours on effi ­
ciency-rated work

Occupation, shift,

1 Coil tapers and some miscellaneous workers were on a 10-50-hour schedule with
no Saturday work in the second period.




39

PLANT A

Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Occupation and Shift—Plant A
Length of time in occupation

A verage weekly
hours on effi ­
ciency-rated work

2
12

44.0
45.8

43.0
43.6

125
143

5

42.6

36.1

103

ratin g

A verage

ratin g

efficiency

A verage weekly
hours worked

154

N um ber of

A verage

47.1

women studied

A verage weekly
hours on effi ­
ciency-rated work

50.5

efficiency

A verage weekly
hours worked

ratin g

149
148

N um ber of
wom en studied

A verage

efficiency

A verage weekly
hours on effi ­
ciency-rated work

N um ber of

A verage weekly
hours worked

2

women studied

ratin g

A verage

efficiency

Less than 6 weeks

6 weeks, less than 6 months

6 months, less than 1 year

101

9
6

41.7

37.4
45 7

109
98

3
7

43.1
47.2

28.0
33.8

73
78

128
112

10
8

43.4
48.8

39.5
45.1

118
114

4
8

42.5
49.7

36.1
48.3

97
107

8
4

44.6
49.2

39.6
47.0

99
103

98
106

9
18

43.6
45.9

37.5
35.8

97
100

20
8

44.3
45.4

37.5
37.7

92
106

3
2

45.2
47.6

34.3
35.5

90
97

86
105

8
11

43.3
45.4

38.0
42.4

102
103

6
2

44.4
48.3

40.6
43.8

89
101

1

40.0

35.5

80

147
152

17
26

44.5
49.2

43.9
48.5

150
146

33
31

44.8
47.6

43.6
47.0

140
146

27
8

45.2
44.9

44.1
43.7

103
143

141
154

10
16

44.9
48.4

41.4
47.5

147
153

17
18

46.1
47.7

43.9
46.5

141
148

17
6

43.1
49.6

39.3
49.3

108
118

.

.

151
151
146
147

153
152
154
153

698249°—47—4




women’s wartime hours of work

40

and 152 for the day shift, 154 and 153 for the night shift, respectively. The
day shift averaged 50.8 hours of work in the second period as compared
to 47.7 hours in the first, and the night shift averaged 51.5 in the second
period as compared to 47.5 in the first.
The “B” group of armature winders were winding small armatures only.
Very few in either period had as much as a year’s experience. As shown on
table IV, experience was the important factor in efficiency in this occupa­
tion. Girls on the day shift who had less than 6 weeks’ experience at the
beginning of the first period studied (the 48-hour schedule) averaged 45.2
hours of work and a 103 rating; those in the occupation for 6 weeks to
6 months achieved a 140 rating. Efficiency reached 150 for those with experi­
ence of 6 months to a year, and for those with a year or more of experience
the average was 147. In the second (55-hour) period all those who remained
in the occupation from the first period had 14 weeks more experience, so
that the group in general had that advantage. But a few new workers who
were taken on on the day shift in the second period rated, surprisingly, 143
while working an average of 44.9 hours a week. During this period both the
6-months-to-l-year group and 6-weeks-to-6-months group had an efficiency
of 146, which for the latter group represented a slight rise in efficiency over
the first period, and for the former group, a drop in efficiency.
The record of “B” armature winders on the night shift also showed the
influence of experience. On this shift too there were more inexperienced
girls in the first period than in the second. Rather surprisingly the nightshift workers at times achieved a somewhat higher efficiency than did the
day armature winders. During the 48-hour period beginners averaged 43.1
hours of work and achieved a rating of 108; in the 55-hour period the few
beginners averaged 49.6 hours and rated 118. Those with experience of
6 weeks to 6 months rated 141 and 148 in the two periods, when their
hours worked were respectively 46.1 and 47.7.
Productive efficiency under an 8-40-hour schedule was checked on 60
armature winders and connectors who had worked that schedule as well as
48 and 55 hours. Their performance is summarized below.
Hour schedule

Average weekly
hours worked

8-40 hours .................................................
8-48 hours .................................................
10-55 hours .................................................

39.3
46.2
49.5

Average weekly
hoiirs on
incentive work

Average
efficiency
rating

37.4
43.0
47.0

146
147
150

If the memory of some of these winders is correct, their slightly lower
efficiency during the 40-hour period was due to heavier armatures and
heavier wire. War work was said to be easier.
Reviewing the statements of women visited, there would seem to be two
types of workers, women who maintained a regular speed throughout the
day whether the day was 8 or 10 hours, and women who worked in spurts
during the day and also during the week.
Reports of the comments of experienced workers follow:
A tries to reach top efficiency and to stay there hy making more on the days she
feels good to carry her over the poor days. She holds back tickets.
B says the girls went up to 154 efficiency because war work was easier and the
armatures much smaller. (In the 40-hour period when her efficiency was 146, was on
machines winding heavier armatures, working with heavier wire.)
C did her best work before lunch. She got tired just before lunch and then again
around 2:30 or 3 o’clock. On an 8-hour shift it was only 4 hours to lunch time. On
a 10-hour shift it was 5 hours and you got more tired waiting the extra hour to
eat and relax.




Plant a

41

D thinks work on commercial armatures was much harder than war work. Her
efficiency was not affected to any degree by the lengthening of daily or weekly
hours, as the longer hours were on easier work.
E kept her efficiency right around 152 percent. She knew how many pieces it
would take, because she had done it for so many years. Her efficiency remained the
same during the lengthening of working hours, but it took much more effort to
keep it so.
F kept her efficiency up to 152 percent. She did not want a higher top rate be­
cause she could not turn out that amount of work every day. If her top rate were
higher, she would have no opportunity to get tickets ahead. She felt very tired
after 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
G tried to keep at top efficiency. By working hard at the beginning of the week
when she felt energetic, she usually could compensate for the days when she
could not keep up.
H stated that having a goal to meet every day made the work more interesting.
J was tired about 4 p.m. and walked around a bit. In the earlier (40-hour) period
she did not reach top efficiency because the work was commercial, and commercial
armatures were larger and the wire heavier than wartime armatures.
K usually worked pretty hard the early part of the week and then not much on
Saturday, if she had enough tickets to average nearly top efficiency.
L said feeling tired was about the only thing that made for less efficient work.
M thought one had to work twice as hard now to meet the ceiling. Some thought
it was the wire. Lately the wire was a little better. She believed it was the 10-hour
day more than anything else. She did not produce so well under the 10-hour day;
she was sure of that.
N said there was not much difference in her efficiency but she was more tired
under the 10-hour schedule.
0 did not always make top efficiency, could not see any point in wearing oneself
out the way some girls did.
Performance on the Job — Nonincentiye Operators

The coil winders and the miscellaneous workers, as stated, were paid on
an hourly basis but a record was kept of individual daily production and
efficiency rate. These records were kept in order that a spot check could be
made of the output of new workers and of workers whose production was
believed below standard.
Hours on work on which efficiency could be computed generally repre­
sented only a part of total hours worked because workers were often trans­
ferred to hourly-rated tasks which had no standard time, or were given
allowed time for machine breakdowns, bad stock, and so forth. Also, records
were sometimes incomplete for computing efficiency ratings because of the
worker’s failure to record the number of units produced, the operation num­
ber, or the hours worked on each task. The efficiency ratings, therefore, are
not based on all work done but on the part that was recorded, and on hours
worked on operations for which standard times were set.
The average over-all hours of coil winders working on the day shift were
43.3 under the 48-hour schedule and 49.2 under the 55-hour schedule. Hours
on efficiency-rated work were 36.4 and 42.3, respectively, during which
they achieved efficiencies of 100 and 96, respectively. On relating this record
to experience, it is found that at times some of the less experienced workers
had higher efficiencies than the more experienced workers, regardless of the
hours worked. Also, when the hours on efficiency-rated work were low in
number, there was a tendency for the efficiency rate to be low.
The night-shift coil winders spent more of their time on efficiency-rated
work than did the day-shift workers, and their efficiency record corresponded
more closely to the curve of experience than that of the day-shift workers,
as can be seen from table IV. For all night-shift coil winders, regardless




WOMEN’S WARTIME HOURS OF WORK

42

of experience there was little difference in efficiency as between the two
periods studied, the rate being 109 in the first period and 110 in the second.
Coil tapers and workers on miscellaneous jobs were shifted from task
to task more frequently than any other group studied. From an examination
of individual records it appears that efficiencies were higher when the pro­
portion of hours worked on timed operations was greater. Here, too, experi­
ence seems to have had less noticeable effect on the production record than
among workers paid on an incentive basis. In each of the experience groups
shown on table IV there was a slight increase in efficiency in the second
period. However, there was very little difference in hours worked in the
two periods. The day shift worked 44.2 hours in the first period and 45.5
hours in the second period, with resulting efficiencies of 96 and 104, respec­
tively. The night shift worked 43.7 hours in the first period and 45.8 hours
in the second period, with efficiencies of 94 and 103, respectively.
Many of the nonincentive workers interviewed were younger than the
incentive workers and had fewer ideas about their work or its effect on them.
Their remarks, nevertheless, have value.

£

*

Day-Shift Coil Winders
A said, take away that 10-hour day and bring back the 8-hour day! Everyone
would shout so with joy the roof would be blown off.
B left because the 10-hour day was too hard. She could not do anything about
the house.
Night-Shift Coil Winders
A As other members of family are on the first shift, she does not get anything
but a cold lunch. She is so tired and thinks it awful to work the present night
shift. Ten hours are terrible at night.
B says on the 10-hour shift you meet yourself coming and going. It took her
one month to learn everything about coil winding. Machine trouble and broken
wire slow down production. One can do much more when feeling better and
not so tired.
C Sleeping Saturday and Sunday at night throws her off the rest of week.
She’s more tired on Monday because of the changing hours of work over week
end.
D Ten hours at night is just too much.
Day-Shift Coil Tapers, etc.
A Since working 10-hour day feels run down and has no pep. There are more
rejects in this department since they have been working longer days.
B does her best work in the morning and feels that the whole department
slacks up in the afternoon. She notices fatigue from 2 p.m. on.
C does her best work before noon, so can figure out how many she must do
before noon.
D slows down for the last 2 hours of the 10-hour day; on an 8-hour day, for
the last half hotir. She has more frequent headaches on the longer day.
Night-Shift Coil Tapers
A The whole department slacks up about 3 a. m. when working 10 hours.
B felt much more time is wasted on the 10-hour schedule; girls stayed on the
job better under 8 hours. Now, after 3 a. m. they begin to fool around.
Performance on the Job — Summary

The principal reason for increasing hours from 48 to 55 a week was to
secure a much needed increase in output in a tight labor market. Women
workers were fully aware of the war need for their production, but most
of them had family demands that were as vital to them as work demands.




,

v

PLANT A

43

Still others were fatigued from the longer hours or found that the 55-hour
schedule allowed them far from sufficient time for relaxation and recreation.
For these reasons the women averaged only 48 hours a week, under the
55-hour schedule. From the point of view of the individual, this self-deter­
mined 48-hour week instead of the nominal 55 hours permitted some family
demands and personal needs to be met. What was the over-all result for
the plant?
The plant picture as shown in table V is based on records for the 406
women included in other phases of the study; it excludes women employed
less than 4 weeks in the 12 weeks studied and those who had transferred to
other departments in the periods studied. I he data are given occupationally,
because, as has been shown, the occupational groups were differently con­
stituted with respect to skills they had developed, experience attained, and
reactions to longer hours. Stator winders and “A” armature winders and
connectors were the two skilled groups of workers, the majority of whom
had years of experience prior to the periods studied.
Management was able to increase the number of stator winders between
the 48-hour and the 55-hour period, thereby achieving, instead of the pre­
scribed 14.6 percent increase, a total increase of 41 percent in possible man­
hours among this occupational group. However, under the pressure of
longer hours the stator winders themselves reduced actual hours worked to
a point where the increase in such hours equaled only the increase in num­
ber of workers; they maintained the same level of production in the second
period as in the first period. The result was an increase in total production
equivalent to the increase in staff.
In the case of “A” armature winders and connectors there was a slight
decrease in number of workers in the second period, and a reduction in
nominal hours to 50 instead of 55 in the last 2 weeks under study, which
resulted in an increase in possible man-hours of only 10 percent. A corres­
ponding 10-percent increase in actual hours worked resulted. Production
was carried on at about the same rate in both periods, so that the increase
in the total production equaled the increase in hours worked.
“B” armature winders decreased in number in the second period, so that
possible man-hours were increased by only 12 percent instead of 14.6 per­
cent. Actual hours worked were increased by 8 percent, hourly production
by 9 percent, and the end result was a total production increase of 18 per­
cent. The increase in efficiency, as shown on table IV, is due to the longer
experience of the women “B” winders in the second period.
The nonincentive workers—coil winders, tapers, and so forth—decreased
in number by 4 percent in the second period. The coil tapers were on a
50-hour schedule and the coil winders were on a 55-hour schedule in the
second period, which made the possible man-hour increase only 6 percent.
Actually there was no gain in hours worked in the second period. However,
the smaller number of beginners in the second period brought about a 4-per­
cent increase in efficiency, causing a 3-percent gain in total production.
From these over-all results it would seem, therefore, that a campaign to
cut down the 3.2 hours lost under the 48-hour-week schedule would have
achieved the same end results as were achieved by a nominal 55-hour
schedule which women workers by their own response brought down to the
48-hour level. By keeping the 8-hour day, the feeling of constant tiredness
would have been eliminated, and time to meet personal and household
demands would have been available.




44

WOMEN S WARTIME HOURS OF WORK

Table V. — Summary of Possible Man-hours, Total Man-hours Worked, Total Man-hours
Worked on Incentive Jobs, Efficiency, and Total Production, Based on Totals
for All Women Studied, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Occupation —
Plant A1

(average hourly
production)

worked on
incentive jobs

100
126

100
127

100
100

Coil winders, coil tapers, and
miscellaneous workers:
1st period (8-48 hours)..
2d period (10-50 or 55
hours) ............................

100

100

100

100

100

100

96

106

100

99

104

103

100
98

100
110

100
110

100
111

100
101

100
111

100
89
•■ -

100
112

100
108

100
110

100
109

100
118

;

of

T otal
production

100
141

Efficiency

Total
m an-hours
worked

100
126

women

Stator winders:
1st period (8-48 hours)..
2d period (10-55 hours)..

and scheduled hours

N um ber

Possible
m an-hours

Occupation, period studied,

T otal m an-hours

Index numbers of—

Armature winders, Class A,
and armature connectors:
1st period (8-48 hours)..
2d period (10-55 hours)..
Armature winders, Class B:
1st period (8-48 hours)..
2d period (10-55 hours)..

100
126

1 Indexes for scheduled hours not shown because some workers were on both a 55- and 50-hour
schedule in the 2d period.




PLANTS B & C

45

PUNCH-PRESS OPERATORS — PLANTS B AND C
INTRODUCTION

The punch press used in stamping and forming pieces of metal calls for
perfect eye, hand, and foot coordination when operated manually or semimanually. This type of operation is one on which fatigue may bring about
imperfect coordination that, in the absence of adequate guards, will result
in accidents. The hour schedule which will bring the best response from
women press operators is of vital importance to all plants employing women
on this type of machine. Such response is conditioned not only on fatigue
developed on the job but on fatigue resulting from too little time for meet­
ing home demands or for recreation.
The factories whose operators were studied produced cylinder head gas­
kets and oil seals (grease retainers) for bearings used on war equipment.
The same products had been manufactured for peacetime use, so that no
change in production methods was necessary when war contracts were
received. Blanking, piercing, stamping, flanging, and closing gaskets and
oil seals was done on different sizes and types of punch presses.
DATA SECURED

Periods were chosen for study when specific hour schedules had been in
effect for some months; weeks with holidays or other abnormal conditions
affecting attendance or production were eliminated. Three periods were
studied in Plant B—the first when the plant was operating on a 40-hour
week, the second when it was on a 48-hour week, and the third when on a
54-hour week; two were studied in Plant C-—the first a 40-hour-week period
and the second a 48-hour-week period. In Plant B the first period fell in
August-October 1942, the second in February-May 1943, and the third in
October-November 1943; in Plant C the first period occurred in May and
June 1942 and the second in September-November 1943. Each period
studied in Plant B covered 6 weeks; in Plant C, 8 weeks.
Turn-over in both plants was extremely high. Because of the small num­
ber employed in Plant C, all 56 women listed as punch operators in the two
periods were included in the study of that plant. In Plant B only those were
included who were punch operators for at least 3 weeks in each of two of
the three periods studied, which eliminated many who were employed for
one period only and could not furnish any comparative attendance or pro­
duction experience.
Personnel data were secured for the women included. Length of experi­
ence in the plant and in the occupation was taken from the records, as were
actual hours worked each day by each worker. Causes of absence, when
reported, were noted, and calls at the medical department and reasons for
calls. Average hourly earnings, mainly piecework earnings but including
some “day work” earnings, were secured in Plant C as a measure of
efficiency. In Plant B the hours worked on efficiency-rated jobs, the amounts
produced as measured by standard production hours, and the resultant
efficiency ratings were obtained for each individual for each week. Gross
earnings also were secured.




46

women’s wartime hours of work

Personal visits were paid to women workers in their homes. Women
called upon were a cross section of those employed in each department; the
sample represented normal distribution with respect to experience, marital
status, and distance between home and plant. These women were questioned
concerning the personal and family adjustments necessary under the different
hour schedules and their own household responsibilities, means of travel
from home to plant, and forms of leisure-time activities. Their ideas con­
cerning plant conditions and production in relation to hours worked and
earnings and their reactions concerning resulting changes in their own
physical and mental condition were ascertained.
SIMILAR CONDITIONS IN THE TV/O PLANTS
Characteristics of Personnel

The two plants studied had employed women as punch-press operators
for many years. Employees who had long service records, chiefly Polish-born
women, were a stable dependable group who had adjusted completely to
punch-press operations and factory environment. In the war years each
firm had increased the number of workers by drawing on a younger group
of women, many of whom came from southern States and were without
factory experience. The two groups of women did not understand each other.
The older women with long experience regarded the younger women as
flighty; the criticism was that they worked too fast, spent too much time in
the dressing room, and were not steady workers. The younger women
objected to the “bossiness” of the older women and believed these older
employees were favored in the assignment of jobs. Both plants were union­
ized, and the more experienced workers had seniority rights and the choice of
shifts on which to work. Knowing their own likes and dislikes concerning
different punch-press jobs, these experienced workers were better able to
get what they wanted by pressure on the assignment clerks or forewomen.
On a particularly undesired type of work, the situation was met by ruling
that each operator must do this disliked work once a week.
Turn-over

Whether because of this conflict between groups of workers or for other
reasons, the turn-over rate was high in both plants. Of the 336 women
punch-press operators in Plant B, only one-third were employed 3 weeks
or more in each of 2 of the 3 periods studied. In Plant C only 22 of 56
operators worked in the 2 periods studied.
Hours of Work

Both plants in 1942 were operating the punch-press departments on an
8-hour-day and 5-day-week schedule with both a day and night shift. A rest
period of 10 minutes was given in the first half and of 15 minutes in the
second half of each shift. Lunch periods were a half hour except on the night
shift in Plant B, which had a l5-minute lunch period.
As the pressure for war output increased, both plants adopted the 48-hour
week for punch-press operators. Plant B did so by adding an 8-hour day on
Saturday; Plant C, by requiring the shifts to work 8% hours on 5 days of
the week and adding 51/2 hours on Saturday. One department in Plant B
also attempted a third, midnight shift, which began at 11 p. m. and ended
at 7 a. m. and had an informal paid lunch period.




47

PLANTS B & C

Plant B shifted to the 9-hour day 54-hour week late in 1943. A summary
of hour schedules, time of beginning and ending shifts, and the periods
studied in each plant is given below.
Period.

Schedule
PLANT B

1st period:
August-October 1942 (6 weeks)
8-hour day, 5-day 40-hour week

1st shift: 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
2d shift: 4:10 p.m.-12:25 a.m.
(15-minute lunch period)

2d period:
February-May 1943 (6 weeks)
8-hour day, 6-day 48-hour week

1st shift: 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
One department—7 a.m.-3 p.m.
(informal paid lunch period)
2d shift: 4:10 p.m.-12:25 a.m.
(15-minute lunch period)
One department—3 p.m.-ll p.m.
(informal paid lunch period)
3d shift: one department only—
11 p.m.-7 a.m.
(informal paid lunch period)

3d period:
October-November 1943 (6 weeks)
9-hour day, 6-day 54-hour week

1st shift: 7 a.m.~4:30 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
2d shift: 4:35 p.m.-l:50 a.m.
(15-minute lunch period)
PLANT C

1st period:
May-June 1942 (8 weeks)
8-hour day, 5-day 40-hour week
2d period:
September-November 1943 (8 weeks)
8%-hour day, 5%-hour Saturday,
STfj-day 48-hour week

1st shift: 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
2d shift: 4 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
1st shift: 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
Saturday—7 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
2d shift: 4 p.m.-l a.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
Saturday—4 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

UNLIKE CONDITIONS IN THE TWO PLANTS
Wage Payment Methods

In 1937 Plant B studied its punch-press jobs thoroughly prior to develop­
ing an incentive system of wage payment. However, during the periods
studied punch-press operators were paid on a time basis, hut the plant
continued keeping individual production records. Punch-press operators who
had been employed over an extended period were very conscious of the
production expected of them. Consequently, these women complained when
a specific job seemed to them to have too high a standard time and would
bring about a restudy of the timing under current conditions. These women
also were careful to mark on the back of the task cards the amount of time
spent on incidental work, in waiting for work, dies, and so forth, so that
such time would be deducted from the hours charged against their produc­
tion hours. Management discussed individual workers’ efficiency with them
only when individuals seemed to be falling down on the job.
In Plant C, punch-press operators had been paid on an hourly basis with
bonus. But prior to the first period studied a piece-rate system with a guaran­
teed hourly minimum was installed.




48

women’s wartime hours of work

During the periods studied, therefore, one plant (B) operated on an
hourly basis, keeping individual production records; the other (C) oper­
ated on a piece-rate system.
Working Conditions

Both plants were operating on war contracts and were under pressure
to get out production. Plant B was operating above capacity and had
crowded presses into every available space. Presses in one department were
so close together that the operators had to watch that they did not strike
each other when working on long gaskets. Further, mass production of
gaskets of all types entails continuous handling of great bulks of material,
and a shortage of stockmen to move this material resulted in piles of stock,
cans of scrap and parts, and reels of metal congesting aisles and work areas.
So few stock handlers were available that they were assigned only to the
heaviest tasks. Machine operators were expected to service themselves,
securing necessary stock, parts, trays, and bins, and carrying away finished
pieces and scrap. The general confusion and disorder resulted in timewasting search for necessary stock and parts.
In Plant C presses were adequately spaced so that workers did not inter­
fere with one another and there was ample room in the aisles. Stock was
brought to the operators, while bins of finished pieces and waste material
were carried away as fast as they accumulated, even though there was not
such a volume of bulky material as in Plant B. Operators, on finishing one
job, moved to another machine already set up to take on the next job. There
was little idle time or confusion. There was, however, an atmosphere of
tension and high speed throughout this second workroom, and it was much
noisier than the Plant B workroom.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON WORKERS' HOME LIFE
THE HOUSEHOLD

Approximately seven-eighths of the punch-press operators under study in
both plants were or had been married. Over eight-tenths in one plant and
nine-tenths in the other were at least 25 years of age. It is not surprising,
therefore, that almost all these women were members of family households.
The households ranged in size from 2 persons to 10, 3-person households
being most common.
Over two-fifths of these homes had children under 16 years of age, but
only about a fourth of the women workers had children of their own below
16. Usually the woman worker had but one child, though there were several
wage-earning women with three or more children.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES

Under all 3 hour schedules, more than half of the women had entire
responsibility for their households; this meant actually doing the marketing,
cooking, cleaning, and laundry—not simply taking general responsibility
for seeing that these necessary functions were performed. Most of the others
did the marketing and the cooking while various members of the family
helped with cleaning or laundry.
In Plant C, which shifted from a 40- to a 48-hour week by adding a half
hour to each of the 5 workdays and by working 5% hours on Saturday, it
was the consensus among women interviewed that the extra half hour did
not make much difference in their ability to meet home demands. The Satur­
day morning work forced a shift in marketing from morning to afternoon;




PLANTS B & C

49

in a few families daughters were called on to do more of the household tasks.
In Plant B, which added 8 hours weekly by making Saturday a full day
of work and later changed to six 9-hour days, almost all women reported
difficulty in getting their housework done. The following comments are
typical.
I had so much more time to go to the store and get my groceries on the 40-hour
week. I could come home and have a breathing spell. The 40-hour week is best for
any married woman who keeps house, unless she can afford to have someone come
in and do the washing and ironing . . . On the 48-hour week I had to do my
washing and ironing either in the evening or in the afternoon before I went to work,
when I was on the afternoon shift, instead of on my free day as I did on the 40hour week . . . That extra free day means so much. I could get up early and do
my shopping while fruits and vegetables were still fresh, but you can’t do that
when you work 6 days a week.

Another woman said—
The 54-hour week was really hard. I didn’t go out much, for that was an awful
grind. On the 48-hour period I felt more like getting up early and could get a
little more housework done, and I wasn’t so tired ail the time. I got to bed quite
a bit earlier on the 48-hour week, was more rested, and felt better. I had more time
to spend with my husband and children, and I got more rest. I was more rushed
on the 54-hour week, because I tried to do the same things at home that I did
on the 48-hour week.

Another comment was—■
The 54-hour shift was awfully bad. The money was nice but 9 hours was a
long day. I got so tired in the afternoon; then I would come home and do my
housework. I would have to let things go I was too tired to do. When I wanted
to go some place, I would be too tired to go and just have to stay home.

A young matron of 25 years said—
I reach home to get supper ready. It was much easier on the 40-hour week
because I could clean on Saturday. Now, under 54 hours, I must clean in the
evenings. As I have to get some sleep, we don't go out as often. On 40 hours we
would go to Detroit for a show. I hate 9 hours a day.

A service man’s young wife, who was living with her mother and father,
gave this report of her leisure time under different hour schedules;
When I worked from 3 p. m. to 11, I could go to the midnight show after work
and still get enough sleep. Most of the girls I chum with go to shows or parties.
Then I was changed to the midnight shift, which I prefer. I get up for supper,
go to the first show, and am still in time to go to work without rushing too much.
I have all Saturday off until Sunday night, so I see my friends and read. During
the 54-hour period I worked the afternoon shift. On this shift I just ate, slept, and
worked—I didn’t even have time to write letters. Any place I went I had to go
on Sunday.

Women workers were put on different shifts from time to time. This
necessitated change in their household routines. Some women liked the
second shift because it gave them mornings to do marketing and more time
to care for the home. This meant that they had already done a day’s work
when they reported to the factory.
TIME OF RISING, OF REACHING HOME, AND OF RETIRING

For the day shift, changing hours from 40 to 48 a week involved starting
work 30 minutes earlier (as well as working on Saturdays) in Plant C and
in the largest department of Plant B. This necessitated getting up a half
hour earlier on the part of the women affected. The rising hour varied from
5:30 to 7 o’clock in the first period, but from 5 to 6 o’clock in the second
period. Changing to the 9-hour day in Plant B affected three of the depart­
ments, whose workers had to arrive at 7 instead of 7:30. As already stated,




women’s wartime hours of work

50

the fourth department had changed to a 7 a. m. starting hour in the second
period and this remained the same under the 9-hour day.
The second shift, under the 40-hour schedule, worked from 4:10 p. m. to
12.25 a. m. in Plant B and 4 p. m. to 12:30 a. m. in Plant C. Under the
48-hour schedule the second shift in Plant C ended at 1 a. m.; in Plant B,
3 departments experienced no change, for a full workday was added on
Saturday, but the fourth department worked from 3 to 11 p. m. (when a
third shift came on that worked until 7 a. m.). When Plant B initiated the
9-hour day, all departments W'orked from 4:35 p. m. to 1:50 a. m.—These
second-shift workers usually went to bed as soon as they reached home and
got up from 10:30 a. m. on.
The distance from home to plant permitted almost as many to walk to
work as went by private automobile or as traveled by public vehicle. Round
trip transit time w'as 30 minutes or less for some workers and between
30 minutes and an hour for an equal number. Those who spent more than
an hour in going and returning were few.
When the day shift ended at 3, or 4, or 4:30 p. m., many women workers
were home before 5 o’clock. When the second shift ended variously from
11 p. m. to 1:50 a. m., the workers reached home in the quiet hours of early
morning. The day away from home exceeded 11 hours for relatively few
women; until the work hours were lengthened to 9 a day, the majority were
away from home less than 10 hours. Obviously the 9-hour day increased
such time by at least 1 hour for many women.
WORKERS' OVER-ALL DAY

Under the 40-hour schedule, more than half the women interviewed from
both factories had 8 or more hours of sleep. Only a few had less than 6 hours’
rest. The proportion able to sleep 8 hours or more increased under the
48-hour schedule, as did the proportion with fewer than 6 hours of rest.
But the 54-hour schedule increased the over-all day for many, as over half
the press operators were active for more than 17 hours of each working day.
There seems no question that these press operators, who for the most
part were housewives, believed the 54-hour schedule left insufficient strength
and energy to carry on the household tasks efficiently. Accumulated house­
work, in turn, became an irritation.
WORKERS' PREFERRED FACTORY HOURS
PREFERRED HOURS

It is not surprising from the foregoing that only a very small percentage
of these women wished to work the 9-54-hour week. About two-thirds wanted
the 8-40-hour week, even though this eliminated overtime pay. About a
fourth wanted the 8-48-hour week, usually because “I need the extra money.”
While there were women who preferred the second shift, from late after­
noon to early morning, the majority preferred the day shift.
GROSS EARNINGS IN RELATION TO HOURS

In Plant B, a pay raise and overtime pay for all hours over 8 a day or
over 40 a week resulted in increased earnings in the longer-hour periods for
the group studied even though scheduled hours were not worked regularly
and efficiency was not increased. Gross earnings rose from $28.19 under the
40-hour schedule to $37.84 under 48 hours and to $45.86 under 54 hours.




PLANTS B & C

51

In Plant C, gross earnings increased from $37.12 under the 40-hour
schedule to $47.04 under 48 hours. This increase was due to the increases
in piece rates and guaranteed minimum rates, overtime pay, and higher
efficiency of the group studied.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON
WORKERS' FACTORY PERFORMANCE
ATTENDANCE RECORD

As stated in the introduction, during the first period the departments
under study operated a schedule of 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. During
the second period Plant B operated an 8-48-hour schedule, Plant C operated
a 48-hour week of five 81/2-hour days and 5*4 hours on Saturday. In a third
period Plant B had a 9-54-hour schedule. All punch-press operators employed
in Plant C during the periods studied were included. In Plant B, only women
employed 3 weeks in at least 2 of the 3 periods were included in the study,
and this eliminated 29 in the first period, 93 in the second period, and 117
in the third period; in the first and third periods, about a third of those
omitted did not work beyond 3 weeks even in one period. In the second
period, a half did not work more than 3 weeks in the period.
Attendance, All Women Studied

During the 8-40-hour period more than 80 percent of the women in both
plants lost time. The average number of absences during that period exceeded
two, and the average length of absence was over 17 hours. In the 8-48-hour
period, Plant B cut down the proportion of women losing time, the average
number of absences, and the average length of absence. In Plant C, however,
only the length of absence was shortened. When Plant B went on the 9-54hour schedule, the number of absences increased, though their length de­
creased.
Table II shows that a large proportion of workers lost a week or more in
the periods studied. In the first period, about 30 percent in each plant lost
from 1 to 5 weeks. In the second period, Plant B was able to cut the propor­
tion to 12 percent. In Plant C’s second period and Plant B’s third period,
both of which fell in the fall of 1943, the proportion who lost a week or
more was 221/2 percent.
Plant B age records showed a higher proportion of older women working
in the 40-hour period than in the second and third periods, when additional
younger workers were employed, and that these older women accounted for
most of the long-time absences. Fifty-two percent of the women in the first
period were 40 years or older as compared with approximately 35 percent
in this age category in the second and third periods.
Unfortunately neither firm kept adequate records on causes of lost time.
Interviews with women workers in their homes revealed that these extended
absences under the 40-hour schedule were often caused by personal illness
or family illness. A number of the long-term illnesses were reported as due to
teeth extraction, gall-bladder operation, high blood pressure, varicose veins,
and neuritis. Sometimes absence was due to plant accidents. Catching a
finger in the press caused an 8-week and a 10-week absence, respectively,
for two women; and infection due to a cut caused a week’s absence for
another.
To turn now to a consideration of short-term absences: The proportion
of women in each plant who lost time (in weeks in which they were in




women’s wartime hours of work

52

attendance at least part of the week) increased as the hours increased. Under
the 40-hour week 33.9 percent of the women in Plant B and 23.5 percent of
the women in Plant C lost no time at all in the weeks they were in attend­
ance. These proportions decreased to 29 percent and 17.5 percent respec­
tively in the 48-hour period, and to 15.7 percent in Plant B in the 54-hour
period. During the weeks in which they were in attendance, women press
operators averaged 35.7 hours in Plant B and 38.2 hours in Plant C under
the 40-hour week, 44 hours in both plants under the '48-hour week, and
47.8 hours in Plant B under the 54-hour week. Expressed in another way,
the women averaged 89 percent, 92 percent, and 88.5 percent of the hours
scheduled in the first, second, and third periods, respectively, in Plant B,
and 95.5 percent and 91.5 percent in the first and second periods, respec­
tively, in Plant C.
The home interviews with women workers indicated that these short-term
absences were directly connected with “tiredness” or to the need to “catch
up” with household or other family demands. Under the 9-54-hour schedule,
the proportion of women who averaged over 1 day a week off was far larger
than under the 8)/2-48-hour schedule in Plant C or the 8-48-hour schedule
in Plant B.

Average
number
of
absences

Average
hours
per
absence

H ours lost by
total num ber of
women per 100
possible m an ­
hours of work

Table I. — Percent' of Women Losing Time Under Different Scheduled Hours, Average
Number and Length of Their Absences, and Hours Lost by Total Number of
Women Studied per 100 Possible Man-hours, by Shift—Plants B and C

Women losing time
Period studied,
scheduled hours,
and shift

Total
number
of
women
studied

Number

Percent

PLANT B
1st period (8-40 hours)....
1st shift............................
2d shift ............................
Both shifts 1...................

62
52
3
7

51
42
3
6

82.3
80.8
100.0
85.7

2.8
2.8
2.0
3.2

17.1
17.6
13.3
15.2

16.8
17.0
11.1
17.2

2d period (8-48 hours)..........
1st shift............................
2d and 3d shifts 2...........
Two or more shifts 3...

99
37
22
40

74
28
16
30

74.7
75.7
72.7
75.0

2.5
2.7
2.4
2.4

14.3
14.7
15.7
13.1

10.1
11.8
10.0
8.8

1st shift............................
2d shift ............................
Both shifts 1 ...................

102
46
25
31

88
43
19
26

86.3
93.5
76.0
83.9

4.4
5.2
3.7
3.4

13.9
12.7
20.9
11.5

16.6
19.3
19.3
10.5

PLANT C
1st period (8-40 hours)---1st shift............................
2d shift ............................

34
23
11

29
20
9

85.3
87.0
81.8

2.3
2.3
2.6

17.4
15.5
21.2

11.4
9.8
14.7

2d period (8J4-48 hours)---1st shift............................
2d shift ............................

40
24
16

34
20
14

85.0
83.3
87.5

3.4
3.4
3.4

16.2
21.9
8.1

12.1
16.2
6.2

1 Women who had worked on both the first shift and second shift during the period studied.
2 Only 4 of the 22 women worked on the third shift.
3 The majority of these women worked both the first and second shifts, but a few worked all
3 shifts, and a few had worked on the first and third shifts




PLANTS B & C

53

Both plants operated at least two shifts in each period under study.
Plant B, as stated earlier, attempted to operate a third shift in one depart­
ment under the 48-hour schedule, but there were never enough women who
wanted even the second shift to man it completely. Different women were
assigned to the third (midnight) shift each week, so that in the same period
some women worked on the day shift one week and on the night shift the
next. It would appear that under the 48- and 54-hour weeks, a slightly
smaller proportion of women on the night shift than on the day shift lost
time, and that the hours lost in relation to man-hours of work were fewer.
The transfer from day to night work was not accompanied hy an increase
in absenteeism, which would indicate that when women got the household
chores done in the daytime, they took a little less time off from work.
However, the fact that most women preferred the day shift indicates that
the schedule of hours that brought them home in the afternoon fitted into
the family life more satisfactorily.
Attendance, Stable Group of Workers

Only 25 women in Plant B and 7 in Plant C worked in each week of each
period under study. While this group would be too small to use as the basis
for determining a plant hour policy, yet the response of this stable group
to different hour schedules is worthy of note. In Plant B, the group averaged
37.5 hours under the 40-hour schedule, 45.9 hours under the 48-hour
schedule, and 50.3 hours under the 54-hour schedule, as compared with
the 35.7, 44.2, and 47.8 hours averaged by the entire group of women whose
attendance was analyzed. Even so, the proportion who lost no time was
reduced by one-half on the change from 40 hours to 54 hours. The tendency
of the whole group to stay out more than 1 day a week as the hours increased
to 54 was observed among this stable group also. Again, as among the whole
group, night-shift workers lost less time under the 48-hour and the 54-hour
week than did the day-shift workers.—In Plant C, the same general tenden­
cies were observed.
It has frequently been said that workers take time off after pay day.
Examination of the daily record of each woman showed that in Plant B,
where pay day was on Friday for the day shift and on Thursday evening for
the night shift, 27 percent of the absences under the 48-hour schedule fol­
lowed pay day, and on the 54-hour schedule 39 percent followed pay day.
Such lost time was of short duration, usually a half day or 1 day, and
accounted for less than 9 percent of the lost time, even in the 9-54-hour
period.
Experience was similar in Plant C. While about a fourth of the women
were absent the day after a Wednesday pay day, such absence accounted for
less than 6 percent of the time lost.
Injuries in Relation to Attendance

The record of calls at the medical room for attention to injuries were •
available only in Plant B. These injuries included lacerations, bruises, abra­
sions, cuts, punctures, contusions, fractures, and soreness of muscles. Most
of these injuries were industrial injuries caused by the sharpness of the
metal pieces handled and occurred to the fingers and hands. Sometimes stock,
piled carelessly on the floor, would slip and cut a worker’s leg, or she would
receive a gash when striking an edge that extended beyond the pile.
The kick-press operators wore gloves to avoid hands being cut. However,
they wore no guards, as these small machines were not considered dangerous.




Table II. — Analysis of Time Lost By Women Workers Under Different Scheduled Hours—Long-term Absences (whole weeks lost) and Short-term
Absences (time lost within weeks attended), by Shift—Plants B and C
Attendance record of women within
weeks of partial or full attendance

Number who lost a week or more

Number of women whose
average time lost per week
in weeks attended was—

Period studied,
scheduled hours, and
shift

1st period (8-40 hours):
.

62

43

100.0

69.4

14

2

1

1

i

62

21

15

19

7

22.6

30.6

3.2

1.6

1.6

1.6

100.0

33.9

24.2

30.6

11.3

35.7

1st shift:
Number ...................

52

36

16

11

2

1

1

1

52

18

12

17

5

Percent .....................

100.0

69.2

30.8

21.2

3.8

1.9

1.9

1.9

100.0

34.6

23.1

32.7

9.6

2d shift—Number..........

3

1
2

1
2

3
7

1

1

7

2
5

1

Both shifts 1 —Number

2

2

1

35.8

37.8
2

34.6

44.2

2d period (8-48 hours):
Number ...................

99

87

12

8

2

1

1

99

29

37

24

9

Percent .....................

100.0

87.9

12.1

8.1

2.0

1.0

1.0

100.0

29.3

37.4

24.2

9.1

1st shift:
Number ...................

37

32

5

3

Percent .....................

100.0

86.5

13.5

8.1




V

'

1
2.7

1

37

11

13

8

5

2.7

100.0

29.7

35.1

21.6

13.5

4

P-

43.5

w o m e n ’s w a r t im e h o u r s o f w o r k

*>£
re

PLANT B

Percent .....................

Ca

698249°—47-

22
100.0

18
81.8

4
18.2

3
13.6

Two or more shifts: 3..
Number ...................
Percent .....................

40
100.0

37
92.5

3
7.5

2
5.0

3d period (9-54 hours):
Number .....................
Percent .....................

102
100.0

79
77.5

23
22.5

13
12.7

4
3.9

2.9

1st shift:
Number ................... .
Percent ......................

46
100.0

31
67.4

• 15
32.6

9
19.6

3
6.5

2
4.3

2d shift:
Number .....................
Percent ......................

25
100.0

19
76.0

6
24.0

3
12.0

Both shifts: 1 2...................
Number .....................
Percent .......................

31
100.0

29
93.5

2

1
3.2

Cn

1
4.5

100.0

27.3

50.0

13.6

9.1

100.0

30.0

32.5

32.5

5.0

2.0

100.0

15.7

36.3

26.5

ZdL.1
21.6

2.2

100.0

10.9

34.8

15
32.6

21.7

4.0

100.0

24.0

32.0

24.0

20.0

100.0

16.1

41.9

19.4

22.6

1
2.5

44.4

1.0

1
4.0
1
3.2

-

1
4.0

47.8

46.6

-

I

_______________

C

PLANT C

PJ.A N T S B &

Number ...................
Percent .....................

1st period (8-40 hours):
1st shift ....................
2d shift ......................
2d period (8J4-48 hours)___
1st shift ............................
2d shift ..............................

1 Women who had worked on both the first shift and second shift during the period studied.
2 Only 4 of the 22 women worked on the third shift.
* The majority of these women worked both the first and second shifts, but a few worked all 3 shifts, and a few had worked on the first and third shifts.




in
Cn

C/l
ON

Table IM. — Injuries Causing Calls to Medical Department Under Different Scheduled Hours —Plant B1

1st period (8-40 hours)
Women
Number Percent
Total women .............................................
Women making no medical calis___
Women making medical calls...............
Women reporting reasons for medical calls 2.

62
16
46

100
26
74

Number Number
of
of
injuries
visits

178

221

170
167

211
207
2
2

46

Industrial injuries 3 ...............
Fingers, hands, or arms.
Feet or legs........................
Other ..............................

45
45
2
2

Nonindustrial injuries ...........
Fingers, hands, or arms.
Feet or legs........................
Other ..........................

6
5

Women
Number

Percent

99
19
80

Number Number
of
of
injuries
visits

100

19
81

80
11
2

Women
Number

Percent
100

593

102
30
72

593

2 72

350

504

388
374
12
2

590
576

72
72
9

343
332
11

496
485

12

2

10
8

2 S*1*8 table c°vers only calls to the medical department due to injuries.
3
m,ore tha-n tot?1 b.ecause, son?e women made medical calls for more than one injury.

injuries include lacerations, bruises, abrasions, cuts, punctures, contusions, fractures, and soreness of muscles




Number N umber
of
of
injuries
visits

391

2 80

1
2

3d period (9-54 hours)

t

29
71

350

11

WOMEN ’S WARTIME HOURS OF WORK

Type of injury

2d period (8-48 hours)

PLANTS B & C

57

Posson safety guards were worn by everyone operating the large manually
ted power presses.
°
3
The average number of initial calls at the medical office on account of
injuries, and the average number of such calls plus calls for dressings, per
IUU man-hours worked, are shown below.
Period

40-hour........

