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plying for work in 1911-12; the reasons were as follows: slack business in
other plants, 11; cold weather, 2; inferior help, 1; increase in capacity of
plant, 1; and strike, 1. Twenty-one labor unions gave reasons for the in-
creased amount of unemployment in 1911-12; eight gave severe weather as
the reason, three gave strikes, two gave unemployment in other industries,
two gave the general business depression, one gave each of the following:
migration to city, over-production, jurisdictional disputes, political uncer-
tainty, long hours, and letting contracts out of the city.

It is sometimes stated that the methods of payment of wages result in
unemployment or in making it impossible for the unemployed to take work
offered. Twenty-eight firms pay weekly, fifteen semi-monthly, three monthly,
and one three times a month. Thirty firms pay in cash, fourteen by check and
two firms use both cash and check. Thus, over one-third of the employers
pay no more frequently than semi-monthly; such infrequent payments would
make it impossible for an unemployed person to take work unless he had some
funds, or unless the firm had some method of helping needy new employees.
Four employers failed to reply in regard to their system of helping needy new
employees; twenty-five replied that they had no system; seventeen that they
had systems as follows: employees draw on account in nine cases, one makes
loans to the employees, one makes loans to be repaid in small instalments
without interest, the savings bank mentioned above makes loans to the em-
ployees, one gives lunch tickets for which the cost is deducted from the wages,
one has a boarding house and one a commissary department, one makes pay-
ment for reasonable time when an employee is sick, and one did not specify
his system. Most of these methods seemed designed to aid, not the needy
new employee, but the regular employees.

The employment of women is sometimes assigned as a cause of unem-
ployment; according to the reports of employers in only six cases out of
thirty-six replying did women do work which was formerly done by men;
the extent of such displacement is not indicated.

Actual Methods Used to Secure Help. Individual application at the plant
is by far the most prevalent method used by employers to secure help; forty-
three employers reported that this method was used, one that it was not used,
and one that it was used sometimes. Sixteen employers stated that they used
the newspapers to secure help, sixteen replied that they did not use the news-
papers, and thirteen replied that they used newspapers for this purpose some-
times. Five employers replied that they use private employment offices,
thirty-six that they do not use such means, and four that they do sometimes.
Four employers replied that they use the public employment office, thirty-nine
that they do not use such means, and two that they use them sometimes.
Twenty-three firms replied that they used the recommendations of employees,
six that they did not, and sixteen that they did sometimes.

Actual Method of Securing Employment. In eleven cases the labor
unions reported that individual application is used as the principal means of secur-
ing employment; ten of the twenty-nine unions reporting had employment offices,



18 REPORT OF THE MAYOR'S COMMISSION ON UNEMPLOYMENT

which were used by the members ; in one of these the member was not allowed to
look for work for himself, but the union furnishes him the work. In addition to
this formal organization, the union serves as an informal meeting place where
the unemployed member may receive information in regard to vacancies from those
members who are working at the time.

Attitude of Employers and Labor Unions Toward an Efficient System
of Free State Employment Exchanges. Thirty employers stated their atti-
tude toward such a system, as follows: six stated that they did not know,
or were not prepared to state their attitude, fifteen declared themselves favor-
ably disposed toward such a system, two that they were favorably disposed
to it in some respects, only one was openly opposed to it, five doubted whether
such a system would be useful in their particular line of work, though they
did not state any opposition to the system in general; one stated that he
doubted whether employment agencies could discriminate in help before rec-
ommending them. Nineteen employers stated without qualification that they
would patronize such exchanges if recommended by the Commission; nine
replied with different degrees of qualification, but in general, favorably; one
employer replied that he would use them if his own employment office could
not supply the demands, one that it was not necessary in his business, and
one that he would probably not use them because he required skilled help;
the other sixteen employers did not express themselves in regard to patron-
age. .

Twenty-two unions replied in regard to their attitude toward an efficient
system of state employment exchanges, as follows: eleven replied that they
would favor such exchanges, eight that they would not favor them, three favor
them conditionally. Eighteen unions answered the question in regard to
whether their members would patronize such exchanges; eleven state that they
would, three that they would conditionally, and four that they would not.

