Wisconsin. Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statisti.

Biennial report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of ..., Volume 14, Part 5 online

. (page 1 of 52)
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lalior mi MUM M\M


FRANK A. FLOWER, Commissioner.


Deputy Commissioner,
Factory Inspector.




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State op Wisconsin,

Bureau of lAXbor and Industrial Statistics,

Madison, September 30, 1886.

To Jeremiah M. Rusk, Governor:

Dear Sir: — In accordance with chapter 247, laws of

1885, 1 herewith submit for your kindly consideration, the

Second Biennial Report of this Bureau for the term ending




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Rbmabkb, Suggestions and Recommendations

Factory, Hotel Labor and Lien Laws 1

Distributive and Industrial Co-operation 4ff




Co-operation in Wisconsin 198

Strikes and Industrial Disturbances 238

The Eight-hour Day 814

Boycotting in Wisconsin 873

Arbitration Tribunals 890

Foreign Immigration '. 416

Wisconsin Workingmen 481

M \ 533084

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iv Contents.


Miscellaneous Matters — [Convict Labor, Bonus Agreements, etc.] . . 446

Employers' Returns 461

Report of the State Factory Inspector 487

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This Report is somewhat unsatisfactory in its order of
arrangement, for the reason that the several parts were
given to the printers as they could be finished, and before
the close of the biennial period, in ocder to enable the public
printer to get out other Reports before the meeting of the
Legislature, if possible. It has, notwithstanding this effort,
been kept from the public more than a month, by reason of
waiting for paper under the new contract.

Its size exceeds the prescribed limit, but rather than have
the Report of the Factory Inspector and other important mat-
ter excluded, the Printing Commission, by virtue of the dis-
cretion given in section 3, chapter 320, laws of 1883, grafited
permission for enlargement.

To the people of Wisconsin I hope it will be an interest-
ing and perhaps a somewhat valuable document; but for the
Eastern metaphysicians it will probably be a grievous dis-
appointment. They have expressed a desire to have the
various states compile phalanges of abstract figures, because
by running these blocks of statistics through their myste-
rious alembics, they can, like the alchymists they are,
produce results which, though of no practical value, are
nevertheless very mystifying to the groundlings and very
serviceable in advertising the conjurors.

I have learned that the masses in Wisconsin, especially the
laboring men, do not like dry columns of figures. They
wish information concerning trades, industries, labor organ-
izations, strikes, legislation . and general industrial prob-
lems put into some more entertaining form. More than that,
figures do not cause people, especially the average working-
man, to think; so in this Report I have used eolid tables only
where no other course would properly cover the ground.

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The important work of this Bureau is by no means its
Report. Real, direct good comes from the enforcement of
labor laws, annihilation of child labor, securing new legisla-
tion and general activity in behalf of wage-earners, more
than from collecting columns of figures which only one in
fifty can understand and which not more than one in a
thousand will read. For the present, therefore, we shall be
forced to let the critical metaphysicians collect tl^eir own
figures; though after we shall have the laws fairly enforced,
more attention will be given to statistics, and we shall try
next time to present a more interesting and valuable

Outside of the copies to be bound in the "Messages and
Documents,'* chapter 303, laws of 1885, provides for printing
12,500 Reports of the Bureau. This is not too many ; it is not,
in fact, enough. The Reports of this Department go to a
class comprising more than 300,000 people — a class never
reached heretofore by the circulation of state documents; a
class heretofore neglected while liberal provision was being
made for scientists, farmers, horticulturists, sheep-breeders,
and dairymen.

There is also a heavy outside demand which can not be
wholly ignored. Almost every government in Europe, as
well as libraries, trade unions. Knights of Labor assemblies,
and industrial economists throughout America ask for our
Bureau Reports, and as far as possible their requests are
granted. To do so exhausts a considerable edition, but it
seems to be money well spent, extending, I hope, a favor-
able reputation for Wisconsin, as well as contributing infor-
mation on the great socio-economic problems of the day.

Information is useless unless it is published and circulated.
It is the moving stream that turns the mill.

National Conventions. — The officers of the various State
Bureaus of Statistics will hold their next annual convention
in Madison, Wisconsin, probably in June ojr July, 188?. That
of 1885 was held in Boston, and that of 1886, in Trenton, N. J.
These meetings are growing in value and importance.
Experts in the various lines of work we are pursuing read
papers, methods of investigation are discussed, the indus-

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trial conditions and laws of different states are compared
and all phases of the labor problem are considered.

