48 hours was reported by only 11 establishments for men, and by 8 for women.

Extra shift work was very uncommon in the cigar industry. Of the 198 plants, 18 reported a second shift; none had a third shift. Only 7 percent of the workers were employed on the second shift and in most cases received no premium compensation for this work.

Over half of the establishments granted vacations with pay to plant workers after 1 year of service; three-fourths of those having office workers reported the same feature for that group. The vacation period for plant workers was 1 week in more than 9 out of 10 cases. For office workers, the vacation was of 1 week's duration in slightly more than half of the establishments and 2 weeks in all except one of the others. Vacations with pay were most prevalent, proportionately, on the Pacific Coast and least prevalent in the Southwest.

Bonuses unrelated to production were paid to plant workers in over one-fifth and to office workers in about two-fifths of the establishments. In practically all cases, this extra remuneration was a Christmas bonus.

Only 9 establishments in the Middle Atlantic region and 2 on the Pacific Coast (of the 198 studied) reported provisions for paid sick leave for plant employees. All plants in the former region granted 6 days of paid leave; those in the latter awarded 5 days or less. Of those establishments having office workers, 1 in each of the Middle Atlantic and Pacific regions provided sick leave for such employees.

Formal provisions for a paid lunch period of more than 20 minutes were practically unheard of in the industry. Only 2 of the 198 establishments, both on the Pacific Coast, reported this feature.

Slightly more than a fifth of the establishments reported the existence of an insurance and/or pension plan for their plant workers. Almost a fourth of those plants employing office workers had such benefits. Practically all of these plants were located in the Middle Atlantic region. The most frequently reported plan provided for life insurance, and health insurance ranked second.

Union Wages and Hours in the Building Trades,
July 1, 19461

HOURLY union wage rates for building-trades journeymen averaged $1.79 an hour on July 1, 1946, and for helpers and laborers $1.14. Bricklayers showed the highest average ($2.06 an hour). Between 1945 and 1946 over 95 percent of the workers received a wage-rate increase of at least 10 percent. Among the 75 cities studied, Charlotte, N. C., had the greatest average increase in journeyman rates (17 percent), and Charleston, S. C., had the most substantial advance for helpers and laborers (42 percent).

Straight-time weekly hours, averaging 39.1 for journeymen and 39.5 for helpers and laborers, represented about a 1-percent reduction during the year. Approximately three-fifths of the journeymen and one-fourth of the helpers received double-time rates for overtime; about 90 percent of both groups received double pay for Sunday work. This article is based on effective union scales (as of July 1, 1946). These are defined as the minimum wage rates or maximum schedule of hours agreed upon through collective bargaining between employers and trade unions. Rates in excess of the agreed minimum may be paid to union members because of long service, special qualifications, or for personal or other reasons. These premium rates were not used in the preparation of this report. Field representatives of the Bureau obtained 2,759 quotations of scales covering 509,331 journeymen and 117,290 helpers employed in 75 cities ranging in size from 40,000 to 1,000,000.2

The 1946 survey took place during the short interval when all wage and price controls were suspended by virtue of the Presidential veto of the bill extending the Price Control Act. In general, the scales reported by the union officials as effective on July 1 had received prior approval of the Wage Adjustment Board for the bulding construction industry. For 64 cases in which higher rates were reported on July 1 than had been previously authorized, the subsequent restoration of controls legalized the higher rates in over 40 percent of the instances and rolled back the remainder to lower levels. Comparison of the last authorized rates with those reported on July 1 indicated that had wage controls been operative on the survey date, hourly average wage rates for journeymen and helpers would have been about 0.7 percent and 1.0 percent less, respectively. It is recog

1 Prepared in the Bureau's Wage Analysis Branch by Donald H. Gerrish, assisted by James P. Corkery and Herbert M. Abowitz.

A forthcoming bulletin will contain additional text and tables, including a listing of the union scales in effect for each building trade in the 75 cities. Where possible this bulletin will also include rate changes between July 1, 1946, and the date of publication.

H. R. 6042 (79th Cong.; 2d sess.) was vetoed June 29, 1946. This bill also provided for the extension of the Stabilization Act.

nized, however, that the 64 cases are too few to permit any adequate generalization.

Union Hourly Wage Rates


The annual increase of more than 11 percent in rate of pay, shown on July 1, 1946, was the largest percentage change recorded over a single year since 1920 (table 1). Practically all this advance took place after VJ-day. During the war and the early reconversion period, the effectiveness of the Wage Adjustment Board in stabilizing wage rates for the building construction industry is evidenced by the following facts: Between 1941 and 1945 hourly rates in this industry increased only 10 percent (amounting to about 14 cents an hour), in contrast with a 35-percent rise (about 18 cents an hour) for a comparable period in World War I (1916-19). From the time wage controls were adopted in July 1942 until July 1945, building hourly rates rose only slightly less than 4 percent.

TABLE 1.-Indexes of union hourly wage rates in all building trades, 1907–46

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It is difficult to compare the gains of the past year with those realized immediately after World War I, because the first war ended later in the year and the Bureau's study was then as of May 15 rather than as of July 1. However, by May 15, 1919, 6 months after the end of World War I, rates had risen about 15 percent over May 15, 1918, in comparison with an increase of over 11 percent recorded in the 11 months

The Bureau has computed an index series with the year 1939 as a base for measuring changes in scales from year to year. This index series, rather than the actual average of rates in this and previous reports, should be used to determine the trend of hourly wage rates, because of changes in coverage and shifts in union membership between two periods. For the procedure used in the index, see forthcoming bulletin. A summary of the development and activities of the Board will be included in the bulletin to be issued

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after World War II. In view of the removal of all wage controls following Executive Order 9081 of November 9, 1946, there may be substantial wage increases in the near future. During a comparable period after World War I (1919-20), when there was also a great construction. program, union scales advanced 35 percent.

The 11-percent wage increase for journeymen between 1945 and 1946. was slightly less than that for all trades combined, although the gain for helpers and laborers was substantially more (16 percent). Of the 27 journeyman trades studied 18 reported average increases exceeding 10 percent (table 2). Foremost among these were trades essential in all types of construction: Carpenters, bricklayers, composition roofers, painters, and plasterers. Larger increases were recorded for such trades as granite cutters, but these trades were relatively unimportant in the current construction program or had relatively few workers compared to the carpenters and bricklayers.

Electricians and plumbers-critical groups in the current construction program-had comparatively small gains owing primarily to the fact that large unions of plumbers and electricians in New York City maintained their wartime hourly rate of $2.00. Most other New York City unions obtained increases of about 25 cents per hour. TABLE 2.-Percent of increase in union building-trades wage rates, by trades, July 1, 1945, to July 1, 1946



Building-trades workers surveyed on July 1, 1946, averaged $1.67 an hour, as a whole; journeymen made $1.79 and helpers and laborers $1.14 (table 3). The serious shortage of bricklayers in some areas may account in some degree for their ability to negotiate rates well above a number of the other trades. Stonecutters, a trade with very little work in the current construction program, had a rate nearly as

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