|The Glovers of Fulton County|
In the matter of the striking glove cutters
of Gloversville, Johnstown and vicinity.
Hearing before the
STATE BOARD OF MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION.
Council Chamber, City Hall,
Gloversville, N.Y. Oct. 13, 1914.
P R E S E N T :
Mr. William C. Rogers, Chief Mediator.
Mr. James McManus,
Mr. P. S. Downey,
A P P E A R A N C E S:
Mr. McMahon, for the Attorney General,
Messrs Baker & McDonald for the Manufacturers.
W I L L I A M J. S T I T T, called and sworn as a witness, testifies as follows:
EXAMINED BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. Where do you live Mr. Stitt? A. New York City.
Q. You are connected with what firm? A. I am one of the partners of Jacob Adler & Co.
Q. And are you in charge of the factory in a greater degree than the other partner? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who are the other members of the firm? A. Mr. Charles Adler.
Q. How many cutters are employed there? A. We average one hundred and upwards, 120 to 125 cutters.
Q. Any working there now, strike breakers? A. No, sir.
Q. And were you a member of the conference committee which had any meetings with the strikers with regarding to adjustments? A. I met that committee because I happened to be in Gloversville at that time.
MR. BAKER: The question is, were you a member of it?
THE WITNESS: No sir.
Q. But you met with it and you heard the negotiations? A. Yes sir.
MR. BAKER: The secretary corrects him, saying he is a member of it.
Q. But you heard what transpired between the strike committee and the manufacturers, didn't you? A. One meeting I attended.
Q. Were any efforts made by the manufacturers at that time? A. None whatsoever.
Q. What transpired at the meeting? A. We had a very friendly talk with the cutters that came to see us. We tried to make clear to them that the poor business conditions of the country made it a very unwise time to consider any advance in wages and with unsettled conditions all around us, from the business standpoint, as well as the unsettled conditions of our own raw material which goes into the formation of our gloves, it would be simply impossible to consider any advance in wages. We further said it seemed to be an unfortunate time to disturb the industry here where there was a possibility of a fair amount of work for the time being.
Q. How long have you been in the glove business? A. Forty years. Commenced as a boy with the present firm I am a member of.
Q. You know conditions in the business during the last seventeen years? A. Yes I do.
Q. There has not any substantial raise been granted during that period, has there? A. The advance in the actual rate per dozen has not been so large, but the steady work of all the different operators in the glove industry, not alone glove cutters and sewers, running up to possibly fifty weeks per year as compared with the condition where the factories only run six to eight months a year has made a very large increase in the actual earning power of all our operators and cutters. When I first came to Gloversville some 35 years ago I never came up to Gloversville to take up Fall business until some time in March and then our Fall business sold in the Summer and after they were delivered in the Fall the factories closed down possibly from November on until the early Spring again. As the business developed here from the working class of merchandise, the mechanics style for example to the finest makes of gloves, we have been able to increase the working hours of all the working people and business has become a more steady one. Unfortunately it has not been one where we have been able to make advances in our rates of wages because of the competition with foreign gloves. In the many years of my experience as a glove man t hat has been the principal reason why we have been forced to turn sharp corners and keep the cost of our manufactured article down to the lowest possible basis so as to give us the opportunity of a fair chance with the foreign made article.
Q. At one time you had quite a high protective tariff did you not, on your gloves? A. We had a very much better tariff than we have now. When that change was made two years ago we made no change in our rate of wages in Gloversville, hoping that we might be able to carry along the present schedule so as not to disturb the wages of our employees. We are feeling now and have felt late last Fall and this early Spring the falling off of American made gloves in this county with the increased competition with the foreign made glove where they had a large advantage in reduction made in the duty on foreign gloves coming in.
Q. That foreign competition is at an end now, isn't it, by reason of the war? A. No, sir, only last week, on the French steamer that arrived, some 125 cases of French gloves were delivered in New York City last week.
Q. Those are gloves that have been manufactured? A. Gloves that have been manufactured on the other side.
Q. They are not manufacturing gloves now, are they? A. Yes, sir, they are taking orders for next Spring. I placed an order only two weeks ago for delivery for next Spring.
Q. Do you mean the factories are still running over there in the face of the war? A. Yes, sir, these factories are in some parts of France that I refer to that are not directly in the war zone.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Do you know Mr. Stitt how the importations compare at present or since the war with the importations of last year at this time? A. I see by the papers - - I have not made a schedule to see how they compare in actual business, Mr. Rogers, but the imports coming in since the War have kept up remarkably well. Just after the War was declared there was a feeling that foreign gloves would be more or less shut out but that does not prove to be the case.
All the retailers have received their Fall orders from the other side and as I mentioned a moment or two ago this large shipment coming in last week from France alone is the best proof that the factories are still running over there and delivering merchandise. I was informed yesterday by a party who received a letter from Germany that even in Germany where conditions are more mixed up possibly than they are in France, that the factories are running there and in a fairly moderate way. It appears that the men that are over forty years of age have not been called to the front and the German Government is making a special effort to keep all industries going in as strong a way as is possible under the present conditions.
MR. BAKER: I have a summary taken from the Journal of Commerce, issues of September 19th, 26th and Oct. 3rd and 10th, showing as follows: Kinds of gloves, leather entered for consumption - that means going into the market direct - $522,839; at the same time withdrawals in the warehouse there $53,600; and entered for warehousing $43,286.00. At the same time cotton cloth entered for consumption $24,704 and withdrawals from the warehouses there at that port $108,337 and entered for warehousing $1,026.00 and of wool cloth at the same time entered for consumption $15,889. Withdrawals from warehouses for consumption $10,326 and entered for warehousing $4,450.00. That is simply reported in these four issues of the Journal of Commerce covering that period from September 19th to October 10th in the one port of New York.
THE WITNESS: I will say that an increase of about two million dozens as compared with last years showing that under the revised tariff the importations of foreign made gloves have increased very largely.
MR. DOWNEY: Is that ladies or gentlemen's gloves?
THE WITNESS: Both. One of the chief difficulties that we had this last year was the increased competition on mens gloves, - gloves that we sell very largely in this country, or did sell very largely under normal conditions at $13.50 per dozen, which is a glove that the manufacturers make the fairest profit on. Being with manufacturers of the very same glove or similar style reduced their prices to $12.50 to meet that same prices in a great many cases without being able to make any change in the cost of the glove, it was simply a question of whether we would make the style at $12.50 or let the foreigner have the market on that particular type of glove.
MR. ROGERS: Is that the glove that retails at one dollar and a half.
THE WITNESS: That's right, Mr. Rogers.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. Are you able to estimate the cost of that glove to you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is it? A. About$11.25 to $11.50 per dozen.
Q. And you sell it at how much/ A. $13.50. You can see what a very moderate margin it leaves the manufacturer; even on a thoroughly high grade glove, and a glove not so good being sold at a reduced basis merely leaves the manufacturer and goes to the dealer at pretty close to cost. That is what would be termed a second or lower grade of the better quality.
Q. It would have some defects in it do you mean? A. It would not be so well selected for stock, would not be good enough to go into the high grade glove in competition with the foreign glove.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q. That $11.50 which you speak of as costing for the $12.50 glove, does the $11.50 cover the selling expense and discount? A. It covers the discount but not the selling expense; that is the actual cost of that glove from our factory billed to the New York house and out of that profit we have to pay all of our overhead charges including rent, insurance and steady expenses as well as traveling expenses.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. And the selling is done from your New York house? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are you a resident of Gloversville? A. Of New York City.
Q. Is your income derived entirely from this glove concern?
MR. BAKER: Are you inquiring about his personal income?
MR. McMAHON: Yes?
