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approximately that cb re, a considerably higher wage than the So there is no trick i compared to 14.5 percent before the 'qual competitive hieved.

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vorked 55 poration to make loans to corporations which are in by evictions and private police and court proceeding I wages No government can be neutral that does that kind of the Teekly vicious competitive conditions which obtain in the various section at A government is not neutral which permits within its bord.

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by and in the matter of Government purchases, when the Govern stipulates that its purchases shall be strictly on the basis of price, that it shall go to the lowest bidder, then it is not neutral.

In recent weeks and months there have been tremendous volumes of W. P. A. purchases made by the W. P. A.-millions of yards of cloth and pounds of yarn—that were made on the basis of the lowest bidder. Does anybody suppose that those employers who live in States that have had some measure of social responsibility to its people have had a chance at all to get any of that Government business?

We have been deliberately discriminated against, inevitably so, on any such basis. The Government, so long as it permits that condition to exist, is subsidizing industries and districts and conditions which place a premium on exploitation and persecution.

Mr. Chairman, that completes my statement.

Mr. KELLER. Are there any questions by members of the committee? If there are no questions, Mr. Batty, thank you.

Mr. Batty. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. KELLER. We will now hear from a representative of the Women's Bureau, Mrs. Best.

STATEMENT OF MRS. E. L. BEST, WOMEN'S BUREAU, DEPART

MENT OF LABOR

Mrs. Best. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee:

The Women's Bureau, always vitally concerned in the problems of women wage earners, is especially interested in women in textile

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tion, along with others, to observe the code voluntarily. In this way there cannot be any getting away from the fact ultimately, if criticism is directed toward them, that they did not agree to observe code conditions.

I would suggest to the committee that when the representatives of the Cotton Textile Institute come before the committee and outline the degree of success which they have achieved in procuring individual or collective-particularly individual-agreements to observe the code voluntarily, they be asked whether or not it is their intention to publish the names of the companies who so agreed.

This is not said altogether with the idea of putting them on the spot, but I think it is such a laudable and praiseworthy pledge that they ought to get due credit for it publicly and I think the employees in these various companies would welcome an opportunity to know whether or not their particular employers, their individual employers, were among those who had agreed, and the rest of us could then follow with some interest the course of these companies which had agreed.

The inability of the industry in the line of self-regulation is famous, if not notorious. I call your attention to the fact that prior to the N. R. A., when the idea of some form of regulation was first promulgated by President Roosevelt and he undertook to sound public sentiment on this matter, he made a radio address, and it was his purpose and intention to have the country see the need for regulation as contemplated in the N. R. A.

He made this radio address and in his survey of the whole chaotic industrial picture at that time he chose as a classic illustration of the need for this type of legislation the textile industry. You will remember that he made the industry uncomfortable on that occasion by pointing out the miserable success they had had in voluntary regulation; that they had attempted to regulate by voluntary agreement the question of night shifts, the so-called graveyard shifts, and he said that there were 15 percent of the industry which were recalcitrant and they were enought to endanger the whole scheme of voluntary regulation.

I would like to say, as a representative of the northern workers, and particularly of those who have been perhaps permanently separated from employment, that it is not a matter of indifference to us; we cannot look upon the competition which separates us from employment with any degree of allowance or tolerance, whether that competition be from the South or the West, from the State of Maine, whether it be Chinese or Japanese. It is no particular comfort to us to know that we have been separated from employment by southern competition rather than Japanese.

We are just as much unemployed if we are separated from our jobs, although it be southern competition that does it. And we cannot understand how the Federal Government can characterize foreign competition and recognize it as unfair, as it does when it undertakes to attempt to equalize it by tariff measures, and yet be indifferent to the equally unfair and vicious competitive practices of one section of our country, no matter where it may be.

Incidentally, in line with that thought, of course, there is no trick in being successful as a manufacturer with a 20- or 30-percent wage advantage. It would seem as though any man of ordinary ability, with a 20- or 30-percent wage advantage, or any other advantage of approximately that character, could reasonably expect to have success. So there is no trick in that. The trick would be when substantially equal competitive conditions are established and then success is achieved.

We claim that this bill will remove the existing competition between wages and working conditions and price and it will limit competition to the field where it properly belongs—efficiency of management, efficiency of the machine, and efficiency of labor.

If a condition such as is sought to be promoted by this bill, which renders conditions of competition relatively equal, approximately equal, and limits competition to efficiency in management and in the machine and in labor- if such a condition is brought about, we will be infinitely more secure, and it will be a distinct

advantage to the employer.

I would like to make this last point, if I may, that if the National Government does nothing about this question which has been raised here in the last several days, it does not thereby play the role of a neutral. The Federal Government is not neutral on this question if it fails to act. It is taking sides. It is taking sides so long as it permits any section of this country to indulge the kind of vicious competitive practice which has been so eloquently revealed in this hearing up to now.

It is not neutral when it permits the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to make loans to corporations which are fighting the workers by evictions and private police and court proceedings and the like. No government can be neutral that does that kind of thing.

A government is not neutral which permits within its borders the vicious competitive conditions which obtain in the various sections; and in the matter of Government purchases, when the Government stipulates that its purchases shall be strictly on the basis of price, that it shall go to the lowest bidder, then it is not neutral.

In recent weeks and months there have been tremendous volumes of W. P. A. purchases made by the W. P. A.-millions of yards of cloth and pounds of yarn—that were made on the basis of the lowest bidder. Does anybody suppose that those employers who live in States that have had some measure of social responsibility to its people have had a chance at all to get any of that Government business?

We have been deliberately discriminated against, inevitably so, on any such basis. The Government, so long as it permits that condition to exist, is subsidizing industries and districts and conditions which place a premium on exploitation and persecution.

