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federal penal institutions at Danbury,
Conn., Ashland, Ky., Terre Haute, Ind.,



Dallas and Texarkana, Tex., and Den-
ver, Colo., all part of the $15 million
construction program undertaken by the
Bureau of Prisons with funds allocated
by PWA. The program follows the wid-
ening scope of federal criminal jurisdic-
tion and is designed to relieve over-
crowded conditions and to permit more
constructive and specialized treatment of
criminals. The federal prison population
is increasing and now totals some 18,000,
about 2000 more than at this date a year
ago. All the personnel for the new institu-
tions will be recruited under civil service
regulations.

SECRETARY OF WELFARE: The common as-
sumption that Harry Hopkins would be
appointed Secretary of Welfare if and
when a federal department is established,
may not be too well founded. It is con-
sidered likely that he could have the job
if he wanted it, but rumor persists in
Washington that he and his advisers be-
lieve that his political aspirations would
be advanced more effectively were he to
establish a reputation for administrative
competence in some other department,
perhaps commerce.

DEFENSE PREPARATIONS: Indignation over
Nazi terrorism seems to be softening
opposition to the possible use of CCC,
NYA, and WPA programs for national
defense purposes. Careful study is being
made of the possibilities that these pro-
grams offer as elements in the national
defense. This does not neceessarily mean
direct military training. One plan con-
templates the development through these
agencies of trained workers for war in-
dustries; another the possibilities of train-
ing young people through the NYA for
work in metal industries where there is
a potential shortage of skilled workers.

SERVICES FOR THE BLIND: Under the Social
Security Act the board has authority to
grant the states half of the amount paid
out in cash allowances to needy blind
persons. These persons may get cash as-
sistance for the rest of their lives, but if
what they need most is medical treatment
or vocational or social adjustment the
board cannot pay a cent towards the
cost. Organizations interested in the blind
are working on an amendment which
would permit the federal government to
meet half the cost for services as well as
for cash payments for subsistence.

CIVIL SERVICE FOR WPA: There are indica-
tions around of plans to put WPA under
civil service regulations. Rectification
work which well may be a move toward
this end is now under way.

383



The Common Welfare



Stickers

*"" I A HE editors of Survey Midmonthly beg, borrow and
A steal a good deal of information from time to time in
efforts to answer the inquiries of readers. But sometimes
they are obliged to resort to that process which is known
as "referring" when "we" do it, and as "passing on" when
the other fellow does it. Hence the "referral" to the Amer-
ican Association of Social Workers of three recent inquiries
that got us down:

Please tell me all you know about ethics for social workers.

Please tell me what college to go to to be a good social
worker.

Please tell me what are the opportunities for a research
worker in social welfare and how to be one.

Half a Century

AFTER fifty years of activity the Child Study Asso-
ciation of America last month paused briefly to take
stock, with the question: "What do we know today about
rearing children and developing better family life that we
did not know half a century ago?" This query was the
theme of the conference, dinner and institute which cele-
brated the golden anniversary of the association. From a
small group of mothers searching for light and leading in
bringing up their children, it has grown to a nation-wide
organization of over a thousand members which spreads
the fruits of its knowledge far beyond the circle of its
membership.

Keynote of the review of the association's first half cen-
tury was the contrast in attitude toward children fifty
years ago the "seen and not heard" period when estab-
lishment of parental authority was the "leit motif" of child
training and the attitude today of regarding a child as an
individual with problems based on his own individuality
only to be solved through scientific understanding; a con-
trast emphasizing the shift from child training to parent
training, caused by a reaching out toward the source of
adjustment.

In looking over its past the Child Study Association
bore no resemblance to an old person complacently review-
ing a life well spent. Rather it seemed to be taking a deep
breath by which to increase its energy for the challenges of
the future. Speeches of appreciation were many, but in
them were recognitions of tasks remaining to be done; not
the least of them to uphold democracy because "only in a
democracy can a science of individual differences flourish."
Such an awareness of fundamentals by an organization that
can be both technical and specific, is an assurance, if any
were needed, that the Child Study Association will not be
content to rest on its laurels.