The proceedings are published in pamphlet form and diS'
tributed by each commissioner as he can afford. There has
been more or less criticism of the convention of 1886, because
the address of Victor Drury, an agitator and member of the
Home Club, was expunged from the proceedings. The sen-
timents of the essential portion of his address were to me
barbarous and revolutionary. I notified the secretary. Dr.
Hutchins, of Iowa, as the harrangue proceeded, that if it
were proposed to include that speech, I wished to withdraw
my subscription for copies of the proceedings for Wisconsin.
At the evening session, therefore. Commissioner Peck, of
New York, moved to expunge the obnoxious address, and it
was done by unanimous vote.

At the trial of the anarchist murderers in Chicago a few
weeks later, documentary evidence was presented showing
Drury's intimacy with Johann Most — one of the latfcer's let-
ters urging the co-operation of the Chicago plotters with
Drury for the establishment of an English organ of their
theories. I take especial pride In reciting these facts, be-
cause they tend to show how correctly we judged the man
without knowing his history.

Labor laws, — Had I known that this Report would swell
beyond the 400-page limit, the laws made in behalf of labor
would have been omitted, though it is important that they
should receive as wide publication as possible. However,
they are printed and I recommend every artisan and every
laborer to read them carefully, especially those sections
which are or may be applicable to his individual case.

Co-operation. — So far as the writer is aware, that part of the
Report devoted to co-operation embraces more facts than
any single volume yet put forth in America; though there
are now preparing works which will far surpass it.

My hope in giving so much space to this subject was to
induce workingmen, unions and assemblies to turn their at-
tention from strikes, denunciation of capital, boycotts, poli-
tics, bickerings and agitation, to the more practical and
laudable business of saving money and building up material

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interests of their own through the medium of co-operative

" Co operation, the law of the new civilization," is the
motto of many a labor and social organization, and under
this banner may be found many advocates of exact equal-
ity of all mankind in labor, property, social distinction and
civil influence. These are the ones who retard the progress
of practical co-operation by frightening away people of
sense and capital. And so gloriously beautiful is their
theory, that no one seems to dare to combat it.

The ideal co-operation of those who hold that no man
should own anything, but that all should work together and
divide up privileges and profits equally; that no man should
work for himself more than for his neighbor; that, in the
language of the Declaration of Principles of the American
Sociologic Society, " Thou shalt make thy neighbors' interest
identical with thine own," can never be generally successful
until the Creator shall make all his children just alike or per-
fect. That all are not thus created, is the rock on which the
Wisconsin Phalanx split; it is the one that will certainly
wreck every other ideal scheme of carrying out exact and
unadulterated human equality that may be undertaken.

The schemes of Marx, Fourier, George, Clark and the long
retinue of anarchists, socialists, land-dividers and property-
confiscators, can never come to fruition. It is impossible by
law, boycott, bayonet or dynamite, to place us all upon the
same general plane, one enjoying no advantages of increase,
leisure and labor not shared equally by his neighbor.

To any fair student of nature the question seems not even
debatable. The Creator has made high .mountains covered
with eternal snows, and deep valleys carpeted with perpet-
ual green; placid lakes and broad oceans for commerce, and
roaring waterfalls for mills and factories. He sends the
pine high into the clouds, and trails the arbutus about its
giant roots; rears the oak on the hill^ gnarled and tenacious,
to withstand storms and strengthen ships, while ivy, bitter-
sweet and wild morning-glories cling to its rough trunk and
sinewy arms for nourishment and protection. He made the
lion fierce and strong; the lamb timid and weak; the tiger

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ao^gressive and destructive; the cow quiet; the horse submis-
sive; the mule obstinate.

