« PreviousContinue »
or more. The dues range from 10 cents a week for the first section up to 60 cents for the fifth section. The sick and accident benefits are $1.50, $2.50, $1, $5, and $6 for the respective sections, paid for a period not exceeding 13 weeks in 12 months. For the first week only half of the benefit is paid. At the death of a member his legal representative receives a sum ranging from $50 up to $200. In case of sickness lasting longer than 13 weeks and resulting in death within 2years, the death benefit is paid the legal representative. Employees on the pension roll are entitled to the same benefit at death as if they had been active members, minus the monthly dues which they would have paid if in active service. Dues are deducted in the pay offices from the salary of members. With the exception of the treasurer, who is appointed by the firm, the officers of the association are all elected by delegates from each department in turn chosen by the employees of that department. The total sick benefits disbursed in 1908 amounted to $17,237.13, and death benefits to $5,838.25, while the receipts amounted to $26,359.10. At the end of the year there was a balance of over $2,000 in bank.
R. H. MACY & CO.
R. H. Macy & Co. allot much space in their large New York department store to the comfort and well-being of their 5,000 employees. There are spacious wash rooms in charge of a matron, individual lockers for all employees to keep their outer clothing in, a large recreation room, lunch room, emergency hospital, library, etc. The reception room has a number of comfortable chairs, a stage, and a piano. Lectures on some general topic are given here once a week at half past 8 in the morning. Various entertainments take place here also. Near by is a completely equipped emergency hospital, with four cots, for employees, with a nurse constantly in attendance. The nurse has charge of the employees' library likewise. The volumes have been donated by the members of the company and number nearly 1,000. A book may be taken out and kept one week. The company employs a physician, whose duty it is to examine every employee, so that none may be employed to menace the health of customers and employees. Employees may also go to the physician's office for consultation. The lunch room is on the cafeteria plan, food being sold at cost; thus the price of a portion of meat is 5 cents, soup 3 cents, coffee 1 cent.
The company is very liberal to employees. At Thanksgiving every married employee receives a turkey and at Christmas the delivery men, the victims of the rush period, are rewarded. In summer a vacation house is opened at Central Valley, N. Y. Each employee who has been with the company one year is given a week's holiday with
full pay, railroad transportation, and board at the vacation house. The house is in charge of a matron. Every year a ball is given by the employees and the company to help raise money to defray the expenses of the house. The Mutual Aid Society owns the ground, about 17 acres, on which the vacation house is located.
The Macy Mutual Aid Association was organized in 1885. Its object is to provide and maintain a fund to assist members during sickness and their dependents in case of death. All employees on entering employment become members of the society and agree to have dues deducted from their wages by the company paymaster. Memberships are of four grades, according to weekly wages: The first grade comprises employees receiving $8 a week or more; the second, those receiving from $6 to $8 a week; the third, $4 to $6; and the fourth, those receiving less than $4. The dues are graded and are designated from time to time by the board of directors. Members are not entitled to sick benefits for less than five days or for more than eight weeks during the year. Death benefits are also paid to whomsoever the executive committee deems the proper person. The officers of the society are elected by the employees. The deficit of the association the company meets.
The welfare work of Gimbel Bros., in Philadelphia, is in charge of a social secretary whose entire time is devoted to the work. She is well versed in the technique of the business, having been once an employee of the firm, and furthermore knows the business from the employee's standpoint. She teaches in the school of instruction for employees, and comes in touch with them in every capacity-work, sickness, and play, besides organizing their entertainments and clubs.
The employees have comfortable lavatories, lockers for their hats and coats, etc. In the sub-basement there is a lunch room where food is served on the cafeteria plan at a small cost. Employees bringing lunches with them are also provided for here. In summer they have luncheon on the roof garden. The roof is fitted with awnings, swings, seesaws, easy chairs, etc., and flower boxes. The lunch room is self-supporting. In the sub-basement also is the recreation room for women employees. There are couches here where they may rest. The emergency hospital, for customers, in charge of a registered nurse, serves for women employees also.
There are various clubs, baseball teams, and basket-ball teams for the men and boys. An orchestra of the employees has been formed, with a regular instructor. Entertainments are given every Friday morning by the employees from half past 8 until 10 o'clock, with music and recitations.
Gimbel Bros. Employees' Mutual Aid Society provides sick, accident, and death benefits for its members, and in cases of extreme need special benefits. Each year the society spends a certain sum, not exceeding $1,000, on special benefits-assisting patients suffering from tuberculosis to live an outdoor life, paying rent, providing fuel, etc. A relief committee, which cooperates with the welfare secretary is appointed for this purpose. Great precaution is taken that the names of persons receiving special relief shall not be known. All employees are members of the society and pay 5 or 10 cents a week, according to whether their salary is less or more than $15 a week. This sum is deducted from their wages. Sick benefits are $2.50 or $5 a week for a period not exceeding 14 weeks in a year. During the first week of disability the benefits are one-half. At the death of a member $50 or $100 is paid to his beneficiaries. Members contributing 5 cents a week have no voting rights. In 1907, 682 persons received sick benefits amounting to $11,366.25 and 31 members received nearly $650 as special relief. The death benefits paid in the same year amounted to $1,660.50. The affairs of the society are administered by a board of managers elected by the members. These are usually heads of departments. Several times a year the society gives entertainments, to which admission is charged, to swell the funds in the treasury.