Hard Heads and Soft Hearts

WHATEVER else the November elections gave a key
to, they indicated a state of practically utter confu-
sion on the part of "we, the people" toward short cuts to
Utopia for old folk. California rejected "$30 every Thurs-
day" but elected a U.S. Senator on that platform ; Oregon
rejected "$100 after 60" but adopted an initiated measure



requiring the legislature to petition Congress to call a
constitutional convention to consider the Townsend plan.
This Oregon action and the narrow margin of defeat of
the California scheme is said to be responsible for a fer-
vent revival of Townsendism on the West Coast with its
echoes bound to reach Washington.

While the voters were hard-headed toward specific "fun-
ny money" schemes they were soft-hearted toward bigger
and better allowances for old folk. North Dakota voted
to raise the maximum from $30 to $40 a month ($17.14
was the average in August) with the state left to find $25
of the allowance, since $15 is the maximum federal con-
tribution. Colorado decided, in spite of the bare state of
its financial cupboard, to retain the constitutional amend-
ment setting an even $45 as a monthly "pension." (Pay-
ments in August were $25.88.)

Voters in various states passed on proposals to strengthen
public welfare administration. Californians approved a
measure which, by abolishing the "temporary" relief ad-
ministration, will clear up many confusions and permit the
integration of the state's entire welfare program. Michigan,
on the other hand, voted down a referendum proposal ap-
proved by the legislature to consolidate some ten state
agencies into a welfare department according to a plan de-
veloped after months of study by a state commission. New
York put into its constitution permission for the legislature
to enact health insurance laws and specific authorization
for the use of state funds for relief purposes including
unemployment, sickness and old age, care of dependent
children and education and support of the physically hand-
icapped. It also wrote housing into its constitution author-
izing state credit up to $300 million for loans for low rent
and slum clearance projects and for subsidies to municipali-
ties or public housing authorities.

The Moses Plan

WHEN New York's park commissioner, Robert Moses,
speaks on any matter of public concern his remarks
merit thoughtful consideration. Thus the city-wide, three-
year public and private housing program he recently offered
at a public meeting, more or less out of the blue, made the
front page of the metropolitan dailies, and evoked consid-
erable editorial comment.

Mr. Moses' plan, worked out in every detail from cost
of land to exact location of each development, would pro-
vide in three years ten slum clearance projects at a total
cost of $200 million for 120,000 people and in a longer
period of time, five limited dividend projects to cost $90
million for families in somewhat higher income groups
Land would be acquired by condemnation. Schools and
recreational facilities would be considered as integral part
of the projects and paid for out of housing funds. A to-b
imposed one-cent cigarette tax would provide interest pay-
ments on state loans under the recently adopted housing
amendment. To carry out his plan Mr. Moses would re
place the State Housing Board by an ex-officio board of
state officials, "with functions normally discharged by
bank or banker"; the City Housing Authority would
replaced by a board including heads of "the most vitally



384



SURVEY MIDMONTHL-i



affected departments" and three appointees of the mayor.
Tenants of the buildings would be selected by the Depart-
ment of Welfare.

The high spots of Mr. Moses" proposal are seen in
housing circles as a complete repudiation of generally ac-
cepted principles. "Housers" are asking: Should not hous-
ing policies and projects be administered by specially con-
stituted bodies devoting their entire energies thereto?
Cannot land generally be assembled more cheaply by nego-
tiation than by condemnation? Ergo, should location be
made public in advance? Is it not the responsibility of the
city to provide schools and recreational facilities for resi-
dents of housing projects, as for other citizens, out of funds
designated for those purposes? Is not tenant selection a
function of management? Mr. Moses answers all these
questions in the negative.

To provide the maximum amount of low cost housing
with the public and private funds available is the common
aim of all those behind a public and limited dividend pro-
gram, Mr. Moses included. While some features of his
program go along with proposals which have been for some
time under the expert scrutiny of the City Housing Au-
thority other important features are at variance with expert
opinion.