MR. BAKER: That we submit is not an issue here and we are to file with this Board what his income is from the factory, what he draws and so forth.
Q. Have you any statement to make as regards conditions in the factory here, taxing; we have testimony that the taxing is quite severe and the quality of the skins has decreased recently? A. The taxation of skins is in my judgment a misnomer to any one who is not in the glove business and does not understand just what the so-called taxation refers to. What you have termed taxation is the estimate of how many pairs of gloves certain skins can produce so that a man who goes over that leather, in charge of that, will indicate to the cutter about how many pairs of gloves those skins will produce and also grades he would like to get from those skins, that is the intelligent way of getting the best results from the skins as regards the sizes involves and also to get the best quality.
Q. And that is based on what? Is that based on what you purchased the skins for? A. In buying the skins as you know it is not like cloth where a woolen mill can turn out thousands of yards of the same weight same quality. Leather being produced from animals the texture of the skin varies and the weight of the skin varies and when it is tanned and finished into glove leather it is sometimes two thirds of the skin will be of better quality and the other one third on the flank or sides will be coarse and gritty and in order to get the highest results from the manufacturing standpoint the cutter is instructed to get the best ranks out of the best part of the skin and the poorest trank will go into a cheaper grade of glove. If the expert in charge of the leather did not explain to the cutter about trying to get the best quality we would simply get a lot of intermediate grade of gloves which very largely reduce the value of the gloves produced. In order to guide intelligently what the skins shall produce it is a combination of the man in charge of the establishment and his knowledge of what the skins will produce along with the skill of the cutter in getting around the bad parts of the skin and giving us the best results possible. In the last few years the increased cost of leather has made it more important to get the best results from the cutter.
Q. In the event that the cutter does not get the required number of gloves out of the hide, what occurs? A. If the cutter gets a batch of skins and he has difficulty in meeting the estimate put upon them by the man in charge of that department, he goes back to that man and if that man can not show him where those gloves can be produced he is told to go on and cut the skins and if he does not succeed by a pair or two out of that batch we never make any serious charge against him. If it continues and the man in charge of that department feels that the cutter is not a competent cutter and does not take care to get the best results we would have to let that cutter go. There are no fines nor no exactions made or deductions made from any of our cutters for failure to meet the estimate put on skins, very often called the taxation of skins.
Q. Do you find the greater number of your cutters able to come up to the requirements of the taxation? A. I asked one of our men yesterday that very same question. He said, taking the years business all the way through the complaints from our average cutters who work for us regularly the year through that the number of complaints is very moderate. When we have an extra rush and put on a few additional cutters they may not be quite as expert cutters as the more regular cutters and they possibly have a little difficulty once inna while which the man has to show them how the skins can be produced into the gloves required. We do not have what you would call any serious complaints and there being no deductions made for any failure to meet the demands of the list made out for the cutting of the skins it causes no serious frictions.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q. Have you any system of charging them; it has been testified to Mr. Stitt, that in different factories amounts were charged up against individual cutters; now, what if anything, do you know about your factory? A. I just testified to that.
Q. There is nothing? A. We have never charged any cutter for any amount for failure to meet the estimate required by the order given to cut.
Q. What I had reference to, Mr. Stitt, was where they destroyed or cut wrong a glove, spoiled a glove? A. Even where a cutter will spoil one glove out of a pair, my foreman told me yesterday that we give them more leather to cut the glove to match up and he simply loses his time to produce the other glove and we lose the leather because of his carelessness.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. You don't suppose the conditions are every such that the man then is unable to get leather to match the gloves perfectly, that is forchettes and thumbs and get it from some other part of the shop and not out of the particular hide that he is cutting? A. We have quite a large batch of pieces that accumulate in our cutting shop and they enable the cutter to get the extra pieces he wants for thumbs and forchettes.
Q. Those are not immediately available to him? A. They are spread around the shop, aren't they? A. No, sir, each cutter has more or less of those small pieces at his table or near where he cuts. At the end of the year we gather up those pieces and sell them for several hundred dollars a year. They go into the making of the small pocket book. They are not large enough to make a glove but they are gathered up every year and we get several hundred dollars for those at the time of making the inventory.
Q. He is supposed to fit out his glove and to fill out the required number from these scraps which have come from other hides? A. Not altogether.
Q. It is necessary at times though? A. In the batch of some many gloves you cut so many gloves. The colors of each particular skin run into one particular line of sizes, the same color, and say he gets two dozen skins given to him and out of so many skins he cuts so many gloves with skins and forchettes and when he gets down near the end of that production what he may be short in one skin he has the very same skin and the very same color in that same batch to finish up his requirements.
Q. At the end of the batch where is he? A. At the end of the batch he is through.
Q. And he finds that his gloves have matched up perfectly, that is, I mean has all the parts to make up the complete number of gloves? A. Perhaps I can make it more clear. A cutter is given so many given skins to produce so many gloves as per the estimate asked for by the man who makes out the order and that order is to produce so many gloves of a certain character covered by the lot number and he cuts out those gloves to meet the sizes called for. In a ladies glove we will have a run of sizes running from 5 3 4 to 7 and in a mens glove from sizes 7 to 9, for example. If the order is for ladies gloves he simply cuts out of the larger skins the larger sizes because the skin will cut more fair and therefore the large sizes come out of the larger skins. When he comes to the smaller sizes he uses the smaller skins to produce the smaller sizes and the entire quantity is got by counting up the entire skin complete. Most of the cutters in shops of our character where we run very largely on table styles, for example we have some cutters that cut the same styles day in and day out the entire year. The colors of those and the styles will run very much the same and they have pieces left over and after getting out the quantity required by the estimate given they will have pieces left over which go into a little box that more or less the cutters have for their own reserve use. If a skin should be a trifle smaller in another order and they might be short some fingers they would simply have to go to the box where from the previous lots cut either that day or the day before and get the exact same color and the exact same piece of skin and have not much trouble in piecing out anything short.
Q. They are to match that then perfectly you think? A. Yes, sir, in a normal way.
BY MR. McMANUS:
Q. The testimony here was that they were unable to match them and after having scoured the place to get a piece they thought would match they had some time later had the glove returned and were assessed damages? A. I have never heard of any serious trouble of that kind.
Q. Never in your shops? A. Never in our shops. I have never heard of that complaint in any other shops.
Q. There has been testimony to that effect here? A. I am speaking of my own experience, of course. A great deal depends upon the care with which the cutter will handle his work. Now I am not an experienced cutter and I would not be able to cut up a skin to advantage like a cutter who has had experience. Those who are conscientious and careful with their work get very much larger results out of given skins than a cutter who has not had quite as much experience, and it may be in some shops some cutters who have not had quite as much experience as others, are quite as experienced as more experienced cutters - that probably accounts for some of the trouble you refer to.
Q. They testified that the taxation was too close in some places and they did get the tranks at the finish and were unable to get anything else and had to scour the factory here there and every place and then having failed to get the colors that would match they get colors more nearly matching and they were returned afterwards and they were assessed damages? A. My view is that that trouble would not be a serious one. A manufacturer is anxious to have his leather put on a finished glove and not throw it back on the cutter. It would make confusion all around to have pairs thrown back that were not merchantable.
Q. They testified it was their result of their attempting to get what was not in the skin when they were taxed? A. My judgement would be that that trouble would only arise where a cutter would possibly not take as much interest in his work or might not be as experienced as the average cutter and was perhaps a little bit more wasteful in cutting some part of the glove and cut away at might have been used in the final finish.
