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The administration of the pension department is in charge of a board consisting of the managers of the Atlantic, Central, and Pacific departments, the general auditor, and the cashier of the bank at San Francisco. Since the system was started, in 1903, 47 persons up to 1910 had been pensioned; in 1910 there were 30 on the roll. The maximum pension paid amounted to $283.75 and the minimum $12.85.
The company has also started a system of libraries for employees in the various departments. In the Atlantic department there is a library of 5,100 volumes at Jersey City, called the Wells Fargo Atlantic Library Association. The library is self-supporting, the members contributing 10 cents a month. The company at first doubled their contributions, but that is no longer necessary. Now it gives the space, the employees buying books and paying the librarian's salary. The company is liberal in various ways. At Thanksgiving, employees who have been in the company's services sis months are given turkeys. If an employee wants to join the Y. M. C. A., the company pays half of the fee.
The employees at Jersey City, New York, and Brooklyn have a benefit association paying disability and death benefits. The dues a re 1 per cent of the monthly salary and weekly benefits are 20 per cent of the monthly salary. Thus, a member earning $15 a month is assessed 15 cents a month and receives $3 a week. Members earning $50 and over are assessed 50 cents and receive $10 weekly. Members receiving less than $10 a month have no voting rights. Sick benefits run for a period not exceeding 26 weeks in a year, and no benefits are paid for disability lasting less than one week. Members of two years' standing leaving the employment of the company may still retain membership in the association by paying the highest assessment. In case of death the member's family receives $100, and upon the death of a member's wife he receives $50, and upon the death of a child under 15 years of age $25. The administration of the society is through oilicers elected by the members. There are similar societies throughout the West. In Chicago the dues are 50 cents a month and benefits $1 a day for a period not exceeding six months, and death benefits are $50. Not over 25 per cent of the employees are members Gf the association in the West.
The Hotel Astor, in New York City, employs about 800 persons, 400 of whom are women. The women sleep in the building and are quartered in dormitories, as many as 30 persons in some instances sleeping in one room. Where the scrub women sleep the beds are
double deckers of white iron with comfortable springs. One person sleeps above the other with about 2 or 2 feet of space between the iop of the lower mattress and the springs of the bed above. There are in the rooms wooden-bottomed chairs--not rocking-chairs--and stationary washstands. Clothes are hung around the walls on pegs with perhaps a shelf above for hats. Some of the rooms occupied by the maids, who represent a higher step in the social scale, had white iron grating lockers, and the beds were ordinary single iron beds. Everywhere the sheets were changed once a week and in summer twice. The rooms all had outside windows, but no means of darkening them.
This was noticeable in the case of scrub women, who begin work at 2 a. m., and have to sleep during the day. Comfortable bathrooms with porcelain-lined tubs and lavatories were conveniently near. For the women employees there is a special laundry with the most modern appliances. The servants are fed from : special kitchen. There are several dining rooms for the various social grades of those employed. Thus the maids do not dine in the same room with the laundresses and charwomen, nor the captains in the hotel dining rooms with the waiters. The tables are usually long, magnified benches with scoured tops and the seats are benches. There is no sitting room for the servants nor are they allowed to receive any company, as the hotel, like any other big industry, could not take on the added responsibility which the presence of visitors would incur. The servants seek their pleasure and recreations outside the hotel. There is a house physician, who attends sick servants in the house as well as guests.
The sphere of welfare work would appear very definitely marked. Where the standard of living of employees is low, where illiteracy is prevalent, where an increase in wages fails to call forth increased industry on the employees' part, but merely means idleness and stopping work until the surplus is spent, where shiftlessness and extravagance are common characteristics, the employer's efforts to better such conditions are welcomed. Any agency of improvement is highly desirable. Again, in localities that are rapidly becoming industrialized and ceasing to be agricultural, during the period of transition before public opinion has met changed conditions with suitable laws, the employer with a lively sense of his social duties may well undertake in his capacity as employer to create better standards. In all these instances, however, along with the welfare work in his own establishment, he might show a further recognition of his obligations to society by trying to crystallize the higher standards in his own mill or factory through legal enactment and not by opposing the pas-age of laws which tend to secure these benefits for all workingmen.
It is manifestly absurd to claim that employers' welfare work may lead to industrial feudalism. The general mobility of labor, essential to modern industrial conditions, precludes the possibility of permanent personal relations between employer and employed. The effects of general education and political democracy in developing the individual's self-consciousness will prevent paternalism.'
The sphere of welfare work must not be confounded with that of legislation nor should it be used as a means of retarding wise labor laws. If it should have this effect and make workroom conditions, the safeguarding of machinery, or the prevention of child labor and night work for women dependent on the employers' kindliness or sympathy, its effect becomes at once deleterious instead of beneficial. Sanitary conditions within the factory should be a legal obligation. The following statement from a well-known philanthrophic society actively pushing welfare work is not likely to clear up the distinction between the employer's sphere and that of the State.
“ The beginning of all welfare work must be directed toward meeting the pressing necessities for the physical well-being of employees in their place of work. These most pressing needs are provisions for cleanliness, pure drinking water, adequate toilet rooms, ventilation, light, separate lockers for outdoor clothing, and dressing rooms."
These are clearly not matters which should be left to the humanity or altruism of the employer. They are things which concern the welfare of society as a whole, and should be under the direct supervision of the State. That these needs of employees are under the protection of the State is, of course, shown by the large and constantly increasing body of labor laws affecting hours of labor, nightwork for minors and women, sanitation, humidity, air space and ventilation of factories, wash rooms, dressing rooms in foundries, seats for women employees, and numberless other working conditions. Indeed, it is safe to predict that the time is not far distant when much of present-day welfare work will be a requirement. This tendency has recently been amply illustrated in the case of employers' compensation to workingmen for accidents, a conspicuous feature of welfare work. Three States have made either insurance or compensation in especially hazardous or dangerous trades compulsory, while eight more have made compensation or insurance elective, in some instances in all industries. While the laws leave it optional with employers to make compensation, if they do not elect to do so, the customary defenses of negligence, fellow servants' negligence, and assumption of risk are abrogated so that the law will be compulsory in effect.
1 Philippovich, Grundriss der politichen Oekonomie, Vol. II, p. 196.
Accident and sickness benefits. (See Benefit funds or associations, etc.)
work looking to.)
Comfort of employees, welfare work looking to-roncluded.