Wage Earning and Education eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 130 pages of information about Wage Earning and Education.

TABLE 19.—­AVERAGE, HIGHEST, AND LOWEST EARNINGS, IN CENTS PER HOUR, AND PER CENT EMPLOYED ON PIECE WORK AND DAY WORK, 1915

---------------------------+-------+-------+-------+---
-----+--------+ | | | |Per cent|Per cent| | | | |on piece| on day | Workers |Lowest |Average|Highest| work | work | ---------------------------+-------+-------+-------+--------
+--------+ Tool makers | 25.0 | 39.0 | 50.0 | .. | 100 | Machinists | 25.0 | 33.2 | 50.0 | .. | 100 | Planer hands | 20.0 | 32.2 | 42.0 | .. | 100 | Grinding machine operators | 20.0 | 32.0 | 50.0 | 70 | 30 | Bench hands | 17.5 | 29.6 | 45.0 | 48 | 52 | Screw machine operators | 17.5 | 29.5 | 63.8 | 79 | 21 | Lathe hands | 19.0 | 29.1 | 40.0 | 40 | 60 | Turret lathe operators | 25.0 | 29.0 | 47.5 | 80 | 20 | Gear cutter operators | 20.0 | 26.7 | 40.0 | 96 | 4 | Milling machine operators | 15.0 | 25.9 | 40.0 | 53 | 47 | Drill press operators | 15.0 | 23.5 | 35.0 | 35 | 65 | Machinists’ helpers | 20.0 | 22.2 | 25.0 | .. | 100 | ---------------------------+-------+-------+-------+--------
+--------+

On the basis of weekly or yearly earnings, the trade makes a better showing.  Work is steady throughout the year, and the time lost through unemployment on account of seasonal changes is slight.  Also, as the usual working day is from nine to 10 hours, that is, from one to two hours longer than in the higher paid building trades, the difference in daily wages is really less marked than a comparison of hourly rates would seem to indicate.

Little attempt has been made to adapt the apprentice system to modern conditions.  The term of service and rates of pay have changed but slightly over a long period of years.  As a result only a small proportion of the boys who begin as apprentices finish the apprenticeship term of three or four years.  Employers attribute this to the relatively high wages paid for machine operating, and the slight advantage, from a wage standpoint, of the “all-round” man over the machine operator.  After a year or two the apprentice finds that he can double his pay by taking a job as operator, and the inducement for learning the trade thoroughly is too small to hold him.  The report gives a comparison of the earnings of an apprentice and a machine operator, both starting at the same age, the first becoming a journeyman machinist at the end of three years and the second specializing on a particular machine.  Assuming that both boys go to work at the age of 16 their total earnings up to the age of 25 years will be approximately equal.  The lack of thoroughly trained workmen is beginning to be felt, but the efforts made by industrial establishments to meet it have small prospects of success unless the economic factors of the problem are given greater consideration.

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Wage Earning and Education from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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