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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
State of West Virginia,
Charleston, West Virginia,
December 1, 1918. To His Excellency, John J. Cornwell, Governor of West Virginia: SIR:
In accordance with the provisions of Section 2, Chapter 12, Acts of 1915, I have the honor to transmit herewith the Fourteenth Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor.
SAMUEL B. MONTGOMERY,
Commissioner of Labor.
Factory Inspection 1917......
Orders issued in Factories 1917.
Factory Inspection 1918...
Orders issued in Factories 1918..
Statistics of Manufacturers 1916-1917.
State Federation of Labor Directory...
The fourteenth biennial report of the State Bureau of Labor of West Virginia, constituting the work for the years 1917–18, with statistics of manufacturers for the years ending January 31, 1916, and January 31, 1917, is herewith submitted.
Samuel B. Montgomery, of Kingwood, Preston County, was appointed Commissioner of Labor by Governor Henry D. Hatfield for a term of four years, beginning March 1, 1917, and ending February 28, 1921, this being the first biennial report compiled and submitted by the present Commissioner. The personnel of the Bureau of Labor, as provided by law and through appropriations by the Legislature, consists of two State factory inspectors, a chief clerk and one stenographer. The Commissioner, upon assuming the duties of the office, appointed Mr. R. E. Mumaugh, of Parkersburg, and Mr. Alo.izo Prince, of Follansbee, as factory inspectors; Howard S. Jarrett, of Charleston, was appointed chief clerk, and Miss Nelle C. Schaeffer, of Kingwood, stenographer. There have been no changes in the office since the inception of the work of the bureau by the Commissioner.
The work of inspection has necessitated the continuous services of the two factory inspectors since the development of West Virginia as an industrial State has taken on such a rapid stride and a permanent attitude. The phenomenal growth in the number of industrial plants in the State should be the source of pride, for there is locating within the borders of this commonwealth manufacturers employing hundreds and thousands of our people. There is also being located within the State, not in any one particular locality, but over the State as a whole, manufacturing industries whose volume of business increases with such rapidity that our factory inspectors, who are only able to cover their territory once each year, can hardly recognize some of the plants as being the ones which they had inspected on their previous rounds. This is particularly true of metal working and glass plants. As an instance of the rapid growth of the glass industry it was found in compiling our statistics of manufacturers we were astonished to find that this industry enjoyed its banner year in 1916. Forty-three plants manufacturing window glass, bottles, lamp chimneys and table glassware reported capital invested of $8,701,985.47; the value of these plants' production for the saine year amounted to $16,574,984.32, with 9,249 employees receiving in Wages for the year $6,172,203.47. , The year 1917 showed a larger number reporting, but the value of production was not as great as for the year previous. Fifty-six glass industries reported for the year 1917, showing an invesement of $10,911,849.77, with value of production of $14,925,914.08. They further showed that there were 11,356 persons em
ployed in the number of plants reporting and that there were $8,884,573.27 paid in wages. This one industry alone shows the magnitude of West Virginia as a growing industrial state. The two factory inspectors visited and inspected 849 plants employing 67,300 people for the year 1917. Not quite so many plants were inspectod in the year 1918, as the report was closed on November 15, leaving a month and a half in the year which is to be included in the next report, and also for about six weeks the inspectors were prevented from continuing their work by the influenza epidemic. In 1918 the plants inspected employed over 80,000 people. As an instance of the varied details with which the inspectors must be familiar, there were two hundred and fifty orders issued by them during their inspections in 1917, relating to sanitation. The present year shows a hundred and twenty-two sanitation orders issued, indicating that a compliance with orders is not neglected. During the two years the inspectors found one hundred and fourteen children working without the proper permits and ordered them dismissed from the factories until they could comply with the Child Labor Law and secure permits from the proper authorities empowered to issue same.
With the increase in the number of industries it is plain to be seen that our inspection force is inadequate. There are points where the inspectors do not have time to cover, and which should receive the inspection as the mills and factories on the main lines of our railroads. All are familiar with the lumber industry of the state, and the immense saw mills located on our mountain sides with an apparently unending supply of timber over the vast aera above. The inadequancy of the inspection force prevents a visit to these localities and the plants are therefore neglected. As plants are visited and orders issued, the inspectors are at a loss to know whether their orders have been carried out, and often a year elapses before inspections of the plants where the orders were issued are again made. Thus they are unable to follow up and see that their instructions are complied with at once, without neglecting some of the territory assigned them. The manufacturers have shown a most hearty inclination to cooperate with the Bureau, and in very few instances do the orders issued by the inspectors fail to be carried out in their entirety.
While we have a state law which provides that seats shall be placed for female employees in every manufacturing, mechanical, mercantile and other establishments in this state wherein women are employed, our inspection force can only see that this law is carried out in the factories and workshops, as their inspections do not reach the mercantile establishments where a vast majority of women workers are employed. Violations of the Child Labor Law are neither detected, for such violations often occur in mercantile establishments, without the knowledge of any fficial wiose duties are to see that certain laws are obeyed. While these and laws of minor importance are among the labor laws of the state, and their enforcement in charge of the Commissioner of Labor, there should be at least four inspectors, one of which should be a woman, the latter to look after mercantile establishments and especially those factories in which women are employed.
Since April 6, 1917, the time of the entrance of the United States into the great war, there has been a very considerable addition of employees in the factories. The Government seeing the great possibilities of the state as a manufacturing center, and aware of its great coal and gas resources, took advantage of conditions and established within the state numerous plants for the production of war material. This necessarily added additional burdens to the inspection force and to the Bureau of Labor as well. A number of these Government plants have been erected for permanency, and they will naturally come under the supervision of the Bureau in times of peace as well as war, for hundreds of our citizens will comprise the army of employees. A number of privately owned plants were converted into war plants during the period covered by this report. Additions have been made, and the number of employees increased, all adding to the ordinary task of inspection, but the Bureau has endeavored to cope with this situation commensurate with the inspection force.
The Bureau here desires to record its appreciation f the employees of factories, of the cooperation that has been extended to it by employers and employees of the manufacturing establishments, and this has been especially true of the two great organizations in this state that represent capital and labor.
On September 30-October 1, 1918, a conference of state labor officials was held in Washington under the auspices of the War Labor Policies Board, and the two factory inspectors represented West Virginia at this conference. The result of this gathering was the adoption of a policy whereby all the labor standards which had been established by law, should be maintained as far as practical during the war.
While under the heading of factory inspection we dwelt upon one of the state's great industries, yet there are others which must not be overlooked, particularly the great iron and steel industry, lumber products, chemical manufacturing establishments and potteries. Your attention is directed to the statistics shown in another part of this report. The capital invested in buildings, grounds and machinery is indicative of the fact that the industries are being established for permanency. You will note that the large growth in the number of establishments are those which require great heating facilities through coal or gas, and we can here assure the future establishment of industries of this character by the knowledge that the surface of our great coal output has barely been scratched, and the gas industry is in its infancy. West Virginia is no longer a country overlooked, for not a few manufacturers are profiting by the knowledge of our resources, and either moving into the state from other states where necessities are only obtainable under difficulties and far from the source of these requisites, or else they are adopting our state as the place to enter the industrial world. To keep pace with the rapid growth in the industrial life of the state, shipping facilities by railroad and waterways are bending every energy to meet the demands.