Gimbel Bros., in New York, make comfortable provision for their employees in their handsome new store. The lavatories are handsomely equipped and on each floor there are individual lockers for the persons employed on the floor. This is a new feature, for ordinarily lockers are either in the basement or at the top of the house. There is a commodious lunch room for employees where food is served on the cafeteria plan at low prices. Employees who bring lunches may eat them here also. Part of the room is for men and part for women. There is also a recreation room, with a piano, where employees sometimes dance during the lunch hour. The emergency hospital, with nurse in attendance, is at the service of those who are temporarily ill. This hospital is fitted up in the most complete way. Perhaps one of the wisest features of the welfare work is the 20 minutes' recess allowed women employees in the afternoon.
WILLIAM FILENE'S SONS CO.
The extensive welfare work of the William Filene's Sons Co., in Boston, differs fundamentally from the usual betterment work in that the employer has nothing whatever to do with it. It is done entirely through an association of employees, the Filene Cooperative Association, of which every employee is a member. The aim of the association, as the constitution reads, is " to give the members a voice in their
government, to create and sustain a just and equitable relation between employer and employee, to increase efficiency, and to add to social opportunities." Every employee has voting power. The administrative officers of the association consist of a council, composed of a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and seven others. These are elected by the association, to hold office for one year, and for this purpose elections are held twice a year. A nominating committee elected by the members posts the nominations, which are then voted on by secret ballot by the employees. The council directs all the work of the association and makes the necessary rules and regulations. Should any regulation of the council not be agreeable to the members, 4 per cent of them can petition the council to present the regulation to all the members to vote on. A majority vote of the membership against a rule nullifies it. The association, through its council, has still larger powers. The council can initiate, or amend, or cancel a rule of the store. If five-sixths of the council are in favor of a rule, and it is not vetoed by the general manager, it goes into effect within a week. In case of a veto by the store authorities, however, a two-thirds vote of the members in a mass meeting can pass the rule over the veto. This right was recently exercised with regard to the store apparel of employees. The council made a rule that employees wear white and black in winter. The board of managers of the store objected to this and wanted them to wear all black instead, but the members upheld their council and voted over the heads of the store management to wear white and black.
The members of the association have also the power of initiation, amendment, or cancellation of any rule either of the council or the store management by a two-thirds vote. In the case of veto by the store management a two-thirds vote passes it, while in case of veto by the council a majority vote passes it.
The council elects annually a counselor who takes the place of a welfare secretary. She cooperates with them, making monthly reports, etc., and is ex officio a member of every committee, in this way keeping in touch with all the activities of the association. She is paid by the association. Through its finance committee the association administers its own finances. The Filene Co. has given the association shares of the stock, which yield it a revenue independent of receipts from other sources.
One of the most important features of the association is the arbitration board. This board consists of one member from each section of the store, elected by secret ballot, and of one member from the record office and one from the general offices of the store. The raison d'être of the board is to adjust any difference between an employee and the firm, and between two employees in store matters. In case of dismissal, when the board is appealed to and votes for reinstate
ment by a two-thirds majority, the employee is forthwith reinstated. In any other case, such as deduction of salary, a majority vote of the board is sufficient to make the firm execute its orders. As this mechanism involves getting together a number of persons to constitute a quorum, a smaller special arbitration board of three members may be appointed at the request of the appellant, upon the written order of the chairman of the regular board. The appellant names one member, the defendant another, and the two together a third, who is chairman. The proceedings are in due form before this special board, and its decision is final. Over 500 cases have come up before the arbitration board, showing that this privilege is used very freely.
The association operates a deposit and loan bureau, among its many activities. The officers in charge of this are elected by the members. The firm guarantees against losses and pays 5 per cent interest on deposits, compounded semiannually. The members may deposit sums from 5 cents upward, but not until the sum reaches $1 does it draw interest. No fractional part of a dollar draws interest. Loans may be made to employees at a rate of interest not exceeding 12 per cent. A legal note must be given, and where the sum borrowed is more than $10 the note must be indorsed by a responsible person or secured either by salary assignment, or first mortgage on Boston real estate, or the usual collateral. In no case is a note for longer than six months accepted. This bureau expects soon to become affiliated with a cooperative bank, enabling employees to save by this means as well as to borrow upon real estate. It has also acted as an insurance agent for one of the State savings banks since the passage of the Massachusetts law in 1907 authorizing savings banks to establish an insurance department.
The F. C. A. Insurance Society provides disability and death benefits for its members. The officers are elected by the members. There are five classes of membership with monthly dues of 25, 30, 35, 50, and 60 cents, and weekly benefits of $4, $5, $6, $8, and $10 for a period not exceeding six weeks in twelve months. The death benefit in every case is $50. An employee may insure in any class, provided the benefits do not exceed the weekly salary. Members may be assessed 10 cents in case of the death of a member and, upon twothirds vote of the members, assessed for special emergencies. An emergency fund of $5 may be drawn upon in cases of special need where members have already received full benefits. A visiting committee is appointed by the chairman to visit the sick and report on their condition. Upon leaving the employ of Filene's a member forfeits membership.
The firm has allotted considerable space for the comfort and recreation of employees. There is a lunch room, a smoking room with tables and games for men, a dancing room, a library, etc. A