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company having a beer saloon, where it could be sure that the foreign employees would secure a good grade of beer and not in excessive quantities.
There is an emergency hospital, a small room in the patrol building, fitted up to render first aid to the injured or ill. The company's patrolmen who police the works have been required to attend a course of lectures on giving first aid to the injured and to be examined on the lectures. One winter recently as many as 250 persons attended the lectures in Guild Hall on first aid to the injured. Various firstaid stations have been placed in the works.
The company set on foot an employees' mutual benefit society. Only employees of the company may become members and they must pass a physical examination and pay an initiation fee. The dues are 30 cents a month for members who receive a salary over $5 a week and 15 cents for those whose pay is less. Sick and accident benefits are $6 a week for persons receiving $5 a week or more and $3 for those whose wages are less than $5. Benefits are not paid for a longer period than six months. In case of death, a benefit of $100 or $50, as the case may be, is paid to the widow of the deceased. The company contributes about one-half as much as the members pay and collects the dues through the paymaster. About seven-eighths of the total number of employees are members of the association.
There is a system of profit sharing among the chief employees, officers of the company, foremen and assistant foremen. The policy has been to enlarge the group of participants, but not to extend it to the rank and file of employees. No doubt the failure of the pension plan, which has since been abandoned, with the numerous lawsuits on the part of the beneficiaries, has had a tendency to retard the inclusion of all employees. The participants receive a bonus according to salary and the dividend paid stockholders.
The company has a mechanics' school for its apprentices. These boys are paid and attend school one-half the time and work in the shop the rest of the day. A special committee has charge of the mechanics' school and employs an instructor to teach the boys in the works. When they go into the shop they are under the charge of a foreman.
THOMAS G. PLANT CO.
The Thomas G. Plant Co., of Boston, has done much to improve working conditions for its 5,000 employees. The huge factory is built in the form of a hollow square, so that all the workrooms are well lighted. On the top floor, where the shoe leather is cut, the roof has saw-tooth skylights to increase the light. The ventilation throughout the building is admirable, and every effort is made to keep down dust. The lavatories are very sanitary and clean. Individual lockers
of perforated iron are placed about in the workrooms near the machines, and are turned over to employees on their making a small deposit-enough to cover the cost of the key. There is a check-room for umbrellas and wet garments. Separate elevators are installed to transport the women employees to the upper floors. The company has a lunch counter for the employees, where food is sold at cost. Employees who bring their lunches eat them in the workrooms.
Apart from good workroom conditions the company conducts recreation work—the name it gives the usual welfare work. The ground around the building has been converted into a noonday-rest park for the employees, with a beautiful, trim, green lawn and flowers. There is besides a roof garden covering over half of the roof space. Part of this is reserved for women and part for men, with separate stairways leading to each section. A dance hall for women, open at noon and on special occasions in the evening, a pool room and bowling alleys for men, open every evening after working hours until 10 o'clock, give the much-needed amusement. The men pay a small fee for the use of the tables and the alleys. A handsomely furnished reading room, with attractive ferns and flowers from the company's greenhouse, has been opened to the employees. There is a branch station of the Boston Public Library here, besides books owned by the company and numerous weekly and monthly periodicals.
A woman physician, constantly in attendance, has the medical care of the employees under her supervision. There are rest rooms and an emergency hospital, with a nurse regularly employed, in the building. Twice a week an oculist spends the forenoon at the factory and may be consulted free by the employees. He fits them with glasses at very reduced prices.
The company, with the aid of employees' dues, maintains the Thomas G. Plant Co. Relief Fund Department. Out of this fund sick, accident, and death benefits are paid. There is at present over $5,000 in the treasury. The dues are 10 cents each week for adults and 5 cents for employees under 20 years of age, and they are deducted from wages by the paymaster's department. In case of sickness or accident the members receive $7 and $3.50 a week.
No member can draw benefits longer than seven weeks in one year. Benefits do not become due until the member has been incapacitated one week, except in case of severe injury. At death $100 or $50 is paid the beneficiaries of the deceased, according to the amount of the weekly dues. A medical examiner is employed to report upon the condition of disabled members and to decide upon the members' claims for benefits. The administration of the relief fund is entirely in the hands of the company, and all the receipts of the fund are held by the company in trust for the relief department.
NATIONAL CASH REGISTER CO.
The National Cash Register Co., at Dayton, Ohio, has long been a synonym for employers' welfare work. Since its beginning in 1893 it has had a special welfare department and has been one of the pioneers in America in such work. This department numbers eight persons, and in addition to the regular welfare work has charge of the entertainment of visitors.
The office building is a model of light and ventilation. The officers' lunch room, seating 250 persons, is situated here. Luncheon is served to the office force at a cost sufficient only to cover the actual price of the food. Service, china, and heat are supplied by the corporation. This room is also used for the conventions of selling agents.
In the factories light, airy, and sanitary workrooms are everywhere the rule, and everything is kept spotlessly clean by the uniformed janitors. The lavatories are in charge of janitors and janitresses. Fresh towels and soap are provided free, and there are bathtubs in each lavatory and shower baths for the men. The employees may bathe once a week at the expense of the company. This applies only to time workers, who are given 25 minutes. Pieceworkers are not recompensed for the time lost.