The Moses plan is bound to be widely and critically
discussed particularly as the legislature, meeting next month,
will be called on to implement the new housing amend-
ment. As former governor Alfred E. Smith pointed out,
the amendment is not self-enacting; the measure imple-
menting it should be the product of careful study joining
progress with feasibility, and, most important, should be
so drawn as to command a united front for its support in
the legislature.

Labor Conference

THE National Conference on Labor Legislation which
met in Washington in mid-November was the fifth of
such meetings called by the Secretary of Labor. With less
than ten legislatures in session in 1938, there were not
those showings of new laws the country over that charac-
terized earlier conferences. But there were over a dozen
new state labor commissioners in attendance and there was
a deal of practical discussion of problems in administration.
More than that, the conference committees, made up of
official delegates and representatives of labor and the pub-
lic, sat into the small hours one night drafting recommen-
dations that bear on the battery of 1939 legislative sessions.
Secretary Frances Perkins led off the conference with a
stimulating address and presided in lighter vein at the con-
ference dinner. As stage business she read "notes," as of one
delegate to another, which allegedly the cleaning woman
had collected after hours and turned in.

But it was in the run-of-mine handling of reports that
Madam Secretary outdid herself in the chair. A question
here, a challenge there, elicited from this state and that a
fund of penetrating experience, drew out regional differ-'
ences, and got moot points onto the floor, so that all con-
cerned felt they had the national picture before them and
adoption of each report meant a real consensus. Secretary
Wallace made his vigorous plea for fresh understanding
between farmers, workers and businessmen and announced
a mid-winter conference as a start to that end. Adminis-
trator Elmer F. Andrews and Katharine Lenroot, chief of
the Children's Bureau, canvassed and clarified develop-
ments under the national wage and hour law which since



October 24 has operated within the sphere of interstate
commerce. The new features of the conference were: a
committee report recommending parallel state wage and
hour legislation, discussion of the regulation of homework
no less than of factory employment, and a suggested pro-
gram, put out by the wage and hour administration, for
state collaboration in enforcing the act once adequate fed-
eral funds are available. There were lively and baffling
questions raised as to jurisdictional twilight zones left by
the lawmakers; but every evidence of a pretty general de-
termination to give a fair trial to this latest and most
comprehensive attempt to set or get

A ceiling over hours

A floor under wages and

A better break for children.

A State Looks at Its Schools

NEW YORK STATE has just completed a two-year
study of its largest enterprise the public school
system which includes 2,250,000 children, 80,000 teachers
and 11,400 buildings, and which costs the taxpayers $1,-
700,000 a school day. New York pays more for public edu-
cation than does any other state. But this study by a sub-
committee of the Board of Regents shows that the costs of
the schools vary widely from community to community and
that "some of the best results are being secured with average
expenditures, and some communities are making very large
outlays and securing poor results."

The new educational program proposed by the Regents'
inquiry includes modernization of the 7000 school districts,
some of which were laid out before the War of 1812; "ex-
tensive revision" of teacher education.

Most drastic of the inquiry recommendations relates to
secondary education. The study found that since 80 per-
cent of the youth do not go to college or professional
school, highschool graduates under today's employment con-
ditions face "an enforced period of idleness of two or three
years." The report comments: "From the standpoint of the
development of character, of work habits, of citizenship and
of individual intellectual growth, a plan of upbringing more
destructive than this could hardly be arranged." The rem-
edy proposed is a reorganization of secondary education and
an extension of highschool by adding two years to include
vocational training and "general education which will en-
rich the life of the individual and make better citizens."

The summary of findings and recommendations pub-
lished as a volume entitled Education for American Life
(McGraw-Hill, price $2) is filled with wisdom for parents,
taxpayers and school authorities not only in New York but
throughout the country.

