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Amsterdam Conference on Techniques

The International Federation of Textile Workers' Associations in the meantime determined that its constituent members should make a more detailed study of their own wage systems, timestudy techniques, and union systems of control. The Amsterdam conference was designed for this purpose. Nine national trade unions of Western Europe and the Textile Workers Union of America were present. These unions, plus one other, submitted written reports on the questions to be discussed, and these reports were available for the conference. The proceedings * of this conference have been referred to the IFTWA for action.

consent of the works council or if consent is not forthcoming, the issue is adjudicated before a labor court. The union may be called in to serve as an adviser to the works council, and the cost of any services performed by the union's technical staff are paid for by the employer.

In the third position, workers or unions actually have rights only after the employer has changed or instituted work assignments or ratespostinstallation grievance rights. The practice in Belgium, Denmark, France, and Switzerland more nearly follows this pattern except where an individual employer, through conviction or because of union strength, consults with the union before he makes changes.

Work Assignment and Wage Incentive Methods. A comparison of the methods of handling work assignment and wage incentive problems among the countries disclosed three contrasting positions. The first was found in countries or sectors of countries where machine assignments or tasks were specifically defined in a national agreement (as is done for most of Austria), or on a plant level (as in England), or according to the older practice in the United States. Since all changes in assignments and wages are subject to negotiation, the employer must submit all proposals and supporting time-study data to the union, which is privileged to check the findings through its own floor studies. Usually a wage concession accompanies a rise in work assignment. The final agreement on assignments and wages must be approved by the workers, and those later dissatisfied with a job may file grievances for union technicians to examine.

A more common position is that represented by the Norwegian and Swedish practice. In those countries, the union agrees with management on the principles and procedures governing time study and the final results do not become operative unless the union agrees or an arbitration board so orders. The Netherlands unions have a similar agreement, but the unions act as advisers and spokesmen for the works council. The German pattern differs; there is no prior agreement with the union on principles and procedures, but the new systems and rates cannot become effective until the employer obtains the

Determination of "FairJob. In the framework of these differing patterns of relationships, the delegates also compared their concepts of an equitable job. The first and simplest was the provision for a fixed number of machines per operator. The second was the American benchmark system in which models of fair jobs are negotiated and used as a reference point for determining assignments for work on particular jobs. The third was the British system of defining a fair day's work as consisting, in the case of the automatic weaver, of 30 minutes of manipulative work in an hour, including allowances for rest and personal time, with the remainder of the time assigned to patrol and supervision. The fourth was in Holland, where assignments are calculated as a percentage of the “normal” output-90 percent in cotton and 75 percent in wool. A comparable system prevails in parts of Austria. The fifth group consists of the areas in which time study is employed directly without the modifications already mentioned. The major variation is found in those areas which deduct the minutes for rest and personal time from total available worktime and build up the job assignment to correspond to the remaining worktime. Another variation is the more traditional American procedure in which

* The delegates consisted primarily of technicians who, in most instances, were joined by the elected officers responsible for handling the problems being considered.

• See International Federation of Textile Workers' Associa. tions Conference of Technical Experts on Workstudy Methods, Amsterdam, January 14–16, 1959 (London, IFTWA).

5 For description of the benchmark system, see Solomon Bar. kin, The Benchmark Approach to Production Standards (in Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Ithaca, N.Y., January 1957, pp. 222–236).

were minor variations of existing jobs. These calculations were checked when there was any dispute over their correctness.

a fixed percentage for rest and personal time and miscellaneous operations is added to the actual work element times.

A comparison of the practices on rest and personal time allowance showed considerable diversity as to absolute time or percentages. The conference discussed at length the need for recognition of the anxiety factors present in textile workers' jobs. Scientific study was urged, on the one hand, and frequent rest periods were considered vital, on the other. Many participants commented that the allowances for winders and battery hands were uniformly inadequate.

Finally, the conference discussed allowances for peculiar textile job characteristics such as time lost in work performance due to interruptions, i.e., in the performance of work elements due to more urgent needs of other machines or parts of same machine, interference caused by other workers repairing the same machine or otherwise delaying workers in the performance of their own tasks, or eating on the job while at work.