Nature and Extent of Unemployment in Chicago. In order to de-
termine some facts in regard to the nature and extent of unemployment
in Chicago, two questionnaires were prepared, one for employers, the
other for labor unions. Replies were received from forty-six industrial
establishments, and from thirty labor unions. Since, according to the Census
of 1910, there were 9,656 establishments in Chicago, it is evident that the re-
plies from these forty-six establishments are merely illustrative. But these
establishments from which replies were received employed in 1910-11 on the
average a total of 87,649 wage-earners and salaried employees, and according
to the Census of 1910, the total number of wage-earners and salaried em-
ployees in Chicago was 348,798; the questionnaire which was sent to the em-
ployers, therefore, included a little over 25% of the wage-earners and salaried
employees of industrial establishments of the city; that is, the questionnaires
were sent to establishments employing the largest numbers of employees in
the lines in which they were working. There is no evidence in regard to
the degree to which replies from these establishments would probably be
representative of other establishments of the city; any generalizations from
these replies will, accordingly, be inaccurate, or, at best, only guesses.

The labor unions from which replies were received probably fail, also, to
represent the general C9nditions in regard to unemployment; the labor unions
are confined almost entirely to trades requiring skill; their replies will, there-
fore, not be accurate if applied to workmen without skill. Moreover, the
replies from the labor unions are confined to conditions in their own trades;
a member of a union is reported to be unemployed at his trade for a certain
period, but there is no evidence in regard to the amount of work he secures
outside his trade. These replies, therefore, are descriptive of only a small
part of the occupations.

No evidence is at hand in regard to the total number of men unemployed
in any year or at any one time in the year; conditions have been described,
however, from which it is evident that there has been a considerable amount
of unemployment. One firm employed 5,044 fewer employees in 1911-12 than
in 1910-1911; another firm employed 2,000 fewer in 1911-12. The average
decrease in the number of employees in 1911-12 for these firms which reported
the number of employees was 13%. It is impossible to tell what became of



REPORT OF THE MAYOR'S COMMISSION ON UNEMPLOYMENT M)

these men who were engaged one year and unemployed in these firms the
next year; they have been employed in other firms in the city, or employed
outside the city. The presumption is that they were probably unemployed ;
one half of the establishments had more men seeking work in 1911-12 than
in former years.

A question was asked in regard to the number of establishments which
were working only part time; this was answered in regard to the establish-
ment as a whole, and does not, therefore, include the part time work in par-
ticular departments in those establishments unless the entire establishment
is working part time. Ten establishments reported that they worked part
time for more than two weeks in the year; three firms were entirely closed
down for more than two weeks in the year, and eight firms for less than two
weeks.

Fifty-seven per cent, of the employers reported that they could always
secure all the help they wanted, 28% that they could generally secure all the
help wanted, 9% that they could not secure all the help wanted, 6% that they
could not secure enough competent help. In order that such a large percent,
of the employers may be able to secure all the help they want, whenever they
want it, it is necessary that there be a large reserve army of workingmen, who,
in the time between demands, are unemployed a considerable part of the time.

Eleven employers reported that no kind of labor was scarce, fifteen replied
that skilled labor was scarce, and three that common labor was scarce ; five
employers reported that no kind of labor was over-supplied, two replied that
skilled labor is over-supplied, and twenty-two that common labor is over-
supplied.

The labor unions report that the time lost by the average member at his
trade was about three months; 74% of the unions replying reported that there
were at all times of the year some of their members unemployed; 69% of the
unions reported that unemployment is a grave problem to them; the general
average of the unions shows that there is about a month and a half of no
work at the trade represented, and three and a half months of slack work;
about 50% of the members of the unions have work the entire year. Twenty-
two unions reported that the total of the greatest number of members unem-
ployed at any one time (that time differing in the different unions) was 7,380.

If the members were engaged at their trades full time, none of them would
receive less than $700 a year, but, actually, the members in nine of the unions
receive less than $700 a year, and in seven unions receive $600 or less.



20



REPORT OF THE MAYOR'S COMMISSION ON UNEMPLOYMENT



Number of Employees in Specified Firms and Reasons for Leaving, by
years 1909-10 to 1911-12.



Firm
No.