Q. Couldn't it also arise that the man who gives out the skins taxes them higher than the amounts in the skins? A. If the estimate asked for by the man in charge of giving out of the skins was only fair naturally that would mean that the cutter has the privilege of coming back to the man in charge of the cutting room and saying that you asked for three dozen pairs of gloves here, I can't see where they are coming from and it is his business to show him where they are coming from and he is able to cut out the gloves after further trial. In my own particular shop if he does not succeed and is a pair short now and then we do not raise any serious disturbance because a difference of judgment may arise at the time.
Q. Then he may also show him that there were so many gloves and so many tranks and tell him to run around the factory and get what pieces he could. That was the testimony here that they did not have pieces around their own table but had to go around the factory to get pieces to match? A. Would not the fact that we sell several hundred dollars worth of scraps at the end of the year, small pieces, that we have enough for all of our cutters - several hundred dollars at the end of each year of loose leather.
Q. I don't know that it was your shop that they claimed the leather was not there and in order to get pieces to match they had to go around the factory? a. I think you will find that most all of the shops of any large size sell at the end of the year quite a large amount of what we call scrap leather to pocket book manufacturers and evidence can be given by those who have the same plan as our own.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Do you think, Mr. Stitt, that under a system of too rigid taxation, if such a condition did exist that it would be hard on the cutters, more mentally than physically - would it operate to reduce their wages? A. I do not think that such a state of mind exists on the part of the cutters. The cutting of gloves is not sufficiently a hard profession. The requirements made by the man in charge of the giving out of the leather for the various styles of gloves has to be more or less elastic. We have many cutters that turn in some times more than one or two pairs on a batch of skins beyond what they are taxed, because they happen to go to a cutter who is exceedingly skillful and he is able to get more out of those skins than our man asked for. On the other hand, there will be another batch of skins where the man in charge of the leather may put an extra pair on to which the man will come back and ask to be shown where they come from. Those differences have always existed in glove manufacturing.
Q. The taxation is not a direct element of this controversy excepting in that it has been alleged to have operated to reduce wages by requiring the time of the cutter in going back to the taxer and foreman and discussing the quantity of gloves with him; also the time in going around the establishment for scraps or pieces to match the thumbs and forchettes; in taking up their time they claim it does operate to reduce wages, but in addition to that it seems to me that the testimony introduced here indicates that at least in some shops these skins have been taxed too closely and I believe that it is a subject which the body of manufacturers might very well given attention to in order to eliminate any possible grievance or abuse which may have arisen, possibly without their knowledge or their direction of the manufacturers themselves? A. The man in charge of the giving out of the skins, Mr. Rogers, are all former cutters themselves. The relations between them and the cutters working for them are quite friendly. They have no desire to crowd the men under them in any severe way such as possibly you and your conferers may have got the idea of. They are all good fellows together. Take for instance in my shop: not one of my sorts is cutting gloves. They are friendly with out own cutters there. I do not find any special fault with them for having any feeling of that kind towards our cutters. Therefore the very fact of the friendly relation shows that they are not liable to ask for any larger requirements from the skins than the skins will produce. Of course there may be a mistake made on either side once in a while, but as far as our shop is concerned there has always been a pretty good feeling between the cutters and the men over them. I simply speak of that spirit. The whole manufacturing business here, the glove business, has been run on a friendly line. The relations between the cutters and the men over them has been very good and I do not think that there has been any serious exactions put on the men with the idea of being hard task masters.
BY MR. McMANUS:
Q. Has there being any returns by the cutters claiming that they could not get the amount taxed? A. Not to my personal knowledge. I think one reason that we have not as good results from the manufacture of gloves in this county is the fact that we have very little regulation of our factory arrangements. The men come at ten in the morning and stop at twelve and if they don't come back in the afternoon we don't know it. They have had the freedom for a great many years of coming any time in the morning that they like and leaving at any time in the afternoon. It might be it is not a good thing for the cutter. It is certainly not a good thing for the general oversight of your business. The business started here in a very moderate way, in small shops and as the small shops have developed into larger shops the same easy way of going along continues, and where we have a number of small shops, where the men are allowed to do about as they lease, that feeling is carried into the larger shops.
Q. I understood you to testify that in cases where a cutter got skins - take off so many gloves and the cutter was to say that that number of skins was not in the skins and return it and show it to the foreman or whoever taxes them - - would the foreman make it right? A. Yes, he would show him how to cut the number of gloves taxes or reduce the taxation.
Q. And suppose he reduces it, is that all there was to it? A. Yes, positively.
Q. And on the other hand a man failed to get the number taxed they would lose their jobs? A. No, sir.
Q. That is what I understood you to say? A. If a cutter failed to continue to get the number of gloves which the skins should produce he would probably be the first cutter dropped.
Q. Suppose the foreman continued to tax the skins for more than they were worth? A. A foreman of that kind would be a very poor man to keep in ones employ, to bring about disintegration or confusion.
Q. Have the manufacturers ever found out whether their foremen do those things; I ask that because that is one of the serious questions here? A. I don't get the point of your question.
Q. Have the manufacturers generally made any attempt from those giving out the skins, who were taxing them, whether they were taxing them for a larger number than were really in them? A. I can only speak for my own factory. As previously testified the men tell me that they have never had any serious complaints with out cutters and the fact that our cutters continue year by year is the best proof of their being satisfied with their shop.
Q. That is on account of the condition here in Gloversville; if there is anything wrong, it is wrong pretty generally? A. Business varies sometimes in factories.
Q. It was not in relation to your factory that most of the testimony was given? A. I have never heard of that complaint from any other factory.
Q. The testimony here was all along that line, they all complained, every witness we had, they complained about the taxation? A. You mean from the cutters?
Q. Yes, every one of them? A. I never heard of it.
BY MR. DOWNEY:
Q. You said, Mr. Stitt - - you stated you had 40 years experience in the glove industry? A. Yes, sir.
Q. During that time were you ever a cutter? A. I never cut any gloves.
Q. Testimony has been given here that glove cutting was a highly skilled trade; what do you say to that? A. I think that table cutting is more or less of a skilled trade, but it is learned quite quickly.
Q. How quickly? A. We have some men who take their sons for apprentices and inside of a few months they are cutting gloves with their father and in many cases, in a year or so, they will be able to cut gloves without any special assistance.
Q. Testimony has been given here, both by the men and the employers, that they require three years before they are competent to cut gloves? A. Might require three years before they are fully competent but they turn out gloves after they are not much more than a year at it.
Q. Now lets go into that apprenticeship question, as long as you brought it up; a cutter takes his son or somebody else in there and he is responsible for the work that an apprentice does in the cutting of gloves? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Whatever damage or bad cutting is done the cutter is responsible for the work of that apprentice? A. What do you mean by responsible?
Q. For any work that he destroys of the manufacturer? A. I do not think that there is much work destroyed; I don't think that question comes up.
Q. If there is some destroyed? A. I do not understand the situation.
Q. If that apprentice should destroy a skin who is responsible for it, his apprentice or the cutter? Who is responsible generally for the skins destroyed in the operation of cutting? A. If it is the cutter's fault; he is responsible.
Q. And if it is the apprentice's fault the cutter is responsible? A. I presume so.
Q. That is the only industry in which such a condition exists to my knowledge; so far as you know it is a pretty highly skilled trade, the other manufacturers so testified, and they must be as skilled in one factory to be in your opinion able to cut gloves? A. Naturally so.
Q. The testimony was given here, Mr. Stitt, that seventeen years ago you made a general increase to the cutters of Fulton county, do you remember that? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How as that increase granted at that time? A. I don't exactly get the question.
Q. You are a member of the Glove Manufacturers Association? A. I don't remember anything especially about the Glove Association - my recollection is - I think it was about 1897 if I remember right - there was a substantial increase given. As I recall the time, it was on account of the increase tariff that they put on gloves which gave some better opportunities to compete with foreign gloves.