The analysis of the time study practices in the various countries disclosed that both snap back and continuous watch readings were currently used, with the unions preferring the latter. None of the countries reported standard element times, though individual companies often have used them for routine calculations on jobs which

Benefits from the Conference. The conference gave the participants an opportunity to become intimately acquainted with the practices of job assignment determination and wage setting in the various countries. The impact of the differences in bargaining strengths and in union influence on shop conditions were clearly depicted. The relative severity of the work assignment in the countries of the participants were ranked, from which it appeared that work assignments were tightest in the United States and least severe in England. More detailed studies, such as are contemplated by the EPA, appear necessary to refine the impressions received and judgments reached at this conference.

With the increasing demand for greater uniformity in labor rates and costs under the pressure of the common market competition, more attention will be focused upon developing a system of work assignment determination which will assure greater similarity in effort levels among the countries. The benchmark technique, which offers the greatest possibility for attaining this objective, therefore aroused considerable interest and a desire for closer study among the participants. The results of the technical conference will also prove valuable to the ILO which has undertaken an investigation of work study methods in the textile industry in the various countries of the world.

. In the continuous reading, the minute-decimal stopwatch is permitted to run throughout the entire work cycle, with readings taken at the end of each work element; subtraction of the successive readings gives the time for each element. In the snapback reading, the watch is snapped back to zero at the end of each element observed and the element-time is recorded.

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Distribution of Factory Workers' Earnings, May 1958

were available, data from such surveys-adjusted to May 1958 for subsequent general wage changes and employment shifts—were incorporated into the overall estimates. For industries not covered by such surveys, questionnaires were sent, or visits by Bureau representatives were made, to a sample of establishments stratified by industry, location, and employment size. Relatively more establishments were covered in the lower wage industries and regions in view of the importance for public policy of accurate determination of the number of workers at the lower earnings levels. Data from approximately 10,000 establishments were used in the tabulations.

In the estimating procedure, each establishment was given its appropriate weight relative to the industry, region, and size group from which it was selected. All estimated totals derived from such weighting processes were further adjusted to industry employment levels for May 1958 as reported by BLS in its monthly employment series.

A NATIONWIDE SURVEY of factory earnings conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that nearly 1114 million production workers averaged $1.97 an hour at straight-time rates in May 1958. These earnings represented an increase of 17 percent over the level in April 1954, when the Bureau conducted its last similar study of factory workers' earnings. On a regional basis, average earnings ranged from $1.63 in the South to $2.26 in the West. In metropolitan areas of the country, production workers averaged $2.08 compared with $1.70 in nonmetropolitan areas. Industry averages ranged widely from $1.42 an hour in textile mills to $2.58 in plants producing petroleum and coal products.


Scope and Method of Study

All Manufacturing Industries

Straight-time earnings for the Nation's 1114 million production workers within the scope of the May 1958 survey averaged $1.97 an hour. The

The May 1958 survey of workers' earnings in manufacturing relates to all establishments in the 48 States and the District of Columbia primarily engaged in manufacturing as defined in the 1945 edition of the Standard Industrial Classification Manual. The earnings data ? are for a representative payroll period ending nearest May 15, 1958, and cover production workers only. They relate to straight-time earnings, excluding premium pay for overtime, and for work on weekends, holidays, and late shifts. Cost-of-living bonuses and production bonuses were included as part of the workers' regular pay, but nonproduction payments, such as Christmas or yearend bonuses, were excluded. Average earnings were computed by dividing total straight-time hourly earnings by the number of workers represented in that total.

Two sources of primary data were used in preparing the estimates. Where recent industry wage surveys of the Bureau of Labor Statistics

1 See Factory Workers : Distributions by Straight-Time Hourly Earnings, April 1954, BLS Bull. 1179 (1955), or Monthly Labor Review, April 1955 (pp. 410-416). The May 1958 data will be published in complete detail in BLS Bull. 1252.