Mr. Chairman, that completes my statement.

Mr. KELLER. Are there any questions by members of the committee? If there are no questions, Mr. Batty, thank you.

Mr. Batty. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. KELLER. We will now hear from a representative of the Women's Bureau, Mrs. Best.

STATEMENT OF MRS. E. L. BEST, WOMEN'S BUREAU, DEPART

MENT OF LABOR

Mrs. Best. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee:

The Women's Bureau, always vitally concerned in the problems of women wage earners, is especially interested in women in textile manufacturing because of their numbers and importance in that industry. Nearly one-half of the operatives and laborers in textile mills are women and they comprise almost one-fourth of all women in manufacturing industries. In addition to these workers in the mills there are more than 30,000 clerical workers employed in the offices of the industry.

Men and women both employed on many of the occupations in cotton, silk, and woolen mills but there are some jobs which are done by men only and others by women only. This division of work is based not on skill but on the heaviness or suitability of the work. Spinning, usually performed by women, requires more skill than men tending slubbers, and a woman smash hand must be more experienced than a man trucker. Nevertheless, in all textile mills the wage level is lower for women than for men.

In a comprehensive study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of earnings before and after the establishment of the codes it was found, as would be expected, that the greatest increases had taken place in the lowest-paid groups of workers, and as a natural corollary the increases were greater for women than for men because women were more largely in the low-earnings group. Among men and women wage earnings combined in woolen and worsted mills in 1932, 12 percent earned less than 25 cents an hour, while among women alone 20 percent earned less than 25 cents an hour.

Naturally, after the establishment of a minimum wage by the code the group of persons earning less than 25 cents an hour practically disappeared, and as more women than men were in this group they profited more by the increase.

In some branches of the textile industries earnings have always been low, so it is not surprising to find earnings in cotton mills increased by the code more than those of most other industries.

The Women's Bureau in 1932 found the median earnings for all women workers in mills in South Carolina to be $7.70, and these wages were in many cases for long hours, 55 hours being the schedule in 122 out of 128 mills. This wage is quite similar to that found by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for women in the South in July 1933, when the median was $7.35. In August, after the code was in effect, the median was $11.18, an increase of 52.1 percent. For men the increase was not so great, being from $10.24 to $12.37, or 20.8 percent.

These figures illustrate the fact that for the low-paid worker, whether man or woman, a base or bottom below which wages cannot fall increases the welfare and spending power of the workers as a whole. The effect on the higher-paid worker is likely to be less marked if immediate results only are considered, as is shown for northern mills in the same study. For those formerly earning 30 cents an hour and over the increases in earnings after the code became effective were from 23 percent to 52 percent compared to increases of from 41 percent to 110 percent for those earning less than 30 cents. The same larger increases for the lower-paid workers were found in silk and woolen mills.

However, that the minimum does not become the maximum under a minimum wage is shown by records taken after adjustments have been made and industry has put its house in order.

In Massachusetts a minimum wage of $13.20 for experienced workers was set in druggists' preparations in 1924. By 1929 the percent receiving $18 or more, a considerably higher wage than the minimum, was 26.7 percent compared to 14.5 percent before the minimum

In laundries in the same State with a minimum set in 1922 of $13.50 the proportion getting $18 or more increased from 9.8 percent to 17.1 percent. Increases in the proportion of women in the higherwage bracket also occurred both in retail and office cleaning after the minimum was set by law.

In another State, California, where a general $16 minimum for women workers was set in 1920 there was a steady increase in the proportion receiving $17 and over in each year from only 46.3 percent, the year the law was passed to 66.6 percent in 1929. Even with the depression the proportion in 1931 sunk only to 57.9 percent earning $17 and over.

From these figures it would appear that over a period of time the percent of women earning above the minimum increased rather than decreased.

The need for a limitation of hours has been amply illustrated by the fact that a maximum hour law for women has been enacted in all but five States. During a time of depression hours tend to fall materially below the maximum number permitted by law; nevertheless, in a study made by the Women's Bureau in 1932, over a fourth

a of the women reporting in the mills in South Carolina worked 55 hours in some seasons—the limit permitted by law.

A decrease in hours does not necessarily mean a decrease in wages to the worker. In the silk industry after the code average weekly hours per employee actually decreased 12 percent while average hourly earnings increased 26 percent, according to a comparison by B. L. S. of wages and hours previous to and after the establishment of the code.

The long hours of operating, especially in cotton mills, resulted before the code in much night work for women. In a study made by the Women's Bureau in 1932, 98 mills out of a total of 132 surveyed in one State ran one or more departments at night. Figures for 91 of these same mills showed employment of over 11,000 men at night, and 2,000 women were employed on the night shift in approximately half of these mills. The total number working at night was onefourth of the day force. An attempt was made to control conditions in the industry by voluntary agreement. In 1930–31 under the leadership of the Cotton Textile Institute from 80 to 90 percent of the cotton mills entered into an agreement to limit weekly hours to 55 on the day shift and 50 on the night, making a total of 105 operating hours a week.

They also agreed to employ no women nor minors on the night shift. In spite of the large majority of the industry agreeing to these measures, the agreement was unsuccessful.

The minority that did not sign were able to undersell and to fill orders more promptly, so that many of those who had entered into the agreement were forced to abandon it. By 1932 in a single Southern State 92 out of 129 mills reporting had a weekly operating schedule of over 105 hours and 44 out of 98 mills operating two shifts employed women at night. The special difficulty of night work for women is the fact that frequently they have children and homes that must be cared for during the day, so they cannot get even the unsatisfactory rest that men working at night are able to get.

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