Q. In 1897? A. I think that was the year.
Q. That is the year as was testified here and they glove manufacturers of Fulton county at that time granted that increase following the passage of the tariff bill, or some tariff bill, increasing the tariff on the importation of foreign gloves? A. The manufacturers did not make any increase; each individual shop gave an increase in their various scales of wages at that time as I recall it.
Q. That was the testimony here; at that time when the Dingley tariff bill went into effect the glove cutters of Fulton county were promised an increase by the manufacturers and that tariff was in effect when they went again to the manufacturers and they refused to grant any increase to them and told them they misunderstood them and all that they intended to give them was longer work, not any increase in the price that was then paid; they went on a strike and after ten weeks they were granted a ten percent increase? A. I don't recall that particular side of it. I realize that after - I think it was the Dingley bill that gave the increase on duty on foreign gloves - which was the beginning of the fine goods industry in this county, that was more or less experimental to see how successful we would be in making the finer grades of gloves in competition with Europe. Every industry starting out fresh has to feel its way and it therefore may have been that we were not clear ourselves as to what rate of wages we could afford to pay so that our costs would not come up too high to successfully compete with foreign made gloves.
Q. What I want to know, is Mr. Stitt, is that; if you remember in 1897 you testified that you thought the increase was given voluntarily, that the ten percent or by a ten weeks strike, - - now could a ten weeks strike occur in your factory at that time and you have no knowledge of it? A. I have the slightest recollection of it today.
Q. The whole industry was tied up here for ten weeks? A. If you have the records to substantiate it.
Q. I have only the sworn testimony that was given here by every man that went on the stand, the glove cutters of Fulton county? A. I haven't any special recollection about it.
Q. Their testimony was given, every cutter that testified here, and I believe there were 18 or 20 or 25 of them, they say that the price for cutting in all of the establishments both members of the glove cutters association and those outside of it was all governed by the one price of cutting so far as the cutting of gloves is concerned; what do you say about that? A. Years ago, when this county furnished a very small percentage of the gloves being produced here now - in the beginning of the industry of fine gloves - the prices were varied in different shops. If a man had only a few orders or took an order at a price that was a difficult one for him to make a profit out of and men were out of employment he might be able to get his gloves cut or made at perhaps a lower price than was being paid in some other shops. As the business developed and increased in size and importance and people became more generally employed the factories that were running regularly all the year around felt that it would be a better thing for the manufacturer and a better thing for the employee to have regular weekly rates of wages and out of that has developed the schedule under what we are working, which in my judgment has benefitted the cutter just as much as it has the manufacturer - in this way: that a cutter working in a small shop at the same price where he might only have worked five or six months in the year as a cutter working the larger shops that had the same steady work for fifty weeks a year. I therefore think the uniform rate of wage works no hardship to the cutter but is of advantage to him in the long period.
Q. How is the uniform rate of wages reached by the manufacturers, among themselves? A. We have the average rate of wages being paid here - if I remember rightly it was the average of the better type of factories - that a rate of wage was established to cut.
Q. But you did not consult the cutters as to the rate you were establishing? A. The cutters were satisfied with their work when they were getting work for possibly fifty weeks per year as against the old plan of six, eight or nine months. The total of wages to the cutter proved satisfactory to them.
Q. How do you know that? A. By the general happiness of our people and the general good spirit of the town. Our town here, Mr. Commissioner, is not an unfortunate one.
Q. Was that rate of wages which you say was established - was that done previous to 1897? A. I am only speaking in the general sense Mr. Commissioner, I am not fixing any definite time.
Q. What I would like to know is, how far back does - - I have been told - - in 1890 it has been testified here there was reduction in the glove cutters earnings in this vicinity and that was of ten percent. In 1897 they went out on strike to get back that which was taken from them by the glove manufacturers in 1892, so that in fact from 1892 to the present time there has been no substantial increase and the men are now out on strike for an increase for wages; that there has not been any increase in the glove industry and the prices were set by the manufacturers and the workers were not considered in bringing about an adjustment about the wages? A. I think you are mistaken in your conclusion.
Q. It is not my conclusion, that is the testimony we have got? A. Speaking in regard to your view of it, every year there has been some little corrections made. For instance if a cutter would go to one of our foreman and show him that a certain type of work, a new style that might have been created during the year, was not paid as fairly as some other work that possibly would not require as much time, those matters would be brought up and we would endeavor to correct any inaccuracies that might arise.
Q. It was testified here that two or three years ago an increase was paid for the certain makes because the manufacturers felt there were not paid in the proportion in the best price of others and it was also testified by the manufacturers that during the same period they reduced the price on cutting silk lined gloves, if I remember, to five cents a pair? A. Had the five cents a pair taken off?
Q. Well they took off five cents on silk lined gloves? A. Yes.
Q. If I remember right they gave them an increase on mocho of 5½ cents? A. 6½ cents, what was the point Mr. Commissioner?
Q. That that was the only increase outside of the increase made two or three years ago; those are the statements made here? A. I tried to make clear in my previous testimony that we had steady work coming up from six or seven months of systematic employment in all of the factories here, due to steady work, running in the average of fifty weeks per year, has made a very large increase in the income of all of the operators, not only cutters and sewers. Our conditions have been such, Mr. Commissioner, if you would go on the inside and see the actual cost of our merchandise accounts, the selling price and how that price is more or less governed and controlled by foreign competition, you would very quickly realize, Mr. Commissioner, our standard, that we want to be fair and just and it simply means that our industry is in a peculiar class by itself. You have to meet fixed selling price and you have to meet fixed foreign competition.
Q. It was testified here that seventy percent of the gloves used in this country are manufacturer in Fulton county, mens gloves?
MR> BAKER: Seventy percent of those manufactured in this country were manufactured here.
THE WITNESS: The large proportion of mens' fine gloves made in America are made here, but that is only a fraction of the men's gloves that are sold throughout the country.
Q. Now, Mr. Stitt, in your opinion, has the cost of living in this vicinity in the past seventeen years increased? A. I can only speak of my housekeeping experience the same as you can.
Q. You are not living here but you know the cost of living has increased in the past seventeen years? A. It has increased all over the world.
Q. To about what extent do you think the cost of living has increased in the past seventeen years? A. It varies according to our position.
Q. Now Mr. Stitt if the manufacturers were to grant this increased needed by the men of 15 cents a dozen would such increase necessitate your selling your product at an increased price of a 1¼ cents a pair, wouldn't it? A. I don't think you have the proper conception, Mr. Commissioner, of the glove problem.
Q. In the event that you conceded the demand, the demand of 25 cents first, as I understand it, and of course if you conceded that demand to the men, that would be about possibly 2½ cents a pair - now they are satisfied to accept 15 cents as I understand it and some of the manufacturers have granted that? A. One or two of them.
Q. I don't know how many, three or four they claim, but in the event that all of the manufacturers were to concede that 15 cents a dozen, wouldn't that only increase the selling price of a pair of gloves one cent and a quarter? A. The way you figure it.
Q. What other way can it be figured; I am asking only on the cutting of the glove? A. As far as the cutting, that figure is correct.
