« EelmineJätka »
welfare it was originally adopted. The sentiments of the company regarding the results produced, and the lofty view taken of the responsibility devolving upon employers, are beautifully expressed in the two concluding paragraphs of a letter from the president on the subject addressed to the Bureau in connection with the general inquiry before referred to. These are the paragraphs, and it is doubtful whether more true kindliness of spirit, together with broad, practical, but thoroughly humane business sense, could be combined in the same number of words:
“The care and improvement of animate machinery is at least as important to the manufacturer as the care and inprovement of the inanimate machinery.
“The three most important matters for attention should be health, morals, and education; because a vigorous employe can do more work, a conscientious employe will do more work, and an intelligent employe will do more intelligent work."
This modest but comprehensive confession of faith in which the mutual obligation of employers and employes are fully epitomized, should be memorized by every employer of labor in the land.
The social economics of the Weston Electrical Instrument Co., whose works are situated in the Waverly section of Newark, are on a much more extensive scale than those just described; in fact it may be said that no where else in the country, nor perhaps in the world, has so much been done toward making the factory life of employes both healthful and morally elevating. The ventilation and sanitation of the immense workshops are absolutely perfect, and the surroundings are all of a character that appeal to the personal self-respect of the workmen.
The main factory building is one vast room 250 by 200 feet, with an 18 foot ceiling. The roof is on the saw-tooth model, and the north light is diffused equally throughout the vast interior, leaving no where a shadow or a dark corner. To increase the effect of light and cheerfulness, the columns, machinery, shafting, railings and all other stationary fittings, are painted in aluminum.
Immaculate cleanliness prevails everywhere, because the health of employes and the fine quality of work done by the Weston Company demands an atmosphere not only free om grit and dirt, but as nearly free from dust as can be attained by human ingenuity. It is interesting to note how frequently the health of the employes and the requirements of business are best served by identical conditions. The even diffusion of light permits the use of double work-benches with the operators facing each other, and such economy of space is effected that one square foot of the Weston floor is estimated to be equal to two and one-half feet in the ordinary scheme of factory buildings.
Drinking water of excellent quality and temperature is supplied by an artesian well, and is distributed throughout the departments by automatic jet fountains, thus doing away with the use of cups or glasses.
In the matter of ventilation the air space allowed each employe when the work-rooms are manned to full capacity, is about seven times that required by the most progressive modern hospital practice.
No drain pipes come into any part of the main buildings or work-rooms; all closets, lavatories and toilets are in wings independently ventilated, and so divided from the main building that gases and odors are excluded. There is a lavatory 75 by 40 feet with a 16 foot ceiling, lighted and ventilated by many windows, with an individual porcelain was'h-basin, individual soap, individual mirror and individual clothes locker for each man. The toilets are in every respect of equal grade with the lavatories—marble stalls, tiled floors and walls, with hardwood doors and seats, and both are in all particulars of as high quality as are to be found in any hotel of the land.
When the plant was erected about inine years ago, the company reserved the most desirable portions of the premises consisting of several commodious halls, and furnished them as recreation rooms, library, gymnasium, natatorium, emergency hospital, dining room and kitchen.
The furnishings and requirements for these purposes, all of the best quality obtainable, were provided by the company, and the entire club outfit with a working capital of $1,000, contributed by a director, was transferred to the employes, who took over the management under the title-Weston Employes' Club of Newark, N. J. Twenty-five cents per month is charged as dues, and all Weston Company employes are eligible to membership. The club controls and directs every feature of welfare work without interference by the company.
In a large, tastefully decorated and furnished dining hall, a dinner, table d'hote, is served to employes for 20 cents. For the convenience of those who do not care to take the full dinner, there is a lunch-counter where employes may buy what they choose. At the lunch-counter plates of roast beef, lamb, beef a la mode, or baked or broiled fish, with two kinds of vegetables, and bread and butter, is served for eight cents.
Directly under the dining-hall is the natatorium—160 feet by 35—with a 20 foot ceiling, light, bright and cheerful. The swimming tank of cement and enameled brick, is 150 feet long, 18 feet wide, and from 472 to 9 feet deep. The flooring is a 'handsome white mosaic tiling, tastefully bordered in green, with marble steps about 75 feet long leading from the pool to showers, needle and tub baths—six of each, which are ranged along the opposite side of the hall. A filtering plant forms part of the natatorium outfit. Here, as in the lavatories, the plumbing is of the finest quality. No where is there a bath, public, private or club, so roomy or so finely housed and equipped as this bath of the Weston employes' club. Connecting on the north is a large dressing-room, and the arrangements are such that the men may go directly to or from bath or work. Certain hours and days are set apart for women employed in the works.
A fair sized volume might be written about the peculiar features of this wonderful industrial organization, all designed for the pleasure and welfare of its employes, without exhausting the subject. The moving spirit of the whole-scientifically, mechanically, and altruistically, is the head of the company—Mr. Edward Weston.
With regard to the realization of his hopes, it probably is safe to say that no where else in the world has so much been done to make employment safe, healthful and comfortable.
A visitor to the works—an educator of national reputation and large experience in public life, after spending several hours examining the various departments, industrial and social, said: "Had I not had this practical demonstration, nothing could have made me believe that any manufacturing concern on earth was so interested in the health, the comfort, the pleasure and the general welfare of its employes.”
The entire system of welfare work is under control of a club, to membership in which all employes of the company are eligible. The dues are twenty-five cents a month, and practically every operative in the plant is a member.
