Page images

The problems of women following the war are likely to be more crucial than at any time during the past. The Woman in Industry Service has been continued by Congress through an appropriation enabling the Secretary of Labor to carry forward the investigations of women in industry during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1920. Because of the fundamental importance of the position of women in industry it is hoped that the Women's Bureau will be permanently established by legislation as a part of the Department of Labor, and that its resources will be enlarged in order to make possible more comprehensive work.


[ocr errors]

Origin and functions.-The Investigation and Inspection Service was created under the War Labor Administration, with an appropriation of $300,000, for the purpose of concentrating into one division and under one head the investigation work required by the various branches of the Department. The service was organized during the latter part of July, 1918.

The function of the Investigation and Inspection Service in the War Labor Administration was outlined as follows in a memorandum of the Secretary of Labor:

A force of investigators will also be needed for the various other services here contemplated.

In view of the fact that the service of an inspector, examiner, and investigator may often be combined in one man, especially at the beginning of the work, and also that the handling of a field force which travels from place to place is a large task in itself, I believe that the greatest economy and efficiency can be obtained by combining these field forces under the Secretary and with one inspector in charge, in a special service to be called the “Investigation and Inspection Service."

It wiil be my purpose to require all new services of the Department to use this Investigation and Inspection Service, so far as possible, in all their field work. For this purpose the inspector in charge of the service will provide, upon consultation with the other branches of the Department, methods of inspection, investigation, and examination, including blank forms for reports on the various necessary subjects, and will transmit such reports when made to the various branches to which they belong.

This service was organized with a view to making quick investigations of acute industrial situations and reporting the facts promptly to other divisions of the Department authorized to deal with such situations. A corps of about 50 investigators and inspectors was employed.

The Investigation and Inspection Service was authorized to make investigations and inspections only at the request of the other branches of the Department. Divisions of the Department which availed themselves of this service for part, if not all, of their investigating work were the Secretary's Office, Division of Conciliation, United States Employment Service, Division of Negro Economics, Bureau of Immigration, United States Training Service, Woman in Industry

[ocr errors]

Service, and Working Conditions Service. Through the medium of the Secretary's Office extensive investigations were also made for the War Industries Board and the Ordnance Department of the Army.

The War Industries Board, during the latter part of 1918, made extensive use of the Investigation and Inspection Service for the purpose of determining the facts and conditions obtaining in establishments holding Government contracts for the manufacture of war material, where delay in delivery under the contract was said to be due to adverse labor conditions. About 150 cases of this kind were investigated by the Investigation and Inspection Service. With information at hand as to the actual conditions causing the delay in the delivery of war material, the War Industries Board was enabled to take prompt action to correct the difficulty, and was in a position to know to what extent labor conditions as such were delaying manufacture. In many cases the very fact of the investigation was sufficient to bring about a readjustment by the concern involved; in other cases conditions were shown to be such that further contracts were denied.

The War Industries Board also asked for an investigation of the tin can manufacturing industry, to determine the most efficient methods of manufacture and to obtain data on the extent of wastage of material due to inefficient and antiquated methods. This investigation was an exhaustive one, embracing most of the tin can making establishments in the East and the Middle West. Although the War Industries Board was discontinued before the final report on this investigation could be made, the very valuable material contained in the report has been placed at the disposal of the United States Grain Corporation of the Food Administration for their guidance in the matter of placing contracts for food containers.

At the instance of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Ordnance of the War Department, jointly, a survey was made of the chemical industry, which furnished a description of occupations in the industry and a study of the degree of skill and training required for each occupation.

A similar study was made for the Woman in Industry Service and the United States Training Service, jointly, of the piano industry. This survey was made to furnish data on the matter of “vestibule training,” which is widely practiced in the industry; to determine how far piano workers could be adapted to and used in the manufacture of aeroplanes; and to obtain data relative to opportunities in the industry for women.

The United States Employment Service requested an extensive and detailed investigation of the powder plants at Jacksonville, Tenn., and Pompton Lakes, N. J., to determine the causes of the inordinately high labor turnover at Jacksonville and to secure accurate information concerning the conditions of women's employment at Pompton Lakes. The two investigations were exhaustive, and as a result of the report of conditions at the two plants many of the objectionable features were corrected by the company.

An extensive industrial survey was made by the Investigation and Inspection Service for the Division of Negro Economics, showing the comparative labor turnover of Negro and white labor in war industries and also furnishing data relative to opportunities for colored workers, both men and women, in the industrial field.

One of the most important investigations conducted by the Investigation and Inspection Service gives the wages of seamen on American and foreign vessels sailing from American ports, showing the effect of the seamen's act on foreign vessels operating in American ports. This report has been printed as a Senate document.

The Investigation and Inspection Service undertook to prepare a list of available farm lands in eastern and southern States suitable for cultivation by returned soldiers. The survey was to furnish the acreage, condition, and exact location of unused available lands. This work failed of completion for lack of time, although the information desired was obtained in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.

