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One of the most important tasks allotted to the Employment Service was the vesting in it of exclusive authority for the recruiting and distributing of unskilled labor in war work. This authority was conferred by resolution of the War Labor Policies Board to the effect that “all recruiting of industrial labor for public or private work connected with the war shall be conducted through or in accordance with methods authorized by the United States Employment Service.” This resolution was submitted to the President on June 15, 1918, by the Secretary of Labor, with the recommendation that it be made effective August 1, 1918, and the President on June 17, 1918, issued a proclamation solemnly urging all employers engaged in war work to refrain, after August 1, 1918, from recruiting unskilled labor in any manner except through this central agency (United States Employment Service), and urging labor to respond as loyally as theretofore to any calls issued by that agency for voluntary enlistment in essential industry. The regulations of this service, dated August 1, 1918, with respect to the central recruiting program were as follows:



To minimize the danger of interruption to war work in effecting the change from present competitive methods of labor recruiting, the Government central labor recruiting program, as heretofore announced, provides that at the outset. employers may continue to hire unskilled laborers who apply for work without solicitation, and that private field forces may be utilized under control of the l'nited States Employment Service.

In order that the United States Employment Service may be as effective as possible it is highly important that all employers engaged in war work keep the local office of the United States Employment Service informed from day to day of their exact needs for unskilled labor.

The regulations which govern private recruiting are as follows:


1. Employers may continue to hire workers who apply at the plant without solicitation, direct or indirect.

2. The Federal director of employment in each State is authorized to grant permission to employers to use their own field agents for recruiting unskilled workers under his direction and control for war industries located within the State.

3. Permission to recruit unskilled laborers in States other than the one in which the work is located may be secured from the Director General of the United State Employment Service upon the recommendation of the Federal director of employment for the State in which the men are needed. Such permission will be communicated by the Director General to the Federal directors for the States in which the labor is needed and from which it is to be recruited.


4. No unskilled labor may be transported from one State to another without authorization from the Director General, to be secured by application through the Federal director of employment for the State in which the labor is recruited. No laborers may be moved from one employment district 10 another within a State without authorization from the Federal director of employment for the State.

5. Employers who receive permission to transport workers from one State to another or from one district to another within any State must file a statement with the nearest Employment Service office, of the number of men transferred, the wages offered, and other terms and conditions of employment promised to the men.


6. Employers who are permitted to use their own field agents for recruiting labor must in no case use any fee-charging agency or use any agents or labor scouts who are paid for their work on a commission basis.

7. All advertising for unskilled labor, whether by card, poster, newspaper, handbill, or any other medium, is prohibited after August 1, 1918. This applies to all employers engaged wholly or partly in war work whose maximum force, including skilled and unskilled laborers, exceeds 100.


No restrictions are for the time being placed upon employers engaged in war work in recruiting their own skilled labor, other than that they should so conduct their efforts as to avoid taking or causing restlessness among men who are already engaged in other war work, including railroads, mines, and farms, as well as work covered by direct and subcontracts for departments of the United States Government.

Federal directors of the United States Employment Service for the several States are instructed to give every possible assistance to employers engaged in war work who desire to recruit skilled labor.

Employers in war work are at present under no restrictions as to advertising for skilled labor, other than that all advertising should be designed and conducted so as to avoid creating restlessness among men in war work (as above described).


Nonwar industries should not offer superior inducements or in any other way undertake to compete for labor with the Government or with employers engaged in war work (as above described). Observance of the letter and spirit of this provision is necessary for the efficient prosecution of the war. Methods of recruiting and of advertising which do not offend against it are permitted.


J. B. DENSMORE, Director General. AUGUST 1, 1918.

This program for centralized labor recruiting was carried out in a thorough and practical manner, and the results accomplished amply justified the wisdom of establishing it. Its benefits were seen in the reducing of labor turnover, in the transferring of unskilled labor for nonwar work to war work, and in the directing of unemployed or partially employed wage earners to industries closely allied with the prosecution of the war. All of these measures were important factors in adding to the number of laborers steadily engaged in war work.