3 The straight-time hourly earnings averages presented here differ from the gross average hourly earnings published in the Bureau's monthly hours and earnings series. (See table C-1, p. 819 of this issue.) The differences are largely accounted for by the exclusion in the present study of premium pay for overtime and for work on weekends, holidays, and late shifts. In addition, establishments in this survey are weighted in accordance with their probability of selection from a regional-size-industry class, whereas in the monthly series, which is intended to indicate trends rather than levels, data for the establishments are aggregated into industry totals from which the industry's average hourly earnings are calculated. A third difference between the two series is that the straight-time earnings averages are obtained by summing individual employee straight-time earnings and dividing the total by the number of employees ; in the monthly series, gross average hourly earnings for an industry are obtained by dividing the aggregated weekly payrolls for the establishments by the aggregated number of weekly hours.

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> distribution of earnings varied widely, although 94 percent of the workers earned between $1 and $3 and the middle half between $1.45 and $2.40 an hour. (See chart.) An estimated 663,000 workers, or 5.9 percent, were paid less than $1.05 an hour, the interval including $1—the Federal minimum wage; 1,215,000, or 10.8 percent, less than $1.15; and 1,756,000, or 15.6 percent, less than $1.25. About half of the country's production workers earned at least $2 an hour and a fifth received $2.50 or more. The only major concentration of workers discernible at any one 5-cent wage interval was the 628,000 workers earning from $1 and under $1.05. (See table 1.) Further indication of the character of the overall distribution was the similarity between the mean and median earnings ($1.97 and $1.96, respectively).

Factory employment among the regions was distributed as follows: 36 percent or 3,994,000 workers in the Northeast; 34 percent or 3,772,000 in the North Central; 21 percent or 2,422,000 in the South; and 9 percent or 1,056,000 in the West. The highest average recorded was $2.26 in the West, followed by $2.13 in the North Central, $1.94 in the Northeast, and $1.63 in the South. Although the South employed about a fifth of the production workers in the United States, nearly two-thirds of the Nation's workers paid less than $1.05 an hour were found in that region. Thirty-seven percent of the southern workers earned less than $1.25 an hour, as compared with 14 percent or less in the other regions. At the other end of the wage scale, 12 percent of the workers in the South were paid $2.50 or more; the proportions in the other regions ranged from 18 to 31 percent.

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other hand, a fourth of the workers in metropolitan areas received at least $2.50 an hour, compared with a tenth in nonmetropolitan areas.

The South was the only region where employment was greater in nonmetropolitan than in metropolitan areas. Average earnings for workers in metropolitan areas ranged from $1.87 in the South to $2.28 in the West, and in nonmetropolitan areas, from $1.43 to $2.21 in the same two regions. Averages in metropolitan areas ceeded those in nonmetropolitan areas by 44 cents in the South, 36 cents in the North Central, 20 cents in the Northeast, and 7 cents in the West. The South employed almost 4 of every 5 workers in nonmetropolitan areas earning $1 and less than $1.05, but more workers were found at this wage interval in the metropolitan areas of the Northeast than in those of the South.


Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas

Earnings by Industry

Population concentration appears to be one of the factors that influence wages. At the time of the survey, 7 of every 10 factory workers were employed in metropolitan areas, where average earnings of $2.08 were 38 cents an hour higher than in nonmetropolitan areas. The pay difference was reflected at both the lower and upper wage intervals. (See chart.) More than fourth of the workers in nonmetropolitan areas earned less than $1.25 an hour, about 21/2 times the proportion in metropolitan areas. On the

Among the more pervasive characteristics of the manufacturing wage structure in the United States is the persistent differences in wages among industries. The range of interindustry variability in wages in May 1958 is shown in table 2, where data for 21 broad industry groups are tabulated. Average hourly earnings ranged from


$1.42 in textile mills to $2.58 in plants producing proportions of workers clustered around the $1 petroleum and coal products. Even among the Federal minimum wage, while those industry generally low-wage industries such as food, tex- groups with averages above $1.80 had fewer than tiles, apparel, lumber, and leather, wage levels 5 percent of the workers earning less than $1.05 varied by as much as 36 cents an hour. These

an hour. differences reflect a variety of factors, such as oc- Broad industry data often conceal sharp differcupational composition and location.