And so has He diversified the qualities of the human
family, variously mixing ambition, foresight, sloth, thrift,
love of beauty, slovenliness, piety, wantonness, strength,
weakness and depravity in friends, neighbors, brothers and

Everywhere in nature we see diversity, and it is contrary
to logic and the plan of creation to attempt to place man-
kind upon an exact and common level, like a row of autom-
aton soldiers all moving together in response to a common
cord, without individual ambition, characteristics or hope.
It is as absurd as that every tree in the forest should be the

Whoever teaches that it is wrong for one person to possess
or enjoy any advantages of wealth, social standing, luxury
or freedom from toil that another does not, instead of being
the friend of workers that he professes or believes himself
to be, is one of their worst enemies. He breeds dissatisfac-
tion and discontent. He teaches them that in some unac-
countable way th6y are being forcibly and unlawfully de-
prived by the rich of some of their just share of the good
things of this life; that a revolution, a social tearing-up
must be instituted in order to readjust the world generally
and make everybody rich and sleek, and idle and well-fed.

And thus are the seeds of bitterness and jealousy sown;
thus is the uneducated workman rendered dissatisfied with
his lot, his home and his future prospects; thus are his peace
of life and his proper ambition destroyed; thus is he given
to understand that some strange law yet to be enacted, or
some new society yet to be formed, will do away with toil
and struggles and hard times.

Nevertheless, cooperation, shorn of the absurd and Utopi-
an features given to it by hare-brained theorists and crazy
world-reformers, can be made to lighten the burdens and
cheer the pathway of life in many ways.

For instance, if the students of the State University
should enlarge upon the plan of the members of the Psi Chi
Society, who lease a house in Madison and thus reduce the

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cost of room-rent, or adopt the Yale College scheme, de-
scribed on page l-k2, they might materially lessen the cost of
a college coutse and increase its pleasant features.

Numbers might band together and rent a house in which
to eat and cook their meals, and sleep, changing the bill of
fare once a week by vote or direction of an executive com-
mittee; or they might room here and there and eat in a
single house devoted to cooking only, controlled by a com-
mittee chosen for the purpose and responsible for all pur-
chases of food, fuel and lights.

In the city the people of one or several adjacent blocks
might save largely from the cost of living by co-operation in
matters of cooking and washing, having these things done in
some house set apart for that purpose, containing a dining
hall. This plan would reduce household drudgery to the
minimum as well as the cost of food.

If they should go still further and have light (gas or elec-
tricity) and heat generated for all their rooms and residences
at a central station, in which cooking and laundry-work
could also be done, comfort and cleanliness would reach a
much higher, and expense a much lower point. The large
dining room could be used for meetings, parties and neigh-
borhood gatherings.

Mentally enumerate the many desirable purposes in econ-
omy, sociability and comfort to be served by co-operation of
this sort!

Is it not strange that with all our progress in science, in-
dustry, agriculture, education and even religion, there
should be so little advancement in kitchen economy?

The necessity for shelter, food, clothing and fuel can never
cease. It has been with us for 4,000 years; yet how little of
the world's genius is employed in obtaining the most of
these necessities for the smallest expenditure of labor and

We are making enormous progress in luxuries — in the
arts of ornamentation and gratification — in the things we
do not need; but in providing the things we need and must
have every day of our lives, there is little general progress
and less effort in that direction.

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A simple beginning, at least in the way of economy and
cost of labor, could be made through the co-operation men-
tioned above.

Productive co-operation was in the minds of the 431 em-
ployers from whose views quotations are made on page 227,
and it is clearly to be seen that few of them have any ad-
equate conception of the matter. Few object to dividing
profits; but they tremble before the idea of surrendering
any part of the management of their business to a promis-
cuous crowd of workmen.

This fear is not groundless; for good management — a
clear head with undisputed authority — is more essential
than abundant capital in almost any manufacturing enter-

Wage-earners ought to know this, for mismanagement
has ruined more co operative ventures than any other
agency. W. E. Barnes says:

The great trouble thus far in co-operation has been the lack of intelli-
gence on the part of laborers. It is absurd to expact; men without educa-
tion, training and discipline to manage large or even moderate business
enterprises. Educate the worker, furnish him the opportunities for
training and discipline, and co-operation will be a success.