These results were not accomplished, however, without imposing a heavy burden on the service, both in the Administrative Offices in Washington and in the field. In a great many instances, a system was set up for advancing transportation for the men from the revolving fund. This necessitated the sending of guards or pilots with the shipments, for the purpose of seeing that the men were supplied with food, of preventing any of them from leaving the train en route, and of making it certain that they would be delivered to the right project on arrival at destination.

Pressure was brought to bear, in some cases, on plants to have a competent employment manager installed therein, so that all ques

tions connected with the conditions under which the men were called upon to work and to live might receive proper consideration and attention.

As labor conditions became more acute, and the situation began to look critical, arrangements were made with various agencies, such as the War Industries Board and the United States Highways Council, for restricting nonwar work because of the labor shortage.

Under the regulations established by the Employment Service, advertising for unskilled labor was restricted and controlled, and toward the end of the period little advertising was being done except as authorized by the Employment Service. It was really remarkable that private employers, almost without exception, entered into and supported the entire program in a most whole-hearted way.

There were so many war projects calling for unskilled labor that a list of them would resemble a directory of all the camps, cantonments, munition plants, shipyards, and other war industries in the United States. More than 40,000 employers, engaged wholly or partly in war work, reported regularly to the service concerning their labor requirements. Among some of the more important projects requesting a great number of unskilled laborers were the following:

Ünited States powder plants at Nitro, W. Va., and Nashville, Tenn.; Air Nitrates Corporation, Muscle Shoals, Ala.; Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Curtis Bay Ordnance Depot, and Edgewood and Magnolia gas-bomb plants, in the vicinity of Baltimore, Md.; Hog Island Shipyard, Philadelphia, Pa.; the Foundation Co. and Submarine Boat Corporation, Newark, N. J.; Sun Shipbuilding Co., Chester. Pa.; and Merchants' Shipbuilding Co., Bristol, Pa.; Naval base and Army supply base, Norfolk, Va.; picric acid plants, Little Rock, Ark., and Brunswick, Ga.; Army supply base, Charleston, S. C., and the shipyards of the Pacific coast.

The urgent need of these large plants and others like them for thousands of unskilled laborers, most of whom had to be recruited from distant States, owing to the depletion of the labor supply in the vicinity, gave ample proof of the necessity for a national centralized employment agency. Labor for some of the eastern plants was brought from as far west as Utah and Arizona.


While the regulations covering the central recruiting program placed no restrictions upon employers engaged in war work in recruiting their own skilled labor, other than that they should so conduct their efforts as to avoid taking each other's employees or causing restlessness among men who were already engaged in other war work, still employers, as a rule, followed the same plan in securing skilled labor that had been promulgated by the service for recruiting unskilled labor. This was particularly true with respect to the question of advertising

In September, 1918, there was established a Facilities Division of the War Industries Board. The membership of this division was composed of representatives of the War Industries Board, the Army, the Navy, the Emergency Fleet Corporation, the Railroad Administration, the Housing Corporation, and the War Labor Policies Board. The Chief of the Clearance Division of this service represented the War Labor Policies Board in the work of the Facilities Division. Under the program adopted, no construction project in the United States, whether for war or nonwar purposes, could be authorized without the approval of the Facilities Division. That division also secured the adoption of a general resolution to the effect that no new projects could be approved unless it was shown affirmatively that labor was available for carrying on the work.


The importance of maximum food production during the war led the service to devote special attention to farm labor conditions. Through its Farm Service Division it secured the active cooperation of the Post Office Department, the Department of Agriculture, and national organizations of farm and dairy interests, among which are the National Grange, the National Farmers' Union, and the National Dairy Union. It likewise secured the cooperation of newspapers, motion-picture concerns, commercial organizations, rural telephone lines, the canning industry, and many unofficial organizations both national and local with a view to giving the best possible attention to the farm labor needs of the country. In cooperation with the Bureau of Immigration, arrangements were made for the importation of labor from Mexico and the Bahama Islands.

