The general good will of the firm, the picturesque factory site, the pleasant work-rooms, and the attractive living conditions of the Delaware workers gave them an extraordinary opportunity to pursue their labor healthfully. But because of its incomplete adoption, Scientific Management, though it had shortened hours, and in most cases had raised wages, had proven of less potential value to the workers than to those in the more difficult industrial situation obtaining in the cotton mill.
In general, then, Scientific Management for women workers in this country may be said as far as it has been applied to have increased wages, to have shortened hours, and to have resulted fortunately for the health of women workers in some instances and unfortunately in others.
Wherever a process presented a difficulty which remained unremedied, if the task were multiplied, the difficulty, of course, was multiplied. No matter how greatly the weight of a wagon is lightened, if there is a hole in the road of its passage, and the road is now to be travelled sixty times a day, instead of twenty times, as before, the physical difficulty from this hole is not only trebled, but while it may be endured with patience twenty times, is not only a muscular, but a nervous strain at the sixtieth. This was the situation in regard to all unrelieved heavy lifting wherever cloth was manipulated, the situation in regard to the stooping for the spool tenders, the stamping at the winding machine, and the stooping and breakages at the sewing-machine. But these points, instead of being ignored by the management, were seriously regarded by the employers as inimical to their own best interests in combination with those of their employees, and in all the establishments were in process of adjustment.
In the present writer’s judgment this adjustment would have been inaugurated earlier in several processes and would have been more rapid and effective for both the employer’s interest and that of the women workers if the women workers’ difficulties had been fairly and clearly specified through trade organization. Such an organization would also be of value in preventing danger of injury for workers whose attention under Scientific Management should be concentrated on their tasks, and of value in supporting the tendency of Scientific Management to pay work absolutely according to the amount accomplished by the worker, and not under a certain specified rate for this amount.
Scientific Management as applied to women’s work in this country is, of course, very recent. This synthesis of its short history is collected from the statements made by about eighty of the women workers, by Mr. Gantt, and by the owner, superintendent, and head of the planning department of the cotton mill, by the superintendent and one of the owners of the Cloth Finishing factory, and the superintendent and one of the owners of the Bleachery. The account should be supplemented by several general observations.