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Report on Standard Piece Rates of Wages and Sliding Scales in the
United Kingdom. 1900. xxv, 308 pp. (Published by the Labor Department of the British Board of Trade.)
The present work was prepared in continuation of the volume on standard piece rates which formed Part II of the first report of the Labor Department on wages and hours of labor, published in 1894. It contains detailed statements of some of the more important piecerate lists and sliding scales in operation in various trades. The work is not intended to present a complete statement of all piece rates in existence in Great Britain, but to illustrate the general nature and application of the standard piece rates by which the remuneration of employees is governed in a large number of industries.
The object of this report, as stated in the introduction, is to give information with regard to the varied and complicated systems of calculating wages which prevail in many important British industries and thus to facilitate an understanding of the nature of the questions at issue between employers and employees in many trades, which are often difficult to follow owing to the technical character of the points involved.
The detailed statements of the lists of piece rates and sliding scales are grouped according to the following industries: Building trades, mining and quarrying, metal, engineering, and shipbuilding trades, textiles, clothing trades, printing and allied trades, coopering, glass trades, dock labor, basket and chair making, and brush making. The statements are usually accompanied by remarks giving the date and circumstances of the introduction of cach list, the extent and scope of its operation, and, when possible, the changes that have taken place in the list since the end of 1893. Explanations are also made of any peculiarities of arrangement or construction, or of technical terms used. Appendixes contain statements of 357 piece price lists and 19 sliding scales, showing in each case the name of the trade, the locality covered by the list or scale, and the date when made. Report on the Wages and Earnings of Agricultural Laborers in the
United Kingdom. 1900. X, 296 pp. (Published by the Labor Department of the British Board of Trade.)
This report was prepared by the assistant commissioner of the Labor Department of the Board of Trade. Agricultural labor is treated in detail for each of the countries of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, the report showing in each case the wages and earnings of the various classes of agricultural laborers, their duties, terms of engagement, and methods of remuneration. An introduction to the detailed report contains a summary of the information presented and an explanation of the methods by which the data were obtained. The greater part of the volume consists of appendixes containing statistical tables showing by countries and minor civil divisions of the United Kingdom the wages and earnings of agricultural laborers in 1898, comparative wage data for different years, the number of agricultural laborers, and the number and size of agricultural holdings. The report also contains a map of the United Kingdom showing the earnings of agricultural laborers in 1898 by counties, and charts showing fluctuations in wages between 1850 and 1899.
The term of engagement of farm servants is usually by the year or half year in Scotland, Wales, the north of England, and the north of Ireland. In other parts of England and Ireland the agricultural laborers are usually engaged by the week, although the men in charge of animals are frequently engaged for a longer term. In most of the northern counties of England and in Wales the yearly and half-yearly engagements are mainly confined to unmarried men, the married men being generally engaged by the week. The system of hiring farm servants at fairs still exists in Scotland, the north of England and the north of Ireland, and in a few districts in Wales, but it is declining to some extent. In other parts of the United Kingdom the system is nearly extinct.
The report shows that, although time payments in cash form the main part of the earnings of agricultural laborers, the method of remuneration varies greatly in the different parts of the United Kingdom. Where engagements were for long terms allowances in kind, such as board and lodgings for single men and free cottages, potatoes, fuel, etc., for married men, were frequent, while extra cash payments for piecework, harvest work, overtime, etc., were few. On the other hand, in the eastern and southern counties of England, where engagements are shorter and the cash wages lower, more piecework was done and extra payments in cash at hay and grain harvest and for overtime were made, while men in charge of animals often received free cottages, journey money, and other allowances.
In a comparison of wages of agricultural laborers in different parts of the United Kingdom it is necessary, therefore, to take account not only of the actual earnings, but also of the amounts earned in cash from all sources and the value of all allowances in kind. In 1898 the average weekly earnings of farm laborers of a similar class, including the value of all allowances in kind, were 16s. 10d. ($4.094) in England, 16s. 5d. ($3.994) in Wales, 18s. 1d. ($4.40) in Scotland, and 10s. 1d. ($2.454) in Ireland. In each of these countries the earnings were highest near the large manufacturing and mining centers.
Comparative statistics of wages of agricultural laborers for a series of years are also given in the report. The longest period given is from 1850 to 1899, the report showing for each year the rates of weekly cash wages paid on 33 farms in England and Wales, exclusive of extra payments for piecework, overtime, allowances in kind, etc. The wages as thus reported increased from 9s. 3d. ($2.25) per week in 1850 to 13s. 8£d. ($3.334) in 1899, or 48.2 per cent during 50 years. The increase occurred chiefly from 1850 to 1874, after which wage rates remained almost stationary until 1896, when they resumed an upward tendency, which continued for the rest of the period.
