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The immigrant labor supply has had practically no effect upon the establishment of new industries in the localities where it has been employed for the reason that the mining communities are usually detached or isolated and concerned only with the mining of coal. So far as the mining industry is concerned, the operators have been vitally dependent upon immigrant labor, and the present degree of development would have been impossible without this source of labor supply.



General industrial progress Opinions of employers according to specified standards as to the progress of immigrant mine workers-Preferences of coal operators for different races of immigrant employees.


In the southern West Virginia coal fields the advancement of immigrant employees in the line of occupations has been very slow, and few have attained the position of foremen. At every establishment in the southern West Virginia fields in which this phase of the subject was studied the employers reported that as a general rule immigrants from southern and eastern Europe are not moving upward in the scale of occupations. The older, northern European immigrants the Scotch, English, and Irish-have rapidly risen from inferior positions to those of foremen, or bosses.


In nearly every establishment in the southern West Virginia coal fields from which information on the subject of the relative efficiency of immigrants and natives was secured, the racial composition of the working force was different. This condition prompted, of course, different statements on the subject, and as these opinions of employers can not be combined into one general statement, they are given separately and according to the following qualities of efficiency: Industriousness, effectiveness, adaptability, tractability, supervision, sobriety, progressiveness, and use of English as affecting efficiency.

In one mining establishment in which Italians, Russians, and American whites and negroes were employed, the South Italian miners were said to be the most industrious of all the races employed, and they were reported to work more steadily than either Russians or the natives. The Russian miners, however, produced more coal per man in a given time than any of the others. The South Italians. were less tractable and less capable of supervision, but they had a greater tendency toward sobriety than any of the other employees. So far as progress was concerned, the native whites led all others, but the Italians and Russians were more progressive than the American negro. Inability to use English was said to have had no effect whatever upon the efficiency of the non-English-speaking immigrants.

In a second establishment in the same locality, in which Poles and South Italians were the only immigrants employed, the operators stated that the immigrants worked much more steadily than the native negroes and were somewhat more industrious than the

native whites. The native whites and negroes were found to be more effective and adaptable than the recent immigrants, because the latter had no mechanical aptness. Here, as elsewhere in the coalmining district, the Italians were more sober than any of the other employees, and the inability on the part of the Polish and Italian miners to speak English was considered a decided barrier to their advancement in the scale of occupations.

In the case of another company where, due to the races employed, the only comparison is between the Italians and native whites and negroes, it was said that the Italians were much more industrious than the native whites, but that the native whites were more effective as workmen and more adaptable in their occupations. The Italians were declared to be more sober than the natives and more progressive than the native negroes. The inability of the Italians to use English did not affect their efficiency as workmen, but made necessary a higher degree of supervision.

In still another mine, where South Italians and natives only were employed, the Italians were said to be more industrious than the natives and to lose as little time from work as possible. The natives, however, were more effective as miners and the amount of coal produced per man by this class of labor was far in excess of that produced by the Italians. The Italians were tractable and were said never to disobey orders. They also exhibited a marked tendency toward sobriety. Although they consumed a large quantity of whisky and beer, the Italians were less given to intoxication than the natives. The Italians were said to take a greater interest in their homes than was shown by the natives. They cultivate gardens around them and in other ways, try to make them attractive.

At another establishment where the comparison was among Slovak, Magyar, Polish, Russian, South Italian, and native employees, the immigrants were said to be, as a rule, more industrious than the native operatives. The Magyars, Poles, Slovaks, and Russians were more effective as workmen than the natives and all of the immigrants were said to be far below the standard of sobriety set by the natives. The native whites were more progressive than the immigrants, but the latter, in turn, were more progressive than the native negroes.

The officials of another company visited stated that the Magyars were the most industrious race represented among the employees; that the Italians and Poles were preferable to the native whites in this respect, and that the native whites were more industrious than the native negroes. The inability of certain of the immigrants to use the English language was a hindrance to their selection for places of supervision, but the immigrants lost less time from work on account of inebriety than did the natives. The natives were more progressive than the immigrants and required less supervision.

At another establishment where Italians, Germans, Bohemians, Poles, Scotch, and natives were employed, the statement was made that "each race of immigrants is regarded as being 100 per cent more industrious than the natives," and that each race of immigrants is superior to the native in sobriety. During the year there were 50 arrests for intoxication among the natives. Both immigrants and natives seemed satisfied, it was said, with their position and displayed little desire to advance. The efficiency of the immigrants, as coal

miners and unskilled laborers, was not affected by their inability to use the English language.

In the case of another company in the southern West Virginia field, where Lithuanian, Slovak, Polish, and Magyar immigrants, together with the native whites and negroes, were employed, each race of immigrants was considered to be more industrious than the natives. The Slovaks mined the greater quantity of coal per day per man. Otherwise there was no difference as regards effectiveness between the immigrants and the natives. All of the immigrants were easier to handle, and were more tractable than the natives, but the immigrant employees were said to practice sobriety less than the native operatives. The immigrants were also considered less progressive than the natives. The natives usually lived in the community permanently, while the immigrants were migratory. Inability on the part of the immigrants to use English was not thought a great disadvantage to their efficiency as workingmen, for the reason that interpreters were always available. The opinion of the employers was that the immigrants spend 30 per cent of their earnings for intoxi


At the plant of another company where English, Scotch, Poles, and natives-whites and negroes-were employed, the natives were said to be the least industrious of all the employees. The immigrants were thought to be more attentive to work than the natives, and also more tractable. The Poles required more supervision than any of the other immigrants or the natives. As regards sobriety little difference was noted among the immigrant races. For the nonEnglish-speaking immigrants more supervision was required.

At another mine where Spaniards, Poles, and natives were employed the Spanish miners were said to be slightly more industrious than the Poles and the Poles more industrious than the natives. Spaniards and Poles were more tractable than the natives and required less supervision. The Spaniards and Poles usually drank large quantities of beer and whisky, but seldom became intoxicated, and lost less time from work from this cause than the natives. The natives were progressing more rapidly, it was claimed, but the inability of the immigrants to use English had little influence upon their work or usefulness as miners.

At another plant, where the operating force included Poles, English, Germans, Magyars, Scotch, Italians, and natives, the Poles were said to make most excellent coal miners, but the frequency of holidays among them was a serious disadvantage to their employment. The Italians were thought the least industrious. All other races were

practically of the same degree of industriousness. For effectiveness in work the English and Scotch were preferred. Poles, Magyars, and Italians were considered the least tractable, and more supervision was required for them than for the natives or the English-speaking immigrants. The Italians consumed more intoxicating liquors than any of the other employees, but intoxication with them was not on the increase, as was the case with the Poles and the natives. Inability to speak English was thought a decided disadvantage to immigrants, as more supervision over their work was required. The English and Scotch were considered the most skilful miners employed.

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