Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

That the usual sources of income of the families from whom information was obtained in this locality are the husband and boarders or lodgers, and the husband alone, is apparent from the above table. Small proportions only get their entire income from husband and wife or from husband and children, the South Italians alone reporting a proportion whose entire income was derived from husband and wife, while each race reports a small percentage of families deriving their entire income from husband and children. Of the several races, a certain proportion of whose families have entire income from husband alone, the South Italians show the smallest proportion, or 18.5 per cent, as compared with 27.6 per cent of the Magyars and 26.4 per cent of the Poles. The Poles show the largest proportion, or 67.9 per cent, deriving their entire income from husband and boarders or lodgers, while the Magyars, with 51.7 per cent, show the smallest proportion of families having entire income from this source. Of the proportion of families of the several races having entire income from sources or combination of sources not before specified, the Magyars report the largest, and the Poles the smallest proportion.

Although the heads of the South Italian families received less assistance than the family heads of any other race, the family income at the same time is smaller. The earnings of the wife are negligible for all races. They appear as a very small percentage in only the South Italian families. Certain of the Magyar and Polish families have a small income from other sources which does not appear in the earnings of the other races.

RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF THE DIFFERENT SOURCES OF FAMILY

INCOME.

The concluding table which immediately follows, exhibits, by general nativity and race of head of household, the relative importance of each source of family income by showing the proportion of income drawn from each specified source:

TABLE 509.-Per cent of total family income within the year from husband, wife, children, boarders or lodgers, and other sources, by general nativity and race of head of family.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)

[This table includes only races with 20 or more families reporting. The total, however, is for all races.]

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

For the South Italian race the earnings of the husband form a larger percentage of the total family income than for either of the others.

The earnings of the husbands in 58 Magyar families were only 62 per cent of the total income-the lowest for any race. These may be contrasted with the 54 South Italian families, whose husbands earned 78.5 per cent, and with the 53 Polish families, whose husbands earned 72.8 per cent. The contributions of children, amounting to 8 per cent, were higher for the Magyars than for the other two, but the payment of boarders and lodgers was much greater than among the South Italians and 4.7 per cent higher than among the Poles. In fact, the 29.6 per cent contributed to the Magyar families by boarders and lodgers is the highest shown.

On the basis of the total for all races, the two important sources of family income are those arising from earnings of husband and the payments of boarders or lodgers, 71.6 per cent of the family income being derived from the first-mentioned source, and 21.7 per cent from the latter.

CHAPTER IV.

WORKING CONDITIONS.

Regularity of employment The immigrant and organized labor-Working conditions in Alabama mines-Working conditions in West Virginia coal fields-Working conditions in Virginia coal fields-[Text Tables 510 to 514 and General Table 218].

REGULARITY OF EMPLOYMENT.

As regards the regularity of work offered, as well as the comparative industriousness of different races, the accompanying table shows for the males of the different races in the households studied the relative proportions who worked a specified number of months during the past year.

TABLE 510.-Months worked during the past year by males 16 years of age or over employed away from home, by general nativity and race of individual.

(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)

[This table includes only races with 20 or more males reporting. The totals, however, are for all races.

[blocks in formation]

Of the total of 921 foreign-born persons it is seen that only 19.9 per cent worked twelve months, 41.8 per cent nine months or over, and 94.9 per cent worked six months or over.

Of the North Italians and South Italians 25.8 per cent and 27.9 per cent, respectively, worked twelve months of the year, 64.5 per cent of the North and 50.4 per cent of the South Italians, as compared with the average of 41.8 per cent for all foreign-born, being employed nine months or more.

The Poles stand next to the Italian races as regards time worked. If the opportunities for employment, therefore, be considered the same for all races, in point of industriousness, the North and South Italians take first rank, followed by the Poles, Lithuanians, Magyars, Germans, Slovaks, and Russians in the order named.

THE IMMIGRANT AND ORGANIZED LABOR.

A very small proportion of natives and representatives of immigrant races in the South are identified with organized labor. Only 8 per cent of the males in the households studied report affiliation with trade unions, probably the large majority being men holding membership cards in some labor organization, but who at present are working as nonunion men for the reason that in only one small district of the southern field is organized labor recognized.

The following table shows in detail the number and per cent of males 21 years of age or over in the households studied who are members of trade unions:

TABLE 511.-Affiliation with trade unions of males 21 years of age or over who are working for wages, by general nativity and race of individual.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

WORKING CONDITIONS IN ALABAMA MINES.

Owing to the difference of conditions among different States, and often within a State itself, the general working conditions in the South may be best treated according to the coal-producing States under consideration. Such a method is also of greater value and interest for the reason that it affords a local application to the topics treated and admits of a comparison of conditions in different geographical areas.

The number of hours worked per day and per week in the Birmingham district varies according to occupations. Contractors, machine runners, scrapers, shooters, loaders, and pick miners are very irregular in their hours of work, while the firemen, tipple hands, couplers, trappers, and motormen work ten hours per day and fifty-five hours per

week. In most of the mines the hours worked are ten per day and sixty per week. Sanitary conditions of mines, with few exceptions, may be considered good. One company has had installed in its mines an electric system. This system eliminates the use of mules, thereby reducing to an appreciable extent the dust in the mines. The same company contemplates bettering conditions in its mines by installing a spraying system.

Because of the location of the mines, the mining communities that surround Birmingham and the populated suburban districts are in groups along the coal veins or are situated singly at various distances from the city. The largest group is a line of communities along the Pratt vein northwest of the city, and others are located north, northeast, and south. Each mine or group of mines has its own settlement, consisting of the works, the company offices, residences of the superintendent and other officials, churches, schools, lodge buildings, and company houses. In almost all instances it was found that the land on which churches and schools were located had been given by the company. In some cases the financial assistance of the companies had been given in the building of churches, and in certain localities it was found that the companies contributed in some manner to the support of the schools, usually by supplementing the public funds. In the majority of instances, however, a levy upon the employees of from 50 cents to $1 a month was made by the companies and taken out of wages for the support of the schools. The companies never contributed to the support of the church, however, beyond furnishing land for the buildings. In some cases the companies furnished a building or rooms for the use of local lodges, but did not contribute to their support.

The prevailing type of dwelling rented to the employees by the company is a 1-story frame 4 or 5 room house. Land for a yard or garden is always furnished, but it is quite unusual to see any attempt at gardening or the maintenance of yards. In some instances the companies furnish lumber for fencing at cost, but even this does not serve to stimulate the tenants in making use of the space allotted them. The houses are usually painted and in fair condition and repair. The rooms average about 10 by 12 or 12 by 12 feet in floor space, with either one or two windows of ordinary size. Almost every house has a front porch and some a rear porch. The interiors are ceiled or whitewashed, have unpainted floors, and possess ample chimneys for heating and cooking purposes.

One family of native whites usually occupies a house. On the other hand, the negro tenants show a tendency to crowd more than one family into a 1-family dwelling or to the accommodation of an unlimited number of boarders. In the foreign settlements adjoining some mines, boarding houses conducted on the group plan are regularly found. In the Slovak settlements, where the immigrants have been located for some time, there is evidence of permanent settlement and a development of family life. In the former instances. the houses are usually rented from the company by the room; in the latter instance the tenants own their homes to a large extent. As a general rule, negro miners occupy a poorer kind of house than either the native white or the immigrant. In a settlement where negro miners are the chief labor supply the 2-room cabin is the

« AnteriorContinuar »