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the cost of living, etc., are found to prevail equally in the street car service, wages being at their maximum in the far Western cities and at their minimum in the cities and towns of the South.
The statistics of wages as given in the tables herein presented do not include premiums which are paid on several lines for care or for extra efficient work. These premiums, while they amount in some places to an increase of about 5 per cent in the wages of the men receiving them, are not sufficiently common to affect the wages of employees as a whole. A description of the premiums is given in the report.
These premiums excepted, there are no supplementary wages earned by street car men. Several companies have adopted a system of granting pensions to men attaining an advanced age after a long term of service. These pensions, a description of which is given for two or three companies, usually provide for retirement at the age of 65 or 70 and after 25 years or more of continuous service. The amount of the pensions and the conditions under which they are granted are of such a nature, however, that they involve the pensioning company in no great expenditure, and they can not be considered as an appreciable addition to the regular wages of the great mass of employees. The pioneer company in this movement, the Metropolitan Street Railway Company of New York City, has a provision limiting its maximum expenditure for pensions to $50,000 a year, which thus makes its total maximum expenditure about 1 per cent of the total wages of the men. Though of benefit in individual cases, therefore, the system neither in breadth nor generosity overcomes the criticism and opposition of the employees organized into the trade union.
While the daily wages of street railway employees have increased during the last 15 years, progress in this direction has not been nearly so great as that which has been effected in the reduction of the hours of labor. Twenty years ago, probably no class of employees, not excluding the workers in the sweatshops, was so mercilessly and systematically exploited by overwork as the drivers and conductors of street cars.
The statistics of the hours of labor for employees of companies in various parts of the United States during this period are given in detail in this report, and they serve to demonstrate the fact that the hours of labor during this period were entirely excessive. l'pon many lines the normal working day was 14 hours and the normal working week 98 hours, and instances were not rare of a normal working day of 16 and actually of 17 hours and more per day. The street car service during that period acted as a parasite upon other trades by excessively overworking young men and throwing them back upon the community at a comparatively early age. Conditions in this respect have greatly improved, owing largely to a change from horse to electric traction and to the activity of the trade union. The excessive hours of work which were possible on the slow-moving horse cars became an absolute physical impossibility with the strain and stress of the rapid electric vehicles. The hours of labor now prevailing upon street railways are given for several hundred street car systems in the country, and they show that the great majority of employees are working from 9 to 13 hours. Even at the present time this working day, in view of the strain and tension of rapid electric transportation, is considered to be excessive by the majority of employees and by the community in general, and in a number of States laws have been enacted limiting the hours of labor of the men engaged in the service. The constitutionality of one of these laws, that of Rhode Island, limiting the hours of employment of street railway men, was passed upon and affirmed by the supreme court of that State.
The hours of labor of the platform or car men of street railways must be considered in relation to the fact that the majority of men work seven days a week. The cars are obliged to run Sundays as well as week days, and the traffic is almost as great as, and on many lines-especially on interurban systems-greater than, on week days. The former opposition to the running of street cars on Sunday soon subsided and the system arose of employing the majority of men, and especially of platform men, on seven days of the week. On some systems the men are enabled to obtain two or three days or more per month of rest without pay, but the system of a regular Sunday holiday does not exist for the platform men of any large street railway system in the community.
Street railway service is, therefore, one of the most constant employments. It is in very small degree affected by seasonal factors, and the opportunities of work on the car range from three hundred to three hundred and sixty-five days per year. Statistics are given showing the average number of actual working days for a number of street railway employees, and the figures confirm the ordinary impression that the occupation is extremely regular throughout the year.
Much of the improvement in the condition of street railway men has been ascribed to the action of the union, the Amalgamated Association of Street Railway Employees of America. This report contains data showing the history of the organization, its constitution, finances, and general condition, its benefit features, its strikes, and the advances in wages, which it ascribes to its activity. Owing to the nature of the work, the organization is founded on industry rather than on occupation lines, all men engaged in or about the cars being eligible to membership.
The report also contains certain information covering strikes, arbitrations between the companies and their employees, and trade agreements made between the union or its local branches and the officers of the street railway companies.
One of the salient features in the recent development of street railway employment is the creation, largely at the instance and with the assistance of the company, of associations for the benefit and improvement of the employees. These associations have rapidly increased in number, and are being copied in many systems throughout the country. The general nature and activities of a number of these organizations are described in the report, together with the inception and development of Young Men's Christian Associations among the street railway employees.of several cities.
The report also considers the question of accidents to street railway employees. The number of these accidents, while large, is much smaller than upon steam railways. Accidents on street railways primarily affect passengers and passers-by. The death rate from accidents on the steam railroads in 1902 was 1 per 401 employees, and for trainmen 1 per 135 men, while for wage-earners upon street railways, not including officials and clerks, the death rate from accidents was 1 to 1,095. The chance of an employee being killed was thus 173 per cent greater upon the steam railroads than upon the street railways, while the chance of death to trainmen on steam railroads was far greater than that of platform men on street railways.