The matter of saving the wheat crop of 1918, in the great belt extending from Oklahoma through Kansas, Nebraska, and South and North Dakota, was of the utmost importance, and the Employment Service took early steps to meet existing conditions by conducting a survey, in order to ascertain the approximate number of harvest hands that would be needed from outside sources. In view of the serious shortage of labor which existed in practically all parts of the country, no national campaign was inaugurated to obtain the needed labor. On the contrary, efforts were limited to obtaining same locally or from adjoining States. That the efforts of the service were successful is shown by reports received from Oklahoma and Kansas to the effect that not a bushel of wheat was lost through lack of labor.

The harvest hands were sent sometimes to the farmer himself, but as a rule were directed to the county agricultural agent or other community representative for distribution upon direct orders received from such persons. Much valuable assistance was given by local organizations, such as State and local councils of defense and chambers of commerce, in enrolling emergency volunteer workers. Such workers rendered exceedingly valuable service, particularly throughout eastern Kansas. In Kansas City alone, through the efforts of the chamber of commerce, more than 10,000 men registered as volunteers for emergency harvest work.


When the women's division was established in January, 1918, there were in operation but nine branch offices devoted exclusively to women workers. During the first six months of 1918, 57 separate women's divisions were added by creation of new offices or, absorption of State, municipal, or other public employment offices. A sur

vey of New York State, taken as typical of war industrial sections of the country and published January 11, 1918 (Official U. S. Bulletin), showed calls for labor in only 176 out of 500 factories filling war orders. Woman labor was wanted in but 10 per cent of these calls. The report calls attention to existing unemployment, determination on the part of employers later to substitute women for men, and emphasizes the great need of “ wise and watchful" distribution and substitution. At a time when“ war work" and "entrance of women into industry” had already become popular catch words, much of the work of the United States Employment Service offices for women actually consisted of finding jobs for those dependent on their earnings who were thrown out of work by lessened production. Reduced consumption of many articles, particularly those known as luxuries, first to be dispensed with by the buying public, forced many out_of accustomed work. Large numbers of women were affected. They ranged from embroiderers and expert power machine operators on fine garments, to artists, writers, and musicians.

With the creation of the War Labor Policies Board, the Woman in Industry Service, and other war labor services of the department in May and June, the program of the Employment Servi e in handling women was simplified and strengthenee.“ Centralized policy and decentralized operation” was adopted in order that woman labor, like railroad, farm, or technical workers, might be handled as local or State conditions made most feasible. Sections for women farm laborers, for professional women, for juvenile workers, for reference information, for publicity, for interstate clearance, and others, were created to function through the proper division of the administrative offices.

In States affected to any considerable extent by war industrial conditions, expansion of the number of women's divisions kept pace with the general rapid development of the service. Many noncommercial offices with trained personnel linked themselves with the Federal organization, with such readjustment as was necessary. Most offices handled all types of women, others were devoted to one type, as domestic, industrial, or professional. Offices for placing both men and women, particularly of technical and professional types, were developed in some cities. Efficiency and method varied widely. Many offices developed a real technique. Local or State training courses were given, and women successfully handled not only placement work, but inspection of plants; making the service known to employers, employees, and the public through talks, publicity, motion-picture slides, etc.; and recruiting large numbers of women previously unemployed.

By October 1, it was possible to say that with the offices established or easily to be created, with women on State Advisory and Community Labor Boards, with training in employment methods a thing of the near future, and with the loyal cooperation not only of everyone within the service, but also of the other agencies of the department and the Government concerned, control of the employment of women for war needs could be taken over by the Employment Service at any time such need dictated. Besides the numberless general offices handling both men and women in small cities, women's divisions were operating November 11 in 40 States, with a varia

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