Information as to rates of wages paid during the last five years is of a much more complete and detailed character than that for earlier years. Returns for England and Wales show that from 1895 to 1898 the predominant rate of wages increased steadily in districts where 271,069 laborers were employed and decreased in districts where 1,269 were employed. The net increase in the weekly cash wages of 272,338 laborers employed in the districts affected is computed at £12,972 ($63,128.24), or 113d. ($0.23) per head. In 1899, as compared with 1898, wages rose about td. ($0.08) per head, and in June, 1900, as compared with June, 1899, wages increased about 8 d. ($0.17) per head per week.
According to this report the rise in wages in England and Wales, and also in Scotland, in the last five years is usually attributed by employers to the scarcity of labor, due mostly to the competition of other industries during the last period of commercial prosperity, and also in certain districts to the calling out of the reserves and the militia toward the end of the year 1899 and in 1900.
The employment of women and children in agriculture in England has been gradually decreasing during the last twenty years, until it has nearly ceased. In Scotland, where women are still largely employed at field and dairy work in many districts, the number is steadily decreasing
DECISIONS OF COURTS AFFECTING LABOR.
[This subject, begun in Bulletin No. 2, has been continued in successive issues. All material parts of the decisions are reproduced in the words of the courts, indicated when short by quotation marks and when long by being printed solid. In order to save space, immaterial matter, needed simply by way of explanation, is given in the words of the editorial reviser.]
DECISIONS UNDER STATUTORY LAW.
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF STATUTE-DISCHARGE OF EMPLOYEE FOR BECOMING A MEMBER OF A LABOR UNION— Gillespie v. People, 58 Northeastern Reporter, page 1007.- In the county court of Vermilion County, Ill , Charles Gillespie was convicted of attempting to coerce one of his employees to withdraw from a labor union by discharging him. The action was based upon an information filed by the State's attorney, charging Gillespie with violating section 32 of chapter 48, entitled “Employment,” Hurd's Revised Statutes, 1899. Said section reads as follows: “It shall be unlawful for any individual or member of any firm, or agent, officer, or employee of any company or corporation to prevent or attempt to prevent employees front forming, joining, and belonging to any lawful labor organization, and any such individual, member, agent, officer, or employee that coerces or attempts to coerce employees by discharging or threatening to discharge from their employ or the employ of any firm, company, or corporation because of their connection with such lawful labor organization, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined in any sum not exceeding $100 or be imprisoned for not more than six months, or both, in the discretion of the court.”
The evidence in the case showed that Gillespie was a contractor in the building trade; that at the time the controversy arose he was employing a number of carpenters who were known as “nonunion” men; that one of them, Reuben Gibbons, the prosecuting witness, had been employed by him for about ten months, and that his employment was by the day; that while so employed Gibbons joined a “union labor organization;" that after he had become a member Gillespie informed him that he could not give him employment if he desired to belong to the union, claiming that the labor unions were enemies of his in business, and that it would not be consistent for him, under the circumstances, to employ union help; that he stated to Gibbons that if he desired to remain in his employment he would have to quit the union, and that if he did not desire to quit the union, he would have to look elsewhere for employment, and that he could do as he desired, and that Gibbons then left his employment. After his conviction Gillespie carried his case upon a writ of error before the supreme court of Illinois, which rendered its decision December 20, 1900, and reversed the action of the lower court. The opinion of the court was delivered by Judge Magruder, and in the course of the same he used the following language:
The question raised is the constitutionality of the statute of June 17, 1893 [section 32 set forth above). The provisions of the constitution of this State which the act in question is said to contravene are: First, section 1 of article 2 of the bill of rights, which provides that all men are by nature free and independent, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights-among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" second, section 2 of article 2 of the bill of rights, which declares that, “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law;" third, section 22 of article t of the State constitution, wherein the legislature is prohibited from passing any local or special law “granting to any corporation, association, or individual any special or exclusive privilege, immunity, or franchise whatever.” The provision of the Constitution of the United States with which the statute in question is said to be in conflict is section 1 of the fourteenth amendment, which provides that “no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
It may be assumed that plaintiff in error (Gillespie) attempted to do the act with which he is charged, and that it lay in his power to discharge, or attempt to discharge Reuben Gibbons from his employment because of his connection with the union labor organization, which is admitted to have been a lawful labor organization. Upon this assumption, the question squarely arises whether or not the statute in question contravenes the provisions of the State and Federal constitutions above quoted. The terms “life,” “liberty,” and property? are representative terins, and intended to cover every right to which a member of the body politic is entitled under the law.) These terms include the right of self-defense, freedom of speech, religious and political freedom, exemption from arbitrary arrests, the right freely to buy and sell as others may. Indeed, they may embrace all our liberties-personal, civil, and political—including the rights to labor, to contract, to terminate contracts, and to acquire property.) None of these liberties and rights can be taken away except by due process of law. The rights of life, liberty, and property embrace whatever is necessary to secure and effectuate the enjoyment of those rights. The rights of liberty and of property include the right to acquire property by labor and by contract. If an owner can not be deprived of his property without due process of law, he can not be deprived of any of the essential attributes which belong to the right of property without due process of law. Labor is property. The laborer has the same right to sell his labor and to contract with reference thereto as any other property owner. (The right of property involves, as one of its