..:.zzzizizzzz:::

48-hour..................................................
54-hour

Average number of calls at medical
office per 100 man-hours -worked
Initial
Initial calls plus
1 r*
calls for dressings

1.3

i'cj

PRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY
Nature of the Job

“rSS °per,fi?'!r was the only occupation studied, but within the
two plants surveyed different types of punch-press operations were perrmed on many types of presses. Women usually were not assigned to the
same press continuously. Rather they often worked on several presses each
day in order to keep an even flow of work through the plant.
Department 1 in Plant B was equipped with heavy-duty flat presses.
Vomen were not assigned to these presses until the war brought a shortage
Th^thi-W°rkfl' -°th T
'vomen W6re currently operating these presses.
le thin metal pieces, from 18 to 36 inches long and from 4 to 12 inches
wide, were fed to the press by hand. The ram was started downward by
pressure on a foot pedal. When the metal had been blanked or the gasket
flanged or closed, it was removed by hand and placed on bench or truck and

i>o^„Trf™r«d?om lhe raad,ine- w°'kOT- fn addition to operating the presses, workers got their materials, oiled
stock when necessary, opened crates of asbestos sheets, and carried piles of
finished gaskets away from the machines. Approximately 1 to lVo hours a
day were spent on such miscellaneous tasks. As the pieces handled were
large and the machine operation was relatively slow, successful operation
called for a steady rhythm, the use of both hands, and perfect timing of
hand and foot movements. The cycle of work averaged about 550 pieces an
hour, the work performed by women in this department would be con­
sidered moderately light, even though the parts were among the largest
handled by any of the women studied.
Department 2 performed the same kind of punch operations but on semi­
automatic incline presses. Here the operator slid pieces into a slot, and the
pieces were located automatically under the ram. She tripped the pedal
just long enough for the gasket to locate itself before the ram descended,
lhe finished piece slid onto an automatic piler behind the press. The press
had gateguards. The operator watched the feed to see that the stock went
ott the slide correctly.
There was considerably more lifting and carrying in this department
because of the relatively automatic nature of the work and the greater
number of large-sized pieces run per hour. This meant operators had to leave
their machines frequently to get more stock and remove completed stock
from the automatic pliers. Sometimes they inserted fillers into gaskets. They
either sat or stood to operate the trip pedal, as machines were equipped with
two pedals, one for use while sitting and the other for use while standing,
lhe cycle was short: about 750 gaskets with fillers inserted were run in an
hour, and an even greater number were produced when simple blanking




58

women’s wartime hours of work

was involved. The pace was steady and quite rapid. Not as close attention
was required as in the other departments studied.
Department 3 in Plant B was equipped for the most part with small manu­
ally fed presses. The operator placed the piece of cut or scrap metal or
asbestos on the die, tripped the pedal, received the piece, and placed it on a
tray. For some operations the foot remained on the pedal while the operator
moved a circular piece of metal about to blank out the pieces as the ram
moved up and down at set intervals. The degree of coordination involved
was high. Foot, hand, and eye movements had to be perfectly timed so the
work would be properly located before the ram descended. Close attention
was necessary to avoid spoilage and accidents. The workers were seated
when operating presses. All persons had Posson safety guards. The majority
of presses were equipped with metal guards around the area under the ram
of the press.
Department 4 of Plant B had table presses of two types for attaching
flanges to gaskets—manually operated kick presses and automatic eyelet
machines. On kick presses the operator placed the flange under the die with
one hand while placing or moving the gasket under the ram with the other;
foot pressure brought down the ram. The completed piece was removed by
hand. On the eyelet machines the operator merely fed gaskets to the press
while the flanges automatically slid down a chute to be pressed into position
on the gasket. The gasket was then removed by hand.
The coordination required on the kick press was high. The series of
movements was rapid and repetitive and had to be timed accurately so the
press would descend at the right moment each time. Since no safety guards
were worn on these presses, the operator had to give close attention so that
the flange and gasket would be placed in exactly the right position. An
average of 500 gaskets were run per hour. The automatic press required
less coordination, though the gasket had to be moved to the proper posi­
tion for the next flange, in time with the automatic feeding of the flange
and the tripping of the pedal. The number of gaskets run averaged 750
an hour.
Plant C had two types of presses in the same department. The most com­
mon press was a hand-fed, foot-tripped punch press. The operator held a
stack of metal pieces in her left hand and slid the individual pieces into
proper position on the press, using a small wooden feed stick. She then
depressed the foot pedal, which caused the ram to descend and make the
required cutting or stamping. On the automatic press, the operator merely
guided the strip of metal from an automatic roll feed. Stock was brought
to the operator and bins of finished pieces and waste were carried away by
men. Machines were set up, so that the operator could move from one to the
next as each task was completed. The pace of work was faster than on the
hand-fed, foot-tripped press. Further, only a few of the operators wore
Posson safety devices.
It is generally agreed that some people cannot attain the type of eye, hand,
and foot coordination necessary for punch-press operation. According to
management, 3 weeks will determine whether a person will become an
efficient operator. The women themselves stated that it took some months
to learn the different operations and attain speed. There was a great differ­
ence among operators, for while some claimed they had attained maximum
speed in 2 months, others said it required 4 months, and still others 6 months.
While most punch-press operators were hired for this occupation, there
were some women who had worked elsewhere in the plant before being




PLANTS B & C

59

assigned to this work. For the women so transferred, plant experience is
longer than punch-press experience. In Plant C, where all women employed
in either period under study were included, 15 percent had less than 3
months of punch-press experience, and nearly 30 percent had less than
6 months’ of such experience. However, the majority had worked 5 or
more years on punch presses. In Plant B, as previously stated, no woman
was included who had been employed less than 3 weeks in each of at least
two of the three periods under study. By this selection, the mass of women
who were employed in one period only, and who were, therefore, the less
experienced, were excluded from the study. All hut 2 percent of those in­
cluded in Plant B had at least 6 months’ job experience; three-fourths had
a year or more of experience; and about half had 5 years or more. For the
most part, therefore, the punch operators studied were experienced workers.
Performance on the Job — Planf B

Plant B, as noted in the introduction, had operated under an incentive
wage system sometime prior to the Women’s Bureau investigation. Time
studies had been made and a standard time set for each punch-press opera­
tion. Although it had reconverted to payment on a straight hourly basis
when the Bureau undertook its study, the plant continued to record produc­
tion and efficiency rates. Records were kept of the individual worker’s hours
on time-studied production jobs and of hours on jobs which did not lend
themselves to time study, such as repair work. Individual efficiency rates
were computed by dividing the number of “standard-production hours” the
operator achieved by the number of hours she actually worked on timestudied jobs.
A few women worked only on jobs not amenable to time-study, which
accounts for the discrepancy in the number of women shown on all tables
dealing with productive efficiency in Plant B and the number shown on
tables dealing with attendance. Table IV, which follows, shows efficiencies
by departments in Plant B, rather than by type of press operated, because
of the variation in the types of presses in use.
It is obvious from table IV that experience is a much more potent factor
in output than either management or the women interviewed reported. Prac­
tically without exception, efficiency in each department in Plant B increased
as experience increased. The small flat-press department (3), which em­
ployed the largest number of women and where manually fed presses were
operated, shows a distinct difference in efficiency under the 48- and the
54-hour week, not only as between beginners and experienced workers but
as between those with experience of 6 months and under a year and those
with a year or more of experience. In the latter comparison, under both
schedules the efficiency increased from the low 80’s to the middle 90’s. The
table-press department (4) shows a difference in efficiency as between those
with experience of 6 weeks and under 6 months and those with a year’s
experience or more. The large-press department (1) also indicates the effect
of experience on output. Only in the incline-press department (2), where
automatic feeding and piling occurs, would the difference between output
of workers whose experience was “6 months and under a year” and output
of workers whose experience was “1 year or more” seem to be of no
importance; however, the numbers of workers in these groups are too small
to be conclusive.—In comparing efficiencies in relation to hours, there­
fore, the comparison must be limited to women with the same amount of
experience.




C\
O
Table IV.— Individual Efficiency by Length of Experience in Occupation, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Department—Plant B

Length of time in occupation
1 year or more
Department, period
studied, and scheduled
hours

women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on .
incentive
work

Average
efficiency
rating

85.3
76.7
85.8

2
5
4

40.0
40.1
39.8

29.1
26.5
25.2

102.2
85.0
94.9

36.7
42.1
43.8

86.8
83.5
89.0

7
7

39.4
42.6
46.2

38.5
41.0
44.1

93.5
92.5
88.5

36.1
45.2
47.9

34.1
38.9
41.0

89.9
88.8

86.9

24
24
24

36.1
44.8
46.6

34.1
37.1
35.5

89.9
96.2
94.7

34.7
44.6
50.7

25.1
36.8
44.3

89.7
83.0
80.3

18
18
13

34.1
45.4
51.2

25.4
35.9
45.9

91.7
85.3
81.5

Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
. on.
incentive
work

Average
efficiency
rating

Department 1:
1st period (8-40 hours)
2d period (8-48-hours) .
3d period (9-54-hours).

3
13

37.3
41.9
43.4

27.4
35.2
37.5

Department 2:
1st period (8-40 hours)
2d period (8-48-hours) .
3d period (9-54-hours).

12
10

37.5
43.2
46.4

Department 3:
1st period (8-40 hours)
2d period (8-48-hours) .
3d period (9-54-hours).

24
39
48

Department 4:
1st period (8-40 hours)
2d period (8-48-hours) .
3d period (9-54-hours).

20
26




12

20

<

S

Number

of

8

WOMEN’S WARTIME HOURS OF WORK

Total

i

Length of time in occupation
6 months, less than 1 year
Department, period
studied, and scheduled
hours

Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
efficiency
rating

Less than 6 weeks

Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
. on.
incentive
work

Average
efficiency
rating

Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
incentive
work .

Average
efficiency
rating

PLANTS B &

Average
weekly
hours
on
incentive
work

6 weeks, less than 6 months

1

32.0

24.0

51.7

7

45.9

44.1

81.7

8
1

43.0
40.2

40.7
40.2

71.5
77.6

Department 2:
1st period (8-40 hours)
2d period (8-48-hours).
3d period (9-54-hours) .

i
3

46.7
46.7

46.7
43.0

92.3
90.2

1

42.7

42.7

65.0

1
2

24.0
43.8

24.0
43.8

39.6
52.4

Department 3:
1st period (8-40 hours)
2d period (8-48-hours) .
3d period (9-54-hours)_.

1
18

44.6
50.0

41.3
46.5

80.3'
83.9

10
2

45.8
43.0

42.6
43.0

78.8
74.1

4
4

46.4
48.3

39.4
48.3

71.6
60.2

2

40.0

23.2

71.8

49.8

41.4

78.0

7

44.4

40.3

81.1

1

32.6

7

28.7

55.3

Department 4:
1st period (8-40 hours)
2d period (8-48-hours).
3d period (9-54-hours),.




C

Department 1:
1st period (8-40 hours)
2d period (8-48-hours) .
3d period (9-54-hours).

\

Cs

62

women’s wartime hours of work

Department 1 was the department that was equipped with large punch
presses and had employed only men before the war started. The few women
who had a year or more of experience averaged not more than 40 hours a
week, no matter what the scheduled hours; their efficiency in the three
periods studied does not, therefore, reflect any hours change. What is also
noticeable is the small proportion of time they spent on productive work.
In Department 2 the same type of work was done as in Department 1,
but on semiautomatic incline presses; the work was more quickly learned
and required less coordination. The women with a year or more of experi­
ence showed a slightly lower efficiency with the increase in hours. Some
women reported that they thought their decreased efficiency was due to
“more machine trouble because of poor die-setters,” “more stock and scrap
around,” and “because the girls slow up the last hour to get ready to leave.”
Department 3, with its small manually fed presses which require the
highest degree of eye, hand, and foot coordination, had always been a
woman’s department. The 24 women with a year or more of experience did
not average more than 46.6 hours in any period. Their hours on incentive
work jobs averaged about 35 a week.
It is not known whether the reported hours spent on productive work are
fewer for experienced than for inexperienced women workers because the
experienced women kept a more careful record of time on nonproductive
tasks or because they were actually assigned to more day-work jobs. What­
ever the cause, the experienced women spent only 75 percent of their working
time on productive work under the 9-54-hour schedule, 83 percent under the
8-48-hour schedule, and 91 percent under the 40-hour schedule. With so
much time excluded from productive hours, their efficiency went from 89.9
under 40 hours to 96.2 under 48 hours, and 94.7 under 54 hours.
Women workers were impressed with the idea that they had to turn out
9 hours’ production when they went on a 9-hour schedule. A 10-minute rest
period was provided in the first half and a 15-minute rest period in the
second half of each shift. The girls said, “You have to make up for those
rest periods. Under the 8-hour day we did not have any rest period in this
department, so we only had to make up the paid-for lunch period.” Some
women said they skipped the rest period when they were behind on pro­
duction.
Department 4 was made up of table presses—the kick press, requiring
foot pressure to bring the ram into position, and the automatic eyelet press.
The first called for a high degree of coordination, the second for far less.
Here again, in the second and third periods many women were introduced
into the department who did not remain long enough to warrant inclusion
in the detail of this study. As the presses were placed close together, the
overcrowding may have accounted for part of the drop in efficiency from
the 46-hour period to the 48-hour period, even among experienced operators,
who showed a drop of 6.4 points.
The experienced women in this department averaged longer hours worked
under the 54-hour schedule than the experienced women in any other depart­
ment; that is, they averaged 51.2 out of the scheduled 54 hours, whereas
experienced women in no other department averaged so much as 47 hours
of work in the weeks they reported for work. Also, the experienced women’s
hours on production work were higher. Even so, their efficiency dropped
to 81.5 in the 54-hour period, from 91.7 in the 40-hour period and 85.3 in
the 48-hour period,




PLANTS B & C

63

In each department over-all production data were secured, i.e., aggregate
weekly figures on total hours worked, hours worked on incentive jobs, and
the average efficiency rate for the group as a whole. These data reveal the
extent to which introducing many new inexperienced workers into a depart­
ment resulted in a drop in departmental efficiency. Under the 40-hour
schedule, in Department 1, over-all efficiency was 89; it dropped to 79
under the 48-hour schedule when there was an influx of new workers, and
to 74 when more new workers were added and the 54-hour week went into
effect. In Department 3 efficiency dropped from 88 in the first period to
82 and 83, in the second and third periods, respectively. In Department 4
there was a decline in efficiency from 86 to 76 to 74 respectively, under the
40-, 48-, and 54-hour schedules.
Performance on the Job — Plant C

In Plant C, average hourly earnings were used as a measure of produc­
tion. This was not an entirely accurate yardstick, because, while the bulk
of the earnings were from piecework, some “no price” work, that is, work
paid on an hourly basis, was included. The plant recorded only total earn­
ings and did not show piecework earnings separately. In the 40-hour period,
all the women were experienced and averaged 97 cents an hour. (This
figure is computed on the increased rate paid in the second period, is for
purposes of comparison of output, and does not represent actual earnings.)
During the 48-hour period women averaged $1 an hour, even though new
workers had been introduced. Those with less than 6 months’ experience
could not make as much as experienced workers, but a small group with
experience of from 6 months to a year exceeded the output of the most
experienced group. These were young southern women who had taken hold
of the punch-press operations and excelled the older, experienced workers.
Some women reported that the foreman took pleasure in pointing out the
greater speed of these new workers. This served as a stimulus to raise the
level of output of the older women, which rose by about 5 percent. The
increased efficiency was not, however, achieved without strain on these
women; even though they said they did not mind working half an hour
longer on 5 days a week, they complained at the pace set by the new girls.
Performance on, the Job — Summary

As has been stated, effort was made to increase output in the press depart­
ments in Plants B and C through increasing the numbers employed and the
scheduled hours of work. In Plant C scheduled hours were increased 20 per­
cent, but possible man-hours were increased 46 percent by the increase in
numbers employed. Though the average hours worked did not exceed 44 a
week under the 48-hour schedule, the increase in numbers working and the
fact that some additional hours were worked resulted in a total gain of
44 percent in man-hours of work. The slight increase of 3 percent in
efficiency resulted in a net increase in total production of 58 percent.
In Plant B, the Women’s Bureau, as noted, confined its detailed analysis
of workers to the women who were employed as press operators at least 3
weeks in each of 2 of the 3 periods studied. Among this group a 20-percent
increase in hours to 48 a week and a 64-percent increase in number of press
operators brought a 103-percent increase in man-hours worked. The inex­
perience of new workers resulted in a 9-percent drop in average hourly pro­
duction, but nevertheless total production was increased by 98 percent. The
54-hour schedule, when actual hours worked averaged 47.8 hours, resulted
in a 117-percent increase over the 40-hour period in man-hours worked. The




ON

Table V. — Individual Efficiency, by Length of Experience in Occupation, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Shift—Plant C

Period studied,
scheduled hours, and
shift

6 months, less than 1 year

1 year or more

Number
of
women
studied

Efficiency
Average
weekly
(average
hours
hourly
worked 1 earnings2)

Number
of
women
studied

Efficiency
Average
weekly
(average
hours
hourly
worked 1 earnings2)

34
23
11
2d period (SJ4-48 hours)...
1st shift .........................
2d shift ...........................

38.2
37.8
38.9

$.97
.98
.96

34
23
11

38.2
37.8
38.9

44.0
43.0
45.4

1.00
1.01
.98

21
17
4

42.7
41.8
46.8

1.03
1.04
1.01

Efficiency
Average
weekly
(average
hours
hourly
worked 1 earnings2)

4
1
3

46.0
48.0
45.3

$1.07
1.13
1.05,

1 Only total weekly hours are shown because plant records did not show hours on piecework separately.
2 Total average hourly earnings are shown because plant records did not give piecework earnings apart from total earnings.




Number
of
women
studied

Efficiency
Average
weekly
(average
hours
hourly
worked 1 earnings2)

$.97
.98
.96

40
24
16

Number
of
women
studied

6 weeks, less than 6 months

15
6
9

45.2
45.8
44.7

$.94
.93
.95

WOMEN’S wartime hours of work

Length of time in occupation
Total

65

PLANTS B & C

hourly rate of production under 54 hours was 3 percent less than under 40
hours, but with the 64-percent increase in numbers employed total production
increased 116 percent over the 40-hour period.
When all employees in the four press departments of Plant B are con­
sidered, the showing is not so satisfactory, for new employees who did not
remain in the factory usually had not achieved a good efficiency rate. Such
over-all figures as were available indicated that with an increase in hours
to 48, that is, by 20 percent, and an increase in numbers employed of 118
percent, hours on production work increased by 129 percent and total pro­
duction by 107 percent. When the hours scheduled increased to 54 a week,
or 35 percent, the total number of press operators increased by 136 percent,
resulting in a 168-percent increase in hours on production work. Total pro­
duction increased 138 percent, which is not high in relation to the increase
of 136 percent in personnel, and as contrasted with the 116-percent increase
in production with a 64-percent increase in personnel of the more experi­
enced group studied.
Table VI. — Summary of Possible Man-hours, Total Man-hours Worked, Total Man-hours
Worked on Incentive Jobs, Efficiency, and Total Production, Based on Totals
for All Women Studied, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Groups of
Workers — Plants B and C
Index numbers of 1 —

Group of workers, period
studied, and scheduled
hours

Number
of
women

Sched­
uled
hours

Possible
man­
hours

Total
man­
hours
worked

Total
Effi­
man­
ciency
Total
hours
worked (average produc­
hourly
tion
on _
incentive produc­
tion)
jobs

PLANT B
Press operators studied 2 :
1st period (8-40 hours)---2d period (8-48 hours)........
3d period (9-54 hours)........
All press operators 3 :
1st period (8-40 hours)___

100
164
164

100
120
135

100
218
236

100
120
135
PLANT

Press operators studied 4 :
1st period (8-40 hours)---2d period (8J4-48 hours). .

100
118

100
120

100
186
217

100
203
217

100
210
229

100
91
97

100
229
268

100
198
216
100
207
238

C
100
146

100
144

100
103

100
158

1 Blank spaces denote information not available.
2 Includes women employed 3 weeks or more in two periods studied; this is same group shown
in other tables for Plant B.
3 Includes all women in each department studied regardless of length of employment.
4 Includes all women in the occupation studied; this is same group shown in other tables for
Plant C.

The foregoing analysis of performance in Plants B and C permits the
following statements to be made:
1. Neither new nor experienced employees work a scheduled 48-hour
or 54-hour week continuously. They average 44 as against a sched­
uled 48, 48 as against a scheduled 54,




women’s wartime hours of work

66

2. Productive efficiency may be judged only on actual hours worked,
not on scheduled (44 vs. 48, 48 vs. 54).
3. Among experienced workers, efficiency appears to be somewhat less
under a 9-hour day than under an 8-hour schedule.
4. Introducing some new workers who remain long enough to learn
the job may serve as a stimulus to the experienced workers and
bring about a general increase in efficiency. Introducing a large
number who do not stay long enough to learn the job creates con­
fusion and lowers general efficiency.
5. When an operator’s assignments remain similar and are on the
same type of press, she may achieve full efficiency after 6 months;
when her assignments require a variety of operations on different
types of presses, a year or more is generally necessary to acquire
speed.
6. When it is necessary for workers to service themselves with stock
and equipment, the time lost on nonproductive work is excessive,
and efficiency tends to be lowered.

/




PLANT D

67

LIGHT PRECISION MACHINE OPERATORS — PLANT D
INTRODUCTION

Plant D assumed as part of its war load the production of small precision
parts unlike any the management had previously manufactured. It converted
from peace production of burners, heaters, and lanterns to war production
which included a %-inch rotor for artillery ammunition. The women selected
for study were drill-press operators, automatic-machine operators, and visual
and gage inspectors performing a sequence of operations involved in the
manufacture of these small rotors. Some women from other departments were
transferred into the rotor department and many new workers were hired for
this work.
Rotor production first started in the summer of 1942, and turn-over was
very high during at least the first year of production. All workers had to
be specially trained for this fine-precision wTork, and production methods
were gradually devised that would ensure the high quality of production
required.
During the first half year to a year of rotor manufacturing constant im­
provements were being made in production techniques. Even when manage­
ment thought it had attained a certain stability in production, as well as more
stability of personnel, there was a continued rise in efficiency regardless of
hours worked. Because the effect of hours on production was distorted in this
fashion, a further analysis was made of production records to show varia­
tions in production during different days of the week and by time of day.
Four periods, with 8 weeks in each period, were selected for study. Each
hour schedule studied had been in effect at least 2 months prior to the first
week studied. Periods of holidays, floods, epidemics, hot weather, storms,
and so forth were eliminated because of the abnormal absenteeism that pre­
vailed in such weeks. All four periods were studied for attendance data.
Only the last two periods were studied for production data because of the
very marked changes and improvements in production methods in the first
two periods.
In the first period, there were three shifts on a 7%-45-hour schedule. In
the second period, two shifts operated on a 9-54-hour schedule. There were
two shifts and both an 8%-51-hour schedule and a 9-54-hour schedule in the
third period: The automatic-machine operators, and loaders and inspectors
(checkers) on the drill tables continued on the 9-54-hour schedule that
prevailed in the second period; but, the 5 drill-press operators on each of the
7 drill tables were on an 814-51 -hour schedule because they came in 15
minutes later than the other workers and had a 15-minute longer lunch
period to allow the loader on each drill table time to put in new drills and
make machine adjustments before the drill operators started work.
In the fourth period, the miscellaneous machine operators, loaders, and
inspectors had their hours increased to 10 a day and 5 on Saturday. Drillpress operators again worked a half hour less a day to allow machine ad­
justments to be made, so that their schedule was 914 hours a day, 4% hours
on Saturday, 52% hours a week. The few 10-hour workers on the second
shift worked a 614-hour stretch, Sunday midnight to Monday morning,
instead of the 5-hour stretch worked by the day shift on Saturdays, so that
their weekly hours totaled 56% instead of 55.




68

women's wartime hours of work

Below is a resume of the hour schedule in each period studied.
Period
1st period:
October-November 1942 (8 weeks)
7%-hour day, 6-day 45-hour week

2d period:
March-April 1943 (8 weeks)
9-hour day, 6-day 54-hour week

Schedule
1st shift: 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
2d shift: 3 p.m.-ll p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
3d shift: 11 p.m.-7 a.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
1st shift: 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
2d shift: 9:30 p.m.-7 a.m.
(30-minute lunch period)

3d period:
September-November 1943 (8 weeks)
814-9-hour day, 51-54-hour week
(1) Miscellaneous machine operators,
loaders, inspectors:
9-hour day, 6-day 54-hour week
Shifts and lunch periods same as in
2d period
(2) Drill-press operators:
814-hour day, 6-day 51-hour week
1st shift: 7:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
(45-minute lunch period)
2d shift: 9:45 p.m.-7 a.m.
(45-minute lunch period)
4th period:
February-April 1944 ( 8 weeks)
914-10-hour day, 5214-55-5614-hour
week
(1) Miscellaneous machine operators,
loaders, inspectors:
10-hour day, 5-614-hour Saturday,
1st shift: 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
55-5614-hour week
(30-minute lunch period)
Saturday—7 a.m.-12 noon
2d shift: 8:30 p.m.-7 a.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
Sunday—midnight-7 a.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
(2) Drill-press operators:
914-hour-day, 4%-hour Saturday,
5214-hour week

1st shift: 7:15 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
(45-minute lunch period)
Saturday—7:15 a.m.-12 noon
2d shift: 8:45 p.m.-7 a.m.
(45-minute lunch period)
Monday—>12:15 a.m.-5 a.m.

The women selected for study were employed at least 3 weeks in each
of two periods studied. The personnel records secured were date of birth,
marital status, last grade completed in school, hiring date, and dates of
transfers, reclassifications, terminations, and rehires. Clock cards were used
to ascertain daily hours worked. Reasons for lost time were ascertained
when available. The dates of all calls to the first-aid room were recorded,
together with the nature of the illness or accident which necessitated such
a call.
As already stated, production data were secured for only the third and
fourth periods. In this connection, time on productive operations as distinct
from the total time worked had to be computed from the company’s records,
because time lost through machine difficulties, lack of materials, defective
materials, and so forth, could not be charged against the productive efficiency
of the worker. The number of imperfect units produced was also secured,




PLANT D

69

as were efficiency percentages as figured by management. Daily production
rates and the number of rejections of defective pieces were analyzed in rela­
tion to different.periods of the day. Gross earnings were secured for workers
m the third and fourth periods.
Home visits were paid to a sample of the women workers, the cross section
being chosen on the basis of marital status, age, and distance from plant.
1 he women were questioned regarding the effect of different hour schedules
on their personal and family life and on their productive efficiency. They
were also asked what were the general causes for absence during different
periods, to describe conditions that they felt affected their production, what
were their family responsibilities, and so forth.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON WORKERS' HOME LIFE
THE HOUSEHOLD

The women employed in the rotor department in Plant D were for the most
part a young group. Three-fifths were under 25 years of age, and four-fifths
were, under 30. More than half had come from communities other than the
one in which the factory was situated; for the most part, their living status
changed during the periods under study. Living in rooms when they first
arrived in town, they showed a marked tendency, as their employment was
extended, to set up housekeeping establishments.
At the time they were interviewed, more than two-thirds of the women
visited lived in household groups. Such a group might be made up of father
and mother and daughters, but more frequently it was a two-family house­
hold composed of husband and w ife and sisters or other relatives. There
were children in only a third of the households at the time, and very few
of these were under 6 years of age. Girls who lived independently tended,
as noted above, to take an apartment and maintain a home for themselves,
or to join with other girls in a housekeeping arrangement; roomers and
boarders were few.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES

These women workers, though half were single, had household chores
to do. Usually the groups with more than one adult woman shared the work
of marketing, cooking, cleaning, and laundry; in the father-mother-daughter
household the daughter helped out, but usually assumed full responsibility
only for her own laundry; in the husband-wife household all duties seemed
to fall to the wife.
The following comments were made by young women workers on the
814- or 9-hour day for 6 days a week versus the 91/2- or 10-hour day with
a half day Saturday:
A. Girls don’t gang up evenings and talk since we’ve been working 914 hours,
because we’re too tired.
B. I’m too tired to do any reading after finishing the dinner dishes. I go to sleep
the minute I open a book since working on the 10-hour day.
C. With long working hours, we have less time and energy for fun. Mostly we
have fun Saturday and Sunday when we swim and dance, go to baseball games
or shows.
D. Under the 9%-hour schedule I have to take time off for the dentist and occa­
sional beauty-parlor appointments.
E. Since working 9% hours, I find i! more difficult to get marketing done, as the
store closes at 6:30. It’s hard to get utility hills and insurance paid, as those offices
aren t open Saturday afternoon.
F Now I must do all the necessary shopping Saturday afternoons but on the
9-hour day I could do the shopping between 4:30 and 6 any day, which was handier.




women’s wartime hours of work

70

G. I gave up midweek church services on the 10-hour schedule.
H. I gave up membership in the Y. W. C. A.
I. My sixteen-year-old daughter takes care of the two younger children, who aren’t
5 years old yet, when she is home from school, but even so 1 have to cut down on
my activities under longer hours.
J. Under the 10-hour day I worked so hard Saturday afternoon and Sunday that
I never felt rested Monday. This year the family is not attempting a garden, so I
shan’t do any canning.
TIME OF RISING AND OF RETIRING

During all four periods of study, factory work for the first shift began
at 7 or 7:15 a. m. This meant rising at 5:30 or 5:45 for most of the women.
A number lived within walking distance of the factory; others went by bus
and by private car. For only a minority did the round trip, going and
coming, take over 45 minutes. When the factory day ended at 3, most women
were home by about 3:30; when it ended at 4:30, they were home around
5; but when the 10-hour day pushed the closing time to 5:30, it was apt to
be after 6 before they reached home, bus travel taking longer at that hour.
Whereas hours away from home did not exceed 11 for many women under
the &/2- or 9-hour schedule, under the 91/2- or 10-hour schedule all were
away more than 11 hours, and some as much as 12 hours.
The proportion of women day-shift workers whose day at work, in plant
and home, reached 17 hours or more was increased when the factory day was
extended to 10 hours. But the proportion who went to bed earlier also was
increased slightly, the women saying they were “too tired to stay up.”
A single girl who roomed and boarded out worked the third shift in the
first period, the second shift in the second period, and the day shift in the
fourth period. When on the night shifts, she retired at 8 or 8:15 a. m. For
the third shift, which started at 11 p. m., she arose at 3:45 p. m. and left
the house at 10:15 p. m. For the second shift, starting at 9:30 p. m., she
left the house at 8:30 p. m. When on the first (day) shift, which she pre­
ferred, she rose at 5:30 a. m., reached home at 6:15 p. m., and retired at
9:30 p. m.
A married woman living with her husband, when on the third shift
reached home at 7:30 a. m. and went to bed at 8:30; she did not rise until
5 p. m. if her husband would do the marketing, but if he did not, she had
to sacrifice sleep to get it done; she left for work at 9 p. m. When on the
second shift, she reached home at 11:30 p. m. and went to bed immediately;
she was up at 9 a. m. and did her housework easily, leaving for the factory
at 2:30 p. m.
All told, the over-all day of the night-shift workers without children usually
was not so long as that of the day-shift workers.
WORKERS' PREFERRED FACTORY HOURS
PREFERRED HOURS

The majority of the women seemed to think they could attend to personal
and household needs more easily on a schedule of 8^/2 or 9 hours for 6 days
than on a schedule of 9j/2 or 10 hours with a half day Saturday. When asked
the hours of work preferred, none mentioned the 91/2- or 10-hour day. The
8-hour day was a 6 to 10 favorite; 4 out of 10 women voted for T1/^, 7%? 8V2;
or 9 hours. Over a third of the women wanted the 48-hour week, and a similar
proportion wanted 44 or 45 hours a week. Only 8 percent wanted a 54-hour
week.




PLANT D

71

GROSS EARNINGS IN RELATION TO HOURS

Gross earnings of the 58 women employed at least 3 weeks in the third
and fourth periods were secured.
Under the 8)4-9-hour schedule in the third period, when the average
weekly hours worked were 50.6, these women averaged $56.76 a week, or
$1.12 an hour. Later, when the daily hours wrere lengthened to 9)4 and 19
hours and Saturday hours were shortened, actual hours worked averaged
51.1, for which gross earnings of $62, or $1.21 an hour, were secured.
The night shift, which was paid 5 cents an hour more in the third period
and 10 cents more in the fourth period, averaged $62.20 and $70.67,
respectively, as compared with $55.48 and $61.36 on the day shift.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON
WORKERS' FACTORY PERFORMANCE
ATTENDANCE RECORD
Attendance, All Women Studied

Rotor production started in the summer of 1942, and the first period
studied fell in the autumn of 1942 when new employees were still being
hired and old employees were being transferred from regular departments to
this new department. Turn-over in this new department during its first year
was, as already noted, very high. Of a total of 146 women employed in the
first period, only 85 were found in the second period who had worked at least
3 weeks in each of the two periods. A total of 122 women were employed
in the second period in March and April 1943, and only 51 worked in each
of two of the periods studied for at least 3 weeks. Employment was much
more stabilized in the third and fourth periods: of a total of 89 employed
in the third period (September-November 1943) 58 were employed at least
3 weeks in each of two of the periods studied; and 58 of the 66 employed
at least 3 weeks in the fourth period (February-April 1944) had worked
a minimum of 3 weeks in one other period studied.
In the first period there were 3 shifts working a 6-day schedule of 7)4
hours, or 45 hours a week. Seventy-one percent of the women studied lost
some time in the 2 months studied in the first period; the number of
absences averaged more than two, and the average length of absence was
12.4 hours. Under the 9-54-hour schedule in the second period the propor­
tion of women who took time off advanced to 82.4 percent, the average
number of absences increased to 3%; but their length was shortened slightly
to 11.7 hours. With the greater stabilization'of work and staff reached by
the time of the third period studied and with the half-hour shorter day
(81/2 hours) for the 35 drill-table operators, time lost was cut materially;
only 60 percent of the women studied had any absence in the 2 fall months
studied, but the average length of absence was increased to 14.9 hours. In
1944 the 9l/2-hour and 10-hour day with shorter Saturday went into effect.
The number losing time in this fourth period increased to 78 percent; but the
average number and duration of absences were practically unchanged from
those incurred in the third period in late 1943.
As table II indicates, long-term absences of a w'eek or more on the part of
an eighth of the women explain the extent of time lost in the first and second
periods. In the third period the proportion of women losing at least a week
reached almost 20 percent, hut this was also the period in which the largest
proportion lost no time whatsoever during weeks in attendance. It would
•508249°—-t ~—r.




women’s wartime hours of work

72

Table I. — Percent of Women Losing Time Under Different Scheduled Hours, Average
Number and Length of Their Absences, and Hours Lost by Total Number of
Women Studied per 100 Possible Man-hours, by Shift—Plant D

Women losing time
Period studied, scheduled
hours, and shift

Total
number
of
women
studied

Number

Average Average
number
hours
Percent
of
per
absences absence

Hours lost by
total number of
women per 100
possible man­
hours of work

1st period (.7/2-45 hours).............
1st shift ..................... ..........
2d and 3d shifts.......................

85
28
57

60
23
37

70.6
82.1
64.9

2.4
2.8
2.1

12.4
15.3
10.0

6.0
10.0
4.0

2d period (9-54 hours)...................
1st shift ..................... ..........
2d shift ......................................

51
33
18

42
28
14

82.4
84.8
77.8

3.5
3.9
2.6

11.7
10.6
15.0

8.3
8.8
7.5

3d period (854-51; 9-54 hours)..
1st shift ........................ ...........
2d shift .....................................

58
47
11

35
27
8

60.3
57.4
72.7

2.5
2.5
2.4

14.9
13.0
21.8

5.4
4.6
8.9

4th period (10-55 or 56/2;
9/2-52/4 hours) ..........................
1st shift ....................................
2d shift .....................................

58
54
4

45 .
42
3

77.6
77.8
75.0

2.4
2.4
3.0

14.9
15.8
4.8

7.1
7.5
2.4

appear that this regularity in daily attendance in the third period was due
not to the hours worked, but to stimulated competition among drill-table
gangs. These groups were brought to compete with one another to see who
could achieve the highest output. If one member of the gang did not arrive
on time, her gang could not, with a substitute, make speed. The consequence
was that girls felt they must be at work if they could possibly make it.
Management did succeed in upping production by this method, but results
showed that too great speed broke drills, causing down time (stoppage for
repairs), and made for a greater number of imperfect rotors. In 1944 com­
petitive runs were stopped, and girls were urged to work at an even speed.
Rejects beyond a specific amount began to be charged to the gang. In the
fourth period, in 1944, 14 percent of the women lost a week or more. The
proportion who lost no time during weeks worked was higher than in the
second period, but lower than in the first and third periods.
If the third period is eliminated from consideration because of the ex­
ceptional circumstance that drill tables were competing with one another,
the least time was lost in the first period under the 71/4-45-hour three-shift
system, when lost time totaled 6 hours per 100 possible man-hours of work.
The 91/b-10-bour day with a half day on Saturday ranked second, having
7.1 hours lost in 100 man-hours of work, while hours lost under the 9-54-hour
schedule totaled 8.3 hours.
Average hours worked during weeks the women reported for work were
about the same in the second period (9-54 hours) and the third (85/2-51
and 9-54 hours), or 50.1 and 50.6, respectively. In the fourth period (52V4,
55, and 56 hours) average hours worked increased to only 51.1. In the 7%45-hour period, hours averaged 43.2 or 96 percent of possible man-hours.
A “control group” of women who worked every week in each period under
study worked slightly longer hours than the entire group of women but ex­
hibited the same tendencies under the different hour schedules as did the
entire group.




PLANT D

73

Attendance in Relation to Shift Worked

Under the 7%-45 schedule three shifts were in operation: 7 a. m. to 3 p. m.,
3 p. m. to 11 p. m., and 11 p. m. to 7 a. m. The night shifts had a far
better attendance record than the day shift, the total hours lost per 100
possible man-hours of work being 4 compared to 10 for the day shift.
During weeks the women reported for work, 35.1 percent of the night shift
lost no time, as compared with 21.4 percent of the day shift. The night shift
also outranked the day shift in the proportion who worked each week in the
periods studied.
In the spring of 1943, when the 9-hour day 6-day week was in effect, the
second of the two shifts worked from 9:30 p. m. to 7 a. m. Again the night
shift had a better attendance record than the day shift. In the competitive
1943 fall period, however, a few girls on the night shift were out a week
or 2, increasing the night-shift average of hours lost.. But during weeks
worked the night shift averaged 51.2 hours as compared with 50.5 hours
averaged by the day shift. In the fourth period there were only 4 women
employed on the second shift as compared with 54 on the day shift, and these
few night workers lost little time.
Causes of Lost Time and Calls to Medical Department

Causes of lost time were recorded by the firm for the third and fourth
periods. The third 8-week period, September 27 to November 21, 1943, was
one in which vacations taken by one-fourth of the women reporting cause
of absence accounted for 60 percent of hours lost. In the fourth period,
February 7 to April 2, 1944, vacations accounted for only a fifth of the
hours lost, whereas personal illness accounted for two-thirds of the total;
family illness added 11 percent to lost hours, a cause not reported in the
fall of 1943.
In discussing absenteeism with individual girls, it appeared that some of
the reported illness had an occupational origin. The oil used on the drill
table caused skin rash among many. However, calls to the medical depart­
ment for aid for dermatitis had decreased materially by 1944, the girls agree­
ing that the “oil was less irritating.” A number reported taking time off
because of headaches, to have eyes checked,” to “get glasses,” or because
“eyes hurt.” According to the medical-department records, headaches were
a frequent reason for applying for first aid, whatever the cause, and eyes
were mentioned less frequently and probably referred to substances in the
eye rather than eye strain. The eye concentration required of drill-table
operators and checkers may well have been the cause of eye strain. Surgical
dressings were the most frequent reason for receiving first aid, as may be
seen from table III. The number of calls during the third period (in the fall
of 1943) exceeded greatly those in February and March of 1944, though
the women were somewhat fewer in the earlier period. It may be that the
speed brought about by gang or group competition resulted in varying
strains and injuries calling for first aid.
PRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY
Nature of the Job

The processes involved in rotor production were divided into two parts:
First, the drilling of necessary holes by a gang of seven, made up of five
drill-press operators, one inspector (checker), and one loader who acted as
group leader; and second, a series of eight preliminary and finishing opera­
tions on automatic machines by women working independently. The rotor
was an aluminum disk three-eighths of an inch in diameter and five thirty-




Table II. — Analysis of Time Lost By Women Workers Under Different Scheduled Hours — Long-term Absences (whole weeks lost) and Short-term
Absences (time lost within weeks attended), by Shift—Plant D

Over Zz day
and including
1 day

of

women
N um ber with
no lost time
in weeks
attended

T otal num ber

85

26

48

9

2

100.0

30.6

56.5

10.6

2.4

28

6

2

21.4

14
50.0

6

100.0

21.4

7.1

20
35.1

59.6

day
Vz

Over
1 day

1
1.2

or less

3
3.5

.

4

weeks

3

weeks

2

weeks

1

week

Total

N um ber working
all or p a rt of
each week
em ployed

of

T otal num ber

6
7.1

1st period (7^4-45 hours):
R5

75

10

100.0

88.2

11.8

28

22
78.6

6

3

2

1

21.4

10.7

7.1

3.6

3
5.3

1

57

1.8

100.0

43.2

1st shift:
100.0

42.3

2d and 3d shifts:
57

53

4

100.0

93.0

7.0

34

43.7

3
5.3

2d period (9-54 hours):
51

45

6

4

1

100.0

88.2

11.8

7.8

2.0

1
2.0

51

9

100.0

17.6

30

7

5

58.8

137

9.8

50.1

1st shift:
33
Percent ............................................................




29

4

3

1

33

5

20

5

3

100.0

87.9

12.1

94

3.0

100.0

15.2

60.6

15.2

9.1

49.8

w o m e n ’s w a r t im e h o u r s o f w o r k

women studied

Number of women
whose average time
lost per week in
weeks attended was—

A verage hours
worked per week
in weeks attended

Attendance record of women within
weeks of partial or full attendance

Number who lost a week or more

Period studied, scheduled
hours, and shift

-4

*

2d shift:
Number

18

16

2

1

1

18

4

10

2

2

Percent

100.0

88.9

11.1

5.6

5.6

100.0

22.2

55.6

11.1

3
5.2

50.6

11.1

1.7

1; 9-54 hours) :

0

Number

58

47

11

10

1

58

26

28

Percent

100.0

81.0

19.0

17.2

1.7

100.0

44.8

48.3

1

50.6

1st shift:
47

40

7

7

47

100.0

Number
Percent

85.1

14.9

14.9

100.0

2042.6

24

2

1

51.1

4.3

50.5

2.1

2d shift:
11

7

4

3

1

11

6

4

1

Percent

100.0

63.6

36.4

27.3

9.1

100.0

54.5

36.4

9.1

51.2

3
5.2

58

14

34

24.1

58.6

9
15.5

1
1.7

51.1

100.0

9
16.7

1

50.8

1.9

PLANT

Number

Number

58

50

8

5

Percent1

100.0

86.2

13.8

8.6

-55; 9y2-52y4 hours):
Number

54

46

8

5

3

54

13

31

Percent

100.0

85.2

14.8

9.3

5.6

100.0

24.1

57.4

4

4

4

1

3

56^2 hours):
Number

55.2

1 Women who worked on both day and night shifts are included in the shift where they spent the most time. In first period 4 women are included in day shift who
spent an equal amount ol time on night shift.




D

4th period:

—4

On

Table III. — Causes of Calls to Medical Department Under Different Scheduled Hours — Plant D

4th period (9I2-52/4; 10-55 or 56/2 hours)
/

3d period (8*4-51; 9-54 hours)

Number
Total women ............... .................
Women making no medical calls
Women making medical calls ..

Percent

Number

58

100.0
19.0
81.0

No report on reason for calls..........................

Percent

58
7
51

Percent

100.0
12.1

28
11
7
22
7
17
2
25
8
36

87.9

Percent

321

1
3

100.0

1 51

292

100.0

67
35
10
42
7
32
3
69
21
145
1
4

15.4
8.0
2.3
9.6
1.6
7.3
.7
15.8
4.8
33.3
.2
.9

24
13
7
12
6
14
6
25
7
29
2

40
15
7
17
6
25
13
37
12
118
2

13.7
5.1
2.4
5.8
2.1
8.6
4.5
12.7
4.1
40.4
.7

20

29

17

.

1 Details add to more than total because some women made medical calls for more than one illness or injury.
2 “Heat to knee,” “heat to back.”
*




Number

436

Women reporting reasons for medical calls
Cold ..................................... ...........................
Dermatitis or skin eruption.....................
Dysmenorrhea .........................................
Eye (foreign body in, etc.)......................
Foreign body removed (splinters, etc.).
Gastro-intestinal ....... ................................
Gums, teeth, mouth, lips..........................
Headache ........................................................
Nervousness ...................................................
Surgical dressing .........................................
Temperature reading ................................
Other2 ............................................................