Q. Now do you think the trade in general could stand that increase of a cent and a quarter on each pair of gloves? A. I think the question you ask has not covered the business proposition we have to handle. Our reason for not being able to increase wages at this part time, Mr. Commissioner, is based on the business conditions of the country that we are up against. You may not be aware that within the last two months we have received about as many cancellations of orders taken before the war as we have any little increased business. I hold in my hand here a batch of letters - -
Q. Just before you read them, I want to ask you another question? A. Yes.
Q. 1912 was a prosperous year, wasn't it, in the glove business? A. Not a very prosperous year.
Q. It was considered a pretty good year I understand - you know that glove cutters then submitted a proposition and asked for an increase in wages? A. I believe that the cutters did ask us to consider some increase in wages in different glove factories, but we were up against the tariff which came into operation in the late Fall and the feeling among some of the manufacturers who discussed the matter was we met together at times from time to time socially was, what are we going to do now with the change of tariff and a difference of nearly fifty percent in our protection against foreign made gloves. We felt we would like to try it out and for that reason we made no change in our wages and we are carrying now the burden of the old wage rate, not only for cutting but in making and in all departments of labor against the fact that the foreigner has nearly fifty percent advantage. If we had reduced wages two years ago, as many did, to meet new conditions, we might be in condition to discuss the question of a change now.
Q. When you did have the opportunity, you never raised wages, did you? A. As I have explained to you we have had the increased labor, hours of our people, and that has given a large increase in income. Formerly they only worked a very moderate time and now have steady work and this industry is not like many other industries that only work for a certain period of the year. We work now in most of the large shops from January first to December 15th and that has made a great difference in the general income of all of our employees. If it was not for the steadiness of the glove business it would be very disastrous because our profits are so limited. It is the stable character of the glove business, running along in a sort of a moderate way that gives us a chance to burn ourselves.
Q. Then by that Mr. Stitt you infer that a man having a steady job should work for a good deal less wages than a man who has not a steady job? A. I would not put it that way.
Q. You mean to have us infer that the reason why wages were never increased around here for the glove cutters is because they have steady employment? A. No, sir, I take strict exception to that.
Q. Then what do you mean to have us understand? A. I mean to say that the competition that we have had to compete with on the other side has prevented all of us from making proper profits on our merchandise and prevented us from paying increased rates of labor.
Q. But you did state that you did give the men steady employment and that you thought you could not raise the wages and that was equivalent to an increase in wages? A. I tried to make clear to you Mr. Commissioner that the very fact that our men are employed more or less steadily during the year gives them that advantage over the working spasmodically as there was the case 15 or 18 years ago. The fact that in this industry we have not been able to make any serious advance in wages has been because we are up against a strong foreign competition where labor is so much cheaper than here. Take for example, as I have previously testified to, a glove that we sell in this country at thirteen dollars and a half, that was cut to twelve dollars and a half during this year, and we had to meet that competition and on that glove we only make a moderate profit.
Q. That was home competition more than the foreign competition wasn't it? A. No, foreign competition and I am talking about foreign competition. The price on cutting on this side as compared with Germany and Italy and other points in Europe, as you know, is very much cheaper and the cost of producing a glove over there is very much in their favor. I do not need to go into the details of the various relations of the manufacturing part of it, apart from the fact that the foreigner was able to bring over gloves in competition with Gloversville under the old rate of $4.80 and we were not able to get any large increase of the business and now their duty is reduced to $2.50 - if my figures are correct - nearly fifty percent is of further advantage to the foreign manufacturer under the present bill than it was under the old tariff. That added up so much more to our burden and in spite of that we made no change in our rates of wages in Gloversville.
Q. Then no matter under what conditions, the cutters are employed they can never hope to have any increase in wages according to this statement? A. I think Mr. Commissioner that if our cutters would work more steady hours the income would be very largely increased as you will see by the statements submitted, where cutters will run one week twenty dollars or twenty five dollars or fifteen dollars, according to the skill or speed of the cutter and then maybe next week his wages will come down to ten or twelve dollars. That means he has not worked as many hours as when he made the larger amount. That comes because we have no system in our various shops of cutters working what we call regular hours.
Q. Does that hold in your shop that a man will make twenty dollars one week and only ten the next? A. If he does not work as long for the ten, yes.
Q. And it is my experience and you have had some that when a man makes twenty dollars a week he likes to make twenty-two the next; I have never known in my experience that a man would be willing to make twenty dollars one week and only ten the next. A. The glove industry is altogether different.
Q. It seems to be? A. You will find that a great many make very close to the same amount which is the best proof that we can offer, twenty dollars a week, if they work steady hours.
Q. As a general proposition the cutters in your factory do not though average about the same weekly wages every week? A. If they work steadily they would average nearly the same amount.
Q. You don't know whether they do or not, you have no system of finding out whether they work steadily? A. We have no control over the hours they work and we have no record of it.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. I have asked the different manufacturers who have been requested to be here today to produce for our consideration and information a financial statement showing the organization and capitalization of their various companies and an income statement for four years and a business balance sheet showing the amount of business and the amount of profit and also the salaries of the three principal officers covering the years of 1910, 1911, 1912, and 1913, and I have been informed that on account of your being here from New York you did not have an opportunity of preparing that information; will you agree to send us that? A. I will be very glad to Mr. Rogers.
Q. It will be advantageous if we can have that by sometime on Thursday if at all possible? A. I will attend to the matter as soon as I return to New York.
Q. Have you any other statement you would like to make? A. Mr. Commissioner may I make a little bit more clear to you, possibly, so that you will not get a wrong view of the term apprentice, - I am sure as to the number of young men we have worked with their fathers but it simply means that a father is very glad to have his son learn the trade when he takes the time to handle it properly and the father takes him in requesting that privilege and we are very glad to show that confidence in the cutter to have his son work there or possibly some relative, that we have no control over the matter, and that there is no advantage to the manufacturer. It simply gives the father an opportunity of teaching the son the art of glove cutting. I speak of that simply so you won't have any idea that it has a special advantage to the glove manufacturers.
Q. I understand that. That increases the income of the father? A. Yes, sir.
Q. The payments are made to the father? A. The payments are made to the father; we do not know the son at all.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Do you recall how many apprentices you have in your shops now? A. I do not, I suppose two or three, it is a small number. I would like to call your attention for a moment to the chief reason why we were no able to increase wages at this particular time when conditions all over the country are so disastrous, from a business standpoint. Before I left New York, the young man in charge of the return case brought me these few letters which are merely samples of many others I might have brought to you. This is retailer from Uniontown, Penn., dated October 8th, saying: "We are taking the liberty sent by Adams Express prepaid. Gentlemen, business is very bad here and we bought too many gloves. We will thank you very kindly for credit. You know we are in the center of the coke region, the dullest section just now in all Pennsylvania, and it has been extremely dull for the past two years. However it is gratifying to note that it has been and will be one of the best sections in Pennsylvania. Yours truly," with a list of the returned merchandise.
This letter is from Plattsmouth, Nebraska, dated 8/3/14: "Kindly cancel our order September first delivery. If the goods are ordered later same will be ordered. This is for reasons we do not care to make known at this time. Yours truly."
Florence, S.C. Aug. 4, - "Will kindly ask that you cancel our glove orders and will fill inside as needed later on."
"This date is August 20th from Davenport, Iowa. Kindly cancel my order for Clinton, Iowa store. My manager advises me we have a large stock on hand. The Davenport store you can ship as conditions are better there."
Chicago, "Jacob Adler Co.: In regard to your order to be shipped September 15th, 1914, I wish to cancel it on account of being overstocked in what we have and business being now so poor. Hope to give you an order in the future." That is date August 12th.
St. Louis, September 29th - "Your shipment of the 24th to hand. We have this day returned you part of the goods as we find ourselves very much overstocked on these numbers. Will you kindly send credit memorandum for goods returned and if we need any gloves in the near future we will send you order."
Winslow, Ariz. 7/15/14 - "We would much rather you would cancel our order or hold it until business conditions in the West are better and then we will gladly send check for the goods. Business is at a complete standstill just now and has been some time and we do not want to buy anything we can do without until business picks up. Thanking you for holding the order until business justifies it, we remain."
Sandusky, Ohio, Aug. 26: "We are sorry to be obliged to cancel order for gloves which were to be shipped to us September 15th as we can not use the same." That is dated August 26th.