Average number of
employees during winter of


Comparison of 1911-12 with former years
in regard to number of men


1911-12


1910-11


1909-10


Quitting
Voluntarily


Discharged
for Cause


Laid off, acct.
Lack of Work


1


279


321


452


Same


Same


Same


2


497


473


247


Same


Same





3


560


1,650


1,445


Same


Same


Same


4


3

















5


1,400


1,400


1,300


Same


Same


Same


6


7,200


7,400


6,500











7


150


150


140


Same


Same


Same


8


814


786


768


Same


Same





9


3,000


2.75O


2,500


Same


10% more


Same


10


956


900


830


Same


Same





11


150


120


120


Same


Same


Same


12


105


105


105











13


170


160


155











14


700





600











15


2,856


2,376


2,404


30% less


25% less


25% greater


16


5,890


5,247


4,150


Same


Same





17


16


16


16


Same


Same


Same


18


4,773


4,990


4,886


14% less than


35% less than


140 in '11-12










1910-11; 35%


1910-11; 65%


187 in '10-11










less than 1909-


less than 1909-


2 in '09-10










10


10




19


864


1,032


829











20


3,056


2,926


3,473


Same


Same


Less


21


760


911


972


10% more


Same


8% more


22


440


440


440


Same


Same


Same


23


400


450


450


Same


Same





24


1,200


1,200


1,200











25


1,010


1,004


1,020


Same


Same


Same


26


3,297


3,808


3,466


More


Less


Less


27


80


80


80


Same


Same


Same


28


450


475


490


Same


Same


A few more


29


650


650


500


Less


Less


More


30


330


300


285


Less


Less


Less


31


185


160


150


Same


Less


Same


32


1,721


1,721


1,721


Same


Same


Same


33


120


118


115


Less


Same


Same


34


115


115


115


Same




Same


35


8,595


13,639


9,366


Same


Same


More


36


200


210


210


50% less


75% less


Same


37


1,100


1,000


900


Same


Same





38


8,800


9,200


7,500


Same


Same


Same


39


348


380


385


Same


More


More


40


5,792


5,727


5,410


Same


Same


Less


41


200


200


200











42


450


215


205


Same


Same


Less


43


9,600


11,600


8,400


Same


Same


Same


44


275


275


350


Same


Same


Same


45


362








Same


Same


Same


46


1,583


969


812


Same


Same


Same



These numbers are generally stated as estimates, and on that account
there is considerable possibility of error in the comparison of the totals. Forty-
six firms reported that in the winter of 1911-12 they employed on the average
81,502 men; forty-three firms that they employed during the winter of 1910-11,
87,649 men; and forty-four firms that during the winter of 1909-10 they em-
ployed 75,072 men. The average number employed per firm would be:

Winter of No. Employed

1911-12 1,772

1910-11 2,038

1909-10 1,720

Fourteen firms reported that they employed fewer men in 1911-12 than in 1910-
11, the total number by which their rolls were decreased being 9,940; seventeen
firms reported that they employed more men in 1911-12 than in 1910-11, the
total number by which their rolls were increased being 2,728. Though more
firms reported an increased number of employees in 1911-12, two of those which
reported a decrease had very large decreases in the numbers of employees;



REPORT OF THE MAYOR'S COMMISSION ON UNEMPLOYMENT



21



one firm employed 5,044 fewer men in 1911-12, another firm employed 2,000
fewer.

Thirty employers stated that the number of men quitting voluntarily in
1911-12 was about the same as in former years, two that they were more, six
that they were less and eight did not state. One of the employers who stated
that more quit voluntarily, specified the increase at 10%; of the employers re-
porting a decrease, one specified the decrease at 30%, one at 50%, and one that
they were 14% less than in 1910-11 and 35% less than in 1909-10.

Twenty-eight employers stated that the number of men discharged for
cause in 1911-12 was about the same as in former years, two that there was an
increase, seven that there was a decrease, and nine did not state. Of those
stating an increase, one specified 10%; of those stating a decrease, one speci-
fied a decrease of 25%, one a decrease of 75%, and one that they were 35%
less than in 1910-11 and 65% less than in 1909-10.