Number

453

11

47

Visits

Women

Visits

Women

women ’s wartime hours of work

Causes of calls for medical aid

PLANT D

77

seconds of an inch thick. It was first broached on automatic machines, the
operators merely feeding the hopper, removing filled pans after spot-gaging
a sample, and watching that the machine functioned properly. The rotor then
went to the gangs of drill-table operators: the loader placed the rotor blank
in a jig and slid the loaded jig to the first driller; from her it was slid
along from one operator to another, each performing a series of drilling
operations while sitting around a semicircular table. The last drill-press
operator slid the jig back to the loader, who cleaned it with an air jet and
released the rotor from the jig. The rotors then went to the inspector in
the gang, who checked them with special dial gages and plug gages and
also made a visual inspection for scratches and mars. Individual machine
operators then ground the outside circumference of the rotors, inserted lead
weights into the rotor holes, staked weights, trimmed weights, faced the
rotor, and did the final sizing.
It was apparent from observation at the time of the survey that the work
by the gangs on drill table operations and the jobs on automatic machines
differed materially in the demands made on the workers. The operation of
automatic machines did not require much concentration. The pace was set
by the machine, but as the operator’s bonus depended on output, it behooved
her to see that there was no lag in feeding the machine. Stools or high chairs
with backrests were available for all workers. While the machine was
operating, the worker could stand or sit as she kept the rotors in motion
or gaged them; changing pans and filling the feeders or hoppers required
moving about. It took 2 to 4 weeks to learn the operation of one of these
automatic machines. Learning to make minor machine adjustments took
several months.
Working in a gang on the drill tables made very different demands on the
women. Operators were seated on high chairs with backs, and their feet
rested on footrests built into the drill table. The drilling operations had to
be performed with oil flowing over the drill and rotor to prevent overheating.
The operators wore large rubber aprons and cloths over the aprons, to absorb
excessive amounts of spattered oil.
The drilling of small holes in a three-eighths-of-an-inch disk was a pre­
cision job calling for constant attention, deftness of hand, and a high rate
of speed. Locating the jig accurately against stops on the drill table with the
left hand, while using the right to bring down the drill, required a keen
sense of touch, for grasping the jig too tensely or moving it against the
stop with too muqh force might dislocate the hole, whereas proper depth to
the hole was gained by the correct pressure on the drill. Since rotors passed
from one operator to the next, operators had to have the same speed to work
well together. Management had attempted as far as possible to put girls
who worked at the same pace at the same drill table. Experienced operators
could operate in all positions, others in only one or two. When a girl was
absent and a substitute was employed, the production and earnings of the
group usually fell.
. The drill-table operators were trained as a gang. New workers were on a
time rate for 4 weeks before being started on the group bonus system in
effect. It took several months to attain enough speed to earn more than the
guaranteed base rate; it required 6 to 12 months to bring the individual
workers to top speed and fit them into proper gangs. Even though the job
was monotonous, the precision and speed required, and the ability to work
as a team, were qualities that called for a selected group of workers.




78

women’s wartime hours of work

The drill-table gangs and the automatic machines were in the same room.
The machines were well spaced and there was no crowding. Daylight was
ample; good artificial lighting was used for night shifts. Ventilation was
by window, and there were many portable fans. Nevertheless, the aprons
and other covering worn by drill-table operators to keep oil from their
clothing, and their speed of motion, made them too warm in the same room
where other less active workers were comfortable.
Method of Wage Payment on the Job

The workers studied were on an incentive wage system with a guaranteed
base rate. The gangs of drill-table operators were paid on a group bonus
basis, all other workers studied were on an individual incentive basis. The
base task for each operation was expressed in minutes or hours required to
complete a given operation on 100 pieces. Net hours “saved” plus hours
worked divided by hours worked gave the “percent bonus earned,” by which
efficiency was measured.
_
When an operator was transferred to nonincentive work or was kept wait­
ing, because of machine trouble or for some other reason, she was paid the
hourly base rate plus 20 percent.
Charges for spoilage were inaugurated in 1944. All spoilage over 150
rotors on weekdays and 75 rotors on Saturdays had to be paid for at the
rate of 3 cents for nonsalvagable rotors and 1% cents for salvagable rotors.
The gang also had to bear part of the labor cost of making a 100-percent
inspection of rejected pans of rotors.
Night workers received 5 cents more per hour than day workers up to
January 31, 1944, when this shift differential was increased to 10 cents
per hour.
Performance on the Job

From the inception of rotor production in the summer of 1942 on, im­
provements in methods of operation were so numerous that they invalidated
any comparison which might be made of efficiency under the 45-hour sched­
ule in the first period with efficiency under the 54-hour schedule in the
second period. The newness and inexperience of the workers also invalidated
any such comparisons. Even after the fall of 1943, when management be­
lieved it had attained stability in production, there was a general increase in
efficiency. In the beginning of the third period (Sept. 26, 1943) average
efficiency for all operators was 146.7; by the end of October 1943 it had
reached 160.1. By the end of February 1944, an efficiency of 189.5 was
reached, which was not exceeded during the fourth period of study.
Efficiency comparisons, therefore, were made for the fall of 1943 and
spring of 1944, contrasting the 8y2-9-hour day and 51-54-hour week sched­
ules with the 9%-10-hour day and 521/4-55-561/£-hour week schedules.
Examination of 24 identical drill operators’ performance in the two
periods shows that though they totaled the same hours of work, 49.8, on this
operation in both periods, their efficiency rose from 170.6 to 184.1 between
the fall of 1943 and early 1944. Study of 7 identical automatic-machine
operators, who averaged 2 hours less in the period of longer scheduled
hours, also showed an increase in efficiency: from 144.2 to 154.4.
Examination of the detailed record of production for these two groups
of operators shows that this general rise was not due to the shift in hours
but to the elimination of some tables of operators of low productive capacity
and to the increased efficiency in those remaining. The number of workers




PLANT D

79

on the drill tables was cut from 112 to 56 persons, and from 14 gangs in
the 1943 fall period to 7 gangs in the 1944 period.
^
The examination, by length of service, of the record of 58 women who
had been employed at least 3 weeks in both the fall of 1943 and the spring
of 1944, did not reveal any constant relation between experience and
efficiency. Some of the women with experience of a year or more were
working at the same pace as girls of less than 6 months experience. On the
other hand, a girl with quick reaction time placed in a gang of fast workers
soon acquired their speed and attained the group efficiency rating. Among
the individual machine operators also, extended experience played no
noticeable part in output.
_ _
The drill operators’ efficiency was built up by bringing together a group
of girls who could work well as a team and who would maintain regularity
in attendance as a team. One gang was outstanding in its efficiency in both
periods: In the third period it attained 206.9, and in the fourth period 21o.3.
The leader of this gang, a girl under 25 years of age, reported:
Our gang lias worked as A unit longer titan any. I wouldn’t like it if I had to
change any member of the gang for another worker. It takes a year to become a
good operator ... The speed of the job makes it tiring. Since the whole gang de­
pends on everyone doing her best work, we can’t go to work feeling bred. We must
get to bed by 9:30 or sometimes earlier. Now, on 9% hours, every girl gets so tiren
she can’t give the extra spurt to break a former record as she did on the 8 /a-hour
day.

A member of this gang said:
Efficiency is increased by having a compatible group and having a good service
girl as leader and a quick checker. If the service girl keeps our drills in condition
and the checker catches any mistake, they can save us a lot of wasted time and
bad rotors.

There seemed general agreement among the drill operators that the rollowing factors affected their production in 1944:
When girls are absent the table may have to be “broken down and the remaining
girls put on other tables. This cuts production.
If one girl fails to work up to standard speed, the whole gang is slowed down.
Drills break, stops get worn, or other factors cause machines to be out of opera­
tion from a few minutes to a few hours while adjustments are made, preventing
average production totals.
Toolroom men “build up” the entire table every few months, which means less
production withe using other tables; it may take a week to get accustomed to one’s
own table when back on it.
When the girls get tired, they get out of line and miss the stops. They only try
to make 500 rotors the last hour; there is more salvage between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.,
when girls are tired.
Performance on the Job — Daily Production and Defective Pieces Produced

As the many variables bringing about increased efficiency clouded the
effect of the change in hours on efficiency, a further study was made of
daily production and of defective pieces. Production records for 9 weeks,
April 24 to June 24, 1944, were examined for the 6 gangs of drill-table
operators, each gang being composed of 5 drill-press operators, one in­
spector, and one group leader. As only the production on the drill tables was
analyzed and as all rotors were of one type and size, units produced, rather
than efficiency rates, could be used as a measure of efficiency. For this
period the inspectors’ running record of “down time” was totaled for each
gang for each day. “Down time” represents time in which the drill table
was not operating because of mechanical difficulties, because power was
shut off, and so forth. Defective pieces were rotors rejected either because




Table IV. — Index Numbers of Total Production, Hourly Production, and Rejections of Defective Rotors, for 6 Gangs of Drill-table Operators, by
Day of the Week, 9 Weeks in 1944—Plant D1

Total

Gang 2

Gang 3

Index number of—

Day of week

Gang 1 2
Index number of—

Index number of—

Index number of—

Monday ..............................
Tuesday ..............................
Wednesday ........................
Thursday ............................ .
Friday ...................................
Saturday ..............................

100.0
94.8
93.1
98.9
94.3
37.5

Defective
Total
Hourly
production production
pieces

100.0
93.1
94.1
95.7
91.2
91.3

100.0
108.9
100.5
100.0
104.4
105.4

100.0
91.2
90.8
88.1
88.5
30.1

Defective
pieces

100.0
93.9
91.9
88.1
88.5
93.4

Gang 4

107.5
115.7
100.0
119.5
103.8
101.3
.

96.0
86.1
83.0
100.0
86.9
35.7

96.0
86.1
94.6
100.0
87.0
82.4

Defective
pieces

Hourly
Total
production production

107.3
137.8
110.4
100.0
109.1
105.5

100.0
91.5
95.6
90.8
86.9
89.7

94.0
96.7
100.0
96.0
92.0
35.8

Gang 5

Defective
pieces
118.1
123.1
105.6
114.4
129.4
100.0

Gang 6

Index number of-

Index number of-

Day of week

Hourly
Total
production production

Index number of-

Total
production
Monday ..................................
Tuesday ..................................
Wednesday ............................
Friday .....................................
Saturday ................................

Hourly
production

Defective
pieces

Total
production

Hourly
production

Defective
pieces

Total
production

Hourly
production

Defective
pieces

100.0
96.4
93.2
98.7
89.8
38.4

100.0
96.4
94.3
98.7
89.8
88.7

100.0
109.6
110.0
107.7
115.8
133.0

97.2
94.3
89.8
100.0
99.1
46.2

99.2
88.4
92.0
93 6
92.8
100.0

104.7
107.9
111.0
100 8
100.0
101.6

100.0
93.0
90.8
99.4
99.4
36.0

100.0
98.7
91.8
99.4
99.4
92.7

104.8
106.2
103.8
100.0
111.4
118.1

1 Day of highest production is 100; day of lowest rejections is 100.
2 Gangs are arranged according to efficiency, the gang with highest efficiency being No. 1.
Each gang is composed of 5 drill press operators, 1 inspector, and 1 group leader (loader).




women ’s wartime hours of work

Total
Hourly
production production

PLANT D

81

of the operator’s poor performance or because the drills did not operate
properly; the numbers of such rejects set forth in table IV were taken from
the table-checkers’ records.
In the period of this special study the same hours prevailed as in the
fouith period in the spring of 1944. The five drill-press operators on each
drill table worked 52^4 hours, or 5 days of 9Y2 hours, and 4% hours on
Saturday. The group leader (loader) and inspector worked 55 hours, or
5 days of 10 hours, and 5 hours Saturday.
Gang 1 had the highest efficiency, not only in the 9 weeks under study
in 1944, but also in the fall period of 1943. These girls produced most and
achieved their highest efficiency on Mondays. Both total production and
efficiency began to drop on Tuesday and continued to drop for the rest of
the week. The low points reached on Thursday and Friday were due partly
to machine trouble on these days in a week in which the table was “down”
approximately 5 hours on each day. The Saturday low in production resulted
because on 2 Saturdays of the 9 so few girls appeared that the table could
not be operated. The record of this gang would have been higher, also, had
it not been that its loader, who acts as a group leader, was out 2 weeks in the
period, her absence caused a drop in production during the entire 2 weeks.
On her return it was another week before the former record of production
was regained. The percent of rejections caught by the checker bore no
direct relationship to the production of this group.
Gang 2, which at times almost reached as high production as Gang 1, had
its own distinct pattern of production. This gang worked up to a midweek
peak in production 4 times on Thursday, twice on Friday, and once on Wed­
nesday. Wednesday and Saturday production were low because on one
Wednesday the table was under repair and the women had to work elsewhere,
and on one Saturday too few workers came to work to operate the table.
This gang had a minimum of checker rejections when operating at highest
efficiency and maximum production, and the largest number of defective
pieces on days when least was produced.
Gang 3 achieved highest efficiency on Mondays, but because the table was
being repaired oh one Monday, the total Monday production over the 9week period was lower than that of Wednesday, the day of second highest
efficiency. Rejects increased as efficiency decreased.
Gang 4 was very regular in attendance and had no major machine diffi­
culties during the 9-week period under study. Monday was its best day—in efficiency, total production, and minimum of defective pieces. Thursday
represented the second best day in all three measurements.
Whereas the leader and one drill operator of Gang 5 worked all 9 weeks
of this period, others were absent part of 1, 2, or 3 weeks, so that substitutes
were required. No noticeable effect was seen in production during the days
of such substitution. However, extensive machine difficulty on 2 of the 9
Mondays unquestionably lowered production on the first day of the week.
One Tuesday, one Wednesday, and one Thursday also had lessened produc­
tion because of machine defects. This gang produced more on the Saturday
half day than any other gang, achieving its highest efficiency on that day.
Rejections seemed to be lowest when production was greatest.
A very definite pattern of performance is traced through this detailed
analysis of each gang’s performance. When machine difficulties, which
shortened production time, are taken into account, Monday was the day
of greatest efficiency and highest production for 5 of the 6 gangs. Under
this consideration, Thursday becomes the day of next highest performance,




82

women’s wartime hours of work

and it was the highest day for one gang. The failure of many girls to appear
on one or two Saturdays in late June made .Saturday’s production less than
half in value; although efficiency was not at its lowest level on Saturday
in all gangs, it was not high.
Performance on the Job—Production and Defective Pieces Produced in Relation to the
Time of Day

Rotors came from the drill table in pans containing approximately 1,000
units (rotors). Starting in April 1944, management began numbering each
pan and making a 7-point inspection of a sample of 50 rotors out of each.
This special inspection followed the checker’s spot check and rejection of
defective rotors at the drill table. If a certain proportion of the 50 rotors
checked did not pass inspection requirements, the entire pan was rejected
for a 100-percent inspection. Since the pans were numbered as they came
from the table, an estimate could be made of the approximate time of the
day that defective rotors were most numerous.
Some of the defects found usually resulted from mechanical difficulties
such as faulty jigs, drills, or reamers; others were due to faulty performance
of the operators. The gage control laboratory regarded the operator as
chiefly responsible for the following “inspection points:”
Angle: Getting the proper angle depended very much on getting the jig properly
located in the stops on the drill table. When the angle was off, it generally could
be traced to missing this stop.
Depth: The depth of this hole was determined mainly by the pressure of the drill.
The operator had to develop just the right touch to get the proper depth.
Detent: There are four tiny holes on the face of the rotor called the “detent pat­
tern.” Rejection on this “point” was generally due to the operator missing one of
the stops to drill the hole, or having the jig improperly located in the stop so that
the hole was not spaced properly.
Nicks and mars: Nicks and mars were usually due to improper triming on the part
of the operator, so that she nicked or marred the rotor with the drill point.

An analysis was made of the special inspection reports, giving considera­
tion only to defective pieces rejected for failing to pass inspection on the
four points enumerated. The analysis covered a period of 6 weeks in the
spring of 1944. In this period the 5 drill-table operators in each group
worked 9% hours on 5 days, 4% hours on Saturday, or a total of 52(4
hours a week. The group leader (loader) and inspector in each group worked
10 hours on 5 days, 5 hours on Saturday, or 55 hours a week.
The two gangs of fast operators both showed an increase in defective
pieces on the 7th or 8th, and 9th pans, which were the last pans produced
at the end of the day. The two slowest gangs showed the same tendency.
Only one gang of medium speed workers had a higher rate of error at about
the lunch hour; this was the same group that did not conform to the daily
pattern of production of other gangs. In general, errors were fewer in the
morning hours and most numerous in the last 2 hours of the afternoon
under the 91/2-10-hour day which prevailed in this period.
Drill-table operators who were interviewed stated quite generally that
their production “petered out” in the last hour of a 9or 10-hour day.
Inspectors said they believed defective pieces were more numerous toward
the end of the day and just before the afternoon rest period.
Performance on the Job — Summary

The preceding analyses of the many factors that brought about a gradual
but marked increase in the efficiency of the rotor department indicate that
improvements were being effected by both management and employees, ir­




83

PLANT D

respective of the working-hour schedules. They also reveal that an occupation
that calls for welding individual effort into group effort in the maintenance
of speed—an occupation that also involves eyestrain—produces fatigue that
is evident in decreased production and defective work in the last 2 hours
of a 9Y2- or 10- hour day. Monday was found to be the day of greatest
efficiency and highest production, Thursday the day of next highest per­
formance. With greater efficiency came increased earnings, which probably
accounted in part for a tendency of some of the fastest workers not to ap­
pear on Saturday mornings.
Table V summarizes findings on the productive efficiency of all women
employed in the rotor department during the periods studied, as agcinst
only those who worked at least 3 weeks in each of two periods, reported in
previous tables. The table shows that the number of drill-table operators
decreased in the spring of 1944 (fourth period) to 60 percent of the number
employed in the fall of 1943 (third period). Because of the fewer quits
among the smaller number of women in the fourth, 9%-10-hour-day period,
the man-hours actually worked were about three-fourths as many as in the
third, 8)/2-9-hour period. The average hours worked per week on incentive
jobs varied only slightly from one period to the other, averaging 46 in the
third period and 46.4 hours in the fourth. Efficiency, as measured by average
hourly production of good pieces, increased by more than 8 percent in the
9%-10-hour period. The result was that 81 percent of the third period pro­
duction was achieved with 60 percent of the workers. Had the stabilized
groups of young women workers secured by the fourth period been put
on their mettle to make the same production in an 8-hour day as in the 10hour day, there is ample indication in the records and their own statements
that they could have done so. With a hot summer ahead and many workers
living at some distance, a system of rotation of Saturday work might have
kept more tables at work on an 8-hour Saturday and made unnecessary the
10-hour day Monday through Friday.
When the force of automatic-machine operators was reduced in the fourth
period to 61 percent of the number employed in the third period, many of
the women were shifted from one machine to another to keep an even flow
Table V. — Summary of Total Man-hours Worked, Efficiency, and Total Production, Based
on Totals for All Women in Occupations Studied,1 Under Different Scheduled
Hours, by Occupation — Plant D2
Index numbers of —
Occupation, period studied,
and scheduled hours

Drill-table operators:
3d period (9-54; 814-51 hours)---4th period (10-55 or 56J4;
9l2-52y4 hours) ............................
/
Automatic-machine operators:
3d period (9-54 hours)...................
4th period (10-55 or 56J4 hours).

Efficiency
(average
hourly
production)

Number
of
women

Total
man-hours
worked 3

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

59.8

74.4

108.6

80.8

100.0
61.0

100.0
72.6

100.0
110.6

100.0
70.0

Total
production

1 In other tables for Plant D, only women employed 3 weeks or more in each of 2 periods are
included.
2 Indexes of scheduled hours and possible man-hours could not be shown because of the com
bination of different scheduled hours under one period.
8 Hours on incentive jobs were the same as total man-hours worked.




84

women’s wartime hours of work

of production. As the machines had merely to be fed and the product checked
for possible machine disorders, efficiency was not decreased but average
hours on incentive work were. Average hourly efficiency rose 10.6 percent
in the fourth period. With 61 percent of the number of workers, 70 percent
of the third period production was secured in the fourth period.




PLANT E

85

LIGHT PRECISION WORKERS (BUSHING-LAPPERS'—
PLANT E
INTRODUCTION

Plant E was a new war plant engaged in manufacturing Diesel engines
and Diesel-engine parts, which included mass production of injectors. The
women selected for study were lapping bushings for these injectors. Employ­
ment expanded rapidly from 1,600 in December 1941 to 7,000 in June 1944.
New workers had to he trained, engineering details developed, and produc­
tion methods devised which would ensure the necessary fine precision work
involved in the production of injectors.
With the introduction of new war workers, turn-over was very high in the
initial stages of manufacturing development. Gradually both management and
workers gained experience, and some stability of personnel and production
was achieved. However, the Women’s Bureau investigation of production
revealed that continuous improvements in manufacturing methods were
made throughout the periods studied and that the last period studied was
therefore the most efficient, regardless of hours scheduled. In addition to
analyzing productive efficiency under different hour schedules, a further
research was made into production by different days of the week.
Three periods were selected for study, each covering a period of 6 weeks.
Weeks when absenteeism was extraordinarily high were avoided, such as
weeks in which there were flu epidemics, storms, holidays, extremely hot
weather, and so forth.
In the first period three 7%-hour shifts operated on a rotating day-off
basis. The plant operated 7 days a week, the workers taking different days off
each week and two consecutive days off once in every 6 weeks. The 5 weeks
in which they worked 6 days, they worked 46 hours; and in the 1 week of
5 days, they worked 38y% hours. In the second period the plant went on a
6-day schedule, daily hours remained the same, but rotating days off and
Sunday work were discontinued. In the third period, there were two shifts
of 9% hours, 5 hours Saturday, and a 54-hour week.
Below is a summary of the hour schedules in each of the three periods.
,

m

__ _ . 7

Period

January-February 1943 (6 weeks)
7 2/3-hour day, average 44 2/3- hour
week1

2d period:
May-June 1943 (6 weeks)
7 2/3-hour day, 6-day 46-hour week
3d period:
August-October 1943 (6 weeks)
9 4/5-hour day, 5-hour Saturday,
5%-day 54-hour week

Schedule
1st shift: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
(20-minute paid lunch period)
2d shift: 4 p.m.-12 midnight
_
(20-minute paid lunch period)'
3d shift: 12 midnight-8 a.m.
(20-minute paid lunch period)
Shifts and lunch periods same as in 1st
period, but rotating day-olf system dis­
continued
1st shift: 7 a.m.-5:18 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
Saturday-7 a.m.-12 noon
2d shift: 7 p.m.-5:18 a.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
Monday-12-18 a.m.-5:18 a.m.

I!week’cyclek!ng 5 ^ °f * dayS ^ 46 Ws and 1 Week of 5 da^ a»d




women’s wartime hours of work

86

The women selected for detailed study were those who worked 30 days or
more in each of at least two of the three periods studied. However, attendance
and production data were secured for the remaining women in the depart­
ment also for purposes of comparison.
Data on age, marital status, last grade completed in school, hiring date,
job and rate at which hired, and subsequent transfers, reclassifications,
terminations, and rehires were obtained from plant personnel records. From
weekly clock cards were obtained the number of hours worked per day and
the shift worked. Reasons for absence were ascertained wherever possible
by checking personnel files, clock cards, and medical records. Medical
records were searched for dates and causes of illness and accidents in the
periods studied. Gross earnings were also secured.
Home visits were paid to a cross section of the women workers. The
sample represented normal distribution with respect to marital status, age,
and distance between home and plant. The women were questioned regard­
ing their family responsibilities, their time schedule under various plant
hours, the effect of different hour schedules on their personal and family
life, and conditions they believed had caused absences or had brought about
changes in their efficiency.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON WORKERS' HOME LIFE
THE HOUSEHOLD

Two-thirds of the women in Plant E were over 30 years of age, only 15
percent were under 25. As might be expected, the great majority (80 per­
cent) were or had been married. This meant that with the exception of a few
single or divorced women, the women lived in family households. Some
households had 2 or 3 members, but the 4-, 5-, 6-person households pre­
dominated. About half the women workers had children 14 years of age
or younger living at home.
Half the women interviewed had all or the major responsibility for home
and family; in 4 of every 10 cases this included the care of children. In
a third of the homes the woman worker, though carrying the general
responsibility, had a mother, daughter, aunt, or other relative who did much
of the daily work. A few reported maid service.
HOME LIFE AND TIME OF RISING AND OF RETIRING

When work on the first shift began at 8, under the 7%-hour schedule in
the first and second periods, women workers rose from 5:30 to 6:45 in the
morning. They returned home at 4:30 or 5 p. m. and retired usually from
10 to 11. When they had to reach the factory at 7 in the morning, under the
9%-hour schedule, those who had been getting up at 6 or later had to join
the 5 o’clock risers. Home was reached usually at 6 p. m. The retiring hour
remained the same as under the shorter workday.
Opinion usually was against the rotating-day-off system because it meant
work on 5 of every 6 Sundays:
A. The swing shift didn’t fit in with my family’s plans [family was husband, wife,
and two children between 10 and 13 years of age]. The family had a holiday on
Sunday. I had to get up in time to go to 6 o’clock Mass alone. In the second period
it was nice having Sundays off so we could all go to church together.
B. When I had a swing day, I could look after my business on that day. But even
so, I preferred having Sunday with my family.
C. On swing shift I did downtown shopping on that day. I did my washing, iron­
ing, and cleaning after work in the evenings. During the second period I liked it




PLANT E

87

better. I never did enjoy working Sundays. My husband and I liked to cook our
Sunday meal and go to a show after dinner. 1 also found time to do the laundry
on Sunday.

The following statements are indicative of the difficulties of carrying on
household duties when the woman head of the household is absent from
ilT/i to 12% hours a day under the 9%-hour schedule.
A. I didn’t like the 9 4/5-hour day at all. Shopping conditions were bad. You had
to break your neck to get there before 6. Those 9 4/5 hours were too much for a
woman. I used my Saturday afternoons to wash and did my ironing evenings. A lot
of my work didn’t get done. There was no time for leisure this period. I was just
exhausted and got so many colds. [Daughter of 13 chimed in and .said, “Mother
was cross and got mad easily.”] Those 9 4/5-hour days pretty near killed me. It’s
too many hours to work. 1 had to get up always at 5:30 to get my husband off to
work. After Wednesday, the rest of the week was awful.
B. On the 9 4/5-hour day especially, getting washing and ironing done at night
for three boys was the hardest. I had 13 to 24 shirts to iron each week. I would
never again work those hours when 1 had a house to take care of. It wore me out,
and I had to take a leave of absence for nervous stomach.
C. In the third period I cut my laundry down to once every 2 weeks instead of
every week, but still had meals and housework — there was no cutting down there.
I was too tired to go out very often.

The second shift worked from 4 p. m. to midnight in both the first and
second periods. Leaving the plant at midnight meant arriving home at from
12:30 to after 1 o’clock. Usually women went to bed, an hour or two later,
so that 2 or 2:30 a. m. became the retiring time. They would usually rise
at from 8 to 10 in the morning and leave the house for work usually at
from 2:45 to 3:30 in the afternoon.
Some young single girls worked this shift. They did not like the rotating
day off, hut some of them seemed to like the 4 p. m. to midnight hours of
work. Some married women also preferred this shift. For example, a worker
with two small children and a paid helper said:
I liked this shift because I could get up in the morning and clean my house and
still get enough sleep. I also had some time during tile day to shop. My husband
works days, but we had our Saturdays and Sundays together. When I went to work
he was working, and when he went to work I was sleeping, so we just wrote notes.

A mother of two children, with an aunt of 75 years to care for also, said:
I got enough sleep under the 4-to-12 schedule and kept up my housework. I had
to take care of my son until my daughter got home at 4 p.m., because my husband
works days.

No one liked the 9%-hour day, whether working in the daytime or at
night. Even the younger girls said:
Never found time to do anything. Didn’t feel like going to work at 6 p.m. and
never got enough sleep after 8 in the morning.
Seemed as though I was married to the firm, at 54 hours.
On Fridays and Saturdays under the 54-hour week I would be tired and my head
would about burst with pain.
Fifty-four hours a week were too many. I didn’t do my own housework this
period. I was too tired to do anything but sleep and work. I had no recreation
whatever. When I worked almost 10 hours and spent 1 hour in travel and 8 hours
in sleep, it left only 5 hours a day for persotial laundry, mending, and the thousand
and one things that someone you employ to keep house can’t do.

The shift in the first period that began at midnight and ended at 8 a. m.
resulted in much irregularity of sleeping among women workers. One woman
who reached home at 9 a. m. and went to bed at 10 a. m. got up at 1 p. m.,
did her housework, got evening dinner, and went hack to bed until 10 p. m.
This break in sleeping hours made it difficult to get enough sleep. Another
698249°—47—7




women’s wartime hours of work

88

young wife said she liked the midnight shift for the simple reason that she
had more time with her husband and family. The bahy slept until around
10 or 10:30 a. m., and the mother got up when the baby wakened, though
she had gone to bed only 2 hours before. The husband got home at 5 p. m.,
at which time she had dinner ready. After dinner she slept until time to go
to work. She did her washing after the baby’s breakfast and her ironing
and housework in the late morning and afternoon. When this woman was
transferred to the 9%-hour shift from 7 p. m. to 5:18 a. m. she had 2 hours’
more sleep in the morning before she rose at 10:30. but she got no evening
sleep. She was “just too tired to do anything.”
Other women working from midnight to 8 rose later, at 2 p. m. or there­
abouts, but even this meant only 5 hours of sleep. Nevertheless, they seemed
to prefer this to the 7 p. m. to 5:18 a. m. schedule. Women generally found
it difficult to sleep in the daytime. The doorbell or telephone ringing, and
house service if living in an apartment, were not conducive to rest.
WORKER'S OVER-ALL DAY

While the time away from home ranged from some 8% hours to 11 hours
on all shifts under the 7%-hour schedule, and from 10% to 12% hours
under the 9%-hour schedule, the over-all day, plant and home combined,
was longer for the night-shift than for the day-shift workers. While in all
three periods studied 18% hours was the longest over-all day for day-shift
workers, some night-shift workers were up and about for 20 and 21 hours.
However, these exhausting hours were not those of the largest group of
workers. When the day shift was 7% hours, about half of the women were
up from 131/2 to 16 hours; when the hours were 9% a similar proportion had
an over-all day of 17 to 18% hours. The 4 o’clock to midnight shift, and the
midnight to 8 a. m. shift had in most cases a 17- to 19-hour day.
About half the women interviewed traveled to work by bus and half hv
private automobile. The travel time varied from just under 1 hour to 3
hours. For the second shift in the third period, or the shift that got out at
5:18 a. m., special bus arrangements were made by the firm, which de­
creased travel time materially for those workers.
WORKERS’ PREFERRED FACTORY HOURS
PREFERRED HOURS

Roughly seven-tenths of the women workers interviewed preferred the
first shift, one-fifth the second shift, and one-tenth the third shift. Almost
half wanted an 8-hour day, 5-day week of 40 hours, and a third preferred
an 8-hour day, 6-day week. Only 4 percent wanted a 10-hour day. The re­
maining women wanted a 7- or 7%-hour day.
GROSS EARNINGS IN RELATION TO HOURS

The women studied were paid on an hourly basis. After 30 days on the
job, an automatic increase of 5 cents an hour was received. The top rate
for the job was granted when, at the discretion of the foreman, the em­
ployee’s production merited it. In most cases it was received within 90 days
of coming on the job, or the worker was transferred. A 5-percent shift
differential was paid to second- and third-shift workers. Time and a half
was paid for work over 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
In the first period, average weekly earnings of the women who had been
employed 30 days or more in each of at least two of the three periods
studied were $53.53; in the second period, $56.43; and under the 9%-hour




PLANT E

89

day - with time and a half for 14 hours overtime a week, gross earnings
averaged $66.19.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON
WORKERS' FACTORY PERFORMANCE
ATTENDANCE RECORD

,
TmCn were jliFed for IaPPing in September 1942. By January
L jT„o 3.besmning of the first period included in the study, they num­
bered 182. As stated earlier, women employed during this period worked
on 6 shifts ot 7% hours each, under a rotating-day-off system which provi cd for 1 week of 5 days’ work and 5 weeks of 6 days’ work, making an
average of 44% hours worked per week over the 6 weeks,
an j gain.’ as stated heretofore, only those women who had worked at least
days m each of at least two periods studied were included in the de­
tailed comparisons of the study. Only two-thirds of the women employed
in the bushing-lapping department during the first period studied fulfilled
this requirement.
Table I. —Percent of Women Losing Time Under Different Scheduled Hours, Average
Number and Length of Their Absences, and Hours Lost by Total Number of
Women Studied per 100 Possible Man-hours, by Shift, for All Women in De­
partment and For Those Employed 30 Days or More in Each of Two Periods
studied — Plant E
Women losing time
Periods studied,
scheduled hours,
and shift

Total
number
of
women
studied

Number

Percent

Average
number
of
absences

Average
per
absence

g|BSP
.2 £ n<D'«
12 C §£ ot
o oj £ 3
K.o £ aja

All women in bushing department
1st period (7 2/3 - 44 2/3 hours)
1st shift.....................
2d shift..............................
3d shift ....................................

182
65
58
59

135
47
43
45

74.2
72.3
74.1
76.3

2.3
2.1
2.5
2.5

13.5
11.8
12.0
16.5

9.1
6.8
8.3
12.5

2d period (7 2/3 - 46 hours)....
1st shift ... .......................
2d shift ............................ ’' ”
3d shift ............................ ’ ” ^

168
69
56
43

124
56
38
30

73.8
81.2
67.9
69.8

2.5
2.3
2.5
2.8

15.1
12.7
14.9
19.0

10.5
8.9
10.0
13.5

3d period (9 4/5 - 54 hours).......
1st shift..............................
2d shift ................................

138
70
68

120
62
58

87.0
88.6
85.3

3.0
2.6
3.3

15.8
18.3
13.7

13.3
13.8
12.8

Women employed i„ bushing department 10 Jays or more in each of two periods
1st period (7 2/3 44 2/3 hours)
1st shift........
2d shift ...................
3d shift ........................

121
45
43
33

89

73.6

2.1
1.9
2.4
2.0

11.0
10.8
11.0
11.3

6.4
5.3
7.4
6.4

2d period (7 2/3 46 hours)........
1st shift .. ..
2d shift ....
3d shift ...................

141

106
jU

75.2
82.0

2.4
2.3
2.8
2.3

14.5
12.3
13.9
20.1

9.8
8.5
10.4
11.2

3d period (9 4/5 54 hours)........
1st shift .. .
2d shift .............

116

104

2.9
2.7
3.3

16.1
18.4
13.6

13.4
14.0
12.6




68.6
89.7
91.0

90

women’s wartime hours of work

In the second period studied, which began May 3, 1943, the rotating-dayoff system had been discontinued and 7% hours were worked Monday
through Saturday, making a 46-hour week. Of the 168 women then em­
ployed in the department, just about five-sixths worked at least 30 days in
this period and at least one other.
In the fall of the year, during the third period studied when scheduled
hours were 94/s daily and 54 weekly, 138 women were employed, again just
about five-sixths of whom worked at least 30 days in this period and at
least one of the two foregoing.
The tables on attendance are concerned with two groups: those employed
30 days m at least each of two of the three periods studied; and, to deter­
mine the effect on attendance of the women who did not stay with the job,
all women employed in the department in each period studied.
All women in the department lost 9.1 hours per 100 possible man-hours
of work in the first period. The more stable group, those who had been
employed in the department 30 days or more in each of two periods, lost
just 6.4 hours per 100 possible man-hours in the first period, compared with
15.2 hours lost by the remainder (not shown on the tables), who quit or
were transferred to other departments. The difference occurred not so much
in the proportion who lost time, nor in the number of absences, but in the
length of absence, which averaged 13.5 hours for the entire group and 11
for the more stable group. Also, the proportion of the whole department
who lost a week or more in the first period was almost twice as large as the
proportion of the stable group who lost a week or more in that period.
During the weeks they worked, 10 percent of the department as a whole
averaged more than 1 day a week of absence as compared with 6 percent
among the more stable group.
In the second, 46-hour-week period, when the department employed 168
women, 10.5 hours per 100 possible man-hours of work were lost. The record
of the more stable group alone with los't time of 9.8 hours per 100 possible
man-hours, was not appreciably better. The short-time workers alone lost
about the same amount of time as in the first period, 15.1 hours ( not shown
on tables).
In the third, 54-hour-week period, the few new workers taken on lost
less time than the experienced workers, or 12.9 compared with 13.4 hours
per 100 possible man-hours. A greater proportion of the experienced workers
lost time than in either of the previous periods, and the average absence
was longer. However, when the record of the entire department is con­
trasted with that of the more stable group, there is practically no difference
in the man-hours lost per possible 100 and average hours per absence.
The proportion of experienced women in the third, 54-hour period, who
lost a week or more was twice the proportion in the 46-hour period. During
weeks worked the percentage who had no lost time dropped from 24.8 in the
second period to 13.8 in the third.
Instead of working 54 hours during the weeks worked, these experienced
women actually averaged 50 hours, which was also the average for the
group as a whole. In the first and second period the experienced group had
averaged 42.3 hours and 42.8 hours, respectively, during weeks worked.
Figures for the department as a whole show that under the three-shift
system, in effect during the first and second periods, the second and third
shifts lost more hours per 100 man-hours in both periods than did the first
shift. In the first period the third shift lost almost double the time lost by the
day shift. The major factor accounting for this difference was the length




Table II. —Analysis of Time Lost By Women Workers Under Different Scheduled Hours — Long-term Absences (whole weeks lost) and Short-term
Absences (time lost within weeks attended), for All Women in Department and for Those Employed 30 Days or More in Each of Two
Periods—Plant E
Attendance record of women within weeks
of partial or full attendance

Number who lost a week or more

Number of women
whose average time
lost per week in
weeks attended was—

Period studied and
scheduled hours

All women in bushing department
1st period (7 2/3 - 44 2/3 hours) :
Number ....................................
Percent ......................................

.
.

182
100.0

162
89.0

20
11.0

11
6.0

2d period (7 2/3 - 46 hours):
Number ....................................
Percent ......................................

168
100.0

148
88.1

20
11.9

13
7.7

3d period (9 4/5 - 54 hours) :
Number .....................................
Percent .......................................

138
100.0

106
76.8

32
23.2

18
13.0

7
3.8

i
0.6

182
100.0

47
25.8

86
47.3

31
17.0

18
9.9

2.4
11
8.0

1
0.6

1.8

100.0

26.2

44.0

19.0

10.7

138
100.0

22
15.9

72
52.2

34
24.6

10
7.2

100.0

26.4

51.2

16.5

5.8

100.0

24.8

' 46.8

18.4

9.9

116
100.0

16
13.8

65
56.0

26
22.4

9
7.8

3
2.2

41.7

>

42.6

H
M

50.0

Women employed in bushing department 30 days or more in each of two periods
1st period (7 2/3 - 44 2/3 hours) :
Number ................................................................
Percent ..................................................................

121
100.0

114
94.2

7
5.8

5
4.1

141
100.0

124
87.9

12.1

8.5

116
100.0

87
75.0

29
25.0

16
13.8

1.7

42.3

2d period (7 2/3 - 46 hours):
Percent ..................................................................
3d period (9 4/5 - 54 hours) :
Number ................................................................




2.1
11
9.5

2
1.7

1.4

42.8

50.0

92

WOMEN'S WARTIME HOURS OF WORK

of the absences: average hours per absence on the first shift were 11.8 and
on the third shift, 16.5. In the second period these averages were 12.7 and
19, respectively.
Only two shifts operated under the 9%-54-hour schedule in the third
period. The night shift had a greater number of absences, but shorter in
duration, than had the day shift—a larger proportion of the day shift than
of the night shift lost a week or more—so that the hours lost per 100 pos­
sible hours of work were 12.8 for the night shift and 13.8 for the day shift.
Actually, during the weeks the women worked, the day shift put in 50.7
hours, and the night shift 49.3 hours.
Only 54 women worked part or all of each week of each period studied.
Among this “control group,” the number who lost time increased materially
under the 9%-hour day. Whereas 68.5 percent lost time under the first
period of 7% hours, 92.6 percent lost time under the 9%-hour day. The
hours this “control group” worked averaged 42.8 in the 44%-hour period,
44.1 in the 46-hour period, and 49.8 in the 54-hour period.
Causes of lost time in the three periods were traced wherever possible,
but unfortunately were not reported in so many cases that comparisons
are of doubtful validity. However, in the second and third periods almost
twice as many absences were reported as due to personal reasons than as
due to sickness. In the first period about 70 percent were due to personal
reasons and 30 percent to illness.
The proportion of women treated, number of industrial injuries, and
number of treatments increased as the hours of work were lengthened. The
greatest increase occurred in the number of treatments which would seem to
indicate that the injuries were more severe. Oleum, the liquid used to clean
the bushings caused a rash and burn on some skins. These usually occurred
on the hands. Oleum was also sometimes blown into the eyes. The increase in
accidents and first-aid treatments in the longer-hour period seemed primarily
due to cuts, abrasions, and soreness. The edges of the bushings were sharp
and sometimes caused cuts on fingers. Fingers were sometimes hit with
mallets. Soreness in hands and wrists resulted from “plugging” bushings
with gages. A number of women interviewed believed arthritic finger joints
were caused by the job. Table III indicates the number of women treated
and the causes of industrial injuries. Data on nonindustrial calls to the
medical department were incomplete and therefore were not included in the
table.
PRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY
Nature of the Job

Plant E, as stated in the introduction, manufactured injectors for Diesel
engines and the women studied lapped the bushings of these injectors. The
bore of the bushings had to be lapped to very precise tolerances of 4/100,000
to 6/100,000 of an inch. The bore was only 1% inches long and ^4 inch in
diameter. It had to be absolutely round and straight so that there would
be a perfect fit with the plug gage. In the first period studied, the processes
involved were as follows:
The woman worker secured 9 or 10 bushings to be lapped as a set. A
spirally split lap was driven on a tapered arbor for several inches by means
of a small mallet. The lap was dressed by rubbing it with flat hollow stones.
A carborundum lapping compound was applied to the lap with a paddle.
The hushing was slid over the lap, and the operator moved it back and forth
as the lap rotated. After using abrasive compound, the bushing and lap had




Table III. —Calls to Medical Department Due to Industrial Injuries Under Different
Scheduled Hours — Plant E
1st period (7 2/3 - 44 2/3 hours)
Causes of calls for
medical aid

Number of—
Women
studied

Totals ...........................................
Ratio to total women studied.

2d period (7 2/3 - 46 hours)

121

Women
treated

27
22.3

Injuries

30
24.8

Number of—
Treat­
ments

33
27.3

Women
studied

141

Number of—.

Women
treated

Injuries

Treat­
ments

*37
26.2

41
29.1

52
36.9

12

IS

11

Women
studied

116

1

15
14

1

Injuries

Treat­
ments

1(34
29.3

44
37.9

51
44.0

11

13
9
2
2

11

9

....................
1....................
13
12

Women
treated

9

1
1

15
14

19

1

1

20

21
20
1

.
.
.

19
14
4

1

Pains, soreness, contusions—
hands or arms.....................
29

9

16

.

1
1
23
18
4

25
18
5
2

10

;0-ofS fallen was" Hjured™ a grind^M t’S'fo'fS^wiv^br'oka "3"
- -jury,
slight abrasion. She had 5 treatments or check-ups ’in the plant hospital
6 an<^ E plece ° t^le machine hew a
across and struck her arm, resulting in




1

PLANT E

Burns or skin irritation
from oleum .....................
Hands or arms..........
Feet or legs.................
In eyes .........................
Cuts, abrasions, lacerations.
Hands or arms...............
Steel splinter in hand...
Feet or legs.......................