St. Louis, August 27th. Please cancel the following numbers from my order given April 15th for five different styles and all men's goods at $13.50 per dozen.
Brennan, Texas, 8/24. In regard to my order given your agent please confer favor and cancel entire order. Things down here look very bad. Should I need it later will advise you some time in November. Awaiting your reply.
Cleveland, Ohio, dated August 16th - As we are greatly overstocked in gloves we are compelled to ask you to cancel our Fall order but just have the original shipped and oblige, yours truly.
Americus, Ga., Aug. 21. Kindly do not ship gloves out ahead of time. Conditions are not very promising in this country at present and unless they change we will probably be forced to cancel at least part of our order.
Somerville, S.C. Oct. 8th. In view of the poor conditions in this section, we are compelled to return to you part of shipment of nine twenty-five, which we will be unable to use this time. Should conditions permit we will gladly reorder at a later date. Kindly credit us with goods when received.
Clinton, N.Y. Sept. 26th. Will have to ask you to cancel our entire order for October 1st shipment, as business conditions have compelled me to do so.
Navasota, Tex. Aug. 25th. Conditions are such that I am compelled to ask you not to ship the gloves as there is absolutely nothing doing here. We can not sell cotton at all consequently there is no business outlook. Probably later on I can reinstate this order. Regretting my inability to accept the gloves, I remain, yours truly.
Monroe, N.C. Oct. 3rd. Please cancel back order or additional order. If conditions improve and we need other goods will order.
Binghamton, N.Y. September 24th. I am very sorry but I will have to cancel the entire order. I am closing out the business and can not use them. Business has been very bad and it don't pay to run the store.
Summerton, S.C. Please cancel the order to be shipped about September 21st as conditions are such that will not warrant us buying new stock. In the Fall if conditions brighten up and we find we can use even part of the goods will be very glad to do it.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q. Are those all the cancellations you received? A. Not by any means. They are only a small percentage. I simply introduce them to represent the business conditions of the country, one of the main reasons why we can not, as far as my concern is concerned, entertain any changes in wages at this time.
Q. Has there been an increase in the last eleven years in the cost of leather used for manufacturing gloves? A. Leather has increased constantly every year for the last 15 years.
Q. State whether there has been a marked increase since August first? A. Since August first, after the War broke out, all the dealers that had leather on hand, made large advances in the cost of the skins which manufacturers to protect what orders they had to fill, or might receive in the future had to pay serious advances on the cost of any stock purchased.
Q. What do you say Mr. Stitt as to the amount of leather available here in the county for manufacturing fine goods? A. The amount of glove leather available for the manufacturing of gloves is a very small one and if the strike had not occurred at this time, most of that leather would have been very largely cut up. As far as our own business is concerned, in the face of cancellations received and the fact that the country is in no condition to buy goods at advanced prices I would feel that we would have use for a very moderate proportion of cutters if they returned tomorrow. I will be glad to average up matters so that we might keep our organization together, but the outlook for the American glove industry is so tied up with the shutting off of our raw materials on the other side, along with general poor business conditions, that we are up against a stone wall for the time being. I hope that conditions that will improve so that we will see our way more clearly.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. Do you understand that Fownes Brothers have taken back their men and granted them a fifteen cents? A. Fownes Brothers represent an English concern who manufacture in this country but a very small proportion of their output. It may be their English concern is somewhat disorganized on account of the War and it may serve their best interests to cut some gloves here. I do not know their necessities but that would be my judgment. The Manager of that concern told me over the phone when the strike occurred that it was simply impossible, based wage question here as compared with the competition of his own factory abroad, it would be impossible to give any advance or costs on the gloves made in Gloversville. It gives just that much advantage to the foreign manufacturer. I quote that as what the Manager of the Fownes factory said to me. He has changed his mind since that time and it may be home conditions made him change his viewpoint.
Q. Does that hold good of Hallock & Stewart? A. I did not refer to Hallock & Stewart and know nothing about their affairs.
Q. They have also granted the increase and taken their men back? A. That is a small concern. They may have a few orders and personal reasons for continuing their organization but in the great viewpoint of the industry as a whole, I think the cutters chose a very unfortunate time for a strike and I told that committee so when I talked to them as I showed to my own employees. One of them was one of my own employees.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. I would like to ask how you reconcile the difficulty which you intimate that Fownes may have found themselves in in regard to manufacturing in England with the comparatively prosperous manufacturing conditions in France or Germany? A. I said Mr. Rogers there would probably be some interference with some organization of the glove manufacturers on the other side, and it may be, I am only surmising my reasons - I do not know the reason why Mr. Bowles changed his viewpoint from telling me plainly that he could not consider any increase because of the conditions involved, I am not running the Fownes concern - that is run from England and I have all that I can do to try and manage my affairs here with the interest of this county and my own business at heart.
Q. As I understand the war situation it would be less likely to effect English manufacturers than that of France or Germany? A. I think that it is time, but nevertheless one factory might have a peculiar condition that would have more men employed at one factory that possibly the one next door. I am telling the facts as I know them only. We have all been surprised at the large quantity of gloves sent over from Europe since the war started and the further fact that German glove manufacturers, French glove manufacturers and English glove manufacturers are soliciting orders, now taking them.
Q. Has your firm made any increase in the selling price of gloves since the war started? A. Not appreciable, a few numbers growing out of the increased price of gloves that are referred to but we have not had enough business to really amount to anything at all.
Q. How does your August and September of this year compare to what they were last year? A. Our August and September of this year are about fifty percent of what they were last year
Q. There is one question I would like to get cleared up before we finish, and that is in regard to the adjustment of prices made a couple of years ago, in regard to the two kinds of cutting; was that adjustment of two cents on one kind and six and half on another and a reduction of five cents on another kind, was that made by the manufacturers alone or after a conference with the cutters in regard to a proposed change? A. I could not answer as to that. I do not live in Gloversville and I do not come in contact with the details of the prices. The prices will be submitted in New York of what all the people are going to pay at the factory and any prices I could agree to I would say yes, and the schedule would remain in force for a year, but the details I have nothing to do with, living in New York City.
Q. Isn't it a fact that the rates, as a matter of common information with you, isn't that adjusted by the manufacturers association of which you are a member? A. To a certain extent that is true but there are more people out of the manufacturers association than there are in it by a large majority.
Q. How about the quantity produced in Gloversville, isn't that about evenly divided by the members in the Association and those out of it? A. I think there are more goods produced by the manufacturers outside of the association than those in it.
Q. But as regards the fixed prices in all the factories, it is a matter largely caused by the manufacturers Association? A. I would not answer that Mr. Rogers, as the real pith of the matter. In our own factories if t he cutters have some fault to find of some inequalities on some new style produced that year our man takes that up and there is a conference with some other shop making the same thing and they say well, if that takes more time, increase it five cents. That may be on some few - we don't get many of them. My judgment is that if cutters work day after day on one style they get so used to the measurement and certain of the stocks they can earn more money than they can earn working on specialties and that is the reason some specialties command a higher price.
Q. There is however, a schedule committee of the Manufacturers Association, isn't there? A. Yes, sir, there is.
Q. Are you a member of that Committee? A. I am not.
MR. BAKER: Mark that as a memorandum for identification.
(The paper referred to was marked exhibit A for identification, October 13th, 1914.)
MR. BAKER: Mark that paper also.
(The paper referred to was marked exhibit B for identification, October, 13th, 1914.)
BY MR. BAKER:
Q. Now Mr. Stitt I show you exhibit A for identification and ask you to state what that memorandum is? A. This memorandum is an exhibit taken from our labor payroll for A. Willmer, covering the time he worked in our factory in 1913, from July 11th to December 26th.