To use the language of one who has written authoritatively on the subject of the social economics of the Weston Company, “the basic idea was the conviction of the head of the concern that the weightiest question confronting the twentieth century is the relation between capital and labor; that there must be a drawing together, or a still further pulling apart; that harmonious relations and community of interest must be established if we are to escape a disastrous and destructive conflict, and that therefore, it is the duty of every employer to contribute by all reasonable means to a peaceful and satisfactory solution of existing differences. It was hoped that the social and other plans of the Weston organization, designed for the pleasure and welfare of its employes, would not only shed a little sunshine day by day, but would also yield their “mite” of illumination on this momentous problem, and indicate other steps along the same road.”
This brief reference to improved factory organization and management, is introduced here because the true interests of labor lies in the direction of giving the widest possible publicity to such work, hoping thereby to interest other employers in doing likewise, for it is only by the adoption of similar protective measures, that the present unnecessary friction on the lives of factory workers can be largely reduced, if not totally removed. To be sure the number of employers who can afford to surround their workmen with the many comforts provided by the Weston Company is small, but cleanliness—or as near thereto as the nature of the business will allow, with ventilation and sanitation, which forms the basis of the admirable systems outlined above, being comparatively inexpensive, are attainable by all, and failure to adopt them might justify an extension of the law of liability placing impairment of the health of operatives traceable to suoh neglect, on the same footing as accidental injury, so far as recovery of damages is concerned. A provision of this character now forms part of Workmens' Compensation Act of England.
However, in the best factory environment, after everything possible has been done for improvement, there will still remain certain unchangeable conditions productive of health deterioration, such as indoor confinement, want of sufficient physical exercise, and at least equally with these, monotony of work. Some mitigation of these hurtful influences can surely be brought about through a reduction in working hours, which would place factory industries on the same plane in this respect as most outdoor occupations. But for some reason indoor workers, who, on physical grounds, have the best claim to a shorter workday, have made the least progress toward obtaining it. Probably this is due to timidity and lack of self assertion arising from causes already indicated. Whatever way their failure to benefit by the progressive movement toward a shorter workday may be explained, the fact remains that while the building trades generally worked forty-four hours per week, the average time in New Jersey factory industries is only a little less than fiftysix-or to be exact, 55.83 'hours per week. The usual arrangement is ten hours and from fifteen to thirty minutes per day with a half holiday on Saturday, but among the various industries there are eighty-three establishments employing upwards of thirteen thousand operatives—male and female, in which the working hours range from sixty and one-half to eighty-four hours per week, and these are without exception the industries in which working conditions are most severe.
What, therefore, should be the duration of labor in any particular industry is a problem practically incapable of definite solution, because the data for any group of individuals is variable and Auctuating. The muscular or physical power of a dozen workers cannot be determined by a multiplication of the ascertained measurements of one, because the nervous force which sustains and directs physical power shows many varying degrees of development among individuals. A task that the personal qualities of one man will enable him to perform with ease, another will, with the expenditure of vastly more labor, perform very clumsily, although both may be much alike in physical endowments.
The endurance of labor again is largely influenced by habit and familiarity. A man inured to the performance of some simple mechanical operation or of some task of a noxious character, will carry the work on apparently without being influenced by it, whereas a stranger would find the same employment absolutely impossible. The high rate of mortality shown by the statistics of some active occupations is not wholly attributable to the degree and duration of the physical labor demanded, but more or less to the frequency of accidents in such employments, and to the circumstance that not a few enter upon them who are unfit for the work by reason of constitutional debility or by drinking habits where the occupation is heavy and exhausting.
The practical conclusions suggested by a consideration of the hygienic differences of occupations are, that if public opinion, or the law is to interpose for the purpose of limiting the hours of labor, the workers having the first claim to relief are those engaged in pursuits which are demonstrably inimical to health and life, in other words, the sedentary workers, of whom there are upwards of 310,000 in the factories and wo ps of New Jersey at the present time.
Promoting the Export Trade of New Jersey.
The remarkable development of facilities for the production of all kinds of manufactured goods that has marked the progress of our country since the Civil War period nearly fifty years ago, has raised to national importance the question of what can be done toward enlarging and extending our export trade, so as to furnish steady employment for our growing population of wage earners and profitable returns on the capital invested in manufacturing industry.
To the group of manufacturing states of which New Jersey is one of the most important, the question of how this can be most effectively done is one of vital importance to their prospects of future growth and prosperity.
Ordinary competition for advantages in the home markets has brought about an extension of facilities for production that in many lines of industry are now far in excess of domestic trade requirements, and the need has become imperative of finding an outlet for the growing surplus in the foreign markets of the world. On the success that attends our efforts in this direction depends the maintenance of our present exalted rank among industrial nations of the earth.
The Federal government shapes its foreign policy with a view to securing and preserving for our people the utmost possible freedom of opportunity for trade in all parts of the world, and in its hundreds of consular officers the business interests of the nation has at command, the advice and assistance of a large corps of patriotic, intelligent and trained officials distributed among all the nations and peoples of the world. The consuls are purely commercial officers whose duties are strictly confined to the study of social, commercial and industrial conditions in their jurisdictions, and reporting fully thereon to the Department of Commerce and Labor, at Washington. Compilations and digests of these reports abounding in information and advice of the highest value to American manufacturers and exporters seeking foreign markets for their products, are published monthly by the government in pamphlet form and distributed without cost to all interested applicants.