3d period (9 4/5 - 54 hours)

a contusion and

vO

94

women’s wartime hours of work

to be washed with oleum and flushed with a compressed air hose. The bush­
ing was cleaned and dried by drawing a soft rag through it. Plug gages were
periodically inserted to indicate how much stock needed to be removed.
The women worked at a steady but unhurried pace. The nature of the
job was such that any attempt at rushing a job would result in greatly in­
creased spoilage, and emphasis was therefore placed on precision of crafts­
manship rather than quantity of output.
The success of a lapper depended primarily on ability to “feel” the
amount of lapping that had to be done to get. a bushing properly sized,
straight, and smooth. Without this “feel,” too much stock might be removed,
or the hole might remain narrower in the middle than at the ends, or wider
at one end than at the other, or it might have an uneven surface. This
“feel” was developed to the point at which some lappers could tell to within
a few 10-thousandths of an inch the stage of a particular bushing. The lapper
had to pay continuous and close attention to her work. Lapping a bushing
even a few seconds, too long might enlarge the opening beyond permitted
tolerances and cause the bushing to be scrapped. The women could either
sit or stand at their work. The main muscular pressure involved was
“plugging” the bushing with a gage, which was hard on hands and wrists.
“I’ve worked for 14 years,” said one woman, “on a lathe, a punch press,
a power sewing machine, and done every kind of a job in a box factory,
f’ve typed, kept hooks, and done general office work. Lapping bushings
was by far the hardest job of all to learn.”
In February 1943 a school at which lapping bushings was taught was
started, and girls were sent into the shop only when they had acquired
the knack of the job. Some women learned this work quickly and became
proficient in 2 or 3 months. Many others could never quite develop the
“feel.”
The shop was air conditioned the year round. In winter, however, girls
complained because the department studied was near a large truck entrance
to the building, and as doors were opened blasts of cold air struck the
workers. Lighting was by means of large overhead fluorescent fixtures.
Floors were of wooden blocks. Work benches were at a comfortable height
for either sitting or standing. Straight-backed stools were provided.
The oleum used in washing the bushings and lap was the cause of some
skin burns. Splashing or spilling it on the hands or legs caused both minor
irritations and first-degree burns. Cuts were caused by the sharp edges of
the bushings. Constant pressure on the palm while pushing the plug through,
the bushing caused hand and wrist pains in new workers.
Performance on ihe Job

As the first women were hired for lapping bushings in September 1942,
the group was relatively inexperienced at the beginning of the first period
studied, January 4, 1943. Also, the job, tools, and materials had not been
standardized. Differences occurred in the grain and hardness of the castiron laps, in the taper of the lap and arbor, and in the lapping compound,
and the bore of some bushings were “bowed” or slightly curved to 2/100,000
to 3/100,000 of an inch, so that an operator had to develop a very sensitive
touch to know7 the condition of her tools and materials and make the proper
adjustments and allowance in lapping the bushings.
Prior to the beginning of this study, assurances were given by manage­
ment that the same irregularities of materials and tools existed in the entire
period of manufacture, so that the effect of increased hours on production




PLANT E

95

would be discernible. However, the girls, when interviewed, believed the
laps were inferior in the second period; some thought it was a condition
of the metal and the others the fault of a new lapmaker in the toolroom.
Further, in late June to August 1943 micromatic lapping machines were
gradually introduced to do the rough lapping automatically, so that only
the fine lapping and “plugging” to size remained. A very few operators on
the micromatic machines could do the rough lapping for the entire group,
and this in itself caused a marked increase in production. The machines
were installed one by one, and by the beginning of the third period studied
the new system was operating throughout the department.
It was only with great difficulty that a standard time was set on lapping.
The plant stressed precision of craftsmanship on this job much more than
quantity of output, because of the extremely fine tolerance required. It was
felt that the greater the pressure for production, the greater the spoilage
would be. Each bushing spoiled at this stage meant the loss of many hours
of production previously applied. Time studies were made of a group of
good, average, and fair lappers, but there were so many apparent variables
that entered into production that no definite conclusions could be reached
with respect to a positive standard time. After much discussion of the matter,
a standard hour’s production was determined to be 3^/2 bushings. When
lapping was done by machine, 4% bushings an hour was considered ac­
ceptable. However, individual efficiency percentages were not systematically
kept, and the foreman was the main judge of whether or not a worker was
“making out.”
Production charts were kept of the number of bushings produced each
day by each woman, but no distinction was made between those that had to
be both rough and fine lapped and those that came from the micromatic
machines and only had to be fine lapped. There was also no way of knowing
how many the workers received of “bowed” pieces that required an average
of 25 percent more time to lap.
Production data for the department as a whole were also regularly
recorded and these have been used for the most part rather than individual
production data. Neither, however, provides a true measure of relative pro­
duction under the three periods studied.
Performance on the Job—Individual Production

From all statements made by women workers, individual production varied
widely. But records do not reveal this situation in its entirety. As stated
by one woman:
The girls felt funny about anyone who could get the bushings out easily. If a
girl only had 12 bushings out and maybe I had 70 or 75, I would give mine to
the girl so her production would be up. When I got bushings ahead, because we
weren’t allowed to take them to our lockers, I either had to leave them in my box or
give them away. If I left them in my box the day shift would take them, so 1 always
gave my extra bushings away.

“Killing a job,” or exceeding the production of the mass of workers, was
contrary to the spirit of the group; the speedier girls helped their co­
workers rather than be outlawed by the group. As a consequence, the
records do not reveal the number who made the output expected by man­
agement at any time. In the second period only five woman reported output
of 800 or more in a 36-day period when the expected output was 965. How­
ever, management did know relative output, for they seated the girls in four
rows according to ability to do the work and then set a different quota for
each row. If a girl made below the row quota, she was moved to the next




96

women’s wartime hours of work

row. This was an embarrassing moment for any worker, which her fellow
workers spared her if she was at all popular.
In the third period, management expected 1,585 bushings per individual
over a 36-day period. While the record of 24 women’s production exceeded
an average of 1,200. the highest recorded production was 1,511. The custom
of giving away finished bushings undoubtedly served to throw all individual
production records askew.
^ An analysis of daily production records also is of questionable validity.
The worker would have a set of bushings almost finished; these would be put
in her box to be finished the next day. If she hid her plug gage, it might
take not more than 10 minutes to finish them the next day; but if the other
shift used the gage and she could not find the correct size, she might have
to lap her bushings a size or two larger to fit an available gage. Hoarding
gages became a practice and had to be forbidden by management. In the
third period, with the advent of the micromatic machines, the girls could
turn out more bushings than they had plugs to fit the bushings. The company
finally permitted two or three girls to use the same plug. When one girl
finished her set, she would put it aside until the other girl or girls finished
theirs, and they would then turn all the sets in at the same time with one plug.
(Each set of bushings had to be accompanied by its plug when sent to the
room where plungers were made to fit the bushings. It took 2 or 3 days to
get the plugs back to the lapping department.)
An examination of daily production in several weeks of the third period
showed that Mondays and Thursdays were the highest production days, as
was also true in Plant D. However, the daily differences in production were
ironed out very materially by the practices prevailing among the women
workers.
Table IV. — Productive Efficiency of All Workers in the Bushing Lapping Department1, by
Weeks in Each Period Studied — Plant E

Period studied, scheduled hours,
and week

1st period (7 2/3 - 44 2/3 hours)........................................................

4th week ...........................................................................

2d week ............................................................

3d period (9 4/5 - 54 hours).................................................................
2d week ............. ...........................
4th week .............................................

Total hours
worked on
incentive
jobs 2

Efficiency
(average hourly
production)

71,774
12,247
12,209
11,646
12,035
12,088

48.7

69.429
11,652
11,451
11,284
11,530
11,987

67.0

63,773
9,713
11.183
9,969
10,786
10,923
11,199

86.2
93.2
83.5
82.5
85.7
87.6
85.1

1 Includes approximately 12 men in the department.
2 Lunch hours have been deducted from actual hours worked in all periods. Hours credited for
time wasted on scrap have been deducted from actual hours and from standard hours produced in
2d and 3d periods because there was no credit given for scrap in the first period.




PLANT E

97

Performance on the Job —- Department Production

The relative productive efficiency of the department as a whole in the
three periods studied is shown in table IV. These figures include the work
of some 12 men employed in the department over the periods studied. The
average hourly production or efficiency rates represent standard production
hours achieved divided by actual hours worked on time-studied jobs. Elimin­
ated are hours on non-production tasks, such as supervision, clerical work,
handling material, clean-up, machine set-up, rework, maintenance labor,
waiting time, and so forth.
The rise in efficiency from the first period through the second shows the
influence of experience among the workers and the continued rise through
the third period shows the influence of increased experience plus the use
of micromatic machines. The introduction of micromatic machines in the
third period completely obscured any effect of increasing hours from 7%
to 9% a day.




93

women’s wartime hours of work

SOLDERERS, WELDERS, METAL FABRICATORS, AND
ALLIED WORKERS IN RADIATOR MANUFACTURING —
PLANT F
INTRODUCTION

Plant F is situated in a small town and draws its workers from the town
and surrounding rural areas. The company was founded in 1937 for the
manufacture of automobile radiators. In April 1943 the wartime manu­
facture of aircraft radiators, cabin heaters, and oil coolers was begun. The
women studied were predominantly metal fabricators, solderers, and welders.
Because the area had no trained labor reserve to draw on for factory work,
the company instituted a 10-hour day, 60-hour week to replace an 8-hour
day, 48-hour week, in June 1943. In November 1943 an industrial en­
gineering firm was engaged to study general plant organization, make new
time studies of the jobs, and recommend plant changes.
The engineers’ suggestions for changes in operating set-up, combined with
the workers’ increased experience, and pressure from the State labor com­
missioner, appeared to warrant a reduction in the hours of work for women
from 10 to 8 a day and from 60 to 48 a week and was put into effect in
December 1943. In April 1944 the company decided to try a schedule of
five 9-hour days and 5 hours on Saturday. As the Women’s Bureau study
was begun in May of 1944, this third schedule had been in operation too
short a time to show its effect on workers’ performance, though the women
interviewed were keenly conscious of the change and outspoken in their
opinion, not only of the 60- and 48-hour schedules, but of the new 50-hour
week.
All women in the plant working on production operations were included
in this study. The majority were engaged in soldering, welding, brazing,
sheet-metal assembly, and a variety of metal-fabricating jobs.
Comparative records were secured of women workers’ performance from
October 25 to December 19, 1943, under the 60-hour week and from Feb­
ruary 21 through April 9, 1944, under the 48-hour week. Pay-roll records
gave the attendance each day, as well as total weekly hours, gross earnings,
deductions, and so forth. A good record on causes of lost time was kept by
the company and was copied. The log of each call to th® medical depart­
ment during the period under study was analyzed. Personnel files gave date
of birth, marital status, date of entering job, and job-changes data. Pro­
duction data, week by week, for the plant as a whole were taken down. In­
dividual production data of one department for 11 working days under
each hour schedule were also studied. In addition, visits were paid to
women workers in their homes to discuss their personal and family re­
sponsibilities and their methods of adjusting these to meet different working
hours.
The hours worked and periods studied are summarized below:
Period
1st period:
October-December 1943 (8 weeks)
10-hour day, 6-day 60-hour week
2d period:
February-April 1944 (7 weeks)
8-hour day, 6-day 48-hour week




Schedule
7 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
7 a.m.-3-.3C p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)

PLANT F

99

EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON WORKERS' HOME LIFE

Fewer than half the women employed at Plant F lived in the town in
which the plant was situated or in the nearby country. The remainder lived
on farms or in small towns 10 to 21 miles distant. As there was no public
transportation serving the community, town workers walked to the plant;
others rode in private automobiles with fellow workers. Over half the women
were entirely dependent on private automobiles for going to and from work,
while about an eighth used automobiles but could walk if need be. One
effect of the dependence on private cars was that when women were put on
an 8-hour and a 9-hour day, they had to wait 1 and 2 hours for the men
in the car pools, who were on a 10-hour day. The women were not per­
mitted to remain in the shop, no place was arranged for them to wait, and the
hours waiting in the automobile were regarded as harder than working in
the shop.
In both periods, the transit time for women who lived in town was 30
minutes or less. Twenty percent spent 1 to 1V2 hours and 6 percent spent over
1% hours in travel time. The remaining women required from 30 mirfutes
to an hour for transit each workday. Under the 10-hour schedule the time
away from home was 11 or 12 hours for two-thirds of the women and from
12 to 13 hours for one-fifth. Under the 8-hour schedule more than half were
absent from home less than 10 hours and about one-third away from 11 to
13 hours.
Not quite 25 percent of the women were under 20 years of age; 13 percent
were from 20 to 24; and 17 percent were 25 to 29. About 12 percent were
in each of the 5-year age groupings from 30 through 44. Twelve percent
were 45 years of age or older.
lifty-eight percent of the women were married or widowed, and 42 per­
cent were single. It is not surprising to find, therefore, that three-fourths
of the total lived in their family households, which ranged in size up to 9
members. The majority of the households contained children of all ages.
About half the married, widowed, separated, and divorced women had
children under 16, the largest number of such children being between 6
and 13 years old.
Half the group of married or widowed women had all or the major
responsibility for the household duties. Only a few lived in households in
which another woman—mother, mother-in-law, daughter, or sister—did the
major part of the work. Some of the single women lived alone and boarded
and roomed out, others lived with their families and did the marketing and
cooking, helped with the cleaning and did their own laundry.
The plant opened at 7 a. m. during both periods under study. Because
many workers lived on farms, their work was arduous. A 5 a. m. rising
hour was usual among women who lived at a distance from the plant. Some
attempted “gardens” in addition to their other home duties. Sewing for
children also was a responsibility of these rural women.
Among their brief case histories are the following:
A 45-year-old woman, living on a farm 15 miles from the plant, gets up at 4, packs
lunches for herself and two sons in high school, gets the family breakfast, and
leaves home at 6 o’clock. For her ride home she has to wait for men who work
longer hours, so regardless of the hours worked it is after 6 when she reaches home.
, Then she has dinner to get, dishes to wash, and the whole round of household work
to do. The washing and ironing for three men as well as herself, with no running
water in the house, is arduous in itself. It is 11 p.m. when she retires, allowing only
5 hours for rest.




100

women’s wartime hours of work

A young wife m her twenties has three children from 2 to 9 years old. Hei jsband
rents a farm 18 miles from the plant and her earnings of $25.45 a week help to
supply the cash to keep the family. She gets up at 5:15 and leaves home at 6:25
after getting breakfast for the 5 of them. She takes 5 riders into town in her car.
A neighbor keeps an eye on her children during the day. When she is on the 8-hour
day, she sometimes stops in town to do errands. If she does not stop, she is home
by 4:30, whereas under the 10-hour schedule she was not home until 6. The 10-hour
day made the evening meal late and left little time to enjoy the children or to sew
for them or care for their clothes.
Another women, in her thirties, has a sick husband, a daughter in high school, one
son in service, another on a nearby farm, and four children from under 2 to 13
years of age. Her weekly earnings of $28.25 ($3 of which goes to pay for her ride to
and from work) support the family. The housework is shared, the 17-year-old
daughter taking full charge when she gets home from school. The mother herself
does the laundry and cleaning on Sundays, as she goes to bed by 8 on workdays,
only 1% hours after arriving home.

Women living in town did not need to rise so early, but as remarked by
a single woman living with her father:
The 10-hour day was a handicap for father, for he had to get his own evening meal.
1 couldn’t do the marketing on the 10-hour day unless I laid off earlier or was late
at noon. I had to send laundry out, also, on the 10-hour day.

_ A single girl, who rented a room and had her evening meal where she
lived said:
On the 8-hour day I come home and sleep before supper so I can go out more fre­
quently at night. I do all my laundry except heavy work clothes now, whereas on
the 10-hour day I sent everything out. On the 8-hour day, I organized the bowling
team. I had more time to write letters and could sometimes go out of town.

A young girl who lived with her grandmother said:
On the 8-hour day I can go to the city on the bus after work and return, but I
couldn t do it on the 10-hour day. I couldn’t do shopping, either, on the 10-hour
day, so grandmother had to do everything.

Under both periods the largest proportion of women workers visited had
an over-all day of 16 to 17 hours, the second largest group a day of 17 to
18 hours. There were a few women in each period who had only 4 to 5
hours’ rest at night.
WORKERS' PREFERRED FACTORY HOURS
PREFERRED HOURS

At the time of the study, a considerable group of women had worked at
this plant under an 8-hour day, a 9-hour day, and a 10-hour day, and
weeks of 48 hours, 50 hours, and 60 hours, respectively. In the light of
this experience, half the women preferred the 8-48-hour schedule. However,
a number expressed this preference in these terms. “We want an 8-hour
day and more pav.” About a third who liked the 9-50-hour schedule had
in mind the overtime pay for 10 hours a week. Those who preferred the
10-hour day did so mainly because thev had to wait around for their daily
ride home and preferred working to waiting.
GROSS EARNINGS IN RELATION TO HOURS

Women workers began at 40 and 45 cents an hour, men at 60 cents an
hour. The maximum rate for women was 60 cents; for men, 80 cents (al­
though a few received 95 cents). Time and a half was paid for overtime
beyond 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. Three-tenths of an hour’s pay was
deducted for lateness up to and including 15 minutes. As manv of the women
were receiving beginning rates in the first (60-hour) period studied, their




PLANT F

101

basic rates averaged less in that period than in the second (48-hour) period.
s a consequence, average hourly earnings in the second period, in spite of
fewer hours of overtime, were only seven mills less than in the first period—
53.1 cents as against 58.8 cents. Averaging 8.4 more hours of work under
the 60-hour schedule, women’s average gross earnings were $30.70 a
week as compared with $25.50 under the 48-hour schedule.
Because the community had suffered greatly in the depression period of
the thirties, women were keenly conscious of their pay envelopes. There
was general belief that the same work paid much better in large cities nearhy and that men were paid higher rates for the same work in the plant.
When women expressed a desire for the 9-hour day, it was primarily be­
cause of their need for higher earnings.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON
WORKERS' FACTORY PERFORMANCE
ATTENDANCE RECORD

Time lost under the 8-48-hour week as compared with the 10-60-hour
yeek was less by almost 1 hour per 100 possible man-hours of work, that
is, 10.4 hours as against 11.3 hours. This was accomplished by a decrease
m the number of absences as well as by a decrease in the number of women
who were tardy and a reduction in average tardiness from half an hour to
20 minutes.
The average hours per absence showed no decrease under the shorter
hour schedule. This is surprising in view of the fact, apparent from table
11, that fewer women lost a full week of time. The firm’s custom of granting
women 2 weeks of absence without suspending them, in recognition of the
need for house-cleaning, did not eliminate the practice of taking 2 or more
scattered days off under the 60-hour schedule in order to catch up on
household demands, a practice that continued in the 48-hour period.
During the weeks each woman worked, the average hours worked over
the 8-week period under the 10-60-hour schedule were 52.3; and average
^nrSmc0rked 0VT the 7'week Period under the 8-48-hour schedule were
■i
meant that the women worked 87 percent of the scheduled hours
m the 60-hour period and 91 percent of scheduled hours in the 48-hour
period.
Friday was pay day in each period under study. Under the 10-60-hour
schedule more than two-thirds of the women lost time on the following
Saturday in 1 or more weeks, but their absences were for less than a day
more frequently than for a full day. This Saturday lost time accounted for
Table I. —Percent of Women Losing Time Under Different Scheduled Hours, Average
Number and Length of Their Absences, and Hours Lost by Total Number of

Period studied and
scheduled hours

1st period (10-60 hours).........
2d period (8-48 hours).............




Women losing time

Total
number
of
women
studied

Number

70
70

65
64

Average Average
number
hours
Percent
of
per
absences absence
92.9
91.4

4.1
3.1

11.5
11.5

Hours lost by
total number of
women per 100
possible man­
hours of work

11.3
10.4

•.—I

o
iO

Attendance record of women within weeks
of partial or full attendance

Number who lost a week or more

Period studied and
scheduled hours

Total
number
of
women
studied

Number
working
all or
part of
each week
employed

Total

1
week

2
weeks

5
weeks

Total
number
of
women

Number
lost time
in weeks
attended

Number of women
whose average time
lost per week in
weeks attended was—

Zz day
or less

Over
t 2 day
/
and
including
1 day

Over
1 day

1st period (10-60 hours):
70
100.0

59
84.3

11
15 7

9
12.9

70
100.0

65
92.9

5
7.1

2
2.8

2
2.8




70
100.0

2
2.8

2d period (8-48 hours):

>

Average
hours
worked per
week in
weeks
attended

1
1.5

6
8.6

36
51.4

17
24.3

11
15.7

52.3

70
100.0

6
8.6

35
50.0

21
30.0

8
11.4

43.9

women ’s wartime hours of work

Table II. —Analysis of Time Lost by Women Workers Under Different Scheduled Hours — Long-term Absences (whole weeks lost) and Short-term
Absences (time lost within weeks attended) — Plant F

PLANT F

103

only 16 percent of the man-hours lost. Fewer women lost time on the Satur­
day after pay day under the 8-48-hour schedule, though some women did
take off an occasional Saturday. Even so, such absences accounted for only
13.5 percent of the man-hours lost. Apparently, the receipt of pay was less
important as a cause of Saturday absenteeism than the fact that Saturday
was the best day for shopping or gave 2 consecutive days to engage in home
and family activities.
Some workers who lived in town walked home for lunch, for which only
30 minutes was allowed. The demands made on them when children had to
be fed were responsible for a high lateness record at noon. In the 10-hour
period, workers used the lunch time to do errands, delaying the hour of
reappearance at the plant.
CAUSES OF LOST TIME AND CALLS TO MEDICAL DEPARTMENT

Table III shows in detail the causes of lost time under each hour schedule.
Personal illness is the reason given for a third to a half of the absences
under the 60- and 48-hour schedules, respectively. Family illness as a cause
of lost time ranked far below personal illness but was second in importance
in both periods. Business or shopping ranked third in the 60-hour period.
The number of calls to the medical department decreased materially, from
318 in the 60-hour period to 244 in the 48-hour period, although the number
of women studied remained the same. This decrease is accounted for pri­
marily by a decrease in the number of calls due to acid burns or skin irrita­
tions or to acid or foreign bodies in the eyes, the hands, and so forth. These
were industrial causes; the shorter and less-fatiguing day, coupled with
increased experience in handling soldering and welding materials, may have
resulted in their decrease.
PRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY
Nature of the Job

Departments in Plant F were arranged both according to the type of
heater, radiator, or oil cooler manufactured and according to the nature of
work. Similar work was performed by women in several departments, and
they were sometimes transferred from their major task to other tasks to
keep work flowing evenly through the plant. The study covered all women
on production operations in the plant, and all of them, except the ribbon­
line operators, worked on radiators, cabin heaters, and oil coolers for air­
planes. Ribbon-line operators worked on auto and truck radiators. Fiftyseven percent of the women studied worked on soldering or soldering and
assembly, 17 percent worked on assembly and miscellaneous metal fabri­
cating jobs, 15 percent worked as ribbon-line operators and assemblers,
and 11 percent worked on welding and brazing.
Solderers used a soldering torch and solder stick, first brushing the metal
with flux. Solderer-riveters assembled parts on semiautomatic riveting ma­
chines, securing parts in place and making them airtight by soldering.
Solderer-assemblers combined soldering with various types of assembly
involving use of hand tools such as drills, wrenches, and pliers. Soldering
seams on thin metal tubes was one of the more continuous soldering jobs
because of the large number of tubes required. The worker had to develop
a very steady hand to lay an even line of solder on the seam of the tube.
The assembly and metal fabricating jobs included such operations as
inserting metal stiffeners in tubes; smoothing edges of tubes and stiffeners
on an emery wheel; opening tubes on each end of core with a flanged hand
693249°—47—8




o
Table III. — Causes of Lost Time Under Different Scheduled Hours—Plant F
1st period (10-60 hours)

Number

Total
hours
lost

Women
losing
time

Percent

Percent

Number

Number

Absences

Number
267

Total
hours
lost

Absences

Percent

Percent

199

1 63

175

100.0

100.0

1 64

180

100.0

100.0

Personal ..............................................................Illness ..............................................................
Medical appointment ..................................
Business, shopping ......................................

118
63
9
31
2
13

67.4
36.0
5.1
17.7
1.1
7.4

72.1
52.8
2.5
6.7
6.1
4.0

50
44
4
12

133
85
15
17

73.9
47.2
8.3
9.4

69.4
57.9
3.0
4.1

Other, as funeral, birthday.....................

47
34
6
17
2
13

13

16

8.9

4.3

Family .....................................................................
Home duties .................................................
Care of children....................................... ..
Family illness; quarantine.......................
Service men visting family.......................
Other ................................................................

23
5
3
13
2
5

39
5
5
20
2
7

22.3
2.9
2.9
11.4
1.1
4.0

17.0
1.8
1.5
8.7
.9
4.2

25
5
2
13
4
8

36
5
2
16
4
9

20.0
2.8
1.1
9.0
2.2
5.0

27.3
5.2
2.9
9.1
5.4
4.8

Factory ...................................................................
Lack of work........................................... ..

7
6
1

ii
10
1

6.3
5.7
.6

7.2
2.0
5.2

2
2

2
2

1.1
1.1

.2
.2

Miscellaneous—Transportation

3

7

4.0

3.7

8

9

5.0

3.1

.....................

1 Details add to more than total because some women report more than one cause of absence.




w ork

64

Total reporting causes......................................

women ’s wartime hours of

Women
losing
time

Causes of lost time

2d period (S-48 hours)

Table IV.— Causes of Calls to Medical Department Under Different Scheduled Hours—Plant F
1st period (10-6.0 hours)
Causes of calls for medical aid

Women

Visits

Women reporting reasons for medical calls
Burns, skin irritations, redresses, etc.
Acid or foreign body in eye, hand, etc.
Colds, sore throats......................................
Headaches ......... ............................................
Dysmenorrhea .............................................
Pains, aches (neck, back, leg, arm)...
Indigestion ....................................................
Other 2 ............................................................
No diagnosis—“called in ill”...................

Percent

70
14
56

100
20
80

Number

.

Women
Percent

Visits

Percent

Number

70
13
57

318

Number

100
19
81

244

1 56

318

100

1 57

244

78
17
16
17
6
5
15
9
14

166
27
32
29
9
10
16
9
20

52
9
10
9
3
3
5
3
6

55

Percent

PLANT F

Number
Total women .....................................
Women making no medical calls,
Women making medical calls_
_

2d period (8-48 hours)

124
10
43
22

19
19
7
7
12

8
10

100

3

16

iDetads add to more than total because some women made medical calls for more than
includes: diarrhea, broken fingernail, toothache, infected ear, cold sore, etc.




O
Cn

106

women’s wartime hours of work

fork and small hand pick, to allow water to pass down the tube; building
cores for oil coolers by manually placing the tubes in position in core
frames; chasing threads with hand chaser, to remove solder; and straighten­
ing fins with hand pliers. Welders did acetylene welding, brazing, and silver
soldering. Acetylene welders were equipped with safety goggles or face
shields and were provided with gloves.
The ribbon machines automatically crimp or corrugate very thin sheets
of metal and cut them the desired length for use in making automobile
radiator cores. Several women worked as a team on the ribbon line, the
work passing from one machine to another. The actual machine operating
was predominantly automatic and repetitive, mainly involving guiding the
metal pieces into the machines, or taking away the metal lengths coming
out and pressing a foot lever to actuate the machine. The more experienced
workers adjusted dies and changed the gears on the crimping machines
that make the imprints on ribbons of thin metal; they also reset the locking
and cutting machines. There were also ribbon-line assemblers who manually
assembled spacers into tubes and filled core trays with these tubes, seeing
that the tubes were the proper depth and size for each type of tray.
The varieties of jobs broke the monotony of the work; however, for the
most part, the women complained of having to change about, preferring to
work continuously at their major job. Solderers, assemblers, ribbon-line
operators, some riveters, and those on miscellaneous jobs stood during
most of their work. The major reason for not sitting down was that the
work-table level, plus the height of the parts, made it difficult to work from
the stools provided.
While the ribbon-line work, riveting, assembling, and metal fabricating
jobs had no harmful conditions inherent in the job itself, the placing of
some of the workers near badly ventilated areas near dip pots and solderers
subjected the operators to the acid fumes that arise from the molten flux.
Soldering was a hot job. Where workers were placed close together, the
soldering fumes and the heat from the torches caused discomfort on summer
days. Acid burns from soldering flux were of frequent occurrence. Red
spots on hands, arms, face, and neck were not uncommon. On some women
these spots become open sores. Workers also complained that clothes were
eaten by the acid.
Many of the jobs could be learned in 2 or 3 days, but 4 to 8 weeks were
usually necessary to meet minimum productive efficiency. The more difficult
jobs, such as welding, core building, and ribbon-line operating, took 6 weeks
to 2 months to learn.
Performance on the Job

Workers studied were paid on a straight hourly rate. The company had
made time studies of the various operations and set a standard time oil
each one. It was not until the last 2 weeks of the 10-60-hour period, however,
that records were kept of the number of units produced daily and weekly
by each worker. Prior to that time only total labor costs on each type of
radiator, cabin heater, or oil cooler were recorded for the plant as a whole.
Thus, the change in total plant-wide efficiency, based on labor costs in rela­
tion to total units produced, was available for both periods studied. However,
individual productive efficiency data were only available for one department,
beginning with the last 11 days of the first period studied.
Individual records of production were secured for the last 11 days of
the 10-60-hour period and for a corresponding 11 working days 2 months




107

PLANT F

later when these women were at the same work in the department but on an
8-48-hour schedule. Records taken gave the actual hours worked, the hours
on production work (that is, with allowance for time spent on repairs or in
waiting for work) the number of pieces produced, and the efficiency ratings
(standard hours achieved divided by hours actually worked on incentive
jobs).
During neither the 10-60-hour period nor the 8-48-hour period did these
women work the full 11 days; rather, they averaged 9 and a fraction days
of work. Under the 10-hour schedule they averaged 9.1 hours of work on
the days worked, and under the 8-hour day, 7.2 hours a day. The difference
in time actually worked per day as between the two periods was approxi­
mately 2 hours. During the longer-hour period average efficiency was 75.9,
under the shorter schedule, 108.8. The following summary shows this con­
trast in productive efficiency:

Period studied, scheduled hours, and length
of time in occupation

Number
of
women
studied

Average
number of
days
worked in
11 days

Average
daily
hours
worked

Average
efficiency
rating

10.5
8.6

9.1
9.2
9.0

75.9
62.7
85.1

9.3
9.1

7.5
7.0

117.9
108.0
00.

Last period (11 days of 10 hours):
6 months, less than 1 year.................................
10
11
2d period (11 days of 8 hours):
Total .....................................
6 months, less than 1 year_
_
6 weeks, less than 6 months...............
Less than 6 weeks...........

13

As already stated, the plant kept labor-cost records for each week on the
different types of wartime radiators, oil coolers, or heaters manufactured,
showing total labor costs in relation to number of units produced. These
combined the labor cost for all productive work done on the part, whether
by men or women. Radiators, oil coolers, and heaters were being manu­
factured for two types of airplanes, and cost records were kept separately
for each. At the time of the first period studied production had so recently
been started on radiators, oil coolers, and heaters for one type of airplane,
that differences in efficiency in the two periods would have been principally
due to improvements in production techniques and added experience of
the workers. The other airplane job had been in production for a con­
siderably. longer period, and the labor-cost records revealed an over-all
increase in efficiency from 102 to 110 when women’s hours were shortened
from 60 to 48 and men’s hours remained at 60 a week.
. ^ was believed both by management and by the women workers that their
increased efficiency was due in part to shorter hours, in part to simplification
of work methods, more orderly planning of the flow of work and materials,
improvements in equipment and tools, and the added experience of the
workers as a whole.




108

women’s wartime hours of work

AIRCRAFT GENERAL ASSEMBLERS AND RIVETERS —
PLANT G
INTRODUCTION

The transformation within a few short years, of our small peacetime
aircraft industry into an industry producing 78,000 planes annually was
accompanied by a continuous growth in the rate of production per man­
hour. Great strides were made toward a better utilization of employees, as
new technical and supervisory staff and production workers gained experi­
ence, and as manufacturing short cuts were evolved. The industry, therefore,
was not one whose output could be associated directly with the hours the
productive force worked. In fact, although departmental production records
were necessary, aircraft management usually made little or no attempt to
keep individual production records during the war period. Experimentation
with different hour schedules, in an effort to achieve regular attendance,
was continuous. To make that experience available for future use, a study
of attendance under different hour schedules in one airframe assembly plant
in the Middle West was included in this study of plants operating in war­
time under various hour schedules, even though a comparison of productive
efficiencies was not possible for that plant.
A uniform work schedule for the entire plant was nonexistent. Keeping
an even flow of parts from one department to another under an ever-changing
production schedule, from time to time required different departments to
shift hours. One of the largest riveting departments, later divided into two
departments and still later reorganized again to make a third department,
was chosen for study. In this department, where wing center sections were
fabricated and assembled, large numbers of women were employed as general
assemblers and riveters and a few as installers and spot welders. It was a
department with high turn-over and much absenteeism.
This wing center section assembly department, while originally on a 6-day
9-hour schedule, began a 6-day 8-hour schedule in March 1943. In July 1943
it went back to a 6-day 9-hour schedule. In October 1943 all women were
put on a 10-hour day 5-day week or 50-hour schedule. In the spring of 1944
the production schedule of planes per month was increased, fabrication of
nacelles was added to the departments studied, and there was a growing
labor shortage in the area. Saturday work became necessary, and the men
were placed on a 60-hour schedule. The women workers were asked to make
an effort to work on Saturday, but their failure to report on Saturdays was
not charged against lost time.
Weeks for study of each of the four differing hour schedules were chosen
out of the period from May 1943 to May 1944. To allow the usual 2-month
adjustment period to the 6-day 9-hour schedule prior to undertaking its
study, the second-period weeks chosen had to be limited to 4, in contrast
to the usual 6 to 8 weeks taken in other plants. To simplify comparisons,
other periods studied were similarly reduced to 4 weeks. The fact that
48-hour and 60-hour periods chosen were in a season in which there was
apt to be some hot weather had no bearing on attendance data, as the plant
was completely air-conditioned. Using the company’s records, care was
taken to eliminate weeks of abnormal absenteeism. The hours worked in
the periods under study were as follows:




109

PLANT G

Period
1st period:
May-June 1943 (4 weeks)
8-hour day, 6-day 48-hour week
2d period:
September 1943 (4 weeks)
9-hour day, 6-day 54-hour week
ltd period:
January-February 1944 (4 weeks)
10-hour day, 5-day 50-hour week
4th period:
March-April-May 1944 (4 weeks)
Optional 6-day 60-hour week, 10-hour
day

Schedule
Day shift: 6:30 a.m.-3:12 p.m.
(42-minute lunch period)
Night shift: 4:42 p.m.-l:24 a.m.
(42-minute lunch period)
Day shift: 6:30 a.m.-4:12 p.m.
(42-minute lunch period)
Night shift: 4:42 p.m.-2:24 a.m.
(42-minute lunch period)
Day shift: 7 a.m.-5:42 p.m.
(42-minute lunch period)
Night shift: 5:42 p.m.-4:24 a.m.
(42-minute lunch period)
Same as in 3d period

The wing center section assembly department employed 1,477 different
women during the 4 weeks studied in each of the four periods. Reports of
actual hours worked were copied for each woman. About 38 percent of the
women—560—were studied further to determine the reasons for absence
on specific dates. The purpose of all calls at the medical department during
the periods studied were also listed for this group.
The number of women employed in any one period did not exceed 1,015,
and in the first period, under the 48-hour schedule, the number was half
this figure. One-fourth of the women were employed in all 4 periods studied,
about one-fifth were employed in 3 periods, and the remainder were at work
in only 1 or 2 periods.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON WORKERS' HOME LIFE
THE HOUSEHOLD

The women studied were predominantly young women: 48 in every 100
were under 25 years of age, and only 3 percent were over 45 years of age.
Most were or had been married; fewer than one-third were single. About
seven-eighths lived in family households. The women came to the plant
from two major cities, smaller cities, and rural areas as far as 40 miles
away, traveling back and forth chiefly by private car.
The women workers visited in their homes worked on both day and night
shifts and more than two-fifths of them had been employed in all 4 periods
studied. Their educational record was high; one-half had completed high
school or attended college, and less than a fifth had not gone beyond the
eighth grade.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES

Seven-eighths of the women visited lived at home. Families composed of
2 or 3 members were predominant, but 30 percent of the households had
5, 6, or more members.
In large families the household labors were shared. For example, in one
40-year-old working mother’s home, there were 10 members, the children
varying in age from under 2 years to a married son. The mother said her
husband and daughter of 12 shared with her the responsibility of the house­
work. Her husband did the marketing, and she did the cooking with the
help of the boys, who also washed the dishes. She also did the family wash­
ing, her young daughters did the ironing. She did her housework during




110

women’s wartime hours of work

the day, and worked in the factory on the night shift. In another family of
6 members, the oldest daughter helped her mother, who worked on the
night shift, by caring for the baby and helping with the household tasks.
About a third of the mothers in families with 5 or more members said
they did no household work. By contrast, practically all women with children
in smaller households had general responsibility for the home and did a
major part of the work. For example, Mrs. T, who had 2 sons, 10 and 13
years old, did all the household work for the family. Under the 10-hour-day
schedule she worked on the night shift and went to bed when she got home
at 5:30 in the morning. When she got up, she did a little housework and
barely saw her boys before it was time to get ready for work. She was “on
the run all the time.” On the free Saturday she “washed, ironed, cleaned
the house, and maybe baked a pie or cake for the kids.” She just said “hello”
and “goodbye” to her husband, who worked the day shift.
About two-thirds of the single women living in family households did some
housework but, as a rule, did not have any major home responsibilities.
Married women, widows, and divorcees, in seven-eighths or more households,
did have home duties, about half having full responsibility and half sharing
the responsibility with others.
In 9 percent of the homes with children under 14 years of age, children
were cared for by paid service. However, relatives (other than husband or
older children) were the main reliance for child care in the greatest number
of homes. Nurseries were used by only 3 percent of the mothers; 6 percent
of the households provided no child care at all during the mother’s absence.
TIME OF RISING AND OF RETIRING

The opening factory hour was 6:30 a. m. and 7 a. m. for the day shift in
the several periods. While some women had to rise at 4 a. m., the larger
number got up at 5 o’clock. The earlier rising hour was usually occasioned
by distance between home and plant, a fourth of the women workers spend­
ing 1 to 2 hours each way in travel. Half the women workers interviewed
required from 1/2 to 1 hour for each trip.
Women on the day shift, under the 8-hour-day schedule left the plant at
3:12 p. m. and the majority reached home before 4 o’clock. Under the
9-hour day, the hour of reaching home was advanced to 5 o’clock; under
the 10-hour day to 6 o’clock for those requiring less than an hour for travel.
Under the 8-hour-day schedule, the largest proportion, 64 percent, were
absent from home 10 to 11 hours; under the 9-hour day, about two-thirds
were away 11 to 12 hours; and under the 10-hour day two-thirds again,
were away 12 to 13 hours. The one-fitth who lived farther away from the
aircraft plant had correspondingly longer periods away from home.
In spite of the early rising hour, almost as many women workers did not
get to bed until 10 p. m. or later as went to bed at an earlier hour. Regard­
less of the length of the workday, the largest proportion of day-shift workers
had 7 hours of rest, although many reported shorter periods for sleep.
The night shift started at 4:42 p. m. under the 8- and 9-hour-day
schedules and at 5:42 p. m. under the 10-hour schedule. Women left the
plant at 1:24 a. m.. 2:24 a. m., and 4:24 a. m. under the 8-. 9-. and 10-hour
schedules, respectively. Under the 8-hour day women night-shift workers
usually went to bed upon reaching home, some time between 2 and 3 o’clock:
under the 9-hour schedule the retiring hour was usually after 3:30 a. m.;
and under the 10-hour schedule, it was 5 a. m. to 11 a. m. The hour of rising
varied greatly among night-shift workers in each period. Under each




PLANT G

111

schedule some women got up to have breakfast with the family at 7 or
8 o clock. But the majority remained in bed until noon or later in the
second and third periods. Under the 9- and 10-hour days, the proportion
of women who slept 8 hours or more increased materially. There were,
however, still 30 percent who worked 10 hours a day in the factory and
who got less than 7 hours of sleep, as compared to 20 percent under the
9- hour day, and 14 percent under the 8-hour day.
WORKERS' OVER-ALL DAY

. With the lengthening of the workday, the over-all day from the time of
rising until retiring increased for many workers. Under the 8-hour day,
5 percent had an over-all day of 18 hours to 20% hours; under the 10-hour
day, 9 percent had this long day. About 48 in every 100 kept their active
hours to between 16 and 17 per day under the 8-hour factory schedule, but
this proportion dropped to 40 in every 100 under the 10-hour day. A
slightly larger proportion had less than 16 hours of active service under the
10- hour day than under the 8-hour day because they were “just too tired
to stay up.”
The statements of women concerning the 10-hour day shows that many
considered it detrimental to their health. Even when they preferred 5 days
of 10 hours to 6 days of 9 hours, they spoke of tiredness or illness. Some
comments follow:
A young woman said:
Ten-hour days allow very little time for anything but necessary small amounts of
personal laundry, shampooing, hair setting, reading newspapers or magazines. But
the extra day on the 5-day week more than made up for the lack of time during the
week. I seemed to have more time on the 50-hour week than on the 48- or 54-hour
week. [Nonetheless, this worker believed her fatigue was the result of months on a
strenuous schedule and not being able to sleep well when on the 10-hour day.] I
was so tired, I ached all over. The long hours—I couldn’t stand it. I would be so
exhausted when I got home, I would sit down and cry.

A housewife said:
During the first and second periods when I worked 6 days a week, I did all my
work at night so I could rest on Sunday. Sometimes I would work almost all night
on Saturday in order to have Sunday free. When I had Saturday off, I would wash,
iron, and clean the house and didn’t have to work so hard during the week I
emoyed having Saturday and Sunday off. even though the 8- and 9-hour day was
better for recreation and pleasure. When I worked 10 hours a day, I had no leisure
and no time to rest. By the time I get up and we have something to eat. it is time
to go to work. When we worked 8 hours a day, we would go to swimming parties
and skating parties after work and still get our sleep. On the 10-hour day if we did
anything like that, we were cheating ourselves out of our rest.

Another informant said:
When on the 8-hour day, I gained weight, but when I was on the 10-hour shift I
lost weight and got headaches.

Said another woman:
The extra hour or two from an 8-hour to a 9- or 10-hour day made a lot of differ­
ence. I was much more tired because I got so little sleep, as well as having to work
harder. I was irritable and hard to get along with at home and with my friends.

During the first period, another informant said:
I had time to go to shows or go out skating, dancing, and so forth. On a 10-hour
day it was too late to go any place after work because the places were closed On
a 10-hour day I had time only to work, eat, and sleep. I was physically run down




112

women’s wartime hours of work

Four women, respectively, made the following comments:
On the 10-hour day I have no time to cook dinners and have to eat out. Since I’ve
been working 10 hours a day, I have had to go to a foot doctor once a month. I have
been so tired on Saturday that I never got anything done anyway.
There’s no time on the 10-hour day to phone, shop, or market, but on the 8-hour
day I could manage more easily. Certain parts of home responsibility require daily
attention.
The second period was the hardest to find any free time to do any shopping. I
got more sleep in the third period because of the later starting hour.
Although I had headaches, colds, and eye strain on the 10-hour shift, I preferred
this shift because I had the week end for recreation and personal shopping and
could go out on Saturdays.
WORKERS' PREFERRED FACTORY HOURS

_ Women, in discussing the hours of work preferred, were asked to take
into consideration the loss of overtime pay (time and a half after 8 hours
per day and after 40 hours per week). Nevertheless, 39 in every 100 inter­
viewed stated that they preferred the 8-hour day 5-day week. The 6-day
week of 8-hour days was preferred by 24 percent. A few favored the 8-hour
day with a half day on Saturday. Three in every hundred wished fewer
hours per day than 8. A 9-hour day 5-day week was favored by 11 percent,
the 9-hour day 6-day week by 1.6 percent, and the 10-hour day 5-day week
was preferred by 18 percent. To summarize: almost two-thirds the women
workers preferred the 8-hour day, 13 in every 100 the 9-hour day, and 18 in
every 100 the 10-hour day. However, over seven-tenths wanted a 5-day week.
Among single women the 10-hour day was less popular than among
married women, the 8-hour day being given overwhelming preference, how­
ever, by both groups. Over 25 percent of the single women interviewed
preferred to work 6 days of 8 hours, as compared to 34 percent who asked
for the 5-day week of 8 hours. Of the married women, 70 percent preferred
an 8-hour day, whereas 17 percent preferred the 10-hour day. However,
85 percent of the married women wanted a 5-dav week.
The number of widows and divorcees interviewed was small. However, a
larger proportion among them than among single and married women wished
the 10-hour day 5 days a week. This desire was occasioned by their com­
plete dependence on their own earnings for family support.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON
WORKERS' FACTORY PERFORMANCE
NATURE OF THE JOB

The wing center section assembly department studied was, as already
noted, one of the largest riveting departments in the airframe assembly
plant. The women workers were classified as general assemblers, riveters,
installers, or spot welders. The preliminary jobs involved sheet-metal fabri­
cating and laying out small subassemblies at benches, using a variety of
hand tools. Typical of such jobs would be forming metal over a corking
block, using a rawhide mallet: filing marts to remove burrs or for proper
fit; drilling, reaming, and counter-sinking holes; fastening parts with Cleco
clips; and inserting bolts and screws, using an electric screw driver. Small
parts laid out in bench work were assembled into small and medium-sized
jigs where they were fitted and clamped into proper position, drilled,
reamed, countersunk, and riveted.




