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SHIP CARPENTER: CAMDEN.—" The advantages of organization are seen in our business. We used to get $3 ; now but $2.80 daily.” “Co-operation.” “We are ordinarily intelligent.”
SILK WORKERS: Paterson.—" Reduce the hours of labor. I would like to see the system of immigration regulated, for it has injured our trade more than any other. It was stated by a newspaper some time ago, that the iron workers looked a great deal healthier than the silk weavers.” “Keep the children out of the mills ; compulsory education.” “Machinery is an injury to the workingman ; improvements should be regulated in such a manner that we will not suffer by their introduction." "The shops should be better ventilated.” “We should have more co-operative enterprises, and the government should control all corporations so as to prevent them from imposing on the public.” “One week out of every four we have to 'twist in ;'we get no pay for this. Wages have been reduced fifty per cent. in three years." "Shorten the hours and no overtime. 'Docking' for being a few minutes late should be prohibited." "Stop the importation of foreign goods.” “The workingmen should take hold of the question of co-operation at once." "The shops should be better ventilated, as we can not open the windows in windy or damp weather. Our workshops are very dark and is the cause of eye diseases so common among weavers." "Eight hours." "If you are too old to work you can go to the poorhouse or starve; after fifty they tell you they don't want you any more. We suffer by the competition among the manufacturers here." "Our boss runs his mill overtime nearly every night; also on Sunday." "The best thing would be to stop piece-work." "Eight hours a day and no foreign labor.” “Immigration overstocks the market and keeps us constantly out of work." "If we were organized we could have a regular price list, and then the manufacturers would not be underselling each other by reducing our wages, as they are doing now." " Private ownership should be abolished.” “Pay a man more for his toil. As labor is so cheap, why not give us cheaper food and rents?" "Foreign wage laborers should be warned as to the condition of things here." "Sunday work and overtime should be stopped.” “We live from hand to mouth. There are always plenty out of work here. Although machinery produces more now, we get ten to fifteen per cent. less in wages than ten years ago." “Dyers, when they go to work in the morning, never know how long they will be kept. Sometimes they must work sixteen hours." “Let us have a foreign contract labor law which will be effective." "Silk weavers do not average over eight months yearly." "We do not average more than $5 per week the year round. In England they only work fifty-six hours weekly; here we have sixty; who gets the protection ?" "There are too many weavers at the business now." “Permanent organization." "Co-operative production under control of the government.” “Trades unions can only improve our condition.” “There should be an organization in every shop."
FLAX WORKERS: PATERSON.-" Tariff reform. Take off duty on raw material and put it on the dressed.” “Immigrants are coming here every day, only to find themselves disappointed. Reduce the hours of labor.” “If the duty were removed from the three grades of raw flax which are imported and placed on the dressed, it would compel our manufacturers to have it dressed here, and thus give employment to three or four hundred more men." "Just now raw flax can be brought in as cheap as dressed." "If we do not take the duty off the raw material, our trade will soon be forgotten here.” “Fans should be erected to carry away the dust.” “The large amount of lost time is due to the fact that there is not enough raw flax on hand." “The general government should offer a fax bounty.” “ The factory acts are not enforced. Paterson is sadly in need of a public library and news room." "The law against child labor has been a farce." "The eight-hour law is the necessity of the day. Compulsory education. The only place of resort here now is the rum shop." " Let there be a strict enforcement of the ten-hour law; no overtime.” “Immigration within reasonable limits. Tariff reform is the only means by which we can be helped now; take the duty off of raw flax of fine grades.” “ The child labor law is a farce. Let any one come to our gate and see the little ones going out.” “If we were intelligent we would not be in our present condition; but with our present wages we cannot improve ourselves." "A weekly payment law." "Greenhorns are around the window every day looking for work." "The Paterson Flax Mill employs about 1,400 hands. The firm has another large mill in Ireland. In this flax business you can find any number of persons who were 'imported' from Ireland. They are coming every day, and as new ones come the older ones are discharged. This, in connection with the present tariff on dressed flax, works a great injury to the older 'hacklers.' There is virtually no difference in the daty on dressed flax ($40) and rough flax ($20), as it takes two tons of the latter to make one of the former. Besides, the customs officers cannot tell the difference. If all the flax were dressed in Paterson, there would be 225 men instead of seventy employed, as at present."
MACHINIST: NEW BRUNSWICK.-"In my trade the men are possessed of average intelligence. In busy times we work a good deal overtime. We favor weekly payments of wages."
