or eastern Europe, with the Italians, Magyars, Poles, and Slovaks predominating. The term 'American miner,' so far as the western Pennsylvania field is concerned, is largely a misnomer." When they work, these miners average, as in the case of the Roumanians, as low as $1.85 a day, while in the greater number of cases the range is close to $2; more than one-tenth of the Ruthenians, Roumanians, Poles, and Croatians earn on an average under $1.50 a day. But unemployment in the course of the year brings down the general average for heads of families to $431. The south Italians earn only $399 and the Poles $324. The yearly figures reveal the compulsory "lay-off" system of the mine operators, the same as that which in the anthracite regions brings down the average earnings to a third less than they might be were employment regular. These facts stand as a refutation of the claim, made by defenders of immigration as it is, that "we need more labor."

In "Women and Children Who Make Men's Clothes," Mary Van Kleeck brings out these points from a study of the recent government report on conditions of working women and children: The five cities, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Rochester, make 68.3 per cent of the total product of men's ready made clothing of the United States. In Rochester 61.3 per cent of the workers are women, in Chicago 57.8, in Baltimore 48.7, in Philadelphia 45.9, and in New York 40.9. In no city were more than 35 per cent of the total force found on the pay-roll fifty or more weeks in the year. Among the women, Americans constitute only 7.4 per cent of the force; 62.9 per cent are foreign born, and 25.5 per cent native born of foreign parents. The average weekly earnings of the house workers with helpers were $3.72; without helpers, $3.04. The manufacture of clothing is carried on in "seasons." During the short busy periods the employes are overworked; during the long dull periods they are underfed. Among the house-workers at the occupations, in all the cities, 75.7 per cent can not speak English.

Now, in citing this indisputable evidence that the poorest of the poor non-English-speaking immigrants have driven out of the market most of the English-speaking races in several of the basic occupations of the country, we are brought to ask several questions bearing on our subject:

(1) Where today in America is there not a glut in the unskilled or less highly skilled "labor market" in any occupation which yields a living the year through? The demand for steadily engaged rough labor on the farms is to be measured accurately by the earnings of miners and unskilled laborers in the iron and steel industries. The day the farm offers a better wage by the year it will get the surplus labor engaged in these occupations. The same is to be said in case of the demand for day laborers on the railroads or on big contract work.

(2) What effect on the mobility of labor may be expected from the established American methods of hiring and being hired in the labor market? In those trades and other callings which are organized the prevailing means of finding employment are the union labor bureaus and the free-masonry

existing between shopmates or fellow-craftsmen. Upon his own union employes any employer of skilled labor can almost invariably depend for a supply of the best men in his industry who are unemployed. Next to this, a method more applicable to the lesser skilled, is newspaper advertising. Nowhere in the world are the "want" columns of the daily paper so much relied upon as a factor in hiring and being hired as in the United States. In each occupation the regular advertisers for "help wanted" get to be known to the workers, who in a sense supervise the agencies thus advertising, which if they are unfair lose patronage. Employers, also, in this country answer the "situations wanted" column where in other countries dependence would be placed almost solely upon employment agencies. On a certain Sunday the "want" section of a New York daily paper recently contained twenty-eight columns of "help wanted, female" and twenty-five columns of "help wanted, male" advertisements, while there were besides six and a half columns of "situations wanted, female" and seven and a half of "situations wanted, male." Here is testimony to the want columns of the newspapers as an American institution that certainly must have its marked advantages or it could not flourish as it does. As to the private employment agencies, being now subject to a stricter regulation than formerly, the wage-workers who seek places through them have the less cause for complaint of abuses.

These several American methods, combined, pretty well cover the field among the English-speaking wage-earners, not only for particular localities, but for the entire country.

(3) Where is the stage reached at which State labor exchanges, philanthropic employment agencies, or employers' labor bureaus are, by some public advisers, seen to be necessary? The answer to this question is clear. The necessity for these forms of help arises mainly where the stream of immigration is to be directed to one locality or another to the benefit of the employer. The employer's profit in this respect may come through replacing union by non-union employes, through substituting foreign cheap labor for unorganized labor which has learned to aspire to American standards, or through maintaining a parasitic industry, by means of labor so poorly paid that the wage-workers are not self-sustaining.