PLANT G

113

Large skins or panels, such as those in tank doors, and the lower and
upper panels of the wing center section were riveted oti a line-conveyer
system. The panels were attached to an overhead track and were moved
from one worker to another for a sequence of drilling and riveting operations.
The first groups of workers stood on the floor and worked on the bottom
half of the panel; progressively higher platforms served workers who
riveted the upper half of the panel. Most of the work could, therefore, be
done at waist level, and much of the work requiring kneeling and stretching
was eliminated. On these open panel conveyor lines the workers were placed
close together; massed straight riveting made greater speed possible, and the
result was terrific noise—far greater than anywhere else in the department.
The major subassemblies, such as upper and lower skins, top deck, tank
doors, and crawl deck, were moved to the master jigs for final assembly.
This department had some of the plant’s largest jigs, built to hold the wings
in an upright or vertical position. The jigs were about 12 feet high; plat­
forms were built around at different levels to enable as much work as
possible to be done at waist level. The highest platforms were 5 feet off the
floor. Even with platforms, there was much climbing, kneeling, stretching,
and working in cramped quarters inside and outside the wings. Only occa­
sionally was it possible to work while sitting. Most of the jobs involved
continuous standing or working in different positions. Smaller women were
selected for much of the work because of the necessity of working in such
cramped quarters and in so many awkward positions.
After the wings had gone through all the positions on the master jigs,
they were placed in a vertical position on a moving conveyor line for final
installations and assembly. The line moved so slowly that it appeared to be
standing still. A wooden platform, slightly raised from the floor, moved
on a track from one station to another, and stands about 3 feet high were
used for some of the work. However, much of the work on this line also
involved working in very awkward positions, standing, kneeling, and crawl­
ing inside wings.
Women worked mainly on the lighter assemblies and installations on both
the master jigs and moving conveyor lines. They used rivet guns, portable
squeezer riveters, portable pneumatic and electric drills, air screw drivers,
and small hand tools. Their work was chiefly composed of drilling, reaming,
countersinking, riveting, and installing parts ,and equipment such as nut
plates, channels, wing flap cylinders, landing gear struts, and so forth.
While women classed as riveters spent about three-fourths of their time
on riveting, general assemblers also spent about one-fourth of their time
on riveting. Riveters must develop speed, proper timing, and coordination
to select the proper size rivet and feed it into a hole with one hand while
driving the rivet gun with the other. Proper timing in driving different types
of rivets is essential, as well as developing coordination with a partner who
is bucking the rivets. Riveters and buckers work as a team and alternate
positions. Riveters should be able to drive rivets with either the left or
right hand because of the necessity of getting into so many cramped places.
While the vibration and strains from riveting are felt mainly in the shoulder,
forearm, hand, and wrist, bucking causes more vibration in the palm of
the hand. The largest rivet gun used by the women weighed about 4 pounds,
the average gun weighed 2 to 3 pounds. The average bucking bar weighed
around 1 pound, and the heaviest 3 pounds.
There had been a series of improvements in production methods which
removed many strains and lightened work. Overhead conveyors were in­




114

women’s wartime hours of work

stalled, as already noted, to move medium sized and large subassemblies
from one station to another; wooden platforms were built at various levels
to enable workers to work at waist height on large subassemblies, eliminating
much stretching and kneeling. Wings were set in vertical instead of hori­
zontal jigs to minimize the amount of overhead drilling and riveting. Rivet
guns, drills, and portable squeezer riveters, and automatic wrenches were
counterbalanced wherever possible, taking much of the weight and strain
off arm muscles. These and other improvements made work less strenuous
in 1944 than in the previous year and also served to increase output.
The factory was new, and very modern in design. Blacked out, it had no
windows, and all illumination came from fluorescent tubes and highpowered bulbs. With complete airconditioning the temperature was the
same winter and summer. Ample space had been allowed in all work areas
and aisles. The plant was kept exceptionally clean throughout; very few
rivets, bolts, or metal shavings lay around the floor, even though these are
constantly being dropped in large riveting departments, such as the one
studied.
ATTENDANCE RECORD
Plant Definition of Lost Time

Throughout this study of 13 plants, all time away from work of more than
15 minutes duration is counted as time lost; time away up to 15 minutes is
counted as lateness.
The foregoing classification is not to be confused with Plant G’s use of
the term “absenteeism.” A person had to be absent an entire shift to be
considered an absentee by the plant. A woman on vacation, or on other leave
up to 60 days, authorized for good and sufficient reasons, was not absent by
plant definition. Until the fall of 1944 when a 6-day limit was set, persons
away without authorization were carried on the pay roll and counted as
absentees for varying periods whose length was in the discretion of the
department head. The union contract provided that an employee absent
5 days without reporting was a “quit.” For the purposes of this study all
persons who were continued on the pay roll after an absence of any duration
were considered as having lost time. Persons were considered as transfers,
quits, or lay-offs only when listed as terminated or transferred by the plant
or when their names did not reappear on the pay roll in a later period under
study, in which case the last day worked was taken as the termination date.
Attendance

The first period studied had a schedule of 8 hours a day, 48 hours a
week; the second, 9 hours a day, 54 a week; the third, 10 hours a day,
50 a week; and the fourth had a 10-hour day and a requested, but not com­
pulsory, 6-day week. The last period is considered a 60-hour tveek in measur­
ing attendance, in order to evaluate time lost under a noncompulsory
60-hour-week schedule. Weekly hours were recorded for each of the 1,477
women employed in the departments during the periods studied.
In assessing the influence of different hour schedules upon time lost, the
several drives carried on by company officials to combat absenteeism should
be noted. In January 1944 it became a rule to place an absenteeism card
in a worker’s clock card rack when the worker was absent a full day. This
card listed 25 possible reasons for absence, one of which was checked by
the worker upon returning. The card had to be signed by the foreman. In
March 3944, the employee relations department sent investigators to the
homes of absentees to ascertain why they were absent. Meetings were then




115

PLANT G

held with supervisors to develop solutions for such absences. These elforts
may have influenced attendance during the last 2 periods included in this
study. Later attempts to decrease absenteeism occurred after May 1944, the
last month included in this survey.
Examination of table I shows that time lost increased as the daily hours
were lengthened. Under the 8-hour day a total of 8.6 hours were lost per 100
possible man-hours of work; under a 9-hour day 12.4 hours; under the
10-hour day 5-day week, 15 hours; and under the 10-hour day 60-hour
week, 19.4 hours.
Under the 8-hour day, 54 percent of the women lost some time during this
4-week period. The proportion increased to 71 percent when the daily hours
were increased to 9 hours. When the daily hours were changed to 10 with
no Saturday work, 68 percent of the women lost time. When Saturday work
was requested, under the 60-hour schedule, 89 percent of the women em­
ployed worked less than 60 hours per week. In this fourth period, apparently,
the extent to which women came to work on Saturday was dependent upon
the amount of persuasion used by leadmen and supervisors. An examination
of the pay rolls during the 6 weeks over which women were asked to work
on Saturday shows the proportion who reported on the sixth day in each
week:
1st week—25 percent
2d week—51 percent
3d week—21 percent

4th week—15 percent
5th week—46 percent
6th week—59 percent

Obviously, the 60-hour week was not desired by many women.
Li the four periods under study women worked on 2 shifts, the number
employed on each shift being approximately the same. Except during the
8-hour period, the night shift had a lower proportion of lost time in relation
to possible working hours, and fewer women lost time than on the day shift.
How was this time lost? In each period come women workers lost 1 week
or more. This long-term absence was taken by the largest proportion in
the third period studied, or under the 10-hour day 50-hour week. During
this period 17 percent were out a week or more, whereas 9 percent had
long-term absences under the 9-hour day 54-hour week; 13 percent under
the 10-hour day 60-hour week; and but 6 percent under the 8-hour day
Table I. — Percent of Women Losing Time Under Different Scheduled Hours, and Hours
Lost by Total Number of Women Studied per 100 Possible Man-hours, by
Shift—Plant G

Total
number of
women
studied

Number

Percent

Hours lost by
total number of
women per 100
possible man­
hours of work

1st period (8-48 hours).............................................
Day shift .............................................................
Night shift ..........................................................

505
232
273

272
120
152

53.9
51.7
55.7

8.6
7.3
9.5

2d period (9-54 hours).............................................
Day shift .............................................................
Night shift ..........................................................

919
474
445

653
353
300

71.1
74.5
67.4

12.4
13.0
11.8

3d period (10-50 hours).........................................
Day shift .............................................................
Night shift ..........................................................

812
404
408

551
279
272

67.9
69.1
66.7

15.0
16.2
13.9

4th period (10-60 hours)...........................................
Day shift .............................................................
Night shift ..............................................

1,015
531
484

901
485
416

88.8
91.3
86.0

19.4
20.6
18.0

Period studied, scheduled
hours, and shift




Women 1c>sing time

v
J4 a

4}
£ ”
CO

^4
v

3

1

day

b.
co U

O ver

O ver */2 day and
including 1 day

A day or less *

i

Number of women
whose average time
lost per week in
weeks attended was—

3

N um ber w ith no lost
tim e in weeks attended

1

of women

Total num ber

4

weeks

s
*

3

co

weeks

1

week

Total

N um ber w orking all or part
of each week employed

Attendance record of women within weeks
of partial or full attendance

Number wh o lost a week or m Dre

£ %
<

u
ft
D

1st period (8-48 hours):
Number ....................

505

475

30

19

3

3

5

500

238

162

50

50

.....................

100.0

94.1

5.9

3.8

0.6

0.6

1.0

100.0

47.6

32.4

10.0

10.0

232

Percent

222

10

7

1

2

.....................

100.0

95.7

4.3

3.0

0.4

0.9

100.0

48.7

30.9

11.3

9.1

45.0

Day shift:
Percent

112

45.2

Night shift:
Number .....................
Percent

.....................

273

253

20

12

2

3

3

270

126

91

24

29

100.0

92.7

7.3

4.4

0.7

1.1

1.1

100.0

46.7

33.7

8.9

10.7

44.8

2d period (9-54 hours) :

Number .....................
Percent




.....................

919

834

85

54

16

9

6

913

285

291

178

159

100.0

90.8

9.2

5.9

1.7

1.0

0.7

100.0

31.2

31.9

19.5

17.4

48.7

women ’s wartime hours of work

Period studied, scheduled
hours, and shift

Total num ber of
women studied

Table II. — Analysis of Time Lost By Women Workers Under Different Scheduled Hours — Long-term Absences [whole weeks lost] and Short-term
Absences (time lost within weeks attended], by Shift — Plant G

Day shift:
Number ................... .

474

432

42

24

9

6

3

471

128

165

91

87

................ .

100.0

91.1

8.9

5.1

1.9

1.3

0.6

100.0

27.2

35.0

19.3

18.5

Percent

48.1

Night shift:
Number .................. .
»

445

402

.................. .

100.0

90.3

Percent

*

43

30

7

3

3

442

157

126

87

72

9.7

6.7

1.6

0.7

0.7

100.0

35.5

28.5

19.7

16.3

49.2

3d period (10-50 hours):
Number .................. .
Percent

.................. .

812

675

137

92

14

19

12

797

297

276

120

104

100.0

83.1

16.9

11.3

1.7

2.3

1.5

100.0

37.3

34.6

15.1

13.0

45.5

Day shift:
Number .................. .

404

338

66

39

7

10

10

392

136

137

56

63

.................. .

100.0

83.7

16.3

9.7

1.7

2.5

2.5

100.0

34.7

34.9

14.3

16.1

Percent

45.2

Number .................. .
Percent

.................. .

408

337

71

100.0

82.6

17.4

7

9

2

405

161

139

64

41

13.0

1.7

2.2

0.5

100.0

39.8

34.3

15.8

10.1

45.8

g

53
i

4th period (10-60 hours):
Number .................. .

1,015

884

131

74

50

3

4

1,006

129

294

248

335

Percent

100.0

87.1

12.9

7.3

4.9

0.3

0.4

100.0

12.8

29.2

24.7

33.3 -

.................. .

50.5

Day shift:
Number .................. .

531

462

69

35

29

2

3

526

50

149

135

192

.................. .

100.0

87.0

13.0

6.6

5.5

0.4

0.6

100.0

9.5

28.3

25.7

36.5

Percent

49.8

Night shift:
Number .................. .

484

422

62

39

21

1

1

480

79

145

113

143

.................. .

100.0

87.2

12.8

8.1

4.3

0.2

0.2

100.0

16.5

30.2

23.5

29.8

Percent

51.2

1 Totals are sometimes less than total number of women studied because some women were absent the total number of weeks they were on the pay roll in the
period studied.




plant

Night shift:

118

women’s wartime hours of work

48-hour week. The same trend is shown when the comparison is confined
to women who were on the pay roll the 4 weeks studied in each period, that
is, when newcomers during the period were eliminated. As the period when
absences were longest fell in January and February 1944 and the period
when shortest, in July 1943, the cause was obviously not a desire for
summer vacations.
During weeks in which women were in attendance at least part of the
week, about half lost no time under the 8-hour day. This proportion was
markedly decreased under the 9-hour schedule, when increasing proportions
averaged over half a day and over a day out each week. While the record
was not as bad under the 10-hour day 5-day week, this schedule did not
achieve as good results as the 8-hour day. Under the noncompulsory 60-hour
week, at no time did as many as 3 in 5 women work a 60-hour week, and
in the 4-week period only an eighth worked 6 days each week.
The results achieved in terms of average hours worked during weeks
worked were about the same, 45 and 45.5 hours per week, respectively,
under the 48-hour schedule with an 8 hour day and under the 50-hour
schedule with a 10-hour day. The 9-hour day 54-hour week raised the actual
hours worked to 48.7 a week, and the noncompulsory 60-hour week brought
the week to 50.5 hours. Under both the 54 and 60-hour weeks the record of
time worked during weeks worked was higher on the night than on the
day shifts.
When comparisons are made of the attendance of 122 women who worked
during each week in all four periods studied, the same general tendencies
are seen. The proportion who lost time increases as the weekly hours are
lengthened. The average hours worked per week are somewhat higher for
these steady workers than for all workers; 46.8, 51.4, 47.5, and 53.2-in
the 48-, 54-, 50-, and 60-hour period, respectively.
Pay Day in Relation to Attendance

In determining the influence of pay day on absenteeism, an absence of a
day or less after pay day for any reason other than “medical pass” was
considered an “absence following upon pay day.” An extended absence
occurring after pay day was not included.
The 48- and 54-hour periods were examined. In the 8-hour day, 48-hourweek period, pay day came on Friday. Only 16 percent of women workers
lost time next day as compared to a total of 52 percent who lost some time
during the period. Nor did all women take off the entire day. The time lost
on the day after pay day accounted for but 7 percent of the total time
women lost during the 4-week period..
Time lost on the day following pay day was still less in the second, or
9-hour-day period, when pay day was on Monday. Then only 10 percent of
women workers wrere away next day, and such absence accounted for only
3 1/2 percent of total time lost.
The fact that family earnings were high in war-industry areas so that
earnings permitted a supply of available cash for use when purchases were
necessary, and the fact that supplies of household and personal goods were
limited, may have accounted for this limited tendency of women war
workers to wait until pay day to make purchases.
Viewed from many angles, the record of attendance was best under the
8-hour day 48-hour week. More women than in any other period worked in
every week of the period. Fewer women lost as much as a week or more,
and fewer lost over half a day a week. The 10-hour day 5-day week in­




PLANT G

119

creased the proportion of women who were absent, the length of the time
lost during the week, and time lost in terms of weeks, and there was no
gain over the 8-hour day 48-hour week in the weekly attendance record.
Tardiness

The figures on lost time throughout these studies include tardiness only
when it exceeded 15 minutes. As reported by the company under its defini­
tion, however, tardiness varied in average length from 11 minutes during
the 8-hour-day period to 32.6 minutes during the 10-hour-day period. Between
a fourth and a third of the women were considered tardy by the firm in
each period. The percent of time lost through lateness was 0.6 percent in all
periods save in the 50-hour week, when it reached 1 percent.
Causes of Lost Time and Calls to Medical Department

Attempts were made by plant officials to secure accurate reporting by
employees on the causes of each day’s absence and to check absenteeism.
Mention has been made of the absentee card system started in January
1944, and although the “no reports” on causes of absence decreased, failure
to report reasons still were numerous.
As stated in the introduction, causes of absences were checked for 560
women, which represented a 38 percent sample of the 1,477 women employed
in the periods studied.
In each period studied, illness or injury was the prevailing reason
reported for absences. Illness or death in the family usually held second
place, other personal reasons playing a lesser role. Vacations were important
only in the third, a winter period. The study shows that when Saturday work
was requested by management in the 60-hour period, over three-fourths of
the women did not report on at least one Saturday in the 4 weeks studied,
and that this failure to meet the firm’s requests caused 44 percent of the
hours lost during this period. The only differences that may be noted under
different hour schedules are, (1) more time was lost because of unspecified
“personal reasons” under the 10-hour day than were lost under the 8-hour
day and (2) tardiness in excess of 15 minutes increased under the 10-hour
day. It was noted incidentally that one difficulty in using pooled car services
as a means of transportation was that a late driver caused the late arrival
of the whole car of workers.
Drilling, riveting, and bucking rivets in the departments studied was too
hard for some frail women workers. One 22-year-old girl said:
Ten hours was a long time to hold those heavy motors over your head and drill.
The vibration bothered me at my menstrual periods. For the first 2 or 3 days of
my periods, I just couldn’t do the work. I felt worse tacking rivets than drilling.

Another girl of 19 reported:
My back bothers me. I have treatments all the time and believe the nature of the
work and the long hours and the extra days have made me have many minor
ailments.

A 40-year-old widow said:
I got so nervous, I could not sleep. My doctor told me I couldn’t continue the work
I was doing for such long hours. I had nervous headaches for 10 days straight.
They wouldn’t transfer me, so I quit.

Another woman reported:
After working several months on the 10-hour schedule, I got so overtired that I had
a flare-up of thyroid trouble. I ate so irregularly on the 10-hour night schedule that
I developed digestive disturbance.
698249°—47-9




120

WOMEN 8 WARTIME HOURS OF WORK
Table III. — Causes of Calls to Medical Department
1st period (8-48 hours)
Causes of calls for medical aid

Women
Number

Women making medical calls .........

173
57
116

Percent
100.0
39.0
61.0

Women

Visits
Number

Percent

307
113
194

300

Women reporting reasons for medical

Number Percent
100.0
37.0
63.0

1194

300

100.0

242

80.7

5

190
7
1
6

63.3
2.3
.3
2.0

137
10
2
5

1

3
2
5
1

1.0
.7
1.7
.3

9
2
3
2

1

19
5
1

6.3
1.7
.3

23
9
2

2

.7

1
1
1

58

19.3

19
3
12
2
22

6.3
1.0
4.0
.7
7.3

1116
Cuts, abrasions, contusions:

Sprains, strains, soreness:

Foreign body:

Skin irritation:

7S.T

f • ,

Cold (including sore throat

18

..........

24
6
13
14
40

1 Details add to more than totals because some women made medical calls for more than one
illness or injury.

And another said:
T don’t believe I would have had that strep throat if I had not been exhausted from
the 60-hour week.

One young woman admitted:
Sometimes I am absent to be with my fiance, sometimes I am sick, and sometimes
I am too tired to work.

Firm reports on causes of separation, as well as individual reports from
women not now employed with the firm, indicate that a “nervous condition”
induced or aggravated by the noise and vibration of riveting was responsible
for a number of visits to private practitioners and for transfers and separa­
tions. “Nervous condition” probably accounts for some of the absence
reported as illness.
The proportion of the women workers in the wing center section assembly
department reporting to the medical office for assistance varied only slightly
under different hour schedules. The calls per person average over 2 but less
than 3 during each period.




PLANT G

121

Under Different Scheduled Hours — Plant G

2d period
(9-54 hours)

.

3d period (10-50 hours)

Visits

4th period (10-60 hours)

Wo uen

Number Percent

Visits

Women

Visits

Number Percent

Number Percent

Number Percent

Number Percent

272
95
177

’ ’ 437’ *' ’

437

100.0

327

100.0
35.0
65.0

74.8

3177

..

338
132
206

"459”'

459

100.0

346

100.0
40.0
60.0

75.4

*206

455

53.5
4.6
.7
1.1

119
9
1

253
11
1
11

55.1
2.4
.2
2.4

11
2
5
4

2.5

10

13
3
4

.7

17
18
1

22
19
1

4.8
4.1
.2

15

2

.7
.4

1

113

24.6

31
6
11
12

6.8
1.3
2.4

75.2

2.8

2
3

100.0

342

234
20
3
5

455

27
10
2

.5
1.1
.9
6.2
.5

2

.5

1
1

.2
.2

3

.

.

3

2
110
29
6
14
14
47

25.2 #
6.6
1.4
3.2
3.2
10.8

28
6
11
10
33

-

1

131
8

241
10

5

8

1.8

3

.2
.7
2.9

1

5

19

,

7.5
4.2
1.3

1

.2

113
26
10

2.6

11.5

34

41

28
10
13
12
50

6.2
2.6
11.0

Three-fourths or more of the calls for medical assistance were occasioned
by injuries occurring in the plant. Cuts, abrasions, and contusions on hands
or arms were responsible for more than half the calls. Foreign bodies in
eyes accounted for approximately 6 percent of the calls.
Attendance in Relation to Personal Characteristics

Records of age, race, marital status, number of children or other depen­
dents in the home, were available for over four-fifths, or 1,237 of the 1 477
women employed in the four periods under study, and attendance was
reviewed in relation to these factors to determine their influence upon the
amount of time away from work.
Age. In each of the first three periods the proportion of women losing
time was highest among girls under 25 years of age and lowest among
women 45 years of age and over. In the latter group about 38 percent lost
time under a 48-hour schedule and 44 percent under the 50-hour schedule
compared to 63 percent and 74 percent, respectively, of girls under 25 years




women’s wartime hours of work

122

Table IV. — Causes of Lost Time Under Different Scheduled Hours — Plant G
1st period (8-48 hours)
Women
losing
time

Absences

Total
hours
lost

Women
losing
time

Number

Number

Percent

Number

Total reporting causes ...............................................

101
2 59

177
2 119

100.6

230
2 130

Personal:
Illness or injury .................................................

49

72

80.9

Medical or dental services .............................
Vacation .................................................................
Personal reasons..................................................

1
3
6

1
3
7

.3
5.8
3.2

135
2
10
5
24

Family:
Illness or death in family...............................
To be with spouse or other family
member in service .........................................

12

13

8.3

16

1

2

1.0

2
7

Causes of absence

Miscellaneous:
1

Lateness (over 15 minutes) ...........................

18

27

.4

52

1 Saturday absences were excluded for the 10-60-hour period because Saturday
work was not compulsory.
2 Details add to more than totals because some women report more
than one cause of absence.

of age. The in-between age group, women 25 to 45 years of age, occupied
an intermediate position, 50 percent and 63 percent losing time under the
8-hour day 6-day week and 10-hour day 5-day week, respectively. For each
age group the proportion losing time was larger under the 9-hour day 6-day
week of 54 hours than under the 8-hour day 48-hour week, and still larger
when the 10-hour day 6-day week was in effect.
Marital Status.—When marital status is considered, the proportion of
single girls who lost time was smaller than the proportion of married women
or of widows and divorcees who lost time. Considering single women alone,
during the first three periods a larger percent of those under 25 years of
age were absent than of those 25 to 45 years old. (Very few single women
over 45 years of age were employed.) Yo-ung married women were more
frequently away from work than mature married women. The same was true
of the widowed and divorced women—the younger were absent more often.
The single women aged 25 to 45 years were the most regular in attendance
under each hour schedule.
These 25-to-45-year-old single women also worked longer hours in each
of the first three periods than did other groups of women, save a small
group of widows aged 45 years and over. Under the 48-hour schedule, these
women averaged 45.5 hours; under the 50-hour schedule, 45.8 hours; under
the 54-hour schedule, 50.9 hours; and under the 60-hour schedule, 49.1
hours. Save in the noncompulsory 60-hour period, the hours they worked
each period represented 90 to 95 percent of the scheduled hours.




PLANT G

2d period (9-54 hours)

3d period (10-50 hours)

123

4th period (10-60 hours)1

Absences

Total
hours
lost

Women
losing
time

Absences

Total
hours
lost

Women
losing
time

Absences

Total
hours
lost

Number

Percent

Number

Number

Percent

Number

Number

Percent

183
2 124

365
a 273

100.6

238
2 151

453
344

100.0

491
2 336

100.6

197
3
10
5
27

68.0
.6
2.2
4.6
7.8

105
3
5
20
26

142
3
5
20
30

62.8
1.0
1.2
14.6
9.2

125
3
4
5
. 30

167
3
4
5
36

75.4
1.6
.8
3.5
9.6

19

10.4

12

13

7.2

15

15

4.3

2
9

2.2
3.4

1
2

1
2

1.5
.7

5
4

5
4

.7
2.0

1

.2

4

5

.7
.1

70

1.0

3
1
I
f
102

.4
.1
.4

50

3
1
1
I
59

hi

t,Sr?Ctant’ tbe-Ca^Se they iforrm the largest grouP of women employed in
the departmem:, is the record of married women of the same age group (25
to 45 years) : under the 48-hour week, they averaged 43.6 houfs; under the

l tTS;-

theh60h?ek’
Undur worked 9°, 83, 46J hour^ and unde^
ti0tUrfWeekL,46-6; V6-’ theythe 54'h°Ur Week’ 85, and 78 percent re­

spectively of possible man-hours.
The single women under 25 years of age formed the second largest group.
These were P^sent 91 percent of the time under the 48-hour week, 90 perent under the 54-hour week, 87 percent under the 50-hour week, and 84
percent under the 60-hour noncompulsory week.
^naLalyS1S °! tlme,!ost
sllift worked shows that under the 50-, 54and 60-hour week single women lost less time on the night shift than on the
day shift. 1 here was no uniformity, however, among married women in this
respect, either in the proportion who lost time on the day shift as compared
to the night shift or in the hours worked on each shift; for under the 8-hour
day and under the 10-hour day 50-hour week, fewer married women lost
;me-\the day ;hli> whereas under the 9-hour day and under the 10-hour
day 60-hour week, the reverse conditions prevailed
Number of Dependents —Two-fifths of the women employed in the wing
center section assembly department had dependent children in their house
holds and seven m every hundred had elderly or invalided family members
dependent upon them making a total of 48 in every 100 women employed
who had dependents. Of this group 36 were married women, 7 were widowed




124

Table V.— Number of Women Losing Time and Their Ratio to Total Women Reported, and Average Hours Worked per Week
During Weeks in Attendance, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Marital Status and Age — Plant G

Age

Period studied and
scheduled hours

25,
Under under
25
45
1,237
100.0

590
47.7

610
49.3

45
and
over

Total

37
3.0

399
32.3

25,
Under under
45
25
322
26.0

75
6.1

Wi dowed and divorced

Age

Age
45
and
over

Total

2
0.2

722
58.4

25,
Under under
25
45

Age
45
and
over

Total

25,
Under under
25
45

45
and
over

244
19.7

453
36.6

25
2.0

116
9.4

24
1.9

82
6.6

10
0.8

132
56.9

43
74.1

84
51.5

5
45.5

29
56.9

5
83.3

21
56.8

3

Number of women losing time and their ratio to total women reported
1st period (8-48 hours):
>

#

107
62.9

120
49.6

8
38.1

74
49.3

59
55.7

15
35.7

585
70.2

288
73.3

281
67.9

16
61.5

179
63.5

151
68.0

27
46.6

1

342
73.9

122
79.7

209
71.3

11
64.7

64
72.7

15
83.3

45
71.4

4

498
67.1

2d period (9-54 hours):

235

244
74.4

243
62.5

11
44.0

165
63.2

143
69.8

21
38.9

1

282
70.1

89
80.9

184
66.7

9
56.3

51
64.6

12
92.3

38
64.4

1

763
89.1

355
89.9

385
88.1

23
95.8

250
85.6

200
85.1

48
87.3

2

433
90.6

142
96.6

277
87.7

14
93.3

80
93.0

13
100.0

60
90.9

7

3d period (10-50 hours) :
4th period (10-60 hours):

Number of women in attendance and average hours worked per week during weeks in attendance
1st period (8-48 hours):
Number of women in attendance,
Average weekly hours worked....

433

170

242

21
43.7

150
44.3

106
43.8

42
45.5

2

232
43.2

58
40.9

163
43.6

11
43.7

51
43.5

6
45.5

37
43.3

8

2d period (9-54 hours): _
Number of women in attendance.
Average weekly hours worked----

833

393

414

26
49.5

282
49.1

222
48 6

58
50.9

2

463
45.8

153
44.8

293
46.1

17
50.7

88
46.0

18
44.2

63
46.6

7

3d period (10-50 hours):
Number of women in attendance,
Average weekly hours worked----

742

328

389

25
45 n

261
44.1

205

54
45.8

2

402
41.4

110
40.5

276
41.7

16
43.2

79
42.3

13
37.5

59
42.5

7

4th period (10-60 hours):
Number of women in attendance.
Average weekly hours worked....

856
47.9

395
48.3

437
47.5

24
46.8

292
50.0

235
50.3

55
49.1

2

478
46.2

147
45.6

316
46.6

15
43.9

86
49.8

13
43.6

66
50.5

7




w o m e n ’s w a r t im e h o u r s o f w o r k

Percent .............................................................................

Married

Single

Total

PLANT G

125

ary| divorced, and 5 were single women. A higher proportion of women
with children lost time than did women with no dependents. Similarly,
women with children lost an hour and 40 minutes more per week under the
5 u ,x i! and 60'hour schedules than all women without dependents, and
a halt hour more per week under the 48-hour schedule than did women
workers with no dependents. Older dependents, apparently, did not make
undue demands upon women workers as judged by the proportion of women
who lost time.
When comparing average weekly hours of married women only, those
with children did not average fewer hours when at work than those with
no dependents. But a higher proportion of married women with children
lost some time under the 9- or 10-hour day than did married women without
children, there is no question that the 8-hour day 48-hour week was the
most convenient schedule provided for married women with children. Not
only did a much smaller proportion lose time, under that schedule' but
the lost time was shorter. Thus, under the 8-hour day 48-hour week, married
women with children worked 90 percent of the scheduled hours, as compared
wrth 82 percent under the 10-hour day 50-hour week, and 85 percent under
the 0-hour day 54-hour week.
Aace.—From 9 to 14 percent of the women employed in different periods
in the wing section assembly department were Negroes. Table VII indicates
that there was very little difference between races in the proportion losing
one week or more in any period. During the weeks in which they reported
tor work the proportion of white women who lost no time exceeded the
proportion of Negro women who had no lost time. This came about through
the loss ot a half day or less by a larger proportion of Negro women.
Plant Efforts to Reduce Absenteeism

In spite of company efforts to curtail lost time, it is obvious that it
continued at a high rate. In June 1944, production was stabilized at 13
planes a day. lor the first time it was possible to plan systematic production
to achieve an even flow of work with a minimum of idle time. More workers
“
he assigned to one particular job, which pleased many women who
disliked being shifted about. Supervisors had more time to keep in touch
\vith individual worker s problems. More attention was given to evaluating
attendance records before granting merit raises. Chronic absentees were
more readily laid off. The constant influx of new workers, characteristic of
an expanding production schedule, was no longer necessary.
At the time production was stabilized, a special plant-wide absenteeism
drive started and a trophy awarded each week to the department with best
attendance. This competitive drive and the stabilization of production were
credited with the reduction in absenteeism, as defined by the plant, by more
than halt, in the departments under study. As June 1944 was beyond the
periods under study in this report, no measurement of these changes in lost
time are included m this report.




126

Table VI.__Number of Women Losing Time and Their Ratio to Total Women Reported, and Average Hours Worked per Week During
Weeks in Attendance, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Marital Status and Dependents — Plant G
Single

Total women all statuses
Period studied and
scheduled hours

Total

646
52.5

584
47.5

Number having de­
pendents who are—
Children
506
41.1

Total

Other than
children

Number
Number
having
having
no
dependents
dependents

78
6.4

395
32.1

338
27.S

57
4.6

Number of women losing time and their ratio to total women reported
1st period (8-48 hours) :
2d period (9-54 hours): >

.
.

3d period (10-50 hours):

,

4th period (10-60 hours) :

119
52.2

113
56.5

91
56.5

22
56.4

73
49.7

59
48.8

14
53.8

582
70.5

305
69.5

277
71.6

247
73.1

30
61.2

178
64.0

163
66.8

15
44.1

494
67.2

251
65.7

243
68.8

213
71.7

30
53.6

163
63.4

139
64.4

24
58.5

756
89.0

_

232
54.2

373
86.5

383
91.6

327
92.4

56
87.5

246
85.4

207
85.2

39
86.7

Number of women in attendance and average hours worked per week during weeks in attendance
1st period (8-48 hours):

428
43.6

3d period (10-50 hours):
4th period (10-60 hours):




^

^

200
43.3

161
43.2

39
43.8

147
44.3

121
44.9

26
41.2

826
46.9

2d period (9-54 hours):

228
43.7
439
47.6

387
46.1

338
46.0

49
46.9

278
49.0

244
49.0

34
49.0

735
42.5

382
43.1

353
41.8

297
41.4

56
44.5

257
44.0

216
44.1

41
43.6

849
47.9

431
48.6

418
47.2

354
46.9

64
48.9

288
50.2

243
50.5

45
48.9

women ’s wartime hours of work

1,230
100.0

Number
Number
having
having
dependents
no
dependents

Widowed and divorced

Married
Period studied and
scheduled hours

Total

Total women reported.................................................
Percent .............................................................................

719
58.5

Number having
Number
Number dependents who are—
having
having
no
dependents
Other than
dependents
Children
children
277
22.5

415
33.7

442
35.9

27
2.2

Total

116
9.4

Number having
Number
Number dependents who are—
having
having
no
Other than
dependents
dependents
children
Children
31
2.5

85
6.9

81
6.6

4
0.3

Number of women losing time and their ratio to total women reported
1st period (8-48 hours) :
Number of women losing time.........................

3d period (10-50 hours): _
Number of women losing time.........................
4th period (10-60 hours):
Number of women losing time.........................

11
78.6

29
56.9

7
53.8

22
57.9

21
60.0

1

214
74.6

199
73.4

15
93.8

64
72.7

16
72.7

48
72.7

46
74.2

2

97
66.4

183
72.3

174
73.7

9
52.9

51
64.6

15
75.0

36
61.0

34
61.8

2

149
88.7

281
91.5

264
92.0

17
85.0

80
93.0

17
85.0

63
95.5

60
96.8

3

53
56.4

77
56.6

340
73.9

126
72.8

280
70.2
430
90.5

'

Number of women in attendance and average hours worked per week during weeks in attendance
1st period (8-48 hours) :
Number of women in attendance.....................
Average weekly hours worked.........................

230
43.1

94
43.0

136
43.2

122
43.5

14
40.5

5143.5

13
37.0

38
45.3

35
45.2

3

2d period (9-54 hours):
Number of women in attendance.....................
Average weekly hours worked........................

460
45.8

173
45.8

287
45.8

271
45.9

16
43.3

88
46.0

22
46.1

66
46.0

62
45.9

4

3d period (10-50 hours):
Number of women in attendance.....................
Average weekly hours worked.........................

399 .
41.5

146
41.8

253
41.4

236
41.1

17
44.7

79
42.3

20
41.6

59
42.6

55
42.2

4

4th period (10-60 hours):
Number of women in attendance.....................
Average weekly hours worked........................

475
46.2

168
46.0

307
46.4

287
46.4

20
46.4

86
49.8

20
48.7

66
50.1

62
49.9

4




PLANT G

2d period (9-54 hours):
#
Number of women losing time.........................

66
54.1

130
56.5

Attendance record of women within weeks of
partial or full attendance
Number of women
whose average time
lost per week in
weeks attended was—

* sJ
g-J.3
<u

4

weeks

3

weeks

2

weeks

1

week

rfs.S S
Total

N um ber working
all or p a rt of each
week emplo 3red

women

.

Number who lost a week or more

£2 g

^o *

IU.r-.r-l

^4 W
C 4J
£
.. ^T)

<5j

ol
1st period (8-48 hours):
Total women ...............................................

505
100.0
433
100.0
72
100.0

475
94.1
410
94.7
65
90.3

30
5.9
23
5.3
7
9.7

19
3.8
15
3.5
4
5.6

3
0.6
3
0.7

919
100.0
835
100.0
84
100.0

White: Number ................................................
Percent ..................................................

3
0.6
2
0.5
1
1.4

5
1.0
3
0.7
2
2.8

834
90.8
757
90.7
77
91.7

85
9.2
78
9.3
7
8.3

54
5.9
50
6.0
4
4.8

16
1.7
13
1.6
3
3.6

9
1.0
9
1.1

6
0.7
6
0.7

812
100.0
719
100.0
93
100.0

675
83.1
598
83.2
77
82.8

137
16.9
121
16.8
16
17.2

92
11.3
83
11.5
9
9.7

14
1.7
12
1.7
2
2.2

19
2.3
16
2.2
3
3.2

12
1.5
10
1.4
2
2.2

1,015
100.0
864
100.0
151
100.0

884
87.1
752
87.0
132
87.4

131
12.9
112
13.0
19
12.6

74

50
4.9
43
5.0
7
4.6

3
0.3
2
0.2
1
0.7

4
0.4
3
0.3
1
0.7

500

238
47.6
206
47.9
32
45.7

162
32.4
136
31.6
26
37.1

285
31.2
266
32.1
19
22.6

50

50

10.0

10.0

43

44.8

7
10.0

45
10.5
5
7.1

291
31.9
256
30.9
35
41.7

178
19.5
163
19.7
15
17.9

159
17.4
144
17.4
15
17.9

48.7

297
37.3
270
38.2
27
30.0

276
34.6
240
33.9
36
40.0

120

15.1
105
14.9
15
16.7

104
13.0
92
13.0
13.3

100.0

129
12.8
118
13.8

149

11

100.0

7.4

294
29.2
257
30.0
37
24.8

248
24.7
212
24.7
36
24.2

335
33.3
270
31.5
65
43.6

100.0

430
100.0

70
100.0

10.0

45.0

45.9

2d period (9-54 hours):

3d period (10-50 hours):
Total women ...............................................
Percent ..........................................................
White: Number ................................................
Percent ...................................................
4th period (10-60 hpurs) :

Negro: Number .................................................
Percent ...................................................




64
7.4
10
6.6

913
100.0

829
100.0

84
100.0

797
100.0

707
100.0

90
100.0

1,006
100.0
857

12

48.6

43^8
45.5
45.6
*44.9*"

50.5
50.8
48.3

women ’s wartime hours of work

and race

T otal
num ber of

Period studied, scheduled hours,

128

Table VII. — Analysis of Time Lost by Women Workers Under Different Scheduled Hours — Long-term Absences (whole weeks lost] and Short-term
Absences (time lost within weeks attended), by Race — Riant G

PLANTS H & J

129

LIGHT MACHINE OPERATORS, BENCH ASSEMBLERS,
AND INSPECTORS — PLANTS H AND J
INTRODUCTION

Plants IT and J are located in New England manufacturing cities. Plant
H manufactured roller, silent, and conveyor chains for use primarily on
automobiles, tractors, engines, textile and other machinery, and conveyor
lines. Plant J produced electrical equipment—cords, sockets, wall plates,
and a wide variety of electrical connections—for airplanes, tanks, ships,
antiaircraft guns, etc.
Although the products of Plant H were heavier than those of Plant J,
the jobs performed by women in the departments studied were similar.
The work in both plants included light machining of small parts on single­
spindle drill presses, the use of foot and power presses, various types of
assembly operations, and visual and gage inspection. All tasks were readily
learned in a short time. They required coordination of eye and hand, finger
dexterity, and speedy movement.
Some similarity also existed in the composition of the work force in the
two plants. The proportion of women 35 years and over was large—42 per­
cent of all women in one plant and 57 percent in the other. The proportion
of girls under 20 years of age was limited to 7 and 10 percent, respectively.
Both plants had a nucleus of foreign-born workers. One plant had employed
13 percent of the women studied 5 years or longer; in the second plant, 22
percent had this length of service.
With the increased demands for war production and a shortage of avail­
able new workers in the respective communities, both plants lengthened the
workday and week. However, both plants having employed women for many
years prior to the war, consideration was given the personal convenience of
women workers. In Plant H, when the 8-hour day was extended to 9 hours,
3 hours on Saturday, all women who came late or left early were permitted
to make up the lost time on Saturday, the plant staying open for their con­
venience. When hours were extended to 10 daily and 5 on Saturday, the
company said it was “offering” the women 10 hours a day rather than com­
pelling them to work these hours. No woman was counted as an absentee
if she worked 8 hours a day and 40 a week, and after 8 hours an employee
could leave the plant without a pass.
The schedule of 9 hours a day, 3 hours Saturday, and 48 hours a week
was studied as a first period in Plant H, and the 10-hour day, 55-hour week
was studied as a second. All women in the occupational groups selected were
included in the study regardless of their length of employment. Inspectors,
however, were included in only the attendance-analysis phase of the study
because they were paid on an hourly basis and no production data were
available for them.
Plant H •employed part-time workers, chiefly as inspectors, but a few as
power-press operators. Some of these were single and married women of
all ages who, for personal reasons, could not work full time. Some worked
elsewhere and helped out in these departments in their spare hours. Average
hours worked per week by part-time inspectors ranged from 11.2 to 39. A
few minors were also employed, chiefly on inspection work. Part-time




130

women’s wartime hours of work

workers and the 16- and 17-year-old girls were not included in the detailed
study, as the hours of neither corresponded to the schedules studied.
Plant J did not have a fixed schedule of hours for all workers in the
department studied. Different occupational groups and individuals from
time to time worked different hours, depending on the flow of work, and on
adjustments made for the individual. (The majority of women in an oc­
cupational group usually worked a fixed schedule, but individual schedules
could be arranged through the foreman.) Because there were such individual
variations in hours in Plant J and not all workers changed schedules at the
same time, it was necessary for the Bureau’s agents to check the hour sched­
ules of individual women and to select for study those women who had
worked certain contrasting hour schedules over extended periods. The 6
weeks chosen as a first period for individual women were not necessarily
the same weeks for all women, but were weeks in which a woman was sched­
uled to work 7% or 7% hours a day and 42y2 or 43 hours a week; similarly
the second 6-week period of a 9%'hour-day, 47%-hour-week schedule did
not necessarily cover identical weeks. The 7%-42%-hour schedule resulted
when a 24-minute lunch period under the 7%-43 schedule was lengthened
to 30 minutes.
In the 42%-43-hour period women worked on a rotating-day-and-nightshift basis, working on the day shift one week and on the night shift the
next. They were permitted to change off with other workers on the day or
night shifts, if they could made the arrangement. In the second period, under
the 9%-4714-hour schedule, there was only a day shift.
The procedure followed in the study of productive efficiency in Plant J
differed from the procedure followed in any other plant. Only one 6-week
period in the summer of 1944 was covered and comparisons made of the
efficiency of women doing substantially the same type of work but working
different hours, one group working under a 71/4-421/4-hour schedule and
another on a 9:(4-471/2-hour schedule. This was done because changes in
piece rates prevented a comparative study of production in the periods
studied for attendance. The women included in the study of productive
efficiency were a select group who had been on the schedule under which
they were studied for at least two months prior to the weeks studied.
A resume of the periods studied in both Plant H and Plant J follows:
Period

Schedule
PLANT II

1st period:
March-May 1943 (6 weeks)
9-hour day, 3-hour Saturday, 5%-day
48-hour week
2d period :•
September-November 1943 (6 weeks)
10-hour day, 5-hour Saturday, 514day 55-hour week

7 a.m.-5 p.m. (1-hour lunch period)
Saturday—7 a.m-10 a.m.
Plant open Saturday for make-up time
7 a.m.-6 p.m. (1-hour lunch period)
Saturday—7 a.m.-12 noon

PLANT J
1st period:1
July-Sepfeember 1944; March-May
Day shift: 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
1943 (6 -weeks)
(24- or 30-minute lunch period)
7% or 7 3/5-hour day, 5-hour Saturday, Saturday—7 a.m.-12 noon
514-day 42(4- or 43- hour week
Night shift: 3 p.m.-ll p.m.
(24- or 30-minute lunch period)
Saturday—12 noon-5 p.m.




PLANTS H & J

2d period: ‘ july-September 1944; October-November 1943 (6 weeks)
972-hour day, 5-day 47%-hour week

131

7 a.m.-5 p.m. (30-minute lunch period)
No night shift

1 Six consecutive weeks were studied for each woman, but dates of periods varied.

EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON WORKERS' HOME LIFE
THE HOUSEHOLD AND HOME RESPONSIBILITIES

Fewer than one-tenth of the women workers studied in Plants H and J
were under 20 years of age. The remainder were fairly evenly distributed
in the several age brackets above 20—25 to 35, 35 to 45, and 45 and older.
Almost three-fourths of the women in Plant H were or had been married,
less than half in Plant J.
. With few exceptions women workers lived in households of their own or
in their parents homes. The majority of married women interviewed had
all or major responsibility for the household duties; in a few families, duties
were shared. Single women living with parents did not carry as heavy a
load of household duties; they usually “helped” with household tasks and
took care of their own clothes and room.
About half the woinen in Plant H who were or had been married had
children under 14 years of age at home. Fifteen percent had 2 children,
and 14 percent had 1 child, but some had as many as 6. During the
mother’s absence the children were usually cared for by the husband, whc
worked on a night shift, or by another relative. In a few instances, no adult
was at home when children returned from school.
The usual comment made by women workers when Plant II shifted from
a 9-hour to a 10-hour day by changing the closing hour from 5 to 6 p. m.
was that this made the supper hour late. For married women the change
meant difficulties with marketing, less time for housework at night, less
time for leisure on Saturdays and Sundays. With the privilege of leaving,
if necessary, after 8 hours of work, regardless of hours scheduled, some
women did occasionally leave early to do their shopping. Others put major
purchasing off until Saturday. Among single girls without household re­
sponsibilities, the feeling of continuous rush under the 10-hour-day sched­
ule to get necessary personal matters attended to produced a general state
of tiredness, so that they “did not feel like going out at night.”
Plant J women, in the first period, worked five 71/2-7%-hour days and
a 5-hour Saturday, alternating day and night shift weekly. One week a
woman worked from 7 a. m. to 3 p. m.; the next week, from 3 p. m. to
11 p. m. Saturday hours for the night shift were 12 noon to 5 p. m. In the
second period the day was from 7 a. m. to 5 p. m.; there was no Saturday
work and no night shift.
A young girl of 20 years living with her father, mother, and sister made
this statement about the effect of the foregoing schedules in Plant J on
family life:
The 7%-hour rotating schedule was very inconvenient both for me and my house­
hold. First, it meant mother getting irregular meals every other week and caused
disturbance in her sleeping hours, as well as mine, as I did not get home until 1:30
a.m. Under the 9(4-hour schedule I can help with the ironing on Saturdays and get
personal things done, so I can play over the week end.