At the time of the organizing campaign conducted by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers to organize the steelmill employees of the Pittsburgh and Johnstown districts, many complaints reached the Secretary's Office to the effect that municipal officials were using their offices and authority to interfere with organizing activities. This matter was turned over to the Investigation and Inspection Service to ascertain the facts, and an accurate and comprehensive report was made as to the extent of such interference. Later complaints that the steel companies were discharging all employees joining the union were investigated by the service. With evidence at hand showing that such a practice was being followed at the steel plants, the director of this service held a conference with officials of the Midvale Steel Co., of Johnstown, Pa., and secured from them a declaration that such practice was contrary to the policy of the company and would be stopped. Subsequently the superintendent of the Midvale Steel Co. severed his connection with the company, and the company fully recognized the right of its employees to organize.

The Investigation and Inspection Service has been of much value to the Division of Conciliation not only by furnishing accurate information for the use of the conciliators but frequently by averting through its investigations what might have become acute situations. Many cases of unfair discrimination against union members, cases of unjustifiable discharge, and of low wages have been investigated by the service and have been corrected, upon the establishment

142901-LAB 1919


of the facts without the need of a conciliator. An instance of the good results following the prompt action of the Investigation and Inspection Service in cases of threatened trouble was that of a condensed-milk concern in Utah, where a strike was imminent because of a very low wage scale. This concern was working on Government contracts. An agent of the Investigation and Inspection Service then in the West determined the facts as to the wage rate paid at the factory. The superintendent, while admitting the wages were too low, stated that they were controlled from the New York office and he had no authority to change them. This fact was reported by the agent. The matter was then taken up with company officials in New York, who promptly telegraphed authorization for a substantial increase in wages for the Utah plant. Many similar cases could be cited.

The activities of the Investigation and Inspection Service cover a very wide field. One investigation of importance dealt with wages and conditions of women home workers working on Government contracts for tobacco and parachutes in Lancaster, Pa. Another established the facts relative to the recent strike of Chinese waiters in New York City. A survey was made of the fur-manufacturing industry, to determine the prospects for expansion and for the establishment of apprenticeship training looking toward greater skill. Many cases of failure to comply with Government standards of wages and hours on Government contracts have been investigated and adjusted. An inspection which disclosed seriously objectionable sanitary conditions in a shipbuilding plant resulted in material improvements.

At the time of its dissolution the Investigation and Inspection Service was engaged in an investigation of the extent of probable emigration of aliens to their home countries. So far as conducted this investigation embraced the meat and food packing centers of Chicago and vicinity; the Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania steelmill districts; the Pennsylvania coal-mining area; New England manufacturing centers; Greater New York and vicinity; and other centers of large alien population. Figures and estimates were obtained of the prospective emigration of aliens, by nationalities. This work was necessarily curtailed because of the brief time at the disposal of the service and was incomplete when the service was discontinued. However, sufficient data were secured to afford a basis for computation of the extent to which industry will be affected by alien emigration.

The Investigation and Inspection Service was a highly important adjunct to the Secretary's Office because of its ability to obtain facts and ascertain conditions immediately, when such facts were needed. The prompt investigations of legitimate complaints on the part of the workers did much to foster the spirit of cooperation and confidence between the Department and the workers. The specific instances cited are only the most important of the many cases handled by this service.

The Investigation and Inspection Service was discontinued on June 30, 1919, returning an unexpended balance of approximately half its original appropriation.



As originally instituted this service was known as the Training and Dilution Service, but with the signing of the armistice the need for dilution of skilled labor ceased and the name of the organization was changed to United States Training Service.

Origin and functions.—The act establishing a War Labor Administration carried an appropriation of $150,000, to enable the Secretary of Labor, during the present emergency, to carry on the work of war labor administration

the training and dilution of labor * * * Training and Dilution Service, $150,000." In the memorandum of the President directing the Secretary of Labor to form a war labor administration appeared among other instructions that of creating an agency to furnisha satisfactory method and administration for training of workers; an agency for dilution of skilled labor as and when needed.

The Secretary of Labor outlined the purposes of the service in a letter as follows:

In connection with the work of the Secretary of Labor in promoting and developing the welfare of the wage earners of the United States by advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, it is frequently necessary to consider the matter of assistance to wage earners by the promotion of the best shop methods for their training. In this connection it is not the purpose of the Department to enter in any sense into the educational field either in its general aspects or in the special matter of vocational education. The Secretary is a member of the Federal Board for Vocational Education and intends in no way to duplicate its work.

But the work here proposed is or may become of vital importance, especially in the industries most essential to the war. Already training facilities for workers are being found necessary and are being provided for shipyards under the Emergency Fleet Corporation. The need in other lines is not quite so clear, but indications are sufficient to show that provisions must now be made for such a service.

A service of this sort requires the employment of experts who are familar with the best methods now being used for shop training, and the promotion of the use of such methods by information carried to the employers and wage earners.

The Training and Dilution Service was instituted July 16, 1918, and Charles T. Clayton, theretofore assistant director general of the United States Employment Service, was appointed director.

The first problem of this new service was to discover the best methods used in various plants for training persons to do skilled

« PreviousContinue »