* *

Still keeping in mind the steamship combine, in partnership with the great industrial employing class in flooding the United States with foreign cheap labor, we may trace operations satisfactory to one and the other of these two great social powers which have been undertaken by public authorities "nudged" by them and by well-meaning but mistaken philanthropists.

The regulations which the government of Italy has imposed on the steamships engaged in the transatlantic immigrant traffic from Italian ports. has resulted in enormously increasing the volume of emigration from that country. It has been a case of doing good to the steamship companies in spite of themselves. In the beginnings of the day of regulation their man

agers fought it. Not until the Italian government put their ships under a strict control was any considerable improvement made in steerage conditions. Today the Italian government takes charge of the emigrant from the time he quits his home, usually an inland village or small town-the big cities of Italy send us but few laborers-and keeps him under its paternal care until he reaches his job in America in the mines or big works or on the railroads, in case he comes with a job in view, or, on the other hand, until he settles among his friends in one of his national "colonies" in a large city. Even after that, in case he is killed or injured, a vice-consul or official agent is soon at hand to represent Italian interests. In New York, near the Battery landing for steerage passengers, is a large five-story hotel for Italians, at which those just arriving may get lodging and three meals a day for 50 cents. It is under the supervision of the Italian government. A free employment office, in charge of the Italian Emigration Commission, is in operation in Lafayette street. The latter issues gratis a weekly "Bulletin of Information," telling where work is to be found, what wages are offered, what the railroad fares are, where strikes are on, and where farms are for sale. What is the consequence of all this fostering care? More than 2,000,000 Italians have come to the United States in the last ten years— 1901-1905, 974,236; 1906–1910, 1,129,975. Here from a single nationality has been a revenue of $70,000,000 to the steamships. If a million Italians have gone back, they have paid for transportation thirty to forty million dollars more. The banking for the earnings of these millions of men, the supplying of their needs-food, clothing, transportation, amusements, reading matter, etc.-have given business to thousands of the more intelligent or venturesome among their co-nationalists here and in Italy.

The advertisements in the New York daily Italian newspapers, of which there are no less than six, are a revelation of the financial interests which are maintained by the Italians in the metropolis who are not yet sufficiently Americanized to depend on American newspapers for their daily reading. The revenues of any one of these newspapers would be reduced by a good percentage, perhaps below the sustaining point, if the steamship advertisements were withdrawn. The bankers, the doctors, the transportation agents, the dealers in Italian food supplies are all enterprising advertisers. None of these interests, it may be imagined, are calling for a restricted immigration. On the contrary, one may look out for them to be well represented wherever measures for the promotion of immigration are being agitated.

The main factors bearing on immigration and its promotion, as thus revealed in the case of the Italians, are duplicated in regard to other nationalities of southern and eastern Europe. One difference is to be remarked, by the way. The Italian government has put an end to various publicity devices for the promotion of immigration common in Italy until the establishment of its Emigration Commission in 1902. The steamship companies may yet announce in inland Italy the date of their sailings, but are forbidden otherwise to drum up trade. Various methods, bordering on the fraudulent, formerly practiced by agents representing nearly all the

professions, have been suppressed, at least in their public manifestation. But, on the other hand, with the better care for its emigrants, Italy is sending out a greater number than ever to the United States. The steamship companies are satisfied.

With unskilled labor in excess of demand in our mining and manufacturing districts, and an enormous reserve of it in our great cities ready to be called to any needed point, what is to be done with the stream of immigrants arriving? Is this not a problem first of all for the steamship combine to solve in its own interest? Obviously, it can not promote every form of distribution by direct means; it must depend upon-yes, upon the patriotism of the American people bent upon keeping up the policy of making the United States an asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations, upon the noble impulses of philanthropy which does not in its efforts recognize differences of nationality, upon the complaisance of our lawmakers and other government officials who have recently arrived foreign-born constituents in balance-of-power number, and upon the distress of our great employers of labor over the deficiency in the supply of labor-at one dollar a day.