Other young women objected to the night schedule because it prevented
them from going out evenings with their friends. They liked having Satur­




women’s wartime hours of work

132

day off, so that they could do all their personal work on that day and still
have time for fun over the week end. The two additional hours of work
a day seemed less burdensome to them than working Saturdays and alternat­
ing day and night shifts. While some young women seemed to have no
difficulty in changing sleeping and eating hours every week, about half the
women interviewed could not make the physical adjustment and reported
that they were more tired than on a longer workday.
Married women reacted differently to the night shifts. A Mrs. D., keeping
house for a husband and 17-year-old daughter, said:
I liked working from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. as I could get all my housework finished.
I get up at 8:30, get breakfast, do the dishes, make the beds, do marketing, get
everything ready for supper, and on washdays wash clothes. My daughter makes
the supper for my husband when she gets home from school. It’s easier for me than
to get up at 5 a.m. when I must get to work at 7 a.m.

A young wife, who had a mother to assist her in the care of her baby
and the house, when on the night shift went to bed at 12:30 a. m., got up
at 6 a. m. to feed the baby, and then went back to bed again. But she liked
the rotating shift, stating that:
The night shift is better for doing the things I want to do in the daytime and
gives me more time with the baby, while the day shift permits me to make some
dates.

An older wife, who did the major part of her housework, reported:
I found that the rotating shift on the 7 3/5-hour day was too hard on me. I had
to get up early to get my husband off to work. I would come home at 11:30, tired
but not sleepy. I couldn’t get to sleep right away, but I had to get up at 5:30 a. m.
Also I hated to work those 5 hours on Saturday afternoons. By the time I got my
marketing done Saturday mornings, there was no time for housework. While I
liked the 7%-hour day, I’d rather work 2 hours extra daily and have Saturday free.
TIME OF RISING AND OF RETIRING

Working on the day shift, which began at 7 a. m., usually meant getting
up from 5:15 to 6:30 a. m. for Plant J workers. Most of the women wTent to
work by trolley or by bus, requiring an hour to an hour and a half for the
round trip. A few had to spend 2 to 3 hours each day in travel. Those living
within walking distance of the factory did not need more than 40 minutes
for travel to and from the plant. For the larger number, the day away from
home was 9 to 10 hours during the 7%-hour-day period. In this period,
women workers went to bed from 9:15 to 11:30 p. m. Most of the women
had an over-all day of 16 to 17 hours.
When working on the night shift, time of rising varied from 5:30 a. m.
to 12 noon, and time of retiring was usually 12:30 a. m. The night shift
meant a shorter over-all day for many workers, as they reported a day of
under 16 hours.
When these women went on a 91/o-hour factory schedule, there was no
change in the time of rising. For many there was no change in the retiring
hour; the 2 additional hours spent at the factory were 2 hours taken away
from work or recreation at home. Others went to bed earlier, as they were
tired, and still others stayed up a half hour or an hour longer than during
the shorter workday. The result was that as many had an over-all day of
17 to 18 hours as had a day of 16 to 17 hours.
In Plant H the beginning hour was 7 a. m. in both periods studied, the
closing hour was 5 p. m. under the 9-hour day and 6 p. m. under the 10hour day. Women arose at the same hour in both periods—between 5 and
6:15. Half the women lived within walking distance of the plant and needed
from 10 minutes to V/i hours to get to and from work. Those traveling by




PLANTS H & J

133

bus required 1 to 1% hours for the round trip. The larger number reached
home at 5:30 or 5:45 p. m. in the first period, and at 6:30 p. m. or later
under the 10-hour schedule. Sixty percent of the women were away from
home 10 to 11 hours under the 9-hour day. Under the 10-hour day this
time away from home was increased to 11 or 12 hours for 55 percent of the
women and to 12 or 13 hours for 45 percent of the women. The same varia­
tions in retiring hours occurred among these women as among Plant J
workers: some went to bed at the same time, regardless of the workday;
others went to bed earlier under the 10-hour day; and some went to bed
later. The larger group had an over-all day of 16 to 17 hours under each
hour schedule, while 35 percent had a day of less than 16 hours under the
10-hour schedule as compared with 19 percent who had a day of less than
16 hours under the 9-hour-work schedule. The over-all day for 38 percent
under the 9-hour day, and 25 percent under the 10-hour day was 17 hours or
more.
WORKERS' PREFERRED FACTORY HOURS
Preferred Hours

When asked what hours they preferred to work, 40 percent of the women
interviewed from Plant H preferred a 5-day week, although differing as to
whether it was to be a 9-hour day or a day of 8 hours or less. Among those
wishing a 51/2-day week, half wanted a 9-hour day and a third a longer day.
Overtime was paid for Saturday work only when 40 hours had been worked
during the 5 previous days. Altogether, 50 percent wanted a 9-hour day,
13 percent a 10-hour day, and about 25 percent an 8- or 814- and 8- or
9-hour day. With respect to weekly hours, 40 percent wanted 45 or fewer,
40 percent wanted 48 to 50 hours, and 20 percent wanted 53 or 55 hours.
Women wanting the 514-day week stated that at the present rate of pay
they “must work overtime to meet the needs of the family,” even though
they would “prefer the 5-day week;” or, “while husband is in service, I’ll
work long hours to save;” or, “I prefer to work the 55-hour week because
of the overtime, to save for the time when there will not be work.” Others
believed they would prefer to lose the overtime pay, for they would feel
better and have more time with their families on an 8-hour day.
The group of women studied in Plant J were women who had chosen to
work the 714- or 7%-hour day in the first period and the 914-hour day in
the second period. When asked the hours they preferred, almost half gave
preference to the 914-hour day for 5 days a week, in part because the
shorter workday schedule also involved a weekly rotating shift liked by
only one girl interviewed, in part because the 914-hour schedule eliminated
Saturday work and meant overtime pay for 714 instead of 214 or 3 hours.
Of those interviewed, a fourth preferred an 8- or 814-hour day and 40-,
42%-, or 45-hour week. The 7%-hour day with 5-hour Saturday was pre­
ferred by a fifth of the women workers, whereas some wished fewer hours
than 40 per week.
Gross Earnings in Relation to Hours

As just stated, some women in Plant H worked a 5 1/2-day week, or a
week of more than 40 hours, because they wanted or needed the amounts
earned at the overtime rate of time and one-half. Plant H did not pay over­
time until women had worked 40 hours. Under the 9-hour day and 48-hour
week, women pieceworkers in the departments studied earned an average
of $27.75 per week for the 44.7 hours actually worked. In the 10-hour day




134

women’s wartime hours of work

55-hour-week period, they averaged earnings of $31.88 per week for 47.6
hours worked.
Almost half of the selected group studied in Plant J preferred the 9 1/2hour day 47 1/2-hour week to a shorter schedule. When the longer schedule
was in effect, women averaged 42.9 hours of work and earned $35.72 a
week. Under the shorter 7 1/2-hour day, the hours worked were 38.4 per
week and the earnings averaged $32.80.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON
WORKERS' FACTORY PERFORMANCE
ATTENDANCE RECORD
Attendance

As already stated, the group studied for attendance data in Plant H was
larger than that studied for productive efficiency because inspectors included
in the attendance group were paid on a time-work basis and could not there­
fore be included in an analysis of efficiency based on piecework earnings.
All women in each occupational group, except part-time workers and minors
who did not work the scheduled hours of the department, are included in
the attendance analysis.
When Plant H changed from an 8- to a 9-hour-day schedule with a 3-hour
Saturday, all women who came late or left early on any day during the
week could make up this lost time on Saturday, as the plant remained open
throughout the day. The company permitted this arrangement mainly because
of the women’s transportation difficulties and home demands. The inspectors
availed themselves of the privilege to an extent that permitted them to make
up a fourth of the entire time lost in the 9-48-hour period studied. Even so,
among these time workers there was a loss of almost 10 hours per 100
possible man-hours of work during a 6-week period under the 9-48-hour
schedule, attributable in part to the loss of 1, 2, or 3 weeks by 10 percent of
the time workers and the average loss by 20 percent of over a half day per
week in the weeks they did work. As a consequence, the average length of
absences not made up was 14.7 hours in duration under the 9-48-hour
schedule. Pieceworkers, too, made up an average of about 4 hours in the
9-48-hour period by working additional time on 3 out of 6 Saturdays.
Even so, lost time not made up equaled 7.6 hours per 100 possible man­
hours of work, and absences averaged about 8 hours in duration and
3 per woman.
When the departments covered in Plant H went on a 10-hour day 55-hour
week, women were not permitted to make up time on Saturday. However,
if they worked 8 hours a day and 40 a week, they were not counted absent.
The over-all time lost by time workers increased to 15.8 hours per 100
possible man-hours. Almost all time workers (96.5 percent) lost time, as
compared to 63 percent in the 48-hour period when hours could be made
up. The proportion of pieceworkers absent increased similarly from 75 in
the 48-hour period to 93 percent in the 55-hour period and the hours lost
increased to 18.7 out of every 100 possible man-hours of work. The number
of absences increased materially for both time and pieceworkers, chiefly
because the 10-hour schedule was not compulsory, and many women never
worked more than a 9-hour day, but also because there was a material
increase in bona fide absences during weeks worked that averaged more
than a whole day per week and that averaged more than a half day. How­




135

PLANTS H & J

ever, the large number of 1-hour losses brought the average length of
absence down to less than 4 hours, as compared with the average 10-hour
length of absences under the 9-48-hour schedule. The firm’s policy, when it
established a 10-hour day 55-hour week, of not counting a woman absent
if she worked an 8-40-hour week, resulted in a 48-hour week actually being
worked by women in the departments studied during the weeks each woman
was at work.
Table I.—Percent of Women Losing Time Under Different Scheduled Hours, Average
Number and Length of Their Absences, and Hours Lost by Total Number of
Women Studied per 100 Possible Man-hours, for Time Workers and Piece
Workers — Plants H and J
Women losing time

Percent

Average
number
of
absences

Average
hours
per
absence

hours of 1

Number

V-> S n
* S * S g

women pe
possible n

number
of
women
studied

H ours los
to tal num l

Period studied and
scheduled hours
(piece workers and
time workers)

PLANT H
1st period (9-48 hours)........
Piece workers ...............
Time workers ...............

121
64
57

1 84
48
36

69.4
75.0
63.2

3.0
3.3
2.6

10.4
7.9
14.7

8.7
7.6
9.9

2d period (10-55 hours)........
Piece workers ............. .
Time workers ...............

128
71
57

121
66
55

94.5
93.0
96.5

14.7
15.4
13.9

3.7
3.9
3.5

17.4
15.8

PLANT J
1st period (piece workers)
(7/2-42/2; 7 3/5-43 hours)

88

81

92.0

6.0

5.3

11.3

2d period (piece workers)
(9J4-47J4 hours> .................

67

67

100.0

8.6

4.3

13.0

1 Women who made up all absences by working Saturdays are not included.

Plant J had a liberal policy of permitting hour adjustments for the indi­
vidual convenience of women workers. However, women chosen for study
in the first period were regularly scheduled to work 7 1/2 or 7 3/5 hours
daily and 5 hours on Saturday and a 42 1/2- or 43-hour week. In the second
period women who were scheduled to work a 9 1/2-hour day 47 1/2-hour
week were studied. In spite of the permissible adjustment of hours and
the short weekly hours scheduled, almost all women lost time in both
periods. In the 42 1/2-hour week period, 11.3 hours were lost per 100
man-hours of work; in the 47 1/2-hour period, 13 hours per 100 possible
man-hours were lost. Only relatively small proportions of women lost a week
or more of time during each of two periods studied, but also only a few lost
no time during the weeks worked. For over half the women, absences per
week averaged 1/2 day or less during each period. Nevertheless, the number
of absences averaged 6 per woman in the 42 1/2-hour period, and 8.6 per
woman in the 47 1/2-hour period. The weekly average of hours worked was
38.4 in the 42 1/2-hour period and 42.9 in the 47 1/2-hour period during
weeks worked, that is, about 10 percent of scheduled hours were lost, even
though arranged to suit the convenience of the individual worker.
698249°—»7—Iff




Attendance record of women within weeks of
partial or full attendance

Numb 2r who los a week or more

57
100.0

22
38.6

23
40.4

7
12.3

5
8.8

45.2

] 127
100.0

7
5.5

48
37.8

42
33.1

30
23.6

48.0

71
100.0

5
7.0

24
33.8

23
32.4

19
26.8

47.6

1 56
100.0

2
3.6

24
42.9

19
33.9

11
19.6

48.6

88
100.0

8
9.1

45
51.1

18
20.5

17
19.3

38.4

67
100.0
of women studied because one woman was absent all 6 weeks studied in the period.

1
1.5

36
53.7

22
32.8

8
11.9

42.9

1

day
1

T otal
num ber

6

3

2

1

weeks

Over
day

44.7

O ver yz day
and including

5
7.8

£

or less

16
25.0

<

26
40.6

|SS

womei

17
26.6

5

64
100.0

weeks

44.9

•S&S

weeks

10
8.3

G O
£

week:

23
19.0

p

week

49
40.5

§°g.

Total

39
32.2

V

S Sc
O > <u
J- £
Sfl cn
S’S'*
"Ci Si
t> O *
< K. >

PLANT H
1st period (9-48 hours) :
Number ..................................
Percent ..................................
Piece workers:
Number ..................................
Percent ..................................
Time workers:
Number ..................................
Percent ..................................
2d period (10-55 hours):
Number ..................................
Percent ..................................
Piece workers:

121
100.0

64

100.0

57
100.0

128

100.0

71
100.0

Time workers:
Number ..................................
Percent ..................................

57

100.0

111

2

91.7

8.3

5.0

60
93.8

4
6.3

6.3

51
89.5

1.7

1.7

3.5

3.5

106
82.8

22

12

17.2

9.4

7
5.5

0.8

0.8

56
78.9

15
21.1

12.7

5.6

1.4

,
1.4

50
87.7

7
12.3

3
5.3

3
5.3

1

1

1
0.8

*

1.8

PLANT J
1st period
(754-42V4; 7 3/5-43 hours):
Number (piece workers).............
Percent .............................................
2d period (914-47*4 hours):
Number (piece workers).............
Percent ...................... ......................

-

1 Total• is less than total number




88
100.0

83
94.3

5.7

67

57
85.1

14.9

100.0

10

1
1.1

3
34

7
10 4

1.5

1

1

1.1

2
3.0

w om en ’s wartime hours of work

Vt day

Number of women
whose average time
lost per week in
weeks attended was—

N um ber with
no lost tim e in
weeks attended

cii’C
.3 rt 4)

121
100.0

Period studied and
scheduled hours
(piece workers and
time workers)

136

Table II. — Analysis of Time Lost By Women Workers Under Different Scheduled Hours — Long-term Absences (whole weeks lost) and Short-term
Absences (time lost within weeks attended), for Time Workers and Piece Workers — Plants H and J

PLANTS H & J

137

Tardiness

In reviewing all time counted by the firms as tardiness, it would appear
the longer workday in Plant H increased the lateness, in number of women
affected, in number of times incurred, and in number of minutes late. For
under the 10-hour schedule over half the women were late, as compared
with one-third under the 9-hour schedule. The average number of latenesses
increased from 2.4 to 4.5 and their length from 10 minutes to 16 minutes
per person.
In Plant J, where hours were arranged for workers’ convenience, 75 per­
cent of the women studied in the first period, as compared with 70 percent
in the second period, were late at some time. Even under the 7 1/2- or 7 3/5hour day in the first period, these women averaged 7 latenesses per woman,
the latenesses averaging 12 minutes. Under the O/v-hour-day schedule they
averaged, per woman, almost 12 latenesses of an average duration of 14
minutes. Apparently, when allowed some freedom in time of arrival even
though hours are fixed for the majority, the inclination is toward greater
irregularity in time of arrival than when held to a starting time set for all.
A special analysis was made of the steadier workers—those in the groups
studied who came to work every week in the two periods studied. In Plant H,
almost 25 percent lost no time in the 9-48-hour period, and 60 percent lost
an average of half day or less. In the 10-55-hour period only 6 percent lost
no time whatsoever and 36 percent lost 1/2 day or less, 38 percent lost
1/2 to 1 day, and 19 percent lost over 1 dav.
_ In Plant J the increase of 2 hours in daily hours brought with it a decided
increase in the proportion who were out over 1/2 day to one day a week,
but a slight decrease in the proportion losing a half day or less.
Pay Day in Relation to Attendance

The relation of pay day to absenteeism was analyzed in Plant H. Pay day
was on Friday. Saturday, in the first period, was a 3-hour day with lost
time make-up privileges, and in the second period was a 5-hour day. About
one-third of the time workers did not appear on one or more Saturdays in
the first period and about one-fourth missed a Saturday in the second period.
Saturdays lost were 6 percent of all possible Saturdays in each period and
accounted for 4 percent of all time lost by time workers in either period.
In both periods piece workers were absent more frequently on Saturday
than time workers, 42 and 36 percent missing a Saturday in the first and
second periods, respectively; not only were more women absent, but they
were absent 11 to 13 percent of the possible Saturdays in each period.
However, this Saturday absence of piece workers accounted for but 9 per­
cent of all their lost time in the first period and 6 1/2 percent in the
second period.
Causes of Lost Time

The reasons for absences were recorded by Plant H only during the
second period but were available for both periods in Plant J. Of time lost in
Plant H under the 55-hour schedule 61 percent was reported as due to
personal illness, 13 percent to other personal reasons, and 11 percent was
occasioned by visiting service relatives.
Calls at the medical department in Plant H indicated colds as the chief
nonindustrial ailment treated in the first period. Individual statements of
women workers disclosed cases of grippe, colitis, “back pain,” “splitting
headache,” “too tired to get up.” Among personal reasons for absences
were: “I had to take the children to the dentist or to the doctor.” “I was




138

women’s wartime hours of work

married and had a 2 weeks’ honeymoon from work.'’ The majority of women
interviewed said they worked unless they were sick. However, the following
are typical reasons for absenteeism under the 10-hour day:
Health would not stand up under the 10-hour day.
I leave early, as there would be no one to care for the children if I did not get
home by 5:45 p.m.
My husband wants hot meals, so I must shop on my way home and shops close at
6 p.m.
I worked 10 hours a day until I got married. Now I need that extra hour at home.

Calls at the medical department in Plant H indicated that cuts, and getting
foreign bodies into the hands and eyes were the chief accidents. There was
little difference, however, between the number of accidents in the first and
in the second period studied.
Minor differences existed as between causes of absence in Plant J under
the l 1/2- and under the 9 1/2-hour day. However, the numbers involved
who gave accidents or family illness as reasons is too small to relate to the
hours worked. It must be remembered that the short hours came during a
period of rotating shift, that is, women worked from 7 a. m. to 3 p. m. for
one week and from 3 p. m. to 11 p. m. the following week. Only 1 woman
interviewed preferred this rotation. Some objected to it because the trans­
portation was difficult at night, others because they had difficulty adjusting
their hours to those of the people with whom they went out. Many said they
could not make the weekly change easily because they felt exhausted through
sleeping different hours, because of changing mealtimes, lack of recreation,
neglect of home duties.
Table III. — Causes of Lost Time Under Different Scheduled Hours — Plants H and J
Plant H i

Plant J

2d period (10-55 hours)

1st period
(7/2-42/2, or
7 3/5 - 43 hours)

2d period
(9/2-47/2 hours)

Causes of lost time
Women
losing
time

Total
hours
lost

Women
losing
time

Total
hours
lost

Women
losing
time

Total
hours
lost

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Total women losing time..

121

Total reporting causes.......

2 73

100.0

2 61

100.0

2 53

100.0

Personal:
Illness ..............................
Other ................................

39
15

61.2
12.9

22
35

35.8
54.9

20
32

36.3
40.5

2
3

13
5.9

1

11.4

5
1

10.5
2.4

Industrial accident .............

1

4.1

2

47

Lateness (over 15 minutes)

30

1.7

30

7.1

Family:
Illness ............................ .
Home duties .................
Visiting service
relatives ...........
Moving ............................

81

35

67

9.3

1 No data available for first period.
a Details add to more than total because some women report more than one cause of absence.




PLANTS H & J

139

PRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY
Nature of the Job

In the departments studied in both H and J Plants, women worked on
light machining operations, bench assembly, and visual and gage inspection.
Each experienced worker had her own job, but was also called on to do
other tasks to ensure an even flow of production.
The majority of Plant H women included in the study operated drill
presses, kick presses, and power presses, or worked as bench assemblers or
inspectors. A few operated other types of machines, such as hand milling
machines, small hand screw machines, tapping machines, semiautomatic
riveting machines, and semiautomatic punch presses. The machine operations
required eye, hand, and foot coordination. Bench assembly called for knowl­
edge of a variety of chain assembly patterns and considerable finger dexterity
and speed. Both visual and gage inspection required close observation and
alertness.
Most of the Plant H women worked on small parts and subassemblies
weighing not more than 2 ounces, although a few parts weighed up to
14 ounces. Women assembling completed chain lengths worked with heavier
parts, most chains weighing 2 to 3 pounds, a few up to 5 pounds. However,
the only lifting was occasioned by coiling and placing a completed chain
length on a wooden tray at the end of the workbench. The actual inspection
of completed chain lengths, that varied in weight from 1 1/4 pounds to
10 pounds, was done by sliding them along sheet-metal tables.
The connectors made in the department studied in Plant J were used for
making a great variety of war equipment. Almost all the workers in the
department were women who did the light machining, subassembly, final
assembly, and inspection involved in making the completed connectors. The
jobs were mainly light hand operations, bench assembly, visual and gage
inspection, and light machining operations on drill presses, foot presses,
and small bench devices or fixtures.
Hand operations included sorting bakelite inserts coming from the plastic
molding department; removing flash from inserts with a curved-blade knife;
tinning ends of pins and contacts in pots of molten tin; subassembly and
final assembly of connectors, greasing threads on connectors prior to pack­
ing, and visual and ga?e inspection. Light machine operations involved
use of single spindle drill presses, to drill, countersink, chamfer, spot drill,
and flash small metal parts, bakelite inserts, pins, and contacts. Small-sized
foot presses were used to cut, blank, and form bakelite and metal parts.
Small hand-operated bench fixtures were used to size, insert, and properly
locate small parts, to test the tension of metal contacts, and so forth.
All jobs were individually paced, and the women worked at a moderate
speed without tension or pressure. All the jobs were simple and for the
most part could be performed in a very routine, repetitive fashion. Machin­
ing operations required mainly eye, hand, and foot coordination. Hand
operations required mainly finger dexterity. Inspection required finger
dexterity and mental alertness. All the work was very liarht, as completed
connectors only weighed from 1/4 ounce to 4 ounces. All stock and parts
were carried to and from workers by stock boys. The maioritv of workers
were seated, and those who did stand were usually provided with seats for
occasional use. The workers were allowed to come and go pretty much
as they chose, as long as there was no serious infraction of company regula­
tions. There was a general air of informality in the shop, some women
cooking coffee on hot plates, radios playing, and considerable conversation
going on.




140

women’s wartime hours of work

Performance on the Job

Both Plants H and J operated the light machine and bench-assembly
departments studied on an individual incentive or piecework basis, and
average hourly piecework earnings are used as a measure of efficiency in
these plants. Both plants paid a guaranteed minimum rate to new workers,
to pieceworkers who did not average as much as the minimum, and to
pieceworkers temporarily placed on an hourly rated job. The guaranteed
minimum in Plant J was 50 cents an hour, in Plant H, 45 and 50 cents
in the first period and 55 cents in the second. Plant H paid time allow­
ances to workers when piecework was interrupted by setting up a new
job, machine breakdown, defective parts, bad stock, failure of power, and
so forth. Plant J allowed workers no waiting time; instead, when a machine
broke down, or when there was a material shortage, the worker was shifted
to another job. These time allowance payments in Plant H have been added
to piecework earnings for purposes of discussing effiiciency, as the time
was included in productive hours. However, in both plants overtime pay­
ments and any “make-up” to bring piecework earnings to the guaranteed
minimum have been deducted.
It will be recalled that these plants attempted to adjust hours to women
workers’ convenience. Plant H permitted Saturday make-up time in the
9-48-hour period, and made no record of absence in the 10-55-hour period
if a woman worked an 8-hour day and 40-hour week. Plant J allowed indi­
vidual schedules of hours of which the 7-*4-42*4 and 91/2-471/9 schedules
were studied. Under these arrangements workers in Plant H varied their
weekly hours worked by only 3 hours—or from 44.9 to 48 in weeks worked
—when the schedule called for a difference of 7 hours; and in Plant J the
actual difference was a matter of 44/9 hours a week—the difference between
38.4 and 42.9 hours. Obviously comparisons of production under widely
different hours of work per week were not possible.
Performance on the Job — Plant H

The majority of women in Plant H worked on foot presses, power presses,
and drill presses, as inspectors, as bench assemblers building chains by
hand, in racks, and lacing chains by hand on work tables. All these workers
were paid on an individual incentive basis, except inspectors who were paid
by the hour. Inspectors, therefore, were included only in the attendance
analysis and are not included in the discussions of efficiency.
The standard base rate used in setting piece rates on machine operations
was 52.8 cents; on bench assembly 45 cents. Higher earnings of machine
operators would be due to this difference in base rates rather than to a
difference in efficiency, and lb'1 two occupational groups are therefore shown
separately in table IV.
The influence of experience on output is shown in table IV. Although
the small numbers of workers reported in some categories at times permit
individual differences in production speed to obliterate the experience curve,
it is obvious that the guaranteed minimum rates of 45 and 50 cents in the
first period and 55 cents in the second period were not generally attained
until 6 months of work experience had been gained.
Reviewing the production record of experienced machine operators alone,
as measured by piecework earnings, there appears to be little difference in
output as between the 48-hour and the 55-hour schedule. Total hours worked
were increased by only 3.3, from 45.7 under the first to 49 under the
second schedule, 44.8 and 48 of which, respectively, were on piecework.
This slight increase had no noticeable influence on the individual efficiency




PLANTS H & J

141

of experienced machine operators, who reported that they knew just how
much they had to do on different jobs to make the amount they considered
their usual earnings; if they could not make out, it often was because “the
stock was bad.”
The machine operators with 6 weeks’ to 6 months’ experience had a
decrease in average hourly earnings from 52.1 cents under the 48-hour
schedule to 42.9 cents under the 55-hour schedule. Total actual hours worked
increased only 3.1 hours, from 44.2 to 47.3, and hours on piecework actually
decreased from 39.8 to 38.3.
Many women expected to earn a fixed amount which ranged from 55 cents
an hour to $1 an hour. Their ideas are reflected to some extent in actual
performance as shown by piecework earnings. For example, in the experi­
enced group of 5 women who worked on both machine operations and
bench assembly during the same weeks in the first period, the individual
range in piece earnings was from 47 to 81.9 cents. In the 10-hour-schedule
period these 5 and 2 other women who were on both types of work had
earnings ranging from 56.6 to 92.5 cents an hour. The increase in average
earnings from 66.3 to 71.6 cents for this small group is a matter of indi­
vidual performance rather than one of hours worked, for there was a
difference of only 1 hour in actual hours worked.
Because some women did not work the 10-hour day in the second period
but remained on the 9-hour day, they had no comment to offer concerning
the relative difference in their performance. About 3/4 of those who did
work both a 10-hour day and a 9-hour day reported no difference in their
efficiency even though they were more tired under the 10-hour schedule.
One woman said it was the additional overtime pay that made them think
they produced as much per hour on the 10- as on the 9-hour day. Plant pro­
duction statistics, as well as the individual women’s statements, indicate that
under a voluntary schedule in which only a few women worked 10 hours
regularly, there was too little difference in over-all weekly hours to effect
any appreciable change in individual efficiency.
Performance on the Job — Plant J

All jobs studied in Plant J were on an individual piecework basis. There
were many revisions in piece rates during 1943 and the first half of 1944.
The temporary rates, set on new jobs in accordance with established policy,
were later adjusted as manufacturing methods were fully developed and
operators attained normal speed. By June 1944 practically all operations
were believed to be properly timed so that the average operator could earn
60 cents an hour—the standard base used in setting piece rates—on any
operation. Since piecework earnings were to be used as a measure in the
comparative study of production, the foregoing adjustment of piece rates
made it necessary to study a period other than the one studied for attend­
ance. It was decided to take a 6-week period in the summer of 1944 and
to compare the production records of women doing substantially the same
type of wrork at the same time but working different schedules—either
7%-42% hours or 9%-47% hours. Plant J is the only one in which the two
schedules compared for productive efficiency fell in the same period.
The experienced workers averaged 38.4 hours under the 42%-hour
schedule and 42.8 under the 47%-hour schedule, or 90 percent of the
possible man-hours under each schedule. Hours spent on piecework were
37.5 under 42% hours and 39.3 under 47%, a difference of just 1.8 hours.
This resulted in slightly lower average hourly earnings for those working




142
Table IV.— Individual Efficiency by Length of Experience in Occupation, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Occupation — Plants H and J
Length of time in occupation
1 year or more

Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

Efficiency
(average
hourly
piece­
work
earnings,
in cents)

Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

Efficiency
(average
hourly
piece­
work
earnings,
in cents)

PLANT H
Machine operators:
1st period (9-48 hours).............................................................................
2d period (10-55 hours).............................................................................

48
52

44.6
47.6

41.0
42.6

58.5
58.0

18
20

45.7
49.0

44.8
48.0

76.8
77.3

Bench assemblers:
1st period (9-48 hours).............................................................................
2d period (10-55 hours).............................................................................

8
7

44.3
51.2

40.5
41.1

46.5
48.5

5
3

44.4
52.2

43.0
50.8

55.5
64.0

Machine operators and bench assemblers:
1st period (9-48 hours)............................................................................
2d period (10-55 hours)............. ...............................................................

7
10

44.6
45.7

42.0
44.3

60.0
72.0

5
7

44.6
45.6

43.8
45.2

66.3
71.6

36.1

84.2
80.1

33
34

38.4
42.8

37.5
39.3

84.5
80.1

PLANT J i
Machine operators, assemblers,
and inspectors:
1st group (7J4-42J4 hours).....................................................................
2d group (9^2-47/2 hours).......................................................................




48
43

37.1
42.8

39.5

w o m e n ’s w a r t im e h o u r s o f w o r k

Occupation, period studied,
and scheduled hours

Length of time in occupation
6 weeks, less than 6 months

6 months, less than 1 year
Occupation, period studied,
and scheduled hours
Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

Efficiency
(average
Number Average
hourly
of
weekly
piece­
hours
work
women
worked
earnings,
studied
in cents)

Less than 6 weeks

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

Efficiency
(average
hourly
piece­
work
earnings,
in cents)

Number Average
of
weekly
hours
women
studied
worked

Efficiency
Average ■ (average
weekly
hourly
hours
piece­
.on
work
piece­
earnings,
work
in cents)

Machine operators:
1st period (9-48 hours)..........................
2d period (10-55 hours)..........................

44.7
45.2

43.6
43.4

44.2
47.3

39.8
38.3

52.1
42.9

9
10

43.3
46.4

34.9
38.8

37.6
43.1

50.1

48.6

40.2

3
2

44.2
50.8

36 3
19.0

31.4
33.5

2
1

49.8
62.5

44.8
45.3

37.3
43.7

44.4
66.8

32.4
43.2

31.0
40.3

82.0

Bench assemblers:

J

18
17

2

3
5

PLANTS H &

PLANT H

Machine operators and bench assemblers:
2d period (10-55 hours)..........................

2

46.2

41.5

75.9

PLANT J 1
Machine operators, assemblers,
and inspectors:
1st group (7*4-42/2 hours).
2d group (9J4-47J4 hours)..

9
3

35.5
41.6

34.6
40.1

84.6
82.3

1
1
j

6
6

79.1

1 In Plant J, one period was studied for production data contrasting two groups of women doing substantially the same type of work but working different sched­
uled hours.

143




144
Table V. — Summary of Possible Man-hours, Total Man-hours Worked, Total Man-hours Worked on Incentive Jobs, Efficiency, and Total Production,
Based on Totals for All Women Studied, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Occupation — Plants H and J

Occupation, period studied,
and scheduled hours

Number
of
women

Scheduled
hours

Possible
man-hours

Total
man-hours
worked

Total
man-hours
worked on
incentive
jobs

Efficiency
(average
hourly
production)

Total
production

100.0
127.0

100.0
112.8

100.0

100.0
103.4

100.0
115.0

100.0
100.1

100.0
99.5

100.0
94.6

100.0
95.1

100.0
90.0

PLANT H
Machine operators and assemblers:
1st period (9-48 hours)..............................................................
2d period (10-55 hours)..............................................................

100.0
109.5

100.0
114.6

111.1

PLANT J
Machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors:
1st group 1 (7/z-42l/2 hours)....................................................
2d group (9^j-47}4 hours)............................ ............................

100.0
89.6

100.0
111.8

1 In Plant J, one period was studied for production data, contrasting two groups of women doing substantially the same type of work but working different
scheduled hours.




women ’s wartime hours of work

Index numbers of-

PLANTS H & J

145

9*4 hours, their average being 80.1 cents as compared with 84.5 cents for
the 7%-hour workers.
Taking the group as a whole and disregarding the factor of experience,
hourly production was somewhat less among those working the 9 1/2-hour
day whose average hourly earnings dropped from 84.2 to 80.1 cents, as
shown in table IV. Actual hours worked in the 42 1/2- and 47 1/2-hour
periods were 37.1 and 42.8, respectively, of which 36.1 and 39.5, respectively,
were on piecework.
When women were questioned concerning the reasons for differences in
their earnings, the majority believed that being shifted from job to job
slowed down their speed. An analysis of production records of individual
women showed this contention had a factual basis. In the opinion of the
women, the hours they actually worked were not related to their efficiency.
We run short of work and must take the odd jobs. Our lack of work is because
the molding machine breaks down, or purchased pins and contacts do not arrive
on time, or some machine needs repairing. Then, you are put on a job at which you
are slow, and your earnings fall that day. The jobs are quickly learned, but you
have to get the “knack” to make speed.

Table IV would indicate that jobs in Plant J, which were light, were
quickly learned. Some women with less than 6 months’ experience could
earn more per hour than others with long experience.
Performance on the Job — Summary

In its effort to augment production, Plant H increased the scheduled hours
in the departments studied by 14.6 percent and the numbers of women
employed by 9 1/2 percent, thus making possible a 27-percent increase in
man-hours of work in the second period. This increase failed to materialize,
however. Instead of achieving the scheduled 55-hour week in the second
period, the women pieceworkers averaged 47.6 hours. The increase in total
man-hours worked barely exceeded the increase in numbers of women em­
ployed. Through a slight increase in efficiency, total production was in­
creased by 15 percent in the second period.
Although located in an area where an acute labor shortage existed, the
plant, by its policy of setting higher hour schedules but making no further
demands upon women if they worked 8 hours a day and 40 a week, main­
tained excellent morale among the workers and retained a nucleus of highly
experienced workers. The standard of individual efficiency maintained by
these workers unquestionably assisted new workers in gaining speed—much
more so than would have been possible under excessive turn-over.
One group studied for productive efficiency in Plant J worked a 7%42/4-hour schedule and the other group worked a 9%- 4714-hour schedule
representing an increase of 11.8 percent in scheduled hours. This increase
was offset by the slightly smaller number of women in the second group,
so that the possible man-hours of the 2 groups were actually the same.
The longer-day group made the poorer showing—in the number of hours
actually worked, in efficiency, and in total production.




146

women’s wartime hours of work

HARDWARE PACKERS — PLANT K
INTRODUCTION

Although specific war product items had been added to production,
1 lant is. continued to manufacture standard builders’ hardware, not only for
regular commercial uses but for the Army and Navy, producing some 8,000
items of different sizes and finishes. Located in a highly industrialized New
England area where sources of new labor supply were limited, it had only
the local community to draw upon for new workers and took minors and
part-time workers to help meet the wartime load. However, it had developed
a stable group of women workers, employed for many years, who remained
thiougii the war. More than half the women in the departments studied
had been employed for 5 years or more, while seven-eighths had been there
for 1 year or more.
The occupation chosen for study in this New England plant was the hand
operation of packing in the light-hardware-, bulk-, and screw-wrapping
departments. While there were thousands of different items, each requiring
specific attention in order to be packed correctly, no difference in the
character of the operations occurred during the war period.
Minors and part-time workers were excluded from all phases of the study.
All other women employed in the departments covered were included in the
study except that a few elderly women paid on a time basis had to be
excluded from the efficiency analysis.
The packing departments had been on a 48-hour week (five 9-hour days,
3 hours on Saturday) from January 1942 to March 1943, when a 50-hour
week was put into effect by requiring 5 hours work on Saturday. Two
months later, by adding an hour onto each of the other five days, a
55-hour week was instituted.
The two smaller departments—bulk packing and screw-wrapping—re­
mained on this schedule. The large, light-hardware-packing department,
however, in the summer of 1943 was allowed a 9-hour Friday (pay day)
so that the women could be off an hour early to shop, and in May 1944
went back to the old 9-hour day, 50-hour week.
Two separate sets of periods were therefore selected for study. A 50-hourweek period as a first, and a 55-hour-week period as a second, were chosen
for the bulk-packing and screw-wrapping departments. For the major, lighthardware-packing department a period in which the 54-hour week was in
effect was chosen as the first, and one in which the shorter 50-hour week
was in effect as the second.
During the periods studied the hour schedules were as follows:
Period
Schedule
Light hardware packing department
1st period:
March—May 1944 (6 weeks)
7 a.m,—6 p.m. or 5 p.m.
10 hours Monday-Thursday, 9 hours
(1-hour lunch period)
Friday, 5 hours Saturday, 5%-day
Saturday—7 a.m.-12 noon
54-hour week
2d period:
September-October 1944 (6 weeks)
7 a.m.-5 p.m.
9-hour day, 5-hour Saturday, 5%-day
(1-hour lunch period)
50-hour week
Saturday—7 a.m.-12 noon




PLANT K

147

Bulk-packing and screw-wrapping departments
1st period:
March-May 1943 (6 weeks)
7 a.m.-5 p.m.
9-hour day, 3-hour Saturday, 5%-day
(1-hour lunch period)
50-hour week
Satuiday—-7 a.m—12 noon
2d period:
October-December 1943 (6 weeks)
a.m.-6 p.m,
10-hour day, 5-hour Saturday, 514(1-hour lunch period)
day 55-hour week
Saturday—7 a.m.-12 noon
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON WORKERS' HOME LIFE

Even though about two-thirds of the women packers in Plant K were
single, the majority lived as members of family households. Only a very
few women packers were under 20 years of age; one-fifth were 45 years and
older, over a fifth from 35 years of age to 45 years, and over a third from
25 years to 35 years of age.
THE HOUSEHOLD

Because so many of the single women were mature women, their families
were usually composed of elderly fathers or mothers or both, sometimes
with brothers or sisters living at home. While the families ranged in size
from 2 to 5 persons, the usual family of these single women was made up
of 3 members, the worker herself and her father and mother, or herself,
father or mother, and a brother or sister. Single women living by themselves
also maintained a home even though no one shared the household.
The families of the married women were no larger in size, the range
here being from 2 co 6 members and the 2-person household occurring most
frequently. The typical 2-person household was a wife-husband, wife-son,
or wife-mother household. Children were usually the additional members
in households of 3 or more.
HOME RESPONSIBILITIES

The group of mature single women and married women may be con­
sidered as one in reviewing household duties, for almost all had some
household responsibility. About half did the major part of the work or
took general responsibility for seeing that it was done. The other half did
some work but did not take general responsibility. There were few young
children in the workers’ families. A shift of home responsibilities, in the
periods under study, was due primarily to changes in the composition of
the family rather than to ability to push duties onto other family members
when hours of work were lengthened.
The hour of additional work under the 10-hour schedule occurred at
the end of the day, since work in the factory began at 7 in the morning in
both periods. This brought the women home one hour later for supper.
Said a widow living with her mother, father, and son of high school age:
On the 9-hour day I work till 5. That means I get home at 5:30. I can shop on
the way home. I get an early supper. My mother is an invalid. So it means a lot­
to have that extra hour. On the 10-hour day, the shops were closed when I got out
of work at 6 p.m. Supper and everything else was an hour or more late.

A single woman of 30 reported:
When I got home at 5:20, I could have my supper ready by the time my father
got home. When my father and I both worked till 6 o’clock, he had to wait for

supper.




women’s wartime hours of work

148

Another woman living with her mother said:
’

On the 10-hour day I worked till 6 o’clock, so had no chance to shop. That meant
I either had to go without lunch or eat a sketchy lunch and buy my groceries at
noon. Now on the 9-hour day I do my shopping between 5 and 6 p.m. which is much
more convenient... If I went to the movies when I worked 10 hours, I would go to
sleep. On the 9-hour day I take out an occasional day and have supper downtown, go
to an early show, and am home by 10 o’clock.

TIME OF RISING AND OF RETIRING

To reach the plant at 7 o’clock these women had to get up from 4:45
a. m. to 6:15 a. m., about a fourth rising before 6 a. m. The larger number
walked to work, the distances being relatively short. The time away from
home did not exceed 11 hours for most of these women in the 9-hour period
and was increased an hour in the 10-hour period. Under the 9-hour schedule,
about as many retired at 10 or 10:15 p. m. as retired at 11 or 11:15 p. m.
Under the 10-hour schedule the time of retiring was not later for the
majority; in fact, there was a tendency among older women to go to bed
earlier after a longer workday.
In both periods the over-all hours of the workers’ day were from 16 to
17 for over half the women. Only for a few did the longer workday result
in 18 hours or more of activity.
WORKERS' PREFERRED FACTORY HOURS
PREFERRED HOURS

As has been stated, the majority of women packers were mature women
with family responsibilities. As their earnings were not large, overtime pay
was an important factor for many in their consideration of hours. A single
woman of 35 years, who turned over half her take-home earnings to her
family of 5, said:
If it were not for the overtime, I would prefer an 8-hour day with half day on
Saturday. On the 9-hour day I am still home early enough to go out in the evening.
I can do shopping between 5 and 6 p.m. If I gave up my 9-hour day and worked
only 8 hours, it would make about $6.30 difference in my weekly pay. I couldn’t get
along.