Q. That covers an individual laborer? A. Individual laborer.
Q. That I understand will be included in the payroll that is to be submitted?
MR. BAKER: Yes, sir. This covers the amount earned by Mr. Willmer covering the various weeks from July 11th to December 26th.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Do I understand that the purport of this special exhibit is to correct or to controvert testimony introduced by the witnesses in general? A. Yes, sir, and also for the same period in 1914 from January 9th to June 26th when he left our employ.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q. That is a transcript? A. Taken from our payroll.
Q. And correctly taken? A. Yes, sir, we hold Mr. Willmer's check endorsed by him, showing that he received these amounts. We also have on the same slip from George Hanson and covering July 11th 1913 to December 26th 1913 and from January 9th to June 28th.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. That is a complete year? A. No, sir, it covers the time that he was in our employ. This other memorandum has been taken at random from our payrolls, showing the wages week after week of many of our cutters who work for us regularly and shows in a very fair way what cutters can earn if they work steadily.
Q. That will show on the entire payroll transcript? A. This print (indicating paper) is a correct statement taken from our books and we have the cutters' receipts as well as the endorsed checks.
Q. I want the complete payroll statement that is going to be submitted? A. We have that for you.
Q. MR. BAKER: Your payroll covers a stated period, this covers an additional period outside of the payroll?
THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
MR. ROGERS: Our payroll exhibit which we have requested from the manufacturers covers from the first of July 1913 to the first of July 1914 and includes, as I am informed, all of the table and pull down cutters in the employ of the several manufacturers?
THE WITNESS: I understand that your own representative called at our factory and checked back those figures which we were very glad to furnish him.
MR. McMAHON: Now these figures, what are they?
THE WITNESS: These are supplemental, covering those who worked steadily all the year around.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. I may say that I have instructed our statistician to have compiled these payrolls from the payroll sheets in tabulating averages to select the regular men, but on what basis we will consider a man regular, we have not definitely established yet, but if he has appeared on nearly all of the payrolls of the year I think we would consider him a regular work man.
THE WITNESS: I think that would be fair.
MR. ROGERS: And I may say that in figuring the averages for these regular men we will probably figure both on the average pay received for the number of weeks worked, that is dividing the total income of the man for the year by the number of payrolls on which he appears in order to be fair to the men if they have worked regularly through the year on all the payrolls and appear on all of the payrolls, we will divide their earnings by fifty two so as to get their average weekly income as well as their average payroll income. We will be glad to examine these exhibits but of course we shall rely on the official transcripts of the payrolls themselves.
A B R A H A M L E H R, recalled.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Mr. Lehr, you have already been sworn in this examination? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Our purpose in recalling you is to request from the Dempster & Place Company a financial statement for our consideration and information; have you filed such a statement for our examination? A. I have.
Q. And do you swear that that statement is correct? A. I do.
Q. I shall ask the several manufacturers to permit our statistical representative to check back on the original records the correctness of the transcript which you have made and sworn to so that it will amount for our information to the same effect as if we had taken the trouble to subpoena the books and papers of your concern here before us for examination?
THE WITNESS: Of what effect is our oath that these figures are correct?
MR. BAKER: The question raised in my office as you will recall between counsel and myself and the deputy Attorney General was the question of presenting our books for the inspection of your body. Mr. McDonald suggested that to avoid any contention we would furnish you such statements to be sworn to by us, to avoid any contention over the production of the books, litigation or anything. Now the manufacturers are getting out those statements. They are coming here swearing that they are true and that was all that was contemplated in our agreement. We do not wish to raise the question of the production of the books.
MR. ROGERS: We will not go in that at present. We will consider it and decide it at a later date.
The statements referred to heretofore were filed.
MR. LEHR: I would like to correct the testimony of Max Steinert, who stated here that he averaged $13.00 a week. Our records show on this present sheet and they will also show on the payroll transcript that for 50 weeks some of which weeks show a payroll of $24.85.
Q. Fifty weeks during what period? A. Fifty weeks from July 1st, 1913 to July 1st, 1914, averaging $14.33.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. What have you there? A. That is a transcript that one of our clerks made for me.
Q. Do you care to put that in evidence? A. Yes, I will be glad to.
Q. Who knows that it is a correct transcript? A. This will correspond exactly with the payroll transcript which your statistician has.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. In computing that average of Mr. Steiner did you divide his total income by fifty or fifty two? A. By fifty the number of payrolls we have here, the first payroll being July 5th and the last payroll being June 27th.
(The paper referred to was received in evidence and marked exhibit C of this date.)
MR. ROGERS: We should consider a man appearing on fifty payrolls as working steadily during the year and to get his average weekly earnings we should divide it by fifty two. That would not make a large difference, but some difference.
THE WITNESS: It would not make much difference but probably made it about fourteen dollars.
MR. ROGERS: Is there any other correction you wish to make?
THE WITNESS: That's all.
J O S E P H M O S E S, called and sworn as a witness testifies as follows:
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. With what firm are you connected? A. Bachner, Louis and Moses Co.
Q. You have been asked to submit a statement of your payroll, a copy? A. Yes sir.
Q. Have you it with you? A. No, I haven't it with me but it will be put in the hands of the attorney at any time.
Q. Your financial statement of the affairs of the company? A. Yes sir, that is all made out: I am very glad to give it.
Q. Do you know whether that statement is true or not? A. Absolutely.
Q. Did you make it? A. I went over the books with our bookkeeper. I am the Secretary and Treasurer.
Q. And you will swear that it is a correct statement from your books? A. Yes sir.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Are you a member of the Manufacturers Association, Mr. Moses? A. Our firm is.
Q. Have you ever stated to your cutters that your firm found itself unable to grant an increase in wages to your cutters because the manufacturers association refused its consent to such an increase? A. No sir.
Q. Does the manufacturers association fix the schedule of prices paid to the wage earners? A. The wage earners of the association, yes sir.
Q. As a member of the association then you would find it impracticable at least I presume to make any arrangement with the cutters? A. No, sir, none whatever, because we do violate that schedule in instances.
Q. Do you wish us to understand that the schedule is not a hard and fast proposition? A. Absolutely not sir. We have many special matters that we take ourselves.
Q. How about it as a general proposition? A. The same way generally, it is a known fact that various concerns do not uphold the schedule in exactness on many special matters; while we have a schedule, in many special cases, we arrange that special price.
Q. Are you a member of the schedule committee of the Manufacturers' Association? A. No sir.
Q. Are you the personal representatives of your firm in the meetings of the manufacturers association? A. Practically all. When I am away one of the other officers attends.
Q. Is any fee charged to your firm for membership in the manufacturers association? A. There is a membership fee, yes sir.
Q. Does that vary with the several manufacturers according to the size of their concern? A. Yes, sir, but has no difference with the vote; no manufacturer has more than a single vote.
Q. That is the principal point I had in mind? A. Yes, sir.
Q. That has already been testified to but I simply wish your corroboration of testimony already given? A. There are absolutely no penalties whatever attached for violations of our schedule.
Q. No monetary penalties? A. No, sir, and no other penalties.
Q. What are the objects of your manufacturers association? A. Primarily the tariff.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. What does that mean? A. It means that we have an association to undertake to look after the interests of the tariff matters, to induce if possible a favorable tariff for the manufacture of our goods in this country.
Q. How do your sales of this year compare with last year, since the War commenced, sales for the month of August and September? A. For the month of August there was an excess, for the September a very slight excess and for the month of October a very heavy decrease.