ences among the wage distributions of the subinThe distribution of earnings about the industry dustries of a major group. For example, the apaverages also shows marked variation. For ex- parel group included men's and boys' suits and ample, nearly a fifth of the workers in the trans- coats where average earnings were $1.76 and fewer portation equipment industries, where the average than a tenth of the workers earned less than $1.05, was $2.38, earned between $2.30 and $2.40 an hour. and the men's and boys' furnishings and work By contrast, a fourth of the workers in lumber clothing where average earnings were $1.27 and were concentrated at the $1 to $1.05 wage inter- three-tenths earned less than $1.05. The chemical

val-approximately 60 cents below the average, group included industrial organic chemicals where while a fourth in printing and publishing earned average earnings were $2.42 and practically no $3 an hour or more at least 70 cents above the workers received less than $1.05, and vegetable and average. Generally, those industry groups with

animal oils and fats where average earnings were averages under $1.80 an hour showed substantial $1.59 and a sixth were paid less than $1.05. On TABLE 1. PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION OF PRODUCTION WORKERS IN MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES BY AVERAGE


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Under $1.00.....
$1.00 and under $1.05.
$1.05 and under $1.10.
$1.10 and under $1.15.
$1,15 and under $1.20.
$1.20 and under $1.25.
$1.25 and under $1.30.
$1.30 and under $1.35.
$1.35 and under $1.40.
$1.40 and under $1.45.
$1.45 and under $1.50.
$1.50 and under $1.60.
$1.60 and under $1.70.
$1.70 and under $1.80.
$1.80 and under $1.90.
$1.90 and under $2.00.
$2.00 and under $2.10.
$2.10 and under $2.20.
$2.20 and under $2.30.
$2.30 and under $2.40.
$2.40 and under $2.50.
$2.50 and under $2.60.
$2.60 and under $2.70
$2.70 and under $2.80.
$2.80 and under $2.90.
$2.90 and under $3.00.
$3.00 and over.

Number of workers (in

Average hourly earnings 1.

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1.1 1.2 1.4 3.4 4.1 4.6 5.7 5.2 7.0 7.6 7.9 9.9 6. 7 5. 1 4.4 3.3 3.4 2.9 8.4

0.6 5.3 2.1 3.1 2.3 2.3 2.6 2.3 2.4 2.8 2.6 5.5 5.6 6.0 7.4 7.0 7.7 7.0 5.6 4.8 3.4 3.0 2.1 1.8 1.3

.8 2.6

.9 1.0 2.9 3.0 3.7 4.5 5. 9 9.2 8.6 8.4 6.9 7.3 5.5 7.0 4.3 3.0 2.5 8.6

1.0 1.1 1.1 3.1 3.3 3.8 4.6 4.6 6.9 7.3 7.4 6.9 8.6 5.8 8.3 4.7 3.1 2.8 9.4

3 1.6 .6 .5

6 .5 2.4 2.4 3.5 4.5 9.1 15.2 11.9 11.0 7.0 4. 2 4.5 3.4 3.3 2.5 1.7 6.5


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1 Excludes premium pay for overtime, and for work on weekends, holidays, and late shifts.

• The term "metropolitan area" refers to the standard metropolitan areas established under the sponsorship of the Bureau of the Budget. There were, as of the period covered, 168 such areas in the country meeting certain criteria as to population, degree of urbanization, contiguity, and population density. These areas include all major cities and their contiguous suburban areas. They include all areas containing at least 1 central city of 50,000 or more, and include certain areas around such cities if they meet established criteria of being metropolitan in character and economically integrated with the central city.

* The regions used in this study include: Northeast-Connecticut, Maine Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont; South--Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia; North Central-Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michi. gan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and' Wisconsin; and West-Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

NOTE: Because of rounding, sums of individual items may not equal totals

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