States in Hot Water

TWO states Ohio and Oklahoma are in the Social
Security Board's black books. Ohio is still cut off from
federal old age assistance funds, pending revision of the
twelve points at which the board found the state failed to
conform with the federal law in administering aid to the
aged. Ohio sent out October checks about November 10,
making payments wholly from state funds. Whether or how
the old folks will get their November allowances is not clear
at this writing. Oklahoma will have no federal money for
old age assistance or aid to dependent children for Novem-
ber or December because of previous payments to ineligi-
bles. [See Survey Graphic, April 1938, page 203.]



DECEMBER 1938



385



The Social Front






Jobs and Workers

HpHE widespread use of measurement
* devices and automatic control instru-
ments has speeded up production, im-
proved the quality of products, reduced
costs and increased the productivity of la-
bor, according to a 148-page report, "In-
dustrial Instruments and Changing Tech-
nology," prepared by the National Re-
search Project of WPA. Although indus-
trial instruments have in some instances
displaced labor, as Corrington Gill, di-
rector of WPA research, points out in his
letter of transmittal, they have also played
an important part in the development of
such new enterprises as air conditioning,
radio, plastics, automobiles and airplanes.
Many modern factories use hundreds of
instruments and automatic devices, and
some of the larger concerns use thou-
sands. The report points out that such in-
stallations sometimes change specifications
for available jobs, and thus change the
type of training and experience required.

Labor Board In its first three years
(September 1935 to September 1938) the
National Labor Relations Board has had
17,367 cases involving 4,081,191 workers.
Of these cases, 13,472 have been disposed
of by the board, 53 percent of them by
agreement. Of the causes of complaint,
the largest number (5484) charged viola-
tion of the section of the act making it an
unfair labor practice to discriminate
against workers because of union affilia-
tions or activities. In 3919 cases the main
cause of complaint was failure of the
employer to bargain collectively. Up to
October 1, the board had received 5475
petitions asking certification of employe
representatives for collective bargaining,
or the holding of elections to determine
the bargaining agencies of the employes.

The Inland Steel Company, which re-
sisted the Little Steel strike in 1937 [see
Essence of the Steel Strike by Pierce Wil-
liams, Survey Graphic, October 1937, page
516], has been ordered by the NLRB
to bargain collectively with the Steel
Workers Organizing Committee, CIO
affiliate, and to put its agreement in writ-
ing. The decision is similar to that handed
down April 6, holding that refusal by the
employer to sign an agreement amounted
to refusal to bargain collectively. The
board withdrew its April decision and re-
opened the case to receive further evi-
dence from the company. . . . The Repub-
lic Steel Corporation has filed with the
U.S. circuit court of appeals in Philadel-
phia a petition to review and set aside a
recent order of the NLRB, which fol-
lowed closely the decision of April 6. The



decision ordered the company to reinstate
5000 workers who participated in the
Little Steel strike, to disestablish alleged
company unions and to bargain with the
SWOC and the Amalgamated Associa-
tion of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers. The
April decision was set aside by the board
in June, and the case reopened.

Stabilization A plan for stabilizing the
wages of employes of more than two
years' service is announced by General
Motors. For workers who have been
with the company two to five years, the
plan would guarantee weekly income of
not less than 40 percent of their full time
standard wage; for workers with more
than five years' service, the plan would
give 60 percent of standard weekly earn-
ings throughout the year. Some 150,000
of the 200,000 on the corporation payrolls
would be affected, possibly half of these
on the more generous basis. The finan-
cial contribution made by the company in
slack times would be repaid by the work-
er in a period of recovery. A reserve will
be set up by the company to cover the
plan and loss sustained by the company
in the event of the employe's death (when
his obligation is cancelled) or in the
event of failure to return to the com-
pany's employ after a layoff. The weekly
guaranteed income will consist of pay for
the amount of work performed for Gen-
eral Motors, pay for any other regular
employment, unemployment compensation
under state-administered laws, an ad-
vance made by the corporation. The ad-
vance is to be repaid when the weekly
earnings exceed 60 (or 40) percent of
standard weekly earnings, and will be at
the rate of half the amount by which the
earnings exceed the guaranteed percent-
age. Standard earnings are defined as the
employe's normal wage rate for a forty-
hour week.