Q. As compared with last year? A. As compared with last year.
Q. Have you sold at an advance in price? A. In some cases, yes, sir.
Q. About what proportion of your product? A. In the month of August, about 36 percent.
Q. Of your product? A. Of the amount of goods sold, yes sir. The balance were at old prices and I want to add to that that over sixty six and two-thirds was the question of advancing from regular to a net price which means on an average of sixty cents a dozen, regular to a net.
Q. Explain that? A. We sell practically all of our goods at regular prices, meaning a discount of 5-30 and 6-10.
Q. That is five percent for the payment of the bill within thirty days and six percent for payment of the bill within ten days? A. Yes, sir.
MR. BAKER: What are the terms after that?
MR. McMAHON: Sixty net.
THE WITNESS: No it isn't sixty net, it works out on an average of four months net because we allow reduced discount for each month that bills are not paid. In September there were thirty percent of the goods sold at the advanced price in the same proportion as the cost.
MR. BAKER: That is changing from regular to net?
THE WITNESS: 66_%. The others were various changes.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Were they larger or smaller? A. Larger. For October the difference in orders received is over 65% less this year than last year.
BY MR. McMANUS:
Q. In the face of the strike are you soliciting business to as great an extent this year as you did last year? A. Not to the same extent. All our men are out. I would like to state that up to the first of July our sales as compared with 1913 were over forty percent less but our productive force was virtually less ten percent.
Q. Less? A. Less in production. We kept our force. Our payroll figures will show that. That is easily discernible by comparing the payroll of the first six months of this year and last.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Do you manufacture all the goods you sell? A. No, but to a large extent we do.
Q. You do buy some of other manufacturers? A. Yes, sir.
Q. That is quite generally the practice here, isn't it? A. It is the practice, but up to three or four years ago we did not buy anything, but working up to a class of goods we didn't make ourselves we purchased.
BY MR. DOWNEY:
Q. What is the weekly production? A. In Fulton county?
Q. Of your factory? A. It varies from week to week.
Q. Average it? A. Estimating it, it would be two thousand dozen per week.
Q. The men ceased work about six weeks ago as I understand it? A. Six or more.
Q. Then you are short in your production to date about twelve thousand dozen? A. No sir.
Q. How much? A. We are short in production as production goes but not as far as our stock goes because when the first of August opened up we had a very much larger stock then we ever had before.
Q. If this strike had not occurred, the men would still be working? A. The men would not be working, no sir. If they were to come back today at the rate we are booking business today they would be out or on very much reduced force inside of two weeks.
Q. Notwithstanding the increase of business in August and September of this year over a year ago they would be still out of employment? A. Yes, sir, a great deal of that is cancelled already.
MR. BAKER: What proportion is cancelled?
THE WITNESS: Not a great proportion with us because we were able to ship most of those goods purchased.
BY MR. ROGERS
Q. You always encounter a certain amount of cancellations? A. Yes, sir, but some years very slight, years of depression much larger.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q. How is it this year? A. We have not received a large proportion of cancellation for the fact that when the war broke out we received innumerable requests for October and November shipments which accounts for the heavy increase of our business during August.
BY MR. DOWNEY:
Q. And the same applied to September, didn't it, you got an increase? A. Yes, sir, but we got a very slight increase for September.
Q. Do you want this Board to understand that notwithstanding the increase of orders for August and September and before this strike occurred, that you are still short twelve thousand dozen pairs according to your own statement that there would be a curtailment of production? A. Yes, if you put it that way. We would not have continued with that force of cutters with this depression on us. We cut largely in the Spring on orders and always anticipate certain styles on which we expect increases or duplicate business in the Fall. That is we are quite ready and always willing to anticipate in quantities. We have that reputation in the trade of carrying by far the largest stock of ready made goods for immediate orders of any concern in the business.
Q. Testimony has been given here by some of the cutters that the busiest part of the year with them is during April and May and August and September, that they are all at work then; what do you say to that? A. To that I would state that in our factory every cutter that was employed by us during July and August could have as much work sa they were willing to do and if the payrolls show that there is any reduction it is because the men themselves took their own time off during those months. There was no restriction whatever to any cutter on his work this year in spite of this depression.
Q. Then I ask you again if this strike had not occurred they would still be working just the same? A. No, sir, they would not sir.
Q. What knowledge did you have in September? A. We received word very early in September that there was not the advantages to be gained in our particular business with the War craze.
Q. But this strike occurred in August? A. Yes. But what I am getting at is, you said we would have continued to have carried our force.
Q. Would you have continued? A. No, sir, we would not.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q. Why not? A. Because during September we began to notice a very heavy depression. We were receiving cancellations. We read in the newspapers all throughout the country men being laid off by the thousand. In our neighboring cities men were on the streets and had no work whatever; that of itself would give us the information that business generally in the Fall would be poor which is positively proven to be a fact by the daily newspaper reciting such all through the country.
Q. You mean by that you would stop cutting on stock and confine yourselves to orders? A. Confine ourselves to orders only. In our whole experience of 23 years we do not know of the Fall that there was such a disastrous business after the season once opened as the present one. Whether it is due wholly to weather or the general condition of the country we can not tell - probably both.
Q. Has your firm ever attempted in any way to affect a reduction in the price for cutting gloves from the 95 cent rate down to 80 cents? A. Never to my knowledge, never. I would like to add, Commissioner, in reference to that, that there is an extreme idea about the manufacturers themselves creating the employing of table cutters on what is termed pull down work. If it has occurred once it has occurred thirty and forty times this year when fully twenty to thirty table cutters came to me personally to please put them on what is termed pull down work, not stating that they are willing to do the table cut work at the pull down price, but perfectly willing to do the pull down work.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. Is that because that work is faster? A. They do not need to be so perfect and I want to add that out of every application we receive I did not employ one.
Q. Did that mean any more money to them to do pull down work? A. Does it mean any more money to them?
Q. Yes, could they earn more money? A. Our experience with the table cutter is, if a table cutter is particular with his work he can earn more money.
Q. He can turn it out faster? A. Can turn it out faster.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Is there any other statement you would like to make Mr. Moses? A. Yes, sir, in the matter of taxation. We employ a great many cutters, I believe it has been stated particularly that the taxation is severe in our own factory and for that reason I would like to make a statement in that matter. I know of no concern in the industry where there should be less concern than ours and why it isn't I attach all the blame to the cutters themselves for reasons which I will state. We employ a man to do absolutely nothing - and a former table cutter - but walks through the cutting room daily. That is all he has to do. Employing a number of cutters we know that there are matters coming up continually. We purposely placed that man there to be the go-between between the cutter and what troubles he might have and the foreman as it has now got beyond our personal attention. Our cutters are instructed that in cutting skins which you term taxation but which really means estimating, that if he finds in going over this work himself previous to cutting that he can not see the production of pairs estimated that he is to show them to this man. In so doing he has the opportunity, in addition to the taxer, to have the estimate put on by this man who is engaged for just that purpose. If in the estimation of this man the required number of pairs can not be cut he is supposed to bring in the original taxer. Having three of them and call his attention to what in his mind is impossible, to get the required number of pairs. They then rearrange that cutting scale if necessary. It is then brought back to the cutter, either changed or left in the original number of pairs and he is told to produce what he can. Gentlemen in no instance in the 23 years of our employment of cutters has a single cutter been taxed one penny for shortage in his tax.
Furthermore I want to state that it very frequently happens that what one cutter estimates as impossible to produce for a certain number of skins another cutter can easily produce and for that, for a demonstration I want to recite a case that came under my personal observation, with one of our very best cutters. I believe it was during June the cutter brought into the cutting or taxing department his skin and found this man who he was supposed to bring this to in the same room and did quite excitedly this batch of leather and said that in his mind it was very difficult to cut and then there would be two pair short. It was a semi long glove to be cut. Contrary to his instructions, being in the