Special attention is paid to the welfare of the women employed in the shops. They are provided with freshly laundered aprons and sleevelets twice a week, the company maintaining a laundry for this purpose. In whatever building the women are employed there is a beautiful rest room, equipped more like the sun parlor of a luxurious hotel than the resting place for the employees of a factory. Here a piano, easy-chairs, couches, and plants add to the attractiveness. During the forenoon, at 10 o'clock, the women are given 10 minutes' rest and again in the afternoon they have a 10-minute recess. The restaurant of the National Cash Register Co. was abandoned some time ago, but since then simple food at a low cost is served the women employees in the shops. Soup costs 2 cents a bowl and coffee 1 cent a cup. The cooks are employed by the company.
The health of all the employees receives especial attention. Connected with the welfare work there is a handsomely equipped hygiene department of four rooms, under the charge of a physician, who comes one hour a day. A nurse and assistant are in attendance constantly. The physician examines all candidates for employment before they are employed and is thus able to reject those having tuberculosis. This department renders, of course, first aid to the injured.
The National Cash Register house extension is an interesting instance of welfare work, first begun by the company, and later completely turned over to the employees. About four years ago the president of the company gave the entire charge of it to the Men's
Club of Rubicon, the little suburb where it is situated. This attractive building has two resident workers. There is a spacious auditorium; and the usual club activities, classes of all sorts, dancing, and sewing classes for women are conducted here. The dues of the Men's Club of Rubicon and the charges for the classes and receipts from entertainments and dances support the building. Here the company's apprentices have their evening classes in mechanical drawing, etc.
Apprenticeships were started about four years ago. There are now in the different shops about 175 apprentices, from 17 to 19 years of age, who are under the charge of a supervisor of apprentices. They work in the shops all day directly under the foreman and he gives an account to the supervisor of their work. The night school is compulsory. Every six months the boys are examined and prizes awarded for the best school work. The length of the apprenticeship term varies with the character of the work. As the apprentices are paid less than the journeymen, it is probably true that the company saves something by having them, but the saving of money is not the chief object-rather, the training of their men.
There is a library of 26,000 volumes for the employees, including technical works as well as fiction. The books are rented for a week at a charge of a penny and may be renewed. The library is said to be on a paying basis. Theater tickets are purchased for employees desiring them, not at a lower price, but seats are secured before the tickets are on sale, so that employees have a choice of seats.
The Boys' Gardens Co. is an unusual kind of welfare work. This company was incorporated in 1910 with a capital stock of $40. The stockholders are 40 boys from 10 to 15 years of age taken from the neighborhood. The fact that their parents are not employed by the National Cash Register Co. does not affect their eligibility to the school. They have an attractive frame clubhouse, which was formerly used for some other kind of welfare work, and a large plot of ground attached for their horticultural activities. Each boy is given a plot 10 by 100 feet to cultivate under the direction of the expert gardener, and his tools. The course covers two years, and at the end of the term diplomas are given the graduates. From the middle of March to the 1st of November two hours' work a day is required of each boy. In the classroom they are taught the horticultural side of gardening and bookkeeping. Great stress is placed on keeping accounts, as the boys administer the financial affairs of the garden company. The produce of the gardens is sold to the officers' lunch room. Prizes are awarded annually for the best garden and the best bookkeeping.
The National Cash Register Relief Association was suggested by the company 14 or 15 years ago, and for several months fostered by
it until it became self-sustaining and independent. The assets are now over $6,000 and the association pays its secretary. It affords relief to members in case of sickness, injury, or disability, and provides funeral benefits in case of death. The weekly dues are 10 cents for persons whose salary is over $6.50 a week and 5 cents for those under $6.50. Sick benefits are a dollar a day for the first class of members, and not over 50 cents for the second class for a period not exceeding 13 weeks. There are 1,800 members, and in 1909 over $5,100 was disbursed in benefits. In order to enlarge the membership a small commission is given for securing new members.
The great attention paid to every detail, from the bicycle sheds for employees, with the compressed-air stands for inflating tires, and the barber shop for the waiters in the officers' lunch room, up to the exquisitely dainty china, with the Napoleonic wreath and letter “V” stamped on it in gilt, and the beautiful tennis courts and baseball fields, makes the large works resemble the home of an asthetically minded Croesus. There must be nothing in the entourage that is not pleasing to the eye.
The Gorham Manufacturing Co., near Providence, R. I., employing 2,000 persons, has surrounded its plant with a large park of 30 acres, kept in perfect condition. Part of the grounds overlook a small lake, so that the expanses of green and water make a beautiful sight. There is a large athletic field for employees.
Over 20 years ago the company built for the employees a club house—the casino—to which it has later added considerably. The casino is a large, low, rambling, brick and shingle building of pleasing appearance. Downstairs there is a large lunch room for employees where they can buy their lunch or eat the lunches they bring with them, a table d'hôte dining room, a ladies' dining room, and library. The food is sold at low prices. Upstairs there is an officers' dining room and several sleeping rooms for traveling salesmen. The library has several thousand volumes and is particularly cozy and comfortable. In the ladies' dining room there is a piano. Sometimes entertainments and dances are given in the main hall. There is no welfare secretary to take charge of the work, but there is a committee of employees and members of the company.
A savings bank has been started to encourage thrift and to lend money to employees who wish to build their own homes. The savings bank pays 4 per cent interest. In addition, there is a workmen's loan association which lends money at reasonable rates to employees desiring to borrow. This has suffered no losses. Most of the stock, the par value of which is $5, is owned by employees.