Twenty employers stated that the number of men laid off in 1911-12 was
about the same as in former years, six that it was more, six that it was less,
and fourteen did not state. Of those stating an increase in this number, one
specified 8%, and one 25%; one firm reported that 140 had been laid off because
of lack of work in 1911-12, 187 in 1910-11, and 2 in 1909-10.

Employers' Replies in Regard to Time Plants Work Full Time, Part Time,

and Closed Down, and Possibility of Transferring Help to Other

Departments Instead of Discharging Them.



Firm
No.


Number of days in 1911
Plant Worked


If busy in one department and slack in another,
is it possible to transfer help from one depart-
ment to another?


Full
Time


Part
Time


Closed
Down


1


305








Yes.


2


305








Yes.


3


125


175








4


208





100





5


305








Yes, we follow this plan.


6


305





O





7


305








Yes, we follow this plan.


8


307


52


6


Not practical in our work.


9


305








Yes.


10


365








Yes, we follow this plan.


11


305








Yes.


12


305








No.


13


305








Yes, we follow this plan.


14











No, on account of union.


15


305








To a small extent, which is done.


16


365








Yes.


17


312








No.


18


278


20


8


Yes, this has been our policy for years.


19


305





3


Only unskilled help.


20


263


19


31


Sometimes.


21


80%


20%





To some extent.


22









Yes.


23


305








Yes, sometimes.


24


305








Yes.


25


365








Not ordinarily.


26


305








Yes, when qualified.


27


208


96





No.


28


290


15





Yes.


29


295





10


No.


30


305








No, on account of union.


31


305








Yes.


32


365








This is done when possible.


33


300








No.


34


305








No.


35


302





10


We take every step to do so.


36


305








Yes.


37


307





O


Yes, to an extent.


38


305








Yes.


39


208


96


12


No, a painter cannot take place of a blacksmith.


40


305








Yes, to some extent.


41


305








We do.


42


305





8


Not to any extent.


43


305








Such action is taken whenever possible.


44


241


72


6


To a certain extent, which we do.


45


305








Yes.


46





215


90


No. except ordinary labor.



Three hundred and five days is taken here as full time, unless stated
otherwise in the replies; some of the replies seem to include holidays and
Sundays in the column "closed down"; others do not.



22



REPORT OF THE MAYOR'S COMMISSION ON UNEMPLOYMENT



Only ten of these firms report that they worked part time for any appre-
ciable number of days; and only three firms that they were entirely closed
down for more than two weeks in the year; eight firms reported that they
were closed down for less than two weeks. The reports on part time work
were undoubtedly made for the factory or plant as a whole; but it is well
known that a plant may be working part time in one department, while, as a
whole, it is working full time. These reports can not, therefore, be taken as
evidence of the amount of unemployment or underemployment resulting from
part time work.

Thirty employers reported that it is possible to transfer men from one
department to another instead of discharging them; eleven of these reported
that they are following that policy at present; the others did not state whether
they are doing so. Thirteen employers replied that it is not possible to do so;
differences in skill and union regulations are given as the reasons for the im-
possibility.

Reasons for Fluctuations in Number of Employees, and Causes of Closing
Down Plant Part of Year.



fl


Reasons for fluctuations in No.
of Employees


Class of labor in
which fluctuations
most noticeable


Reason for closing'
down part of the
year


1

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15

16
17
18

19

20
21

22

23

24
25

26

27
28
29
30
31
32

33
34

35
36
37
38
39

40
41
42

43
44
45
46






Holidays.

Stock-taking and
heat last summer.
Lack of work.
Commercial.
Holidays.

Holidays.
Holidays.
Holidays.
Slack business.

Holidays.

Inventory and re-
pairs.
Holidays.

Holidays, repair, in-
ventory.

Inventory.
No orders.


Lack of work




Lack of orders










Normal increase in business....
Seasons and special sales




Awning hangers . . .
Printers


Din" in advertising




Installation and out-
side construction
men




Foreigners




Unskilled


Variations in demand for goods.


All alike


Production Depts. . .
Packing force and
work room operat-
ors










Waiters, cleaners
and chambermaids.
Union members


Strike and business fluctuations.