About three-fourths preferred a 5-day or 5 1/2-day week. Forty-seven
in every 100 said they would like to work 9 hours a day. Only 9 in everv
100 preferred a 10-hour day. Those liking a 6-day week wanted a day of
7 or 8 hours.
Concentration of preference was as follows:
8-hour day, 48-hour week—19 in every 100 women
9-hour day, 45-hour week—19 in every 100 women
9-hour day, 50-hour week—28 in every 100 women
GROSS EARNINGS IN RELATION TO HOURS

While workers were paid on a piece-rate basis, a guaranteed minimum
base rate was paid those whose production was inadequate for payment on
the piece-rate basis. This base rate also applied to jobs paid on a time basis.
A “scrap premium” was paid for finding defective parts while packing.
Overtime was paid for daily hours over 8 or weekly hours over 40.
Make-up pay, overtime pay, day-work earnings, and “scrap premiums”
were subtracted from total earnings to arrive at the average hourly piece­
work earnings which were used in this plant to analyze individual efficiency
and production. Gross earnings, however, influence the women workers’




149

PLANT K

preferences for specified hour schedules. When working on a schedule of a
9-hour day and 50-hour week, but actually averaging 45.7 hours during
weeks worked, gross earnings per week were $32.11. When working under
the 10-hour-day, 54- or 55-hour-week schedule but actually averaging 49.4
hours, gross earnings were $36.02. Considering the light-hardware-packing
department separately, gross earnings under the 10-hour and under the
9-hour schedules were $35.84 and $33.44 a week respectively—a difference
of $2.40.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON
WORKERS' FACTORY PERFORMANCE
ATTENDANCE RECORD

In the light-hardware-packing department, as noted in the introduction,
women worked 4 days of 10 hours, 9 hours on Friday and 5 hours on
Saturday, or a week of 54 hours, in the first period under study. In the
second period 9 hours were worked on 5 days and the 5-hour Saturday
continued, making a 50-hour week. The bulk-packing and screw-wrapping
departments made the opposite shift, that is, their hours were 50 per week
in the first period and 55 per week in the second period with 5 days at
10 hours and 5 hours on Saturday. Minors employed for both full and partr
time could not work longer than a 9-hour day, 48-hour week and were
therefore eliminated from the attendance tables. As their elimination reduced
the screw-wrapping and bulk-hardware-packing department personnel to so
few women that individual idiosyncrasies were not obliterated in the
statistics, the data on attendance in these departments have been tabulated
by combining the records of their 50-hour period with the 50-hour period
in the light-hardware-packing department, and their 55-hour period with
the 54-hour period of the larger department.
The 80 women packing under the 10-hour-day 54- or 55-hour-week
schedules lost 11 hours per 100 possible man-hours of work. Nine-tenths
of the women account for this total time lost. The average number of
absences was over 5, and the average duration per absence was 6.7 hours.
However, about 14 percent of the women lost 1 week or more of work
during .the 6 weeks studied. When the hours were reduced to 9-50, the time
lost dropped 3 points to 8.2 hours per 100 man-hours of possible work. The
average number of absences decreased from 5.5 to 3.6 per person. The
Table I.— Percent of Women Losing Time Under Different Scheduled Hours, Average
Number and Length of Their Absences, and Hours Lost by Total Number of
Women Studied per 100 Possible Man-hours — Plant K
Women losing time
Period studied and
scheduled hours

Total
number
of
women
studied

Number

Percent

5?°8 idj

" E s
Average Average ~ 3
S B £:£ »
number . hours
3— C £
of
per
absences absence HO S

1st period 1 (10-54 or 55 hours) ....

80

72

90.0

5.5

6.7

11.1

2d period 3 (9-50 hours) ......... .........

78

69

88.5

3.6

7.1

8.2

a -n
schedule occurred iii second period for bulk-packing' and screw-wrapping department:’.
oO-hour schedule occurred in first period for bulk-packing and screw-wrapping departments.




Table II. — Analysis of Time Lost By Women Workers Under Different Scheduled Hours — Long-term Absences (whole weeks lost) and Short-term
Absences (time lost within weeks attended)—Plant K

A verage hours
worked per week
in weeks attended

Over
1 day

l

O ver / 2 day
and including
1 day

Vi

day

or less

women

Total
num ber of

4

weeks

3

weeks

2

weeks

1

week

T otal

N um ber working
all or p a rt of each
week employed

Total
num ber of

women studied

Number of women
whose average
time lost per
week in weeks
attended was—

1st period 1 (10-54 or 55 hours):
....... ........................................................

80

69

11

8

1

1

1

80

10

40

18

12

Perccr.; ...................................................................

N umbc r

100.0

86.2

13.8

10.0

1.3

1.3

1.3

100.0

12.5

50.0

22.5

15.0

10 3

48.7

26.9

14.1

49.4

2d period - (9-50 hours) :
78
Percer. t ................................

75

3

2

1

78

100.0

96.2

3.8

2.6

1.3

100.0

1 55-hour schedule occurred in second period for the 16 women in bulk-packing and screw-wrapping departments.
3 50-hour schedule occurred in first period for the 18 wftimen in bulk-packing and screw-wrapping departments.




45.7

WOMEN ’S WARTIME HOURS OF WORK

Period studied and
scheduled hours

Num ber with
no lost tim e in
weeks attended

Attendance record of women within week s of
partial or full attendance

Number who lost a week or more

PLANT K

151

average hours per absence increased slightly from 6.7 to 7.1. There were
fewer long absences, though about a half of the women continued to lose
one-half day or less a week.
The average length of the week worked by women packers in the weeks
when they were in actual attendance under the 10-hour-day 54- or 55-hourweek schedule was 49.4 hours. Under the 9-50-hour schedule hours aver­
aged 45.7 per week.
The decrease in time lost in the shorter hour-schedule period was more
accentuated when only the light-hardware-packing department is reviewed.
Here the hours lost per 100 possible man-hours of work dropped from about
12 to 7 1/2 as the hours dropped from 54 to 50 per week. During the weeks
worked this department averaged 49 hours of work in the first period and
46 in the second. When a control group of women who worked every week
in each period are considered, the average hours worked are raised each
period by approximately 1 1/2 hours over the general average for the
period. But even among this group average hours were only 50.6 in the
54-hour period and 47.4 in the 50-hour period.
Pay day occurred on Friday, for which reason the light-hardware-packing
department worked a 9-hour Friday during the period when 10 hours were
in effect for the first 4 working days of the week. In this department only
10 percent of the possible Saturday hours were lost in this period. When
the workday became a 9-hour day 5 days a week, the Saturday time lost
increased to 15.7 percent of possible Saturday time. But, even so, time out
on Saturday accounted for about a fifth of all lost time in the 50-hour week
and for about a tenth in the 54-hour week.
In the other two departments that operated on a 55-hour schedule rather
than a 54-hour one, only 6.7 of possible Saturday hours were lost and this
accounted for 7.2 percent of the total lost time. Under the 50-hour schedule
11.3 percent of possible Saturday hours were lost, accounting for 10.7 of
the total time lost.
No record was kept by the firm on causes of absence. While medical
service and facilities were available to workers, few women packers avail
themselves of them. An occasional lacerated finger or foreign body in the
eye took the woman to the first-aid room. There is little record of calls for
nonindustrial illness.
Women interviewed in their homes, were asked the reasons for specific
absences. The following replies indicate some of the causes of lost time:
My mother-in-law with whom I live is quite old. She is not well. The days she is
bad I stay home. My son has asthma. I have quite a bit of trouble with him at night.
When I have been up with him several hours, it is about time to get up when I go
to sleep, so I don’t get up to go to work.
My doctor is in the next town. So I have to take a half day off when I go to see
him.
Only absence I had was when I had my teeth pulled and, yes, when my son came
home on furlough.
I did spring house cleaning Wednesday through Saturday. I took several Satur­
days off for shopping.
Generally, when I am absent, it is because of sickness. I am absent a day or so
a month.
Mother died and I was out 2 weeks. Sometimes I stay out because I just get
tired. Sometimes I am sick or a member of the family is sick.

On the whole, the women interviewed were definite in stating that they
did not stay away from work unless they were sick or a member of the
family was ill.
698245°—47—It




152

women’s wartime hours of work

Lateness was penalized at the rate of one-tenth of an hour for each lateness
of 1 to 6 minutes. The workday began at 7 o'clock in both periods. At noon
there was an hour lunch period during which some of the women went home
to lunch. During the weeks studied in both the 54-55-hour and 50-hour
periods from 49 to 55 out of every 100 women were late. The average
»umber of days of lateness per woman was 2 in the 54-55-hour period and
3 in the 50-hour period. These figures may reflect the fact that in the
50-hour period a higher proportion of women actually worked some part of
the days and weeks studied, so that there was a greater possibility for
lateness. The lateness, whether in the morning or at noon, was 10 to 12
minutes in the light-hardware-packing department and 10 to 27 minutes
in the other 2 departments. It accounted for but a fraction of the total
time lost during either period studied .
PRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY
Nature of the Job

The women workers whose performance was studied in Plant K were
engaged in the hand operation of packing builders’ hardware. The lighthardware-packing department was the largest of the three studied, and the
majority of women worked on conveyor lines and a few at benches. When
orders were large, the packing was done on the conveyor line, each packed
box being slid down a chute to a moving belt that carried the boxes to “endgirls” who weighed, stacked, labeled, and stenciled the boxes. When orders
were small, packing was done at tables, the packers doing the labeling,
taping, and stacking, in addition to the packing. Parts were packed singly,
in pairs, by the dozen or half dozen, or in sets. When packing items con­
sisting of many parts, the packing was sometimes done by a team of 2 or 3
workers. The average items packed in this department weighed 2 or 3 pounds,
6 pounds being the maximum. Speed was important on this job. Conse­
quently women had to have finger dexterity and to be ambidextrous, work­
ing quickly and well with both hands at the same time.
In a second department bulkier items were packed in large cardboard
boxes, wooden boxes, and barrels. Men performed all the bulk packing in
big wooden boxes and barrels. Women did all of the lighter packing;
although some boxes packed by them weighed as much as 12 pounds, the
average box weighed 8 pounds. Truckers brought materials to and from
the women so they did no heavy lifting. The women packed at benches and
on one short conveyor line. All workers in this department stood because
large items are packed faster and better when standing, but stools were
available. Sturdier women were employed in this department because of
the heavier work requiring more arm and hand dexterity than finger
dexterity.
A third and smaller group were employed chiefly in wrapping screws in
tissue paper. The work was very light, monotonous, highly repetitive with
almost no variation. Two to four screws were picked up in each hand and
placed in position on a small square of tissue paper, heads alternately to
left and right, to form a square package, and the tissue paper folded under.
At the rapid rate of one package every 5 to 15 seconds, the greatest eye and
hand coordination and finger dexterity was required.
Although the kinds of packaging were numerous and conveyor lines
sometimes averaged four job changes a day, all the work was monotonous.
Because of the coordination required to insure speedy performance, foremen
reported 6 to 8 months as necessary before the light-hardware packers




PLANT K

153

needed no “make-up” to bring their earnings to the guaranteed minimum.
Screw wrapping and bulk packing required 3 to 4 months to learn, according
to overseers.
Method of Wage Payment on the Job

Packers were paid on an individual piece-rate basis with a guaranteed
minimum of 50 cents an hour, except that the few conveyor-line packers
in the bulk-packing department were paid on a group-output basis, and the
2 to 4 “end girls” doing the labeling, stenciling, weighing, taping, and so
forth, at the end of each light-hardware-conveyor line were paid on the
basis of the total output of the line. The standard base rate in establishing
piece-rate prices was the same for all jobs except that of the “end girls” who
had a 3-cent higher standard base rate. On special, short, packing jobs,
payment was frequently made on an hourly basis.
There was no waiting time except for conveyor-line packers, who had
short waits when a new packing job was being set up or when they were
shifted to another conveyor-line. They were given a change allowance for
this time, paid at the same standard base rate used in setting piece rates.
If defective parts were found while packing, a scrap premium was paid
the finder.
Performance on the Job

_ Piecework earnings of individuals were used as the measurement of
individual production in Plant K. From statements made by management
and workers, every effort was made by management to set equitable rates
on the many different types of packing. When there were repeated com­
plaints regarding the rates on a particular job, the job was retimed and, if
warranted, a new rate established. The facts that women liked or disliked
varying types of jobs and that there was no consensus concerning the jobs
which paid best would indicate that management succeeded both in timing
jobs equitably and in distributing disliked jobs among many rather than
concentrating them among a few.
Each day the women turned in job tickets listing the work done and the
following day timekeepers gave them a slip stating how much they had
earned. This system did not permit holding back tickets on good production
days to submit on poor production days to bring up the record.
Only adult women on piecework production were, as stated earlier, in­
cluded in the study of productive efficiency; minors who worked no more
than 43 hours, part-time workers, and a few elderly workers paid on a time
basis were excluded. All other women in the occupations studied were
included. Any moneys paid pieceworkers on an hourly basis, scrap pre­
miums, and make-up payments to bring earnings to the guaranteed mini­
mum are omitted from the piecework-earning figures used to measure
efficiency.
Performance on the Job — Light-Hardware Packing Department

The pieceworkers in the light-hardware-packing department included in
the study actually worked 49.2 hours in the 10-54-hour period and 45.8
hours in the 9-50-hour period. (See section on Attendance Record.) How­
ever, many worked the full 10 hours a day or 9 hours a day during most of
the days on which they reported for work. Consequently, while a comparison
of their production records cannot be considered a comparison of the 54-hour
and a 50-hour workweek, they may be considered a comparison of a
10-hour versus a 9-hour workday.




154

women’s wartime hours of work

While on the job, these light-hardware packers lost almost 3 hours per
week in each period while waiting for a job set-up or while on work paid by
the hour rather than by the piece. During the 46.2 hours on piecework in
the 10-hour period, they averaged 61.6 cents per hour; during the 43 hours
on piecework in the 9-hour period they averaged 63.4 cents per hour.
Further examination of table III reveals the influence of experience on these
group production figures. With less than 6 weeks’ experience, piecework
earnings averaged less than 40 cents an hour. At the 6 months’ point they
exceeded 50 cents. Not until a year’s experience was attained did they
exceed 60 cents an hour. Consequently higher earnings under the shorter
hour schedule can be attributed, at least in part, to a smaller proportion of
inexperienced workers in this group than worked under the longer-hour
schedule.
The experienced women on light-hardware packing actually made about
the same, 69-70 cents, under both the 10-54-hour schedule and 9-50-hour
schedule. Their total weekly hours did not exceed 50 nor their piecework
hours 46.2 per week in either period. They had “goals” they attempted to
achieve each week, usually expressed in terms of hourly earnings. The
majority interviewed expected to earn 65 to 75 cents an hour. A few placed
their goal just below 81 cents an hour, considered by some women to be
the plant maximum. These women stated that they believed the job rate
would be cut if they went over this amount on any job. However, it was
the exceptional woman rather than the majority who earned as high as
81 cents an hour, and it is doubtful that production was curtailed to any
extent by the prevailing idea of a limitation on earnings.
Efficiency under the 10-54-hour and under the 9-50-hour schedule of a
stable group of women was compared. (The group was composed of those
who had worked in each week of each period studied.) Those with a year
or more experience in the light-packing department averaged 71.3 cents
per hour under the 10-54-hour schedule when on piecework 48.5 hours and
in the plant 51.2 hours per week. They averaged 72.9 cents per hour under
the 9-50-hour schedule when on piecework 44 hours and in the depart­
ment 47.9 hours.
Performance on the Job — Bulk-Packing and Screw-Wrapping Departments

The bulk-packing and screw-wrapping departments employed only 16
adult women in the periods studied; Much time was on special packing jobs
paid by the hour, away from piecework, in both periods—most noticeably
so under the shorter hour period; opportunity for increasing earnings was
therefore less than under the longer hour schedule. The group as a whole
worked 44.9 and 51 hours in the 9-50- and 10-55-hour periods, respectively.
The hours on piecework were only 34 and 45.9, respectively, or 75 percent
and 90 percent of the total hours worked. This increase in proportion of
piecework hours resulted in a slight increase in earnings of 1 1/3 cents
per hour under the longer-hour schedule. The experienced women also
increased their earnings, from 61.7 cents to 66.2 cents, but again there was
an increase in the proportion of hours on piecework, from 78 percent of
total hours worked under 50 hours to 85 percent under 55 hours.
The more stable women in the bulk-packing and screw-wrapping depart­
ments, that is, those who had worked on piecework every week studied,
earned 62 cents when on piecework 38.1 hours out of a total of 47.7 hours
under the 9-50-hour schedule; they earned 65.3 cents when on piecework
47.7 out of a total of 52.2 hours under the 10-55-hour schedule. But again,




Table III. — Individual Efficiency by Length of Experience in Occupation, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Occupation — Plant K
Length of time in occupation
1 year or more

Total
Occupation, period studied,
and scheduled hours
Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

Efficiency
(average
hourly
piecework
earnings,
in cents)

Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

Efficiency
(average
hourly
piecework
earnings,
in cents)

Light packing:
1st period (10-54 hours).............
2d period (9-50 hours).................

49
46

49.2
45.8

46.2
43.0

61.6
63.4

34
36

50.0
46.6

46.2
43.2

69.6
69.0

Bulk packing and screw wrapping:
1st period (9-50 hours)............. •
2d period (10-55 hours)...............

16
16

44.9
51.0

34.0
45.9

58.6
59.9

10
9

47.2
52.5

36.7
44.7

'

61.7
66.2

PLANT K

Number
of
women
studied

Length of time in occupation

Occupation, period studied,
and scheduled hours

Light packing:
1st period (10-54 hours).......................

Average
Number Average weekly
weekly
hours
of
hours
women
on
worked
studied
piece­
work

Efficiency
(average
hourly
piece­
work
earnings,
in cents)

2

50.9
44.5

45.9
43.1

53.2
56.6

4

45.6

42.9

48.3

Average
Number Average weekly
of
weekly
hours
hours
women
on
studied
worked
piece­
work

Efficiency
(average
hourly
piece­
work
earnings,
in cents)

Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

Efficiency
(average
hourly
piece­
work
earnings,
in cents)

4
5

47.7
41.0

46.6
41.0

51.4
35.3

9
1

46.3
45.0

46.3
45.0

37.6
31.0

4
2

46.7
53.1

33.6
52.7

55.0
59.6

2
1

29.5
55.0

20.9
55.0

50.0
49.2

Bulk packing and screw wrapping:
2d period (iO-55 hours)....................... 1




Less than 6 weeks

6 weeks, less than 6 months

6 months, less than 1 year

cn
Cn

156

women’s wartime hours of work

for them as for the group as a whole, there was an increase in the propor­
tion of time on piecework under the longer hours.
With only a few exceptions women workers believed they worked more
efficiently on the 9-hour day when they worked until 5 p. m. than on the
10-hour day when they worked until 6. Quite generally it was stated that
they were more noticeably tired on a 10-hour day. This tiredness set in
“from Thursday on” for most women. The time of day at which tiredness
was felt varied with the individual. A few stated that it was hard to get
going in the morning but the majority said they got tired in the afternoon—
some from 2 to 4 p. m., but most at 5.
Performance on the Job — Summary

Minors, part-time workers, and the workers paid an hourly rate were
eliminated from tables on production of the group as a whole just as was
done in reviewing individual efficiencies. Considering pieceworkers only,
at the time scheduled hours of light-hardware packers were decreased by
4 hours a week, from 54 to 50, the number of workers also decreased, so
that the possible man-hours were 85.5 percent of possible hours in the
10-54-hour period. The man-hours actually worked were 87.4 percent of
those possible in the earlier period, however. While hours on piecework
dropped to 87.8, the average efficiency increased to 106.1, owing to fewer
inexperienced women. This increased efficiency made up in part for the
decreased man-hours of work, so that total output remained in line in spite
of the decrease in numbers of women employed.
In the bulk-packing and screw-wrapping departments the possible man­
hours increased in proportion to the increase in scheduled hours from
9-50 per week to 10-55 per week, the number of workers remaining the
same. The hours on piecework increased materially, 32 percent. With a main­
tenance of individual efficiency, total production gained in proportion to
the increase in piecework hours.
The loss or gain in over-all production in the 2 periods is due obviously
to the decrease in numbers employed or to the increased time on piecework
in the respective departments under study.
Table IV. — Summary of Possible Man-hours, Total Man-hours Worked, Total Man-hours
Worked on Incentive Jobs, Efficiency, and Total Production, Based on Totals
for All Women Studied, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Occupation —
Plant K




Total
m an-hours
worked

Total
m an-hours
worked on
incentive jobs

(average hourly

T otal
production

100.0
92.6

100.0
85.5

100.0
87.4

100.0
87.8

100.0
106.1

100.0
93.2

100.0
100.0

100.0
110.0

100.0
116.5

100.0
115.6

100.0
131.8

100.0
101.3

100.0
133.7

of
women

Efficiency

Possible
m an-hours

100.0
93.9

production)

hours

Light packing:
1st period (10-54 hours).
2d period (9-50 hours)...
Bulk packing and
screw wrapping:
1st period (9-50 hours) .
2d period (10-55 hours)..

N um ber

Occupation, period studied,
and scheduled hours

Scheduled

Index numbers of—

PLANTS L & M

157

HOSIERY MILL OPERATORS (LOOPERS, SEAMERS, AND
TRANSFER TOP KNITTERS) — PLANTS L AND M
INTRODUCTION

The appeal of munitions plants for women workers created shortages of
labor in factories producing mainly for civilian consumption that had
always employed many women. Such industries as the hosiery industry
developed bottlenecks in occupations for which women were not easily
recruited or quickly trained. In both northern and southern hosiery mills
looping was such an occupation. Still a highly monotonous hand task
requiring excellent eyesight, nimble fingers, and speed, beginners at it did
not attain proficiency until after many months.
In 1942 and 1943 the two hosiery mills included in this study first began
to request their loopers to work more than the previously scheduled 40 hours
a week. Plant L, a full-fashioned-hosiery mill in the North, first added an
hour to the 8-hour day for 4 days and sometimes, when the looping depart­
ment was behind in its production schedule, requested even longer hours on
all 5 days a week.
Weeks in which loopers had a schedule of 9 hours for 5 days were finally
chosen as a second period for study to contrast with the period in which an
8-40-hour schedule was in effect.
Plant M, a seamless hosiery mill in the South, gradually increased weekly
hours from 40 to 48, and then to 50. Later women were urged to work the
State legal limit of 10 1/2 hours a day and 57 hours a week, but they were
permitted to adjust their daily schedule to suit their own convenience. As
the plant was open at night, women could work at any time. Loopers were
not counted absent if they had worked 40 hours during the week and were
paid a 2-percent attendance bonus if they worked 48 or more. Examination
of the pay roll showed individual women often effected a weekly pattern
of hours worked even though there may have been no daily pattern of hours.
No pattern of hours was discernible for the department as a whole after
hours were increased to over 50. Consequently, experienced women who had
a 56- to 57-hour weekly pattern and others who had developed a 52- to
55-hour weekly pattern were selected for study. These women had also
worked an 8-40-hour schedule in 1942 and a 50-hour schedule in 1943.
Under the 50-hour schedule daily hours varied, but the most usual pattern
of hours was 4 days of 8 hours and 2 days of 9 hours. A few women did
work 5 days of 9 hours and 5 hours Saturday, but this schedule was less
common. The majority included in the study had worked the 50-hour
schedule as well as the later 52-55-hour or 56-57-hour schedule. A few
included had worked only the 40- and the 50-hour schedules.
For purposes of further comparisons, a woman-employing occupation in
addition to looping was chosen in each plant. In Plant L, the full-fashionedhosiery mill in the North, seamers were studied under a 40-hour schedule
in 1942 and under a 46-hour schedule of 9 1/2 hours on 4 days and 8 hours
on Friday in 1944. In Plant M, the seamless-hosiery mill in the South,
transfer top knitters were studied under an 8-40-hour week and 8-48hour week. A summary of the groups, periods, and hours studied in each
plant follows.




158

WOMEN S WARTIME HOURS OF WORK

Period

Schedule
PLANT L (NORTHERN PLANT)
Loopers

1st period:
February-March 1943 (6 weeks)
8-hour day, 5-day 40-hour week
2d period:
September-October 1944 (6 weeks)
9-hour day, 5-day 45-hour week

7:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
(45-minute lunch period)
7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
Seamers

1st period:
August-October 1942 (6 weeks)
7:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
8-hour day, 5-day 40-hour week
(45-minute lunch period)
2d period:
March-April 1944 (6 weeks)
7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
9% hours on 4 days, 8 on 1 day,
(30-minute lunch period)
5-day 46-hour week
PLANT M (SOUTHERN PLANT)
Loopers
1st period:
January-February 1942 (5 weeks)
7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
8-hour day, 5-day 40-hour week
2d period:
March-April 1943 (5 weeks)
7 a.m.-3:30 or 4:30 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
8 hours on 4 days, 9 hours on 2 days,
6-day 50-hour week
3d period.:1
Daily hours varying—maximum of 10%
October 1943-May 19442 (5 weeks)
daily
52-55-hour week
4th period :1
Daily hours varying—maximum of 10%
October 1943-May 1944” (5 weeks)
daily
56-57-hour week
Transfer top knitters
1st period:
January-March 19422 (5 weeks)
Day shift: 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
8-hour day, 5-day 40-hour week
(30-minute lunch period)
Night shift: 3 p.m.-ll:30 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
2d period:
January-February 19432 (5 weeks)
Day shift: 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
8-hour day, 6-day 48-hour week
(30-minute lunch period)
Night shift: 3 p.m.-ll:30 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)
1 4th period is combined with 3d period in most tables.
z Dates of period are for majority of workers studied. Consecutive weeks were selected for each
woman hut dates of weeks studied varied for individuals.

No woman in Plant M was included in the study unless she had reached a
level of production considered her norm, hence data are for a selected
group of women who had attained proficiency in their work. The study of
this plant is primarily one of production of individual, experienced women
under their chosen hour schedules, rather than one of attendance and pro­
duction, under fixed hour schedules, of a variously experienced group of
women, such as was made in other plants.
Plant L was a union shop, and many conditions of work were set hy
union agreement. For example, employees were classified as learners, pro­
bationary workers, substandard workers, spare workers, and experienced
workers. Women in the first three classifications could not work in excess of
40 hours a week. When a learner or a probationary worker, who was a
newly hired experienced worker, was able to maintain the departmental
average of production and required no make-up to reach the minimum wage
allowance, she was allowed to work the hours of experienced workers in




PLANTS L & M

159

the department. Substandard workers, or those who consistently were unable
to maintain the department average of production, were not permitted to
work more than 40 hours. A “spare” worker was an experienced part-time
worker who did not work a definite schedule. She could not have a per­
manent position or be assigned a machine but filled in wherever and when­
ever there was need. In the first period studied there were only 3 women in
the looping department and 7 in the seaming department who fell in any of
these categories and in the second period 17 in the looping department and
19 in the seaming department. These women were not included in attend­
ance tables because of the restrictions placed on their hours, but they are
included in the production tables.
Plant M, a nonunion plant, employed many learners and placed machines
in homes of women whose household duties would not permit them to work
at the plant. No learners or home workers were included in the study of
Plant M.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON WORKERS’ HOME LIFE
THE HOUSEHOLD AND HOME RESPONSIBILITIES

Very few of the women studied in Plants L and M were under 25 years
of age. Over four-fifths were 30 years of age or older. Both plants employed
women over 50 years of age. The majority of women had been employed
5 years or more, and many 10 years or more, which accounts, in part, for
the hour-schedule privileges accorded these women by plant management.
About two-thirds or more of the women were or had been married and
most of them, as did many single women, lived in family groups. Some
women maintained separate housekeeping rooms, but only a few roomed
and boarded out. Relatively few had children under 14 years of age. The
usual household was made up of husband and wife alone or husband and
wife with children 14 or more years of age or with a parent or other older
relative. One-half of the Plant L women studied had the full responsibility
for their households and did the major part of the housework, and this
was true of one-fifth of the women studied in the southern plant. Southern
households had more adults than northern ones, and housework could be
more easily shared among them. However, the proportion of single women
who took care of their own room and laundry and only helped with other
household tasks was larger in the northern than in the southern plant.
Examples of home duties in different types of families illuminate the
demands upon women workers.
Northern Households

Mrs. J., a wife 40 years of age, whose daughter-in-law was living with her
and her husband, described her day as follows:
I always get up at 5:45 to make my husband’s lunch and get his breakfast. After
breakfast I dash off to be at the factory at 7 o’clock. Under the 9%-hour day 1
tried to slip out at noon to do my food shopping because the stores were closed
at night. My husband got home at 4:15 and would have to wait until I got home
at 5:45 and got his supper. Some nights he was mad.

Another mother had the help of her 16-year-old daughter in the second
period.
My daughter had the supper on the table when I got home at 6 o’clock, and she
did all the shopping. When I got home at 4:45, she set the table and I did the cookmg. Tn both periods I sent the men’s shirts and flatwork out to be laundered; my
daughter did her own laundry and I did mine.
69824,>“—47—12




women’s

160

AVARTIME HOURS OF WORK

Husbands of maiy workers arrived home before their wives in this
section. The lateness of the evening meal, resulting from the longer factory
hours of the working wife was the subject of many complaints. One woman
said she had a big house to care for, but what caused her to leave the plant
under the 9^2-hour day was the difficulty in getting her husband’s dinner.
Under the 8-hour day she got home by 4:45 p. m. and had dinner ready
when he got home. Under the 9 1/2-hour day they reached home together.
“My husband likes his meals on time, so he persuaded me to quit work.”
Some women solved the late meal problem by cooking the meal the night
before it was to be served; a very few families solved it by eating out.
Southern Households

Mrs. D.’s household was made up of herself, her daughter with two young
children, her daughter-in-law, and a disabled nephew 19 years of age. A son
and a son-in-law were in the armed services and sent allotments home. All
Mrs. D.’s earnings went to household expenses. She took the general respon­
sibility for the household and also did marketing, cooking, cleaning, and
laundry work, and tried to sew and mend the children’s clothes. Her day
was from 5 a. m. to 10 p. m. regardless of whether she worked 8 or 10 hours
at the factory.
T could do my work at home when T worked 40 hours a week. Working longer
hours you let a lot of work at home go.

Mrs. M. lived with her husband and two daughters aged 15 and 18. She
did all the household work, including mending. When she worked 10 1/2
hours at the plant she
only had time to get something to eat and go to bed. Then I had to do all my
housework Saturdays and Sundays. I didn’t feel like doing anything... I was late
sometimes because I didn’t feel like getting up, and 1 just slept. I made up my
time when I got to the mill; if I meant to work 9 or 10 hours I worked till I got
my 9 or 10 hours in.

A transfer knitter who had worked both the 40- and 48-hour week said:
When I have Saturday free, I clean the kitchen and bathroom, wash and iron.
Then I wax the floors, go to the grocery store, and pay my bills. When I work Satur­
days I just pay my bills the best I can during the week. I have to use Sunday for
my housecleaning. I get up and go to Sunday school and church and then do my
housework Sunday afternoon. Then I don’t have any day of rest at all.

The northern women complained that longer hours “increased shopping
problems.” “The week end is sacrificed to housework.” “Home sewing and
reading newspapers had to be given up because my eyes did not hold out.”
“I seldom went out at night when I worked longer hours,” was stated
repeatedly. Lack of recreation was also commented on by the southern
women, but the freedom to come to work as they pleased and a commissary
at the plant took care of the shopping problem.
WORKERS' OVER-ALL DAY

In the northern city most of the women workers reached the factory by
trolley, the round trip requiring an hour for many, although a longer time
was needed by others. In the southern citv half of the women interviewed
walked to work, as the plant was within 30 minutes from their homes. The
others came by bus, their round trip requiring from 1 to 2 1/2 hours
each day.
The time away from home for most of the Plant L women was 9 to 10
hours under the 8-hour schedule, increasing to 10 and 11 hours for loopers
and 11 to 12 hours for seamers as their respective hours were extended to




PLANTS L & M

161

9 and 9 1/2. Under the 8-40-hour schedule in Plant M some reported an
over-all day of 9 to 10 hours and others 10 to 11 hours, the variations
being due to differences in the distances they lived from the plant. Under
the 50-hour schedule, 11 to 12 hours away from home were the most
common. As more women began to work 10 1/2 hours a day, the over-all
day increased to as high as 13 to 14 hours away from home.
Southern women interviewed rose early, 4:30 and 5 a. m. being the usual
hour reported under each working schedule. There was much variation in
retiring hour in each period. However, the larger number in each period
had a 16- to 17-hour day. The proportion reporting days of 17 to 19
hours increased as the length of their working day increased.
While some northern women arose as early as southern women, 5:45 to
6 a. m. were their more usual rising hours. Among them too, the bedtime
hour varied. A very noticeable group went to bed earlier under the
9 1/2-hour day than under the 8-hour day because of weariness, but the
majority kept the same retiring hour. Under the 8-hour day a third had
a 17- to 18-hour day, 42 percent a 16- to 17-hour day, while one-fourth
had less than a 16-hour day. When hours were 9 or 9 1/2 per working day,
only one-fourth stayed up to make the day one of 17 or 18 hours, one-third
had a 16-17-hour day, and 42 percent less than a 16-hour over-all day.
WORKERS' PREFERRED FACTORY HOURS
PREFERRED HOURS

Without exception, every woman from Plant L interviewed preferred the
5-day week. Almost three-fourths preferred an 8-hour day, the rest desiring
from 6 to 7^4 hours. No one desired a 9-hour day. The 8-hour day, 40-hour
week has been traditional in the full-fashioned hosiery industry. Wartime
shifts to longer hours were not regarded as desirable practice by loopers
and seamers employed in this northern plant.
Thirty-seven percent of the Plant M women interviewed preferred a 5-day
week, 37 percent a 514-day week, and 26 percent the 6-day week. Forty
percent wanted an 8-hour day; 33 percent preferred various combinations
of 9- and 9%-hour days, with 7y2- and 8-hour Saturdays; and 22 percent
asked for a 10- or 1014-hour day. Weekly hours desired ranged from 40,
voted by 30 percent of the women interviewed, to 57, voted by 11 percent.
The reasons for these differences in preference were financial. Some women
had working husbands whose earnings were supplemented by their own.
In other households the husband was not present or was not a regular
worker. In addition to children of their own 14 or more years of age,
nieces and nephews, there were fathers and mothers and in-laws to support.
These women workers usually used all their earnings for family household
expenses.
In the words of one looper:
The chief reason I prefer the longer day is that I earn enough to keep myself and
to keep my 15-year-old daughter in school. If it were not for that, I would prefer
an 8-hour day.

An efficient looper said:
The overtime affects my attendance because our pay is almost double when we
work those overtime hours. If I worked just 40 hours a week, I would make about
$35. If I work 55 hours, I get $55. It’s the overtime pay and bonuses that causes
the girls to want longer hours.




women’s wartime hours of work

162

Said a knitter:
When I know I am going to get overtime, I am going to get to work even if I
have to let my housework go. It may mean that dress, or a little more money for
something you have been planning for, that you can’t get without overtime pay.

Had longer hours not been a matter of financial necessity, 63 percent
would have preferred a 40-hour workweek, and 26 percent a 45-hour week.
GROSS EARNINGS IN RELATION TO HOURS

In this connection gross earnings under different hour schedules in the
southern plant (Plant M) are important. When experienced loopers worked
the 8-hour day 40-hour week, their gross earnings averaged $17.20 a week.
When hours were increased to 50, which brought 10 additional hours at the
overtime rate of time and one-half, they earned $25.57. When asked to work
up to 57 hours, those choosing to work 52 to 55 hours earned $30.87, and
those working 56 to 57 hours earned $33.25. Among experienced transfer
knitters the change increased their average earnings from $17.59 under
the 40-hour week to $25.13 under the 48-hour week.
Under the 8-40-hour schedule in the northern plant (Plant L) the ex­
perienced loopers averaged $26.37 a week, and seamers averaged $28.14.
In the second period loopers received 5 hours’ and seamers 6 hours’ over­
time at time and one-half under their respective 45- and 46-hour schedules.
The loopers averaged $31.20 a week in the second period and the seamers
$33.89. Only about one-seventh of those interviewed said that they tried to
come to work 9 or 9% hours because they needed the increased pay that
overtime gave. The others said overtime pay did not influence their at­
tendance.
The higher earnings possible in the northern plant under the 40-hour
week, as compared to the southern plant unquestionably influenced the work
schedule preferences expressed by these hosiery workers.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON
WORKERS' FACTORY PERFORMANCE
ATTENDANCE RECORD —PLANT L

Under the 5-day schedule of 8 hours, experienced loopers and seamers in
Plant L lost 8.5 hours per 100 possible man-hours of work. Absences were
incurred by almost two-thirds of the women, who averaged 2.3 absences of
13.9 hours each. Under the 9- or 9(4-hour schedule, hours lost were almost
double, being 16.1 per 100 possible man-hours of work. The number of
women who incurred absences increased, and the number of absences per
woman increased to 4. The length of absence decreased somewhat.
Under the 9- and 91/2-hour schedules more women had losses of 1 week
or more and more women averaged over a day out each week during the
weeks they reported for work than under the 8-hour schedule. The number
of women who lost no time in weeks they reported for work decreased from
38.5 percent in the first 40-hour-week period to 17.4 percent in the second
45- and 46-hour-week period.
Loopers lost fewer hours than seamers in both periods. Loopers’ time lost
increased from 7.6 to 11.4 hours per 100 possible man-hours as scheduled
hours were increased from 40 to 45 per week, and seamers’ time lost
increased from 9.1 to 18.7 hours as their hours advanced from 40 to 46
per week. In both occupations a larger proportion of women lost time and




PLANTS L & M

163

a larger proportion had long-term absences of a week or more as hours
increased.
In the 40-hour period all the loopers and searners studied averaged 37.8
hours during weeks they reported for work, under the 45-hour schedule for
loopers and 46-hour schedule for seamers, they averaged 41.3 hours during
weeks attended.
Of a control group of more stable women who were at work sometime
in every week in both periods, almost 50 percent lost no time in the first
period, while only 20 percent lost no time in the second period. In both
periods, most of their absences averaged one day or less.
When women were interviewed in their homes concerning lost, time, they
indicated full awareness that they were taking off more time under the
longer hour schedule. About half the women gave as the reason that they
were tired and needed time to rest, while an equal number attributed their
absences to colds, headaches, or other forms of illness. Only a few reported
that they took time off to catch up on housework or for personal business.
Table I. —Percent of Women Losing Time Under Different Scheduled Hours. Average
Number and Length of Their Absences, and Hours Lost by Total Number of
Women Studied per 100 Possible Man-hours, by Occupation — Plant L
Women losing time
Total
number
of
women
studied

Number

Percent

1st period (8-40 hours)___
2d period (9-4S; 9T
/i-46 hours)........

222
180

141
151

63 5
83.9

2.3
4.0

13.9
12.8

8.5
16.1

Loopers:
1st period (8-40 hours)...........
2d period (9-45 hours).............

84
66

47
53

56.0
80.3

21
4.3

15.1
8.6

7.6
11.4

Seamers:
1st period (8-40 hours)...........
2d period (9 "4-46 hours)...........

138
114

94
98

68.1
86.0

2.4
3.9

13.3
15.3

9.1
18.7

Period studied,
scheduled hours,
and occupation

Hours lost by
total number of
Average Average women per 100
number
hours
possible man­
of
hours of work
per
absences absence

ATTENDANCE RECORD —PLANT M

The loopers and knitters chosen for study in Plant M were women who
had attained their level or norm of efficiency prior to any period included
in the study and who had worked contrasting schedules of hours for at
least 5 weeks in the periods reviewed. In other factories either all women
employed in specific occupations, or women employed a minimum number
of weeks in the period studied, were considered, irrespective of their level
of efficiency. Comparison, therefore, cannot be made of the attendance record
of this limited group of women in Plant M with that of other plants. Because
weeks, as well as persons, were specially selected, there is little lost time of
a week or more among loopers or transfer knitters in Plant M in the period
studied.
'
During weeks worked under the 8-40-hour schedule, less than a third of
the loopers had some lost time. Lost time averaged but 7/10 of an hour
a week for the group; that is to say, this selected group worked 39.3 hours
out of a possible 40. Under the 50-hour schedule of usually four 8-hour
days and two 9-hour days, 85 percent lost some time, which averaged
2 1/2 hours per week. The average hours worked under the 50-hour
schedule were 47.5 per week.




Table II. —Analysis of Time Lost By Women Workers Under Different Scheduled Hours — Long-term Absences (whole weeks lost) and Short-term
Absences (time lost within weeks attended), by Occupation — Plant L

2d period (9J4-46 hours)

14
10.1

5
3.6

Percent ......................

84
73.7

30
26.3

14
12.3

7
6.1

114
100.0

week

37.8

3
1.7

2
1.1

x178
100.0

31
17.4

90
50.6

32
18.0

25
14.0

41.3

1
1.2

x83
100.0

37
44.6

32
38.6

13
15.7

1
1.2

38.1

66
100.0

14
21.2

35
53.0

14
21.2

3
4.5

42.0

138
100.0

48
34.8

66
47.8

16
11.6

8
5.8

37.7

1112
100.0

17
15.2

55
49.1

18
16.1

22
19.6

40.8

2
2.4
1
1.5

1
1.5

1
0.7
3
2.6

2
1-8

2
1.8

2
1.8

1 Totals are less than total number of women studied because some women were absent all 6 weeks studied in a period.




%■

A verage hours

20
14.5

worked per week
in weeks attended

118
85.5

Seamers:
1st period (8-40 hours):

9
4.1

Over
1 day

3
4.5

29
13.1

day

5
7.6

98
44.3

1

10
15.2

O ver / 2 day
and including

56
84.8

66
100.0

Zi day
or less

3
3.6

'

6
7.1

2d period (9-45 hours):

3
1.7

85
38.5

‘

78
92 9

Loopers:
1st period (8-40 hours):

3
1.7

1221
100.0

women

10
5.5

Total
num ber of

19
10.5

6

40
22.2

1
0.4

weeks

140
77.8

1
0.4

weeks

180
100.0

5

2
0.9

4

5
2.3

weeks

3

17
7.7

weeks

2

26
11.7

weeks

196
88.3

T otal

222
100.0

num ber of
women studied

1

Percent ..............................

N um ber working
all or p art of each
week employed

2d period
(9-45; 9J4-46 hours):

Total

1st period (8-40 hours):

Number of women whose
average time lost per week
in weeks attended was—

women ’s waktime hours of work

Period studied,
scheduled hours,
and occupation

N um ber with
no lost tim e in
weeks attended

Attendance record of women within weeks of
partial or full attendance

Number who lost a week or more

PLANTS L & M

165

Transfer top knitters were on 2 shifts. When the workweek was advanced
oo a i an ^'^our Saturday was added. The selected group studied averaged
^ u j ?UrS-U-nder tlle- 40'hour schedule and 46.6 hours under the 48-hour
schedule. This experienced group studied had a better attendance record
f?/i 6 department as a whole. Over-all figures revealed that the total
of 54 transfer knitters employed under the 40-hour schedule in the 5 weeks
studied averaged 36.8 hours. The total of 77 employed under the 48-hour
schedule averaged 44.2 hours during the 5 weeks studied.
Table III. —Percent of Women Losing Time Under Different Scheduled Hours, Average
Number and Length of Their Absences, and Hours Lost by Total Number of
Women Studied per 100 Possible Man-hours, by Occupation — Plant M

§ sis %
§“

Women losing time

Total
number
of
women
studied

Period studied,
scheduled hours,
and occupation

Number

Percent

Average Average
number
hours
of
per
absences absence

in O ■
Okgs
tu gq O
= |0 s
1° 2 0. g
W 0 E

1st period ...................
Transfer top knitters (8-40 hours)
Loopers (8-40 hours).................

18
29

11

61.1

1.7
1.5
2.0

7.3
9.1
5.7

2.7
4.1
1.8

2d period ..........................
Transfer top knitters C8-48 hours)
Loopers (8- and 9-50 hours).........

16
60

9
51

56.3
85.0

3.5
2.0
3.7

4.7
6.1
4.6

5.3
2.8
5.9

i n^h®n management advised loopers that they could work a maximum of
hours a day and 57 hours a week, choosing any combination of
daily hours the response of experienced loopers, as shown on table IV, is
revealing Out of a possible total of 1,440 man-days, these women worked
all but 26 The days missed were chiefly Saturdays, and when the women
did work Saturdays, almost half worked less than 8 hours.
On Monday the largest proportion worked 9 hours. On Tuesday, Wed­
nesday, and Thursday, more than half worked 10 or 10 1/2 hours By
r riday a number had dropped back to the 9- or 9 1/2-hour schedule'and
more worked 8 1/2 hours or fewer hours than on any earlier day of the
week. During the 5 weeks included in the study, therefore, 25.3 percent
of the man-days had been 9-hour days, 21.8 percent 10 1/2-hour days,
17 percent 10-hour days, 14.7 percent 8-hour days.
Unquestionably, by permitting loopers to work any time from 6:30 or
l a. m. to 11:30 p. m., the plant did succeed in increasing the total hours
worked by the experienced women studied. The women workers’ own state­
ments about the adjustments made are interesting. Typical was:
in Vr/lhTmiU ft° Io-nT" fY 0,1 Mon<-!ny morning to see about something, I will go
to the mill at 12.o0 and work my 9 hours. I usually do what I have to do early
nf the W6ei’ Th that SIV®S me a chance to make up the hours I lose before the end

SLSebd„tI “

" ““

“d 1 W » k“» "P "V -A

~ “ol

PRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY
Nature of the Job

Though one mill produced women’s full-fashioned rayon hose and the
other seamless hose such as men s socks, children’s hose, and misses’ anklets
,
ot cotton, rayon and wool, the operation of looping in both plants was




On
On

Table IV. — Distribution of the Hours 48 Loopers Worked Each D-ay of the Week When Permitted to Work up to lOYz Hours per Day and 57*/2

Total
man-days

Monday

Tuesday

Number Percent Number Percent Number

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Satu rday

Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent

Less than 8 hours............................

10Zz hours .........................................