The ordinary status of employees has been modified in the case of street railway employees by a series of laws providing for their special benefit. In 25 States, laws have been passed requiring the vestibuling of cars in order to protect the employees from the excessive cold of winter days. In 10 States, laws have been enacted regulating the hours of labor and establishing a maximum working day and a maximum period of time during which this work shall be performed. The legal status of street railway employees has been more largely influenced by direct legislation of this sort than by the insertion of labor clauses in franchise grants. While in many foreign cities, as in Paris, for instance, the employees of private street railway companies are protected, and their wages, hours of labor, the payment of pensions, the free grant of uniforms, and other conditions are expressly stipulated when the original franchise is granted, this system has been adopted to only a very limited extent in the United States. Many of the laws providing for the protection and welfare of railroad employees have been interpreted as applying also to street railway employees. The constitutionality of this particular legislation has been tested at various times, and from recent decisions it appears that the laws regulating the hours of labor of street railway employees are defensible on constitutional grounds.
In conclusion it would appear that as a result of the development of the last 15 years, and as a consequence notably of the introduction of electric traction, the great body of street railway employees is being converted from a loosely aggregated, fluctuating, constantly changing body of unskilled, untrained men, working excessive hours for inadequate pay, under extremely vicious conditions, into a more compact, coherent, and regularly employed body of men, earning better wages and working shorter hours under improved conditions. The development has manifested merely a tendency in the direction of amelioration and it can not be regarded as a completed process.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES.
According to the special report of the United States Census Office, entitled “Street and Electric Railways, 1902," published in 1903, the number of employees on street railways of the United States, including the Territories, was 140,769. In other words, in that year about one-eighth as many persons were employed on street and elecrio railways as upon steam railroads.(0) While no definite statistics exist for former years, the data furnished by the census enumerations and occupations for 1890 and 1900 show a rapid increase in the number of street railway employees. Of the 140,769 persons employed in 1902 upon street and electric railways, 7,128, or 5 per cent of the total number, came under the list of salaried officials and clerks. In that year there were 1,480 general officers with an annual average income of $2,021, 1,327 other officers, managers, and superintendents with an average annual salary of $1,371, and 1,321 clerks with an average salary of $609 per year. The average annual earnings of these 7,128 men was $1,014.
The remaining 133,641 employees of the street and electric railways of the United States in 1902 may be properly classed as wage-earners. These men are divided into a number of groups, consisting of foremen, inspectors, conductors, motormen, starters, watchmen, switchmen, road and track men, hostlers, stable men, etc., linemen, engineers, dynamo and switchboard men, electricians, firemen, mechanics, lamp trimmers, and other employees. The largest group of these employees consists of conductors and motormen, the number of whom combined amounts to 80,14+, or 60 per cent of the total wage-earners. The next largest single group consists of the road and track men, containing 11,474 men, or 8.6 per cent; the next of mechanics, consisting of 9,197, or 6.9 per cent, these four groups of motormen, conductors, road and track men, and mechanics, aggregating 75.5 per cent of all wage
a In 1902 there were 1,189,315 employees, including general and other officers and clerks, employed on the steam railroads, or 8.45 times as many as those employed on street railways. (See reports of the Interstate Commerce Commission on Statistics of Railways in the United States.)
The following table shows the distribution of street railway employees by States, the State referring to the location of the railway and not to the residence of the employee:
TOTAL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES (NOT INCLUDING SALARIED OFFICIALS AND CLERKS)
ON STREET RAILWAYS IN 1902, BY STATES. (From special report of the United States Census Office on Street and Electric Railways, 1902, page 233.]
The foregoing table shows to what an extent street railway employees are confined to the populous States. Thus, of the entire number employed (not including salaried officials and clerks) upon all the street railways of the United States, almost one-quarter work upon the street railways of the State of New York. The States in the order of the number of street railway employees are New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Ohio. The street railways of these 5 States employ 83,419 wage-earners, leaving 50,222 for all the other States and Territories of the Union. In other words, over 62 per cent or about five-eighths of all street railway wageearners in the United States are employed by roads in these 5 States. The States next in order following are California, Missouri, New Jersey, Michigan, and Maryland, all of which are States with comparatively dense populations and with large cities. Upon the street railways of these 5 States there are 20,328 street railway employees, making 103,747, or 78 per cent of the total, for the first 10 States. A majority of the States have upon their street and electric railways less than 1,000 employees each. It is typical of the extent to which railway employment is confined to States with large cities that the State of Rhode Island, with a population of only 428,556, has 1,609 street railway employees, while the State of Texas, with a population of 3,048,710, has but 929 employees. In other words, while Rhode Island has 38 street railway employees for 10,000 inhabitants, Texas has but 3 per