He is right; but we can begin profit-sharing, which is one
form of co-operation, at once, without waiting for a higher
standard of education. In fact, profit-sharing will tend to
bring about that business knowledge and experience which
makes man thoughtful and conservative, yet ambitious and

Again shall I use the words of W. E. Barnes, of the Age of

Under the system of participation in profits there are adv^antages. to the
laborer which may be summed as follows: First, in the additional secur-
ity of his capital arising from his division of his risks with his workmen;
second, in his immunity from the exactions of workmen, which owing to
the actions of trades unions, are becoming mora formidable; third, in the
saving of the cost of the war of wages; fourth, in the cordial co-operation
and harmonious working of all hands, which will be induced by their com-
mon interest in the proceeds of their labor; fifth in the augmentation of
those proceeds resulting from the incentive of the men to work more, and
more intelligently, when working for themselves than when doling out
their unwilling labor and dawdling their time away under the system of

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fixed time and fixed wage. To the workmen this change of sjstam would
prove an unmixed blessing. Under ic he would prove a partner instead of
a servant and would thus b) e Ultlei to an eqiitable shire of the profits of
the partnership. If h's profit uader it ware limited to his shire of the
cost of strikes which would ba saved, aad the increased profit arising from
the substitution of willing and intelligent lab3r, for labor grudgingly and
mechanically performed, the result of which he would share, the change
would be amply justified. His profit is, however, not so limited, since he
would participate in all the profits derived from the industry in which he
would be engaged. The owner of capital and the owner of labor would
be Itnked together in the bonds of union and fellowjhip. Their fortunes
would be inseparable.

While all this is true, the introduction of profit-sharing
will not bring the millennium of the workingman. Some
artisans will work faithfully, others shirk. Some will be
economical, others shiftless and destructive. Some will be
ambitious and pushing, others mere parasites as now, under
all systems.

Brothers start out together with equal opportunities and
resources. One goes up, another goes down, and a third
dodges along from pillar to post, living from hand to
mouth. Would any new law or new custom change
this? I have seen two artisans laboring side by side at
the same work for the same wages. One was bright and
cheerful, the possessor of a comfortable home, a neat, clean,
and happy family, having a general air of contentment. The
other was in debt, had no home of his own, and was gener-
ally at war with the world, talking of strikes, the crimes of
monopoly, the oppressions of capital, and the urgent neces-
sity of passing some law to tear up things and to punish the
rich and help the poor.

No new system can change the natural bent of human
disposition; but I do think that a participation in profits by
workmen will do much towards bringing about more gen-
eral contentment and more equitable prosperity, and do still
more towards preventing strikes and lockouts. If so, let us
have that system; and let us call on the 129 employers of
Wisconsin, who report to this Bureau that they favor co-op-
eration, to inaugurate it. A good thing can not, generaUy
©peaking, come too soon.

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I would also recommend labor organizations to save the
money spent on strikes, boycotts, parades, political conven-
tions and campaigns and professional agitators, for the
purpose of erecting halls, establishing libraries and founding
co-operative supply stores or factories for the production of

No better advice was ever given to the laborers of Wis-
consin; and it is my profoundest wish that it might have as
much weight as if it were an order for a costly strike or
boycott issued by some brawler who cares nothing for
workers beyond getting his living out of them and trading
upon their votes in politics.

Since compiling Parts II, III and IV, a large amount of
matter touching co-operation has come into my hands, but
of course it can not be used. I must note, however, that
at Eau Claire, capitalists and workingmen are moving to-
gether in harmony for the establishment of new enterprises
for the general upbuilding of the city. This is indeed
encouraging and undoubtedly is the beginning of a new
era of prosperity and good feeling. I also notice that
numerous persons in the southwestern part of the state
are preparing to join in the model co-operative col-
ony at Sinaloa, Mexico, whose features are fully de-
scribed by George V. Smith's account of the Puget Sound
colony, beginning on page IGO. As that is an ideal scheme,
those who enter into it may learn how to avoid some of the
shoals by studying the similar ventures which have failed.

Strikes and Lock-outs. — Beginning on page 238, a very full
account is given of the industrial disturbances occurring in
Wisconsin during the biennial term now closed.

It is a curious fact that while the strikes of 1885-8G are
unprecedented in the history of the state in number and
di8aster,.only six of the wage- workers answering the ques-
tions of the Bureau regard them as justifiable, and then
only in extreme cases, as a last resort.

Strikes have been aptly likened to war; but they may
also be likened to boils, which show the condition of the
system — that it is deranged and the blood impure, and that
a constitutional remedy is needed to drive the humors out;

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Online LibraryWisconsin. Bureau of Labor and Industrial StatistiBiennial report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of ..., Volume 14, Part 5 → online text (page 1 of 52)