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REPORT OF ST. LOUIS TYPOGRAPHICAL UNION NO. 8.
The following report made to this Bureau by Mr. Hugh T. McMurtry, corresponding secretary of St. Louis Typographical Union No. 8, representing the employes of about ninety different firms, gives as full and complete information concerning the printing industry, gen. erally, as can be obtained.
The questions and answers are as follows:
On morning papers about 11 ; evening papers about 9}; day work 10 hours.
6. What are the average earnings per day?
7. How many days on an average were lost during the past year by sickness?
The average for each man will be over one in the year.
9. Has your Union been engaged in any strike since January last?
This Union has had no strikes during the year, but has been endeavoring to induce the proprietors of the " Post-Dispatch” to become a union office, and pay the regular scale of prices, and it is gratifying to state that an amicable adjustment of differences will crown our efforts with success by the close of this week, [October, 1885].
10. Are girls and women employed where you work?
A few, and where they are employed they work in the same room with the men.
11. Is your occupation unhealthy ?
Yes, because of the location frequently baving no sunlight, and requiring artificial light, day and night.
14. How much money have the members paid into the Union since January last?
Each member has paid about four dollars during the year.
15. Have any considerable number of workmen been discharged since last January, without notice?
But few, except from lack of work to keep them employed. Summary and unwarranted discharges are unusual among printers; but they occasionally occur from caprice on the part of foremery.
16. Are any boys under 14 years employed ?
Hardly any; 15 or 16 being about the youngest age at which a boy can be of any service in a printing office.
17. Are wages paid in cash?
There are about 200 non-union printers in St. Louis, including about 50 boys, girls and women, and their earnings are about an average of 25 per cent. less than those of union printers; other conditions being the same.
An approximate estimate of the earnings of all printers in St. Luis, union and non-union, employed and unemployed, would give an aver.
of $2.00 per day for each man, and $1.00 for each woman pursuing the printing trade for a livelihood.
The Typographical Union makes no distinction between the sexes, but employers frequently employ women and girls only because they can get them to work cheaper than men. Women, with few exceptions, remain outside the union for two reasons: First, they do not serve a regular apprenticeship, nor expect to remain permanently at the trade, and only acquire a superficial knowledge of the business; and, second, they find they cannot get employment if they demand the same wages as men.
About fifteen months ago the Journal Printing and Publishing Company of Jefferson City entered into a contract with the Warden of the Penitentiary for the purpose of printing their newspaper and doing a general job printing business. The enterprise proved a failure, and in October, 1885, the contractors were forced to abandon the contract.
This was due to two causes: First, the newspaper press of the State, almost without exception, denounced the enterprise as one coming in direct conflict with the labor of honest printers. A "boycott" was the result, and the withdrawal of public patronage forced a virtual suspension of the paper, and caused a change in proprietorship, and a return to the customary methods of newspaper composition ; second, the failure of the job department was not so much due to the "boycotting” process as to the incompetency and inefficiency of the convict printers. They were mostly short term men, and their discharges came before they became skilled. Their work in most instances, except in the commonest grades of printing, was inferior to that of honest skilled workmen, and could not survive competition in the markets. The experiment has demonstrated the fact that in an employment that requires intelligence and pride, the work of a convict must inevitably prove inferior to that of the honest craftsman.