ELIZABETH.—“General organization to bring about a reduction of the hours of labor to eight per day ; prohibition of child labor under fifteen years of age; do away with the competition system and piece-work."
PATERSON.—“Reduce the hours of labor; enforce the factory laws; relieve the cities of surplus laborers by aiding them to occupy the public lands.” “Enforce an eighthour law; compulsory education ; raise the tariff on all manufactures, as partly manufactured iron, steel, brass and copper. Every worker should belong to an organization of his trade, or at least to some labor organization. Fans should be erected in all factories and work-shops to carry away the dust, and factories should be well ventilated.” “More wages and shorter hours. The system of letting out work by the piece has been very injurious to the trade, and so has the system of overtime." “The government should aid settlers to go upon the public lands and should allow them to return the money in yearly installments. Eight hours is long enough for a day's work. My actual earnings last year were but $100, while the cost of living was $400. Had it not been for a legacy left me of $300 I do not know how I should have lived. There are a great many poor people out of work in Paterson and it is a wonder to me how they live; so many women have to go out washing and do other work to support their husbands and children that even this resource is very uncer. tain. I wish you would come here and see the condition of many of our people. Reduce the hours of labor to eight per day.” “Less hours of labor; stop overtime; abolish piece-work.” “The enactment of laws providing for arbitration between employers and employes and to enforce the decision of the arbitrators would be good." "The piece-work system of giving the different parts of the work by contract to men who employ others at whatever price they can get them, has done more to injure the machinist trade than anything I know of. These contractors hire inexperienced men or foreigners to run the machines at low wages, thereby overcrowding the trade. The currency of the country, the railroads and telegraph lines should be controlled by the goverment in the interest of the people, and not as now in the interest of banks and corporations. The public lands should be reserved for actual settlers and foreigners prevented from holding land at all.” PART III.
MILLVILLE.—" Most of the employers have found out, by experience, that the highest-priced labor pays the best.” “Foreigners who come here have a very lax idea of religion and the Sabbath day.”
NEWARK ELECTRIO Light COMPANY.-"As a rule the men that work here are sober, industrious and moral, making a good appearance, neat and tidy. As a rule we have a fair education. Many of our families complain of sickness, due because of an unhealthy locality of residence and badly built houses, whose sanitation is imperfect and neglected. Our men do not have any more money than will keep them, and some not enough. An eight-hour law, enforced, would be a blessing. So also our present child labor law. Universal weekly payments would be better for all concerned. Less hours and more pay is the cry."
LABORERS: CRANFORD.--"I never took any interest in the subject." "We are very poor. Free reading-rooms would help us." "Fair."
PATERSON.—"Stop immigration for ten years." "Times have been so hard here that machinists, blacksmiths and mechanics of all kind have been doing laboringmen's work." "A truthful idea of our situation ought to be published in Europe, and then the foreigners would not be so anxious to get here to better themselves. Shorten the hours of labor, but first enforce our ten-hour law before we talk about eight hours." "A laborer's work is very hard. After coming home from work, frequently being compelled to walk a long distance, he is too tired for anything but to eat his supper and go to bed.” “I would like to go back to England again, as this country seems to be getting worse every day."
PERTH AMBOY.-" Less work and more time for pleasure and rest."
New BRUNSWICK.—"Too long to work. We railroad people ought to be paid weekly."
JERSEY CITY.-" The government should own the railroads and other monopolies and divide the earnings among the people.'
BRIDGETON.-" The child labor law should apply to farming boys. Many of them are overworked and grow up without a chance to get a common school education." " Farmers' wages are too low."
MILLVILLE.—" Technical schools would be a great benefit to our children. The trouble is how to get them a trade." "Our employer does well by us and we do not bother ourselves about the labor agitaaion.” “Intelligence and courage are characteristic of the railroad people.” “We are all right physically and morally."
WILLIAMSTOWN.-" We read the newspapers and keep posted on the events of the day. That is about the extent of our knowledge."
CLAYTON.—"Not very intelligent. More religious than moral."
VINELAND.—"We study nights and are making some improvement.” “I am not posted as to labor societies, but think that they have helped the working people."
SUGGESTIONS IN BEHALF OF WORKINGMEN.
CHAPTER I.—THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT,
CHAPTER II.—THE LAW AND THE LABORER. PROGRESSIVE LABOR LEGISLATION
IN NEW JERSEY.