Minimum Wage A directory order,
setting a minimum wage of $14 for forty
hours and a basic minimum hourly rate of
35 cents for women and minors in the
confectionery industry of New York State
has been issued by Frieda Miller, indus-
trial commissioner. Overtime is to be paid
at the rate of time and a half except dur-
ing the fourteen-week "peak period"
when the minimum hourly rate in excess
of forty hours but not more than forty-
four hours is one tenth greater than the
basic rate, and work past forty-four hours
must be paid at the rate of 52% cents an
hour. In the slack season (April to Sep-
tember) employes working two days or
less in any one week must be paid at least
$7. The order covers some 6400 women
and minors in 257 establishments.



A state-wide investigation of wages,
hours and other working conditions of
women and minors employed in all
branches of the glove industry in New
York State is being made by the division
of women in industry and minimum wage.

Public hearings will be held on the pro-
posal of the Connecticut wage board for
the cleaning and dyeing industry, setting
a basic wage of 35 cents an hour, and a
weekly wage of $14.40 for a forty-one
hour week.

Suits against the Minnesota Industrial
Commission were dropped after the com-
mission agreed to exempt the complaining
industries from the blanket wage order
of July 1 1 and issue separate orders for
these industries. The complainants were
a laundry, a restaurant, a telegraph com-
pany and a group of garment makers.
The blanket order fixed a minimum wage
rate for all women and minors in any
industry, business or trade in the state.
The rate varied with the size of the com-
munity, with a top of $15 a week.

Jobs for Married Women Mil-
waukee, Wis., has made a study of the
employment of married women as city
employes, under an order of the common
council. The study shows that one sixth
of the women in the city service are the
wives of men unemployed or with only
nominal earnings. Further, it was found
that if the women whose husbands were
employed lost their jobs, the family would
in many cases suffer more than if the
man were the one dismissed. About one
fifth of all women city employes have hus-
bands also employed by some government
agency. In twenty out of 130 such cases,
the wife's earnings were less than $500;
in four, the husband's. In three such
cases, the combined earnings of husband
and wife were between $500 and $1000;
in fifteen cases the wife's earnings, and
in three the husband's were between these
figures. Data on the number of depend-
ents supported by the women included in
the study have not been tabulated.

Relief

IV/IILD reflections of the business up-
turn glimmer through the relief pic-
ture. Latest Social Security Board figures
show that autumn continued the summer
rise in total relief rolls, but there is a
"decrease in the increase."

In certain localities the glimmer is
brighter. Reporting a four-week down-
ward trend in direct relief rolls during
the last of October and early November,
the Pennsylvania Department of Public
Assistance notes that, though a large pro-
portion of this reduction is accounted for



386



SURVEY MIDMONTHLY



by the WPA program, "current gains in
private employment closed more cases
during each of the four weeks than were
opened because of past losses." While
11,173 cases were opened because of loss
of private employment, 12,552 were
closed because of current gains in private
employment, making a 1379 net drop di-
rectly due to private employment. A
Pennsylvania optimist might also see a
dim reflection of the same trend in the
decrease of the CCC waiting list from
17,175 to 11,612.

In New York Cit>, a turnover of 82,-
049 from relief to private employment in
the past year fails to dispel all gloom,
though placements were 1613 more nu-
merous in September than in January.
Considerable concern was engendered by
the revelation that more home relief
recipients found private employment than
did WPA workers. More significant was
the finding of the Emergency Relief Bu-
reau governing board (since the integra-
tion of the welfare services, existing only
in an advisory capacity to the mayor)
that business is geared at the present
time for enormous expansion without
necessarily a corresponding increase in
employment.

In a report on relief in the city from
January 1934 to June 1938, the board
points out that in a period (1934-1935)
when indices showed a 4 percent gain in
business activities there was a 40 percent
increase in relief lists. The explanation
offered is that "relief rolls follow the
curve of employment rather than the
curve of business activity." In that period
employment remained static. In a later
period (March 1936-July 1937) business
activity became more pronounced, rising



Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 104 of 109)