From two of these four elements the steamship combine has received invaluable and unflagging public assistance—the patriots and the philanthropists. A most patriotic organization, the forefront in advancing the interests of the immigrant, is the National Liberal Immigration League. Its objects are "the proper regulation and better distribution of immigration." What its conception is of "proper" regulation may be seen by its activities in combating the pitiful efforts of the immigration officials at Ellis Island to separate and deport the defectives of all sorts who are swept in with the human tide of arrivals. Distribution, however, is the strong point of the Liberal League. It promotes mass meetings in New York to advance the welfare of immigrants going inland, with such men as the Secretary of Commerce and Labor as speakers; assists in getting up excursions to Washington of editors and proprietors of newspapers printed in foreign languages, with a call on the President, whose fair words to the excursionists are duly pamphletized; takes a part in conferences and congresses of people of the various nationalities in America, at which methods of caring for and distributing the immigrant are discussed; issues leaflets and letters in which the cause of the poor immigrant looking for work is eloquently pleaded. It is on hand whenever correction of the defects of our naturalization courts is necessary; it recently called attention to the fact that 150,000 "first papers" are held within the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court sitting in Manhattan, which issues 50,000 first papers a year.

Patriotic and philanthropic Americans are continually forming societies to help the immigrants. Today the spokesmen for these societies agree that, the cities being choked up with poverty-stricken unemployed immigrants, and the mining and great industrial districts having gotten wages down through them to a level, all things considered, approximating to the

European standard, the stage of the problem now reached calls for "distribution." This is the most obvious means of putting the immigrant next against the American workingman with whom he is to compete.

"The National American Federation for the Promotion of Sane and Liberal Immigration Laws," has got down to work in New York City. Among its well-known American originators are Marcus Braun, Jacob Schiff, H. M. Goldfogle, Carl Hauser, Gustav Hartman, and Henry W. Schloss. Mr. Schiff, at its formation, wrote: "With my associates I am at present actively engaged in getting the Galveston situation into such shape that the movement toward and through Galveston into the American hinterland can progress without being thwarted at every step by the representatives of the Department of Commerce and Labor. . . . It is unfortunate that, contrary to all expectations, the report of the United States Immigration Commission is so unsatisfactory."

Louis Costelak, believing "we have resources second to none in the world," wants "our Federal Departments of Agriculture and Interior" to go into "a campaign of judicious advertising:"

"First, it would be necessary to secure the services of a broad-minded man, a student of human nature versed in a number of the European tongues. He would then gather about him a staff of efficient assistants conversant with the Latin, Teutonic, and Slavonic languages. Centrally located, he should be in touch with the Federal Departments in Washington, being actually a part or branch of them, if you will."

Lajos Steiner has his plan for reaching and distributing the immigrants. His principal ideas are these:

"Print and distribute information by newspapers, circulars, booklets, correspond. ence, conferences, etc., in the languages which peasant immigrants understand, of our agricultural opportunities, of our banking, of our educational facilities, of our methods and institutions, of how and where to engage in industrial occupations, and of the ways and means to become Americanized. Show the price of land per acre here and the value of its product here and in the respective European countries, point out the taxes here and our facilities, and in the respective Hungarian, Italian, and Slav countries; call attention to the fact that no compulsory military service of years is inflicted here in times of peace. Furnish information for publication to the press, especially to the Hungarian, Italian, and Slav newspapers. Inform the right sort of farm dealers how and where to reach peasant immigrants, so they can sell them farms. Encourage the establishment of immigrants' agricultural associations."

Anna Seaburg calls the attention of the New York public to the methods of help begun last year by the Young Women's Christian Association for "the 200,000 or more immigrant women and girls who come to this land yearly." Among the methods for immediate work are the establishment in lower New York of a headquarters for immigrant women, to include a "home," a secretary's office, an assembly room, an employment bureau, and a press bureau. The latter "shall keep our foreign-speaking peoples informed through their own publications of the advantages open to them in this country." Miss Seaburg believes that because of its international affiliations the Y. W. C. A. is peculiarly fitted for this work. J. S. Kana saw to the printing of advertisements in five languages for the association. Ms. Kana spoke to the immigrant girls in seven languages. Miss Lizzie Strunsky interviewed Russian factory workers.

« ForrigeFortsett »