1,440
23
1,417

100.0
16
98.4

240
5
235

100.0
2.0
98.0

240

100.0

240

100.0

240
2
238

100.0
.9
99.1

240
2
238

100.0
.9
99.1

240
1
239

100.0
.4
99.6

240
13
227

100.0
5.4
94.6

1,417

Total man-days worked........................

100.0

235

100.0

240

100.0

238

100.0

238

100.0

239

100.0

227

100.0

136
208
21
358
144
241
309

9.6
14.7
1.5
25.3
10.2
17.0
21.8

11
28
2
79
26
35
54

4.7
11.9
.9
33.6
11.1
14.9
23 0

5
7
3
67
26
51
81

2.1
2.9
1.3
27.9
10.8
21.3
33.8

3
13
3
71
27
54
67

1.3
5.5
1.3
29.8
11.3
22.7
28.1

3
11
2
70
30
52
70

4
36
7
71
35
49
37

1.7
15.1
2.9
29.7
14.6
20.5
15.5

110
113
4

48.5
49.8
1.7

1.3 1
4.6
.8
29.4
12.6
21.8
29.4

women ’s wartime hours of work

Number of man-days by specified hours worked on—
Hours worked per day

PLANTS L & M

167

similar. Both used the same make of modern machine for looping. The dial
was 18 inches in diameter. The points onto which toes and heels had to be
looped numbered 26 to 32 points per inch for full-fashioned hose and 11 to
20 points per inch for seamless hose.
The looper was seated so that her eyes were level with or a little above
the level of the dial and from 6 to 12 inches away. She selected the open
toe of a knitted hose, set a row of stitches on the dial points, and then set
the corresponding stitches of the other side of the toe on top of the first row
of stitches. (The open heel was hung on the dial in the same manner.) The
machine operated continuously and the actual closing of the toe and heel
was automatic. Looped hose were removed from the right of the machine
and samples were examined by the looper for flaws and dropped stitches.
Machines were set to suit the pace of the individual woman, and a complete
cycle of operations for one hose took only a fraction of a minute to 2 1/4
minutes, depending on the type of hose.
Looping involves considerable eyestrain, constant attention being required
to see that each stitch is set on the proper point and that no stitches are
dropped. Experienced loopers develop a sense of touch in guiding the
stitches onto the points with their fingers, but eyestrain is only partially
relieved thereby. As a looper gets older, eyeglasses usually become essential.
Beginners complain of the muscular pain resulting from having to hold
their arms and hands at shoulder level for so many hours, but later the
muscles of some women become accustomed to this position. Both plants
placed emphasis on providing comfortable seating arrangements, as loopers
sit all day. Workers oil their machines and change spools of yarn on their
machines, but these tasks occur only occasionally and do not relieve the
monotony of the work.
In Plant L the occupation of seaming was also studied. Seamers stitch
the bottom of the foot and back of the leg of full-fashioned hose on a Union
Special Sewing Machine. The hose is fed to the machine so that the selvages
are caught in an unpuckered seam and so that each point, such as top line
of heel, first and last of leg narrowings, each picot, welt, or stripe, is matched.
Workers sit at their machines. The right foot controls the power of the
machine and must be coordinated with the hands as they feed the selvages
into the guide. Continuous attention is required to keep the matching points
together and the edge of hose level with the guide, to avoid too heavy seams,
puckers, or drop outs. A definite rhythm is developed by each worker as
coordination and speed are combined. All workers either stop or slow down
as the matching points of the heel are reached, when the welt is reached,
and when the inside selvages must be seamed. Some workers do not stop
while seaming the leg, while others stop or slow down at each matching
point. The cycle of operations is very short; one hose is seamed in approxi­
mately 30 to 37 seconds.
Transfer knitters on seamless hose transfer the stitches of the ribbed
tops of socks onto the needles of a circular knitting machine and operate
the machine which automatically knits the remainder of the hose. A loosecoarse line which has been knit into the ribbed top is followed as each
stitch is hung on the quill (or point) of a transfer ring, after which the
excess yarn is unravelled. The transfer ring is removed from its holding
device, placed in position over the needles of the knitting machine, and the
stitches are pulled onto these needles. After the transfer ring is removed, the
machine is started and operates automatically. Another transfer ring is
prepared while the machines are running and this ring is loaded into the




168

women’s wartime hours of work

next machine that stops. An operator tends from 3 to 6 machines, depending
on her speed and the type of sock being knit. The work load is so planned
that all machines except the one being loaded are operating. In this way
the machine running time is kept at a maximum, and the operator has no
waiting time.
The women stand at their work, moving from one machine to the next.
However, stools are provided for occasional use. Because there are different
tasks to be done, transfer knitting does not require the unremitting attention
looping does, although good eyesight and finger dexterity are necessary.
Working Conditions on the Job

Excellent lighting is necessary for the successful performance of looping,
transfer knitting, and seaming. Looping machines in both plants had indi­
vidual lights for each operator. The looping department in Plant L had no
overhead ceiling lights; workers sitting near the windows had the benefit
of daylight, but those in the middle of the room sometimes complained that
the lighting, was inadequate. The seaming department had overhead light­
ing, in addition to the light from the windows; but women here complained
of shadows and glare. The looping department in Plant M had excellent
overhead lighting and glass brick walls on each side of the room which
afforded much natural light; the transfer knitting room had overhead
fluorescent lighting, and, on three sides, windows with Venetian blinds to
eliminate glare when the sunlight was too bright.
In the knitting department in Plant M and in the looping department in
Plant L there was a considerable amount of lint from ravellings in the air.
The looping department in Plant M was air-conditioned. The usual difference
of opinion regarding ventilation was expressed in other departments studied
in both plants, depending on whether the worker sat close to the window
or in the middle of the workroom.
Modern looping machines are noiseless and vibrationless. Sound-proofing
in the looping department in Plant M made the workroom exceptionally
quiet. There was noticeable vibration and considerable noise from the fastmoving sewing machines in the seaming department in Plant L and from
the knitting machines in the transfer knitting department in Plant M.
As has been stated, both plants made every effort to adjust seating to
the comfort of the individual loopers and seamers.
Performance on the Job — Plant L

Both loopers and seamers in Plant L worked on an individual piecework
basis, and average hourly piecework earnings are used as a measure of
efficiency. Basic rates had been established. As changes in style, yarn, mesh,
picots, and so forth, occurred, resulting in differences in production rates,
a few cents or a fraction of a cent were added to or subtracted from the
basic piece rate. When a new style of hose was introduced, for which no
piece rate had been set, a 90-percent style-development rate was paid; that
is, the operator got 90 percent of her regular average hourly earnings. The
women’s actual output on this new style was then taken into consideration
when management and labor established new piece rates. Every 6 months
rates were computed for each woman on the basis of her average hourly
earnings over a normal 5-week period within the 6-month period, these rates
becoming effective March 1 and September 1 flf each year. Experienced
workers were guaranteed 80 percent of their average hourly earnings. Day
workers or new, experienced workers were guaranteed the department aver­
age. The minimum guaranteed rate for all beginners was 40 cents an hour.




PLANTS L & M

169

In the periods under study in Plant L a new type of full-fashioned hose
construction was introduced called “back-rack,” or “round heel.” The leg
and foot were knit in one operation with a round heel requiring no looping.
The looper had only the toe to loop and the seamers could sew one continuous
seam from the tip of the toe to the top of the leg without stopping to skip
over the looped heel. Records were kept of loopers’ and seamers’ output on
back-rack as compared with the conventional type of hose. These records
were used to set such piece rates on back-rack operations as would leave
earnings unaffected by the type of hose worked on.
Even so, many of the loopers and seamers preferred to work on back-rack
because they felt they could earn more on this work. Consequently, a check
was made of production and earnings on back-rack jobs as compared with
jobs on conventional hose in the two periods studied. There was a slight
increase in the amount of back-rack work in the second period. In terms of
total piecework earnings of loopers, work on back-rack amounted to only
4 percent in the 8-40-hour period and 12 percent in the 9-45-hour period.
However, it was found that those handling some back-rack actually earned
less in the second period when there was an increase in the amount of
back-rack. Thus it would appear that back-rack rates yielded no more than
the rates for conventional hose looping.
Among seamers, earnings from back-rack formed 6 percent of total
earnings in the first period and 12 percent of total earnings in the second
period. Those seamers who actually worked on back-rack increased their
earnings from 75 cents in the first period to 77.7 cents in the second period.
However, as table V shows, this was the same slight increase in earnings
shown for the group as a whole, whether they worked on back-rack or not.
Table V, under “Group B,” gives piece-rate earnings and hours of work
for all workers in each department studied, including learners, probationers,
substandard workers, and a few experienced “spares” who did not work in
excess of 40 hours because not permitted to under union regulations, or
because they did not wish to do so. As already stated, in the first period
there were only 3 women in the looping department and 7 in the seaming
department who fell in any of these categories, in the second period 17 and
19 respectively. Because of the increase in number of workers in these
categories in the second (9-45-hour) period, and because they could work
only 40 hours, table V also presents, under “Group A,” data for all workers
except the foregoing.
All loopers (Group B) averaged hourly piecework earnings in the second
period of 64.9 cents; eliminating learners, probationers, and so forth,
raised the loopers’ average to 70.6 cents. Among seamers, eliminating
learners, probationers, and so forth, had less effect: the increase was only
from 76.7 cents to 77.5 cents.
The increase in hours had no effect on the efficiency of this experienced
group of loopers. Loopers with a year or more of experience averaged
practically the same hourly earnings, 70 cents, when they worked 38 hours
and when they worked 42 hours under the 8-40- and 9-45-hour schedules
respectively. A “control group” of stable loopers, who worked some time
in each week studied, averaging 38.5 and 42 hours under the 40- and 45-hour
schedules respectively, also showed practically the same earnings—approxi­
mately 70 cents—in both periods.
The efficiency of experienced seamers, on the other hand, was slightly
increased under a longer hour schedule. Seamers with experience of a year
or more increased their earnings from 75 cents per hour when they averaged



o

Table V. — Individual Efficiency by Length of Experience in Occupation, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Occupation — Plant L

1 year or more
Occupation, period studied,
and scheduled hours
Number
of
women
studied

Loopers:
1st period (8-40 hours)..........................
2d period: 2
A Group (9-45 hours).....................
B Group (9-45; 8-40 hours, etc.).
.Seamers:
1st period (8-40 hours)..........................
2d period: 3
A Group (9%-46 hours).................
B Group (9^2-46; 8-40 hours, etc.)




Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

Efficiency
(average
hourly
piecework
earnings,
in cents)

Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

Efficiency
(average
hourly
work
earnings,
in cents)

86

38.1

37.3

69.5

84

38.1

37.3

69.9

65
82

41.9
40.7

41.4
40.2

70.6
64.9

65
72

41.9
41.2

41.4
40.7

70.6
70.0

138

37.5

37.3

74.9

138

37.5

37.3

74.9

107
126

40.5
39.7

40.5
39.7

77.5
76.7

107
122

40.5
39.7

40.5
39.7

77.5
77.2

women ’s wartime hours of work

Length of time in occupation 1

Length of time in occupation 1
6 months, less than 1 year
Occupation, period studied,
„ and scheduled hours

6 weeks, less than 6 months

Efficiency
Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

2

36.0

36.0

Efficiency
Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

3

34.8

4

Loopers:

(average
hourly
piece­
work
earnings,
in cents)

36.9

Efficiency

(average
hourly
piece­
work
earnings,
in cents)

Number
of
women
studied

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
weekly
hours
on
piece­
work

34.8

61.4

7

37.7

37.7

36.9

63.0

(average
hourly
piece­
work
earnings,
in cents)

52.1

2d period: 1
2
B Group (9-45; 8-40 hours, etc.)..

13.9

Seamers:
2d period: 3

1 Length of experience includes experience in this occupation in other plants in addition to experience in this plant.
2 A Group:-Composed entirely of experienced women working a 9-45-hour schedule. B Group: All women in department, including 17 learners, probationers, sub­
standard, and part-time workers—all on a shorter schedule than 45 hours.
3 A Group: Composed entirely of experienced women working a 9r/2-46-hour schedule. B Group: All women in the department, including 19 learners, probationers,
substandard, and part-time workers—all on a shorter schedule than 46 hours.




PLANTS L & M

Number
of
women
studied

Less than 6 weeks

172

women’s wartime hours of work

37.5 hours in fhe 40-hour period to 77.5 cents per hour when averaging
40.5 hours in the 9%-46-hour period. The more stable seamers, who
worked at least part of each week in each period studied, increased their
earnings from 75.5 cents when they averaged 38.5 hours in the first
period to 78.5 cents when they averaged 42.5 hours in the second period.
These showings are interesting in view of the fact that three-fourths of
the women interviewed were positive that they earned more per hour on
an 8-hour day than on a 9- or 9(/2-hour day. While many women did not
work the longer day every day, the 9- or 9%-hour day was the prevailing
day in the second period when their efficiency, as expressed in average
hourly piecework earnings, was the same or slightly higher than in the
first period.
When considering performance on the job of all loopers and seamers
together (see table VI), it is to be noted, first, that there was a decrease
in numbers employed in the second period which affected both departments.
Further, the proportion of the women not permitted to work over 40 hours
because of their status as probationary workers, learners, and so forth,
was greater in the latter period. The result was that whereas, theoretically,
a change from a 40-hour to a 45-hour and a 46-hour schedule represents
increases of 12.5 and of 15 percent, respectively, in actual fact there was
an average increase in scheduled hours of only 10.8 percent. Absences in
the second period reduced man-hours actually worked to the point where
they were only 93 percent of those worked in the first period.
The slight increase in seamers’ efficiency did not compensate for the
decrease in loopers’ efficiency, resulting in part from the greater proportion
of learners and substandard workers employed in the second period. The
total production as measured by piecework earnings was reduced by 5 points.
This over-all loss in production was most noticeable in the looping depart­
ment, where there was a drop of 10 points.
Performance on the Job — Plant M

_ Plant M operated the looping and transfer knitting department on an
incentive wage basis. Time required to loop different styles, sizes, color
combinations, and patterns of seamless hose had been determined through
time studies and standards set for all. The efficiency rate was computed by
dividing the number of standard production hours achieved by the actual
number of hours worked. In this plant there was no work paid on a time
basis and there was no waiting time, so that the number of hours worked
were always identical with the number of hours on incentive work. A record
was kept of imperfect socks, and loopers were paid for perfect work only.
A 10-percent bonus was paid to those with an efficiency of 95 percent or
better and with not more than 1 percent mends or imperfect socks. In the
summer of 1942 this efficiency bonus was increased to 11 percent but required
efficiency was also changed to 100 percent with 1 percent or less of mends or
imperfect socks. Over the periods studied the guaranteed minimum rate of
36 cents had been increased to 40 cents, and a gradual increase in basic
piece rates had taken place: from 36 cents to 42 cents for transfer knitters,
and from 36 cents to 44 cents and 46 cents for loopers.
As already stated, the loopers and knitters chosen for study were those
who had attuned their general level or norm of efficiency and had worked
at least 5 weeks under each of at least two contrasting hour schedules
studied.
All but one of the loopers studied had at least 2 years’ experience on
looping, and the majority had 5 years’ or more experience. Comparison is,




Table VI.

-Summary of Possible Man-hours, Total Man-hours Worked, Total Man-hours Worked on Incentive Jobs, Efficiency, and Total Production
Based on Totals for All Women Studied, Under Different Scheduled Hours, by Occupation — Plant L
'
Index numbers of—
Period studied, scheduled hours,
and occupation

Number
of
women

Scheduled
hours

Possible

Total
man-hours
worked

Total
man-hours
jobs

Total
production

.
100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

76.8
92.9

114.0
110.8

101.0

Ol

82.7
94.2

103.7
101.1

85.7
95.2

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

75.6
95.3

2d period:

112.5
109.3

83.2
97.3

79.2
92.7

101.6
96.7

80.5
89.6

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

77.5
91.3

115.0
111.8

92.7
103.4

85.0
95.2

104.5
103.6

Loopers:
2d period:

PLANTS L & M

Total:

Efficiency
(average
hourly
production)

Seamers:
2d period:
B Group (9'/2-46; 8-40 hours, etc.) 2.................

100.0
-

88.8
98.6

loopcrfr°tlP: InCludeS experienced women onIX who worked the department schedule of hours in the second period—9/2-46 hours for seamers and 9-45 hours for
3B Group: Includes all women in the department, including learners, substandard, probationary, and special-hour women—all on a 40-hour scheduler-and
or part-time workers who worked irregular schedules.
u
ana

17.3




spares

174

women's wartime hours of work

therefore, one of performance of fully experienced women under different
hours of work on an operation requiring constant attention, excellent eye­
sight, £nd deft, speedy fingers. Analysis of production records first of
all shows wide differences in looping ability among experienced loopers,
regardless of hours worked.
The highest efficiency was attained by a 35-year-old woman with many
years’ experience. She achieved as high as 185 percent efficiency when
actually working 55 hours a week under a 55-hour schedule, while her
average efficiency during the 5 weeks of 55 hours studied was 183. When
she was on a 50-hour schedule, her efficiency range was 176 to 181, and
she actually worked 50 hours in each week except one. This woman said:
I am in the habit of getting off about 9 dozen an hour and more. I do work close
to the clock. By that I mean I can tell whether I am losing or gaining in my work
and can speed up or slow down accordingly.

The looper with lowest efficiency was in the same age bracket and had
the same extensive experience. For the 5-week period studied under a 50-hour
schedule, she averaged 48.4 hours of work and achieved an average efficiency
of 66.8. Under a 57-hour schedule she averaged 56.8 hours of work and
52.8 efficiency.
Wide ranges in individual efficiency were typical under each hour
schedule studied as can be seen in the summary below. When the individual
efficiencies for the group as a whole were averaged, there was only slight
variation from one period to another, which would seem to indicate that
hours worked had little influence on the production of this experienced
group of workers.
Number
of
women
studied

Average
possible
man-hours
per week ]

Average
weekly
hours
worked

Average
efficiency
rating

Range in
efficiency
ratings

1st period (8-40 hours)........................
2d period (8- and 9-50 hours)...........
3d period (52-55 hours)......................
4th period (56-57 hours)......................

29
60
23
25

40.0
50.0
53.5
56.8

39.3
47.5
52.0
55.1

108.7
110.8
112.9
110.0

82-140
67-178
75-183
53-143

Transfer top knitters:
1st period (8-40 hours).......................
2d period (8-48 hours)..........................

18
16

40.0
48.0

38.4
46.6

122.8
122.8

100-148
94-161

Occupation, period studied,
and scheduled hours

1 Possible man-hours per week had to be averaged for the 3d and 4th period loopers because
they were not all on the same schedule of hours.

Because of the wide ranges in individual efficiency and the influence of
extremes on averages when numbers concerned are small, a comparison is
made of the efficiencies of “identical” women in table VII.
There were 26 “identical” women loopers who worked in the first and
second periods, and all but 2 increased their efficiency when the scheduled
hours shifted from 40 to 50 a week and not only was 10 hours of overtime
paid at time and a half but a 2-percent attendance bonus was given for
48 hours or more a week. With the added incentive of overtime rates, these
women could apparently produce at a higher rate under 50 hours than they
did under 40.
There were 45 identical women who worked under the 50-hour schedule
and also under either the 52-55- or 56-57-hour schedule. These women aver­
aged 47.7 hours under the 50-hour schedule and 53.8 under the 52-57-hour
schedule. With (his increase in hours, 24 had an increase in efficiency and




PLANTS L & M

175

21 a decrease. The difference, whether an increase or decrease, was usually
only a few points.
There were 13 women who worked under 3 hours’ schedules, i.e., under
both the 40-hour and 50-hour schedules and under either the 52-55-hour or
56-57-hour schedule. Here again the shift from 40 hours to 50 hours with
the stimulus of overtime resulted in a general increase in efficiency. But the
lengthening of the workweek to the 52.9 hours actually worked under the
52-57-hour schedule resulted in a decrease in productive efficiency for 10
of the 13 women.
There were 16 identical women who had worked under the 40-hour
schedule and under the 52-57-hour schedule. Eleven showed an increase in
efficiency under the longer hours, but this was partially due to the fact
that they had gained a year or two more of experience between the two
periods.
The amount of imperfect looping did not increase with the increase in
hours. It remained below 1 percent for almost all loopers.
There were 15 experienced knitters who worked in both periods studied
and they worked 38.3 hours under the 40-hour schedule and 46.5 hours
under the 48-hour schedule. Again there was a wide range in individual
efficiencies in each period—a considerably wider range in the second than
in the first period—but for the entire group studied there was little difference
between average efficiency in the first and second periods. Almost half the
knitters’ efficiency decreased in the second period and over-all efficiency
dropped slightly. There was also a slight increase in imperfect work in the
second period.
To determine the results on over-all production of the policy of encourag­
ing long hours by permitting varying work schedules, granting an attendance
bonus if at least 48 hours were worked, and granting a bonUs if a specific
degree of productive efficiency were attained, comparisons were made of
performance on the job of all loopers together and all transfer knitters
together, including both experienced and inexperienced workers, and includ­
ing also home workers among the loopers.
Data for loopers cover three 5-week periods: one when the department
was on a 40-hour schedule, one when a number of the women were working
a 50-hour schedule, and one when hours up to 10% a day and 57 a week
were permitted. Data for transfer top knitters cover a 5-week period when a
40-hour schedule prevailed and 5 weeks when a 48-hour schedule prevailed.
The loopers include:
181 who in the 40-hour period actually worked an average of 39 hours;
177 who in the 50-hour period actually worked an average of 38.1 hours;
155 who in the 57-hour period actually worked an average of 43.3 hours.

Using the 40-hour period as index-base 100 (see table VIII) from the
first to the third period, a 15-percent decrease in numbers employed was
accompanied by but a 5-percent decrease in total man-hours worked. As
with the selected group of identical loopers, average efficiency increased
from the 40-hour period to the 50-hour period and decreased slightly in the
longer-day period. With the 9 1/2-percent efficiency increase in the 57-hour
period over the 40-hour period, total production was increased by 4 percent.
In the 50-hour period, however, the larger number employed plus slightly
higher efficiency resulted in a total production increase of 5.6 percent.
In the 40-hour period 54 transfer top knitters were employed, in the
48-hour period, 77, making an increase in transfer knitters of 42.6 percent.
698249°—47—13




176
Table VII. — Comparison of Individual Efficiencies of Groups Composed of the Same Women, Under Different Scheduled Hours, bv Occupation_
Plant M

Number of
women
in group

Average
efficiency
rating

Range in
efficiency
ratings

39.21
47.8/

26

/107.2
1113.1

82-140
85-151

1st period (40 hours)..........................
3d and 4th periods 2 (52-57 hours).

39.61
52.4/

16

/108.4
1113.6

82-129
75-144

2d period (50 hours)............................
3d and 4th periods 2 (52-57 hours).

47.71
53.8/

45

J109.4
1110.2

67-178
53-183

[105.2
-j 112.1
[109.6

82-126
85-133
75-137

/123.5
1122.7

100-148
94-161

Loopers:
1st period (40 hours).
2d period (50 hours)..

1st period (40 hours)..........................
2d period (50 hours)............................
3d and 4th periods - (52-57 hours).
Transfer top knitters:
1st period (40 hours).
2d period (48 hours).

13

■31

1.5/

Same
efficiency
rating

Increased
efficiency
rating

Decreased
efficiency
rating

1

24

1

1

11

4

24

21

1

12
3

10

i

7

7

’These women never had waiting time, day-work jobs, etc., so that all hours worked were on an incentive work basis
pattern oYd^houTfor“iEpS?"* the 52-55’hour schedule in
« e™d
‘hose working the 56-57-hour schedule in the 4th period. There was no fixed




women ’s wartime hours of work

Number of women with —
Average
weekly
hours
' worked 1

Occupation, period "studied,
scheduled hours

177

PLANTS L & M

This increase, plus the increase in hours actually worked, brought about an
increase in production of 67.5 percent in spite of a slight decrease in over-all
efficiency.
Table VIII. — Summary of Total Man-hours Worked, Total Man-hours Worked on Incentive
Jobs, Efficiency, and Total Production, Based on Totals for Entire Looping
Department and Transfer Top Knitting Department,1 2 Under Different
Scheduled Hours, by Department1 — Plant M
Index numbers oj

Department, period studied, and
scheduled hours

Total
man-hours Efficiency
(average
worked
hourly
on in­
produc­
centive
tion)
jobs 3

Number
of
women

Total
man-hours
worked

Looping department:
1st period (8-40 hours)..........................
2d period (8- and 9-50 hours).........
3d period (1054-57 hours permitted)

100.0
97.8
85.6

100.0
95.6
95.1

100.0
95.6
95.1

100.0
110.5
109.5

100.0
105.6
103.9

Transfer top knitting department:
1st period (8-40 hours)........................
2d period (8-48 hours)..........................

100.0
142.6

100.0
171.1

100.0
171.1

100.0
98.3

100.0
167.5

Total
produc­
tion

1 All other tables include only select group of experienced workers studied.
2 Indexes for scheduled hours and possible man-hours not shown because of individualized
nature of work schedules.
3 Man-hours on incentive jobs same as total man-hours because no work was ever done on
an hourly basis.




178

women's wartime hours of work

POWER SEWING-MACHINE OPERATORS —PLANT N
INTRODUCTION

The desirability of studying women’s performance on a well-established
women s occupation led to the investigation of power sewing-machine opera­
tions in a corset factory. This factory had been making foundation garments
for over 50 years and had always employed women. In the summer of 1942
it was granted Government war contracts for parachutes, canopies, packs,
harnesses, and tents. As materials for its regular products were too limited
to operate the foundation-garment department at full capacity, some powermachine operators were shifted to the war production department, where
higher earnings were possible.
In the first period chosen for study, April and May 1942, all women were
employed 8 hours, 5 days a week in the foundation-garment department.
There was no parachute production at this time. In the second period,
January and February 1943, this department and the new parachute depart­
ment operated on an 8-hour day for 6 days a week. The women selected for
study were 1) those who had operated power sewing machines in the
corset department during at least one of the two periods studied and who
had been employed a minimum of 4 weeks in the course of the two periods
studied, and 2) a group of women who were in the corset department in the
first period and the parachute department in the second period. In the first
period 122 women were studied, in the second, 104.
A resume of hours worked in each period follows:
Period

Schedule
Corset department

1st period:
April-May 1942 (6 weeks)
8-hour day, 5-day 40-hour week
2d period:
January-February 1943 (6 weeks)
8-hour day, 6-day 48-hour week
Parachute
2d period:
January-Febrflary 1943 (6 weeks)
8-hour day, 6-day 48-hour week

8 a.m.-4:45 p.m.

(45-minute lunch period)

8 a.m.^t:30 p.m.

(30-minute lunch period)
department
Day shift: 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
(30-minute lunch period)

EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON WORKERS' HOME LIFE

The power sewing-machine operators included in the study were prac­
tically all over 20 years of age. Half were 20 and under 30 years, 30 per­
cent 30 but under 45 years, and 17 1/2 percent were 45 years of age and
older. Almost half had worked with the firm for 5 years or longer. About
half were married and half were single.
While several widows roomed and boarded out, all others interviewed
lived in a family household. These households varied in the number of
their members from 2 persons to 5 persons. Half the married women inter­
viewed did all or the major part of their housework and half shared the
work with other adult members. As none interviewed had children under
14 years, child care was not a problem. Single women interviewed had
neither all nor general responsibility for homes, but they did their own
laundry and helped with other duties.




PLANT N

179

Even though duties are shared, they may be very arduous. For example,
one 25-year-old girl had a bedridden tubercular mother and a young sister
who had just given up factory work because she, too, had the disease. The
brother went into service, and the father died of pneumonia just before the
second period studied. When there was no Saturday work, the worker inter­
viewed did the washing for five and cleaned the house on Saturday. When
the factory schedule called for Saturday work, she did the family washing
Monday night after work, and the ironing Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Sunday mornings were used for cleaning. She shared marketing with her
sick sister who also did the cooking. When the worker was interviewed, she
was taking leave of absence to nurse her bedridden mother. She was expect­
ing to get the service allotment from her brother shortly, and hoped to hire
someone to care for her mother while she was at work.
Another young worker and her sister who lived with their parents shared
the housework. They took turns marketing. Under the 48-hour schedule,
the factory worker did the house-cleaning either on Saturday or at night. Her
sister did the laundry. The mother, who was not well, was still able to
prepare dinner.
'
In the corset department the workday began at 8 a. m. in both periods.
Consequently, increased working hours brought no change in the time of
rising. This time ranged from 5 a. m. to 6:45 a. m. Women interviewed
all used the trolley or bus to reach the factory. Transportation consumed
1 1/2 hours or more for many. Factory closing time was changed from
4:45 p. m. in the first period to 4:30 p. m. in the second by shortening
the lunch period 15 minutes. The workday away from home was 10 to 11
hours for the majority of women.
Because Saturday was a factory day under the 48-hour schedule, many
women did their laundry or cleaning in the evening. This advanced the
retiring hours for some. In the 40-hour period almost half had an over-all
day of 17 hours or longer, in the 48-hour period almost three-fifths had an
over-all day of 17 hours or more. Time of retiring varied from 9:30 p. m.
to 12:30 a. m.
Over two-thirds of the power sewing-machine operators preferred the
40-hour week, or 5 days of 8 hours. The few who did not mind the Satur­
day work were without household duties to perform.
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT HOUR SCHEDULES ON
WORKERS' FACTORY PERFORMANCE
ATTENDANCE RECORD

Attendance records of 122 sewing-machine operators in the corset depart­
ment during 6 weeks under the 8-hour day 40-hour week were studied. When
causes of lost time were investigated, it was found that 50 women had lost
1,040 hours because of lack of work in the 40-hour period. This lost time
is not shown on the attendance tables but does appear on table III which
analyzes the causes of absence.
Under the 40-hour schedule 6.3 hours were lost per possible 100 man­
hours of work. This time was lost by 70 percent of the operatives who, in
th? 6-week period, averaged 3 absences of almost 6 hours each. Under the
8-48-hour schedule, time lost increased by ahnost 2 hours to 8.2 hours per
100 possible man-hours. During this period the corset department lost
more hours than the younger workers in the parachute department—9.2 as




women’s wartime hours of work

180

against 7.2 hours per 100 possible man-hours. The number of women who
incurred absences also increased from 70 percent in the 40-hour period to
90 percent in the 48-hour period. The number of absences per woman and
the length of these absences also increased.
Table I. — Percent of Women Losing Time Under Different Scheduled Hours, Average
Number and Length of Their Absences, and Hours Lost by Total Number of
Women Studied per 100 Possible Man-hours, by Department—Plant N
Women losing time
Period studied,
scheduled hours,
and department

Hours lost
by total
number of
women per
100 possible
man-hours
of work

number
of
women
studied

Number

1st period (8-40 hours)
(corset department)

122

86

70.5

3.3

5.9

6.3

2d period (8-48 hours)
Corset department
Parachute department

104
57
47

94
52
42

90.4
91.2
89.4

4.0
4.0
4.0

6.6
7.2
5.8

8.2
9.2
7.2

Percent

Average
number
of
absences

Average
hours
per
absence

In the 40-hour period about one-third of the operatives lost no time. Their
number was cut to one-tenth in the 48-hour period. The number of absences
of over 1/2 day increased. Almost half the women were absent on a Satur­
day during the 6-week period, which meant 10 1/2 percent of the possible
Saturdays were lost. Saturday absence accounted for 21 percent of all time
lost in the 48-hour period.
Thursday was pay day in both periods. The hours lost on Friday were
but 4.4 percent of the total Friday hours in the 40-hour period and 1.8 per­
cent in the 48-hour period. Obviously, the pay day on Thursday did not
lead to extended absenteeism on Friday.
When the 40-hour schedule was in effect, the average hours worked by
operatives during the weeks they reported for work were 36.7. During this
period, however, lack of work accounted for 1.4 of the 3.3 hours lost, so
that potential hours worked were 38.1. In the 48-hour period the actual
hours worked during weeks the women reported for work were 44.6, there
being few “no work” hours in this period.
Lateness increased in the second period. More women were late and the
number of times they were tardy increased, but the average length of the
lateness decreased.
CAUSES OF LOST TIME

Table III shows that the most important cause of lost time in the first
period was lack of materials. In the second period, when many of the
operatives had gone to the parachute department, leaving a reduced staff
in the corset department, the “no work” time was of minor consequence.
In both periods the number of absences for personal reasons exceed those
due to illness. Reports from the visiting industrial nurse, who spent an hour
a day in the plant, revealed that very few women went to her for consultation
during the weeks studied.
Reports to the State Workmen’s Compensation Commission showed acci­
dents for which compensation was claimed. During the two periods studied,
15 women had filed claims for accidents; 10 ran needles into their fingers,
3 cut their fingers with scissors or on machines, 1 ran a screw driver into
her finger, and 1 hurt her arm on the lunchroom radiator.




Table II. — Analysis of Time Lost By Women Workers Under Different Scheduled Hours — Long-term Absences (whole weeks lost) and Short-term
Absences (time lost within v/eeks attended), by Department—Plant N
Attendance record of women within weeks of
partial or full attendance

Number who lost a week or more

Period studied, scheduled
hours, and department

Total

1
week

2
weeks

3
weeks

Total
number
of
women

Number
with no
lost
time
in weeks
attended

Number of women
whose average time
lost per week in
weeks attended was —

Vz day
or
less

Over
Vz day
and
includ­
ing 1
day

Over
1
day

Average
hours
worked
per
week
in weeks
attended

1st period (corset department)
(8-40 hours):
122
100.0

7

5
4.1

1
0.8

1
0.8

122
100.0

38
31.1

67
54.9

10
8.2

7
5.7

1 36.7

4

1
1.0

1.0

104
6.4

11
10.6

59
56.7

21
20.2

13
12.5

44.6

1.8

1
1.8

57
100.0

6
10.5

31
54.4

10
17.5

10
17.5

44.3

47
100.0

10.6

28
59.6

23.4

PLANT N

Number
Total
working:
number
all or
of
part of
each
women
studied
week
employed

3
6.4

2d period (8-48 hours):
Corset department:
Parachute department:
Number ..............................................................
Percent ..............................................................

104
100.0

98
94.2

5.8

57
100.0

53
93.0

7.0

3.5

47
100.0

45
95.7

2
4.3

4.3

1 1.4 of the 3.3 hours lost resulted from lack of work.




CO

1st
Causes of lost time

Women
losing
time —
Number

period (8-40 hours)
Absences

Number

Percent

104

1 96
Personal illness ................................
Company—No work ........................
Lateness (over 15 minutes) .........

100.0

40
52
50
29

64

14.1
26.8
45.5
13.6

Total
hours
lost —
Percent

495
455

2d period (8-48 hours)

122
207
62

U

Absences
Number

94

26.1
42.3
1.5

182

£\J

43

49

107

Percent

Total
hours
lost —
Percent

100.0

100.0

12.6
23.6
4.9
58.8

31.8
56.6

372

*67

1 Details add to more than total because some women report more than one cause of absence.




Women
losing
time —
Number

6.6
5.0

w o m e n ’s w a r t im e h o u r s o f w o r k

Table III. — Causes of Lost Time Under Different Scheduled Hours —Plant N

PLANT N

183

PRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY
Nature of the Job

The groups studied were power-machine operators in the corset depart­
ment and parachute department. The sewing machines used varied from
single-needle to 5-needle machines with different types of attachments.
The women sat on straight-back chairs, leaning forward in one position
most of the day. Close attention was required in both the corset department,
where the runs of stitching were short, and in the parachute department,
where there were long continuous seams.
Performance on the Job

Power sewing-machine operations were paid at piece rates, with a guaran­
teed hourly minimum of 40 cents or higher. In normal times the firm manu­
factured 375 different styles of corsets, each style involving from 16 to 50
operations. A rate was set for each dozen of any one operation on any
given style. The original rates were set over 40 years ago and were based
on the skill required for each operation. Over the years these rates were
changed. They were increased or decreased according to economic condi­
tions; they'were adjusted to meet machine changes; they were changed on
a certain style or group of styles as the individual operator or group of
operators involved said they “could not make out at the set prices,” and in
later years rates were adjusted through bargaining with the trade union.
Time studies have been made only since the advent of the union in 1941
and have been confined mainly to disputed rates. A scientific study of all
operations to smooth out the rate discrepancies that had accumulated
through the years was contemplated for the postwar period.
Between the two periods studied, a general increase in rates was granted.
It was selective in nature; the jobs at which the operators were averaging
the lowest amounts were increased the most, and vice versa. For example,
the lowest paid task in June 1942 was zig-zag finishing the raw ends of
straps; it had been paid at rates netting an average of 53 cents an hour
and was raised to 58 cents, an increase of 9.4 percent. The highest paid task
was stitching talons and hooks and eyes which had yielded 94 cents an hour;
it was raised to 96 1/2 cents an hour, an increase of 2.7 percent. The piece
rates on all other jobs were increased by amounts within this range.
To use piece-rate earnings to compare productivity in the first period
with productivity in the second period would necessitate applying each rate
increase effected between the two periods to the job or jobs the women had
done each day of the 6 weeks of the second period. Before such detailed
calculations were attempted, other conditions reported by management as
existing in the plant during each of the two periods were considered:
1. The younger, faster operatives were transferred to the parachute
department in the second period. This left the older, slower, and less
efficient operators in the corset department.—Comparisons of output
would have to be made, therefore, on an individual basis, selecting a
special group for study and then making the necessary adjustments in
piecework earnings in the second period.
2. Owing to lack of materials, the styles of foundation garments pro­
duced in the second period were fewer than those in the first period.
Few, if any, new styles were created.—Thus the operators were on the
same work over longer stretches than in the first period and did not
have to lose speed adjusting to continuous style changes.—This would
tend to invalidate comparisons.




184

women’s wartime hours of work

3. Further, work was not steady in the first period. The fewer women
available for the corset department in the second period made it
possible to feed work to them without delay-—another factor confusing
a comparison.
4. J he fact that ersatz material was being used in the second period
and garments were not up to prewar standard was reflected in the
tendency of operators not to be as meticulous about their work as had
been normal in the first period. Quality of workmanship was sacrificed
to quantity.—This would further invalidate comparisons.
5. The fact that overtime pay in the second period was based on the
average hourly earnings of the week acted as a spur to increase output
and thus increase overtime pay. The fact that earnings as a whole were
considerably higher than normal, as a result of the higher rates, longer
hours, and overtime pay, made workers feel that they ought to “make
hay while the sun shines” and “take advantage of the situation while
it lasted.”—Both these factors would tend to invalidate comparison of
productivity in the two periods.
Statements made by women operatives interviewed in their homes were
in agreement with the foregoing judgments of management: “During the
first period my work was more varied. The company was very particular
about the work. Inspection was very strict. During the 48-hour period this
was relaxed. Anything went as long as it was sewed together.” “During the
40-hour period I averaged work on 5 or 6 styles a day, sometimes with
2 or 3 operations on the same garment. During the 48-hour period I had
the same work every day and became faster and more proficient at it.”
With women workers and company in agreement on the many factors
responsible for increased production in the second period—factors which
were not amenable to computation—an attempt to compare productive
efficiency in the two periods by comparing piecework earnings was aban­
doned.




REFERENCE LIST

185

REFERENCE LIST OF OTHER PUBLICATIONS

New York State Department of Labor. Division of Women in Industry and
Minimum Wage. Hours of Work in Relation to Health and Efficiency.
Albany, N. Y., August 1941. 97 pp. (Mimeographed.)
This report reviews the most important studies made on the
subject up to that time and includes a comprehensive bibliog­
raphy. The following list, therefore, is only of reports published
since.
Brown, J. Douglas and Baker, Helen. Optimum Hours of Work in War
Production. Princeton, N. J., Princeton University, Industrial Relations
Section, Department of Economics and Social Institutions, March 1942.
25 pp.
A brief report of a survey of opinions of production executives
concerning optimum hours of work. Includes a bibliography.
Chamber of Commerce of the United States. Department of Manufacture.
The Ten-Hour Workday in Factories. Washington, August 1943. 8 pp.
(Mimeographed.)
Questionnaires (form given) were sent to 479 metal manufac­
turing companies in regard to shifts worked. A summary is
presented of the 116 replies received.
Committee on Work in Industry of the National Research Council. Fatigue
of Workers: Its Relation to Industrial Production. New York, Reinhold
Publishing Corporation, 1941. 165 pp.
Discusses effects of working conditions in factories. Considers
several studies—working at high altitudes, the influence of
temperature (especially heat) ; also the well-known Western
Electric Co. experiment.
Florence, P. Sargant. A Scientific Labour Policy for Industrial Plants.
International Labour Review 43:260-298, March 1941. London, Wash­
ington.
A summary of experience during World War I and later and
an evaluation of problems.
Great Britain. Annual Reports of the Chief Inspector of Factories, for the
5 years 1940 to 1944. London, H. M. Stationery Office.
Contains section on scheduled hours and hours actually Worked
in relation to production.
........... Industrial Health Research Board. Medical Research Council.
Emergency Report No. 2. Hours of Work, Lost Time and Labour Wastage.
London, H. M. Stationery Office, 1942. 26 pp.
Summary of results from a survey of factories to discover the
■ relationship between hours of work and productivity.
....................................... Emergency Report No. 3. The Personal Factor in
Accidents. London, H. M. Stationery Office, 1942. 20 pp.
Discusses general factors, including hours of work, affecting
accident rates.




186

women’s wartime hours of work

....................................... Emergency Report No. 4. A Study of Absenteeism
Among Women, by S. Wyatt and others. London, II. M. Stationery Office,
1943. 12 pp.
A report of a study of the amount and distribution of absen­
teeism among women at two Royal Ordnance Factories.
...... :............................... Emergency Report No. 5. A Study of Variations in
Output, by S. Wyatt and others. London, H. M. Stationery Office, 1944.
16 pp.
A plant study of the effect of reducing working hours on output
and attendance.
....................................... Report No. 86. A Study of Certified Sickness Ab­
sence Among Women in Industry, by S. Wyatt and others. London, II. M.
Stationery Office, 1945. 34 pp.
A study of plant records, relating age, marital status, and type
of work to sickness absence.

1

....................... . ........... Report No. 88. A Study of Women on War Work
in Four Factories, by S. Wyatt and others. London, H. M. Stationery
Office, 1945. 44 pp.
Extension of Report No. 86. Covers factors other than illness.
Based on interviews with groups of women, half of whom had
had the greatest and half the least sickness absence. Their atti­
tudes were ascertained on factory environment, personnel, wage
payment, pace of work, etc.
_____.................... x............ Conditions for Industrial Health and Efficiency.
Pamphlet No. 2. Absence from Work; Prevention of Fatigue. London,
FI. M. Stationery Office, 1944. 20 pp.
Treated as separate but related subjects. Analyses of records of
some 60 factories, large and small. Lists of references are given.
New York State Department of Labor. Absenteeism in War Plants. Indus­
trial Bulletin 22: 303-308, August 1943.
A survey by Division of Women in Industry and Minimum
Wage. Absence rates are given from 15 New York war plants
during May 1943.
Division of Women in Industry and Minimum Wage. Wartime
Working Hours. Albany, N. Y., February 1943. 11 pp. (Mimeographed.)
A supplement to the report mentioned at the beginning of this
list, presenting new information growing out of the first year of
war production. Good bibliography.
Sayers, R. R. Findings from Major Studies of Fatigue. Proceedings of
Sixth Annual Meeting of Industrial Hygiene Foundation of America, Inc.,
Pittsburgh, Pa., Nov. 12-13, 1941. pp. 66-99.
Conclusions reached from investigations and experiments con­
cerning different phases of fatigue, especially in relation to hours
of work, efficiency, health, and accidents. Includes a biblio­
graphy.




1

reference list

187

United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Studies of
the Effects of Long Working Hours, by Max D. Kossoris. Bulls. 791 and
791-A. Washington, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1944. 54 and 40
pp., respectively.
Case studies of the effects of lengthened working hours; Part 1
(Bull. 791) covers the first 6 plants surveyed, and Part II
(Bull. 791-A) includes reports on 6 additional plants.
........... Women’s Bureau. A study of a Change from 8 to 6 Hours of Work.
Bull. 105. Washington, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1933. 14 pp.
A report on the effects of shorter daily hours for women workers,
based on an examination of pay-roll records of a large industrial
plant and interviews with women employees.
Vernon, H. M. The Health of Munition Workers, industrial Welfare and
Personnel Management 21:411-415, November 1939. The Journal of the
Industrial Welfare Society, 14 Hobart Place, Westminster, S.W.I., London.
Deals principally with the ill effects of long hours during World
War I. Discusses the importance of welfare supervision for
munition workers.
........... Hours of Work and Their Influence on Health and Efficiency (with
Introduction by Miss Megan Lloyd George). London, British Association
for Labour Legislation, 1943. 38 pp.
Working hours in factories, health of employees, absenteeism,
and production; recommendations for hours of work, rest
pauses, and welfare. A reference list is given.




☆ U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1947—698249


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102