Seasonal demand for goods
Variations in business T'ho inefficient


Construction work stopped in
winter; stove men only in


Those on the work
of construction and
tending stoves . . .






O r d c r fillers and
packers


'






Common labor


Seasonal orders


Seasonal orders


Unskilled


Varying supply of live stock...


Slaughtering gangs.

Structural iron and
steel i


Unskilled ... . .




General




All classes







REPORT OF THE MAYOR'S COMMISSION ON UNEMPLOYMENT



23



The causes for fluctuations in the number of employees are given as fol-
lows: Seasons, 12; business fluctuations, 8; lack of orders, 6; receipt of live
stock, 2; special sales, 1; rebuilding plant, 1; advertising, 1; and strike, 1. It
may be that "lack of orders," "seasons," "business fluctuations," "receipt of
live stock," etc., overlap very considerably, and that they are only different
names for the same thing. The seasons have an influence in determining the
number of employees by preventing out-door work, by determining demands
or orders, and by determining the supply of raw material.

These employers report in se-ven cases that all classes of employees are
affected equally, sixteen that the unskilled or common labor is most af-
fected, four that the outdoor workers are most affected, and the others give
special classes of work peculiar to their industries.

The reasons for closing down the plant part of the year are given as fol-
lows: holidays, 8; inventory, 4; business fluctuations, 3; repairs, 2; heat, 1. The
others either replied that they were not closed down at all, or else made no
reply to this question.



Comparison of Number of Men Seeking Employment from Specified Em-
ployers in 1911-12 with Former Years, with Reasons.



Did more men
S ..; seek work in
ig 1911-12 than
b formerly


Reasons for increase


1 NO


Slack work in building industries.

Great number out of work.
Great number out of work in other lines.
Inferior help.

No. of unemployed in other houses.

Lack of work, desire to better their condition.
Lack of work elsewhere.

Strike.

Lack of work in other plants.
Lack of work in other plants.
Slackness in other industries, cold winter.
Lack of work in their own trades.

Lack of work in other lines, severe winter.
More men out of work.
Our increased capacity.


2 NO


3 No


4
5 Yes


6 No . . . :


7 Yes


8 Yes


9 Yes


10 Yes


11 NO


12 No


13 Yes


14

jg

lg NO


17 No


18 Yes


19 Yes


20 No


21 Yes


22 No


23 Yes


24
25 No


26 Yes


27 No


28 No


29 Yes


30 Yes


31 Yes


32 Yes


33
34 NO


35 No


36 Yes . . ....


37
38 No


39 Yes


40 No


41
42 Yes


43 Yes


44 No


45 No


46 No



24



REPORT OF THE MAYOR'S COMMISSION ON UNEMPLOYMENT



Nineteen employers reported that more men had sought work in 1911-12
than in former years, twenty that no more had sought work, seven did not
reply to this question.

By fifteen employers who gave reasons for the increase in the number of men
seeking employment the increase was explained as follows : slack business in other
plants, 11; cold weather, 2; inferior help, 1; increased capacity of plant, 1; strike, 1.

Methods of Payment of Employees.



So

E z


Frequency of pay-
ment


Form of pay-
ment


Reasons for method of payment


i




Check


More convenient, less chance of er-


2




Check


ror.
Safer.


j




Check . . .


Convenience in accounting.


4


Weekly


Cash ....


Prevents cashing checks in saloons.


5


Semi-monthly


Cash




6


Semi-monthly


Check


Convenience for employees and our-


7


"Weekly .


Cash


selves.
More convenient.


g


Weekly


Cash


Most practical for average wage-


9


Weekly


Cash


earner.




j 2-3 weekly


Cash


I


10


1 1 -3 monthly ........


Check




11


Weekly


Check





1?


Weekly


Cash





T


Weekly


Cash


They prefer cash, no difference to us.


14


Weekly


Check


Receipt.


T>


Semi-monthly


Check . .


Men are too scattered to make pay-


16


Semi-monthly


Cash


ment in cash.


17


Semi-monthly


Check





18


"Weekly


Cash . .


Best for the employees.


19


Weekly


Cash . .


For their convenience.


flO


Three times a month.


Check




fl1


Weekly


Cash


More satisfactory to employees.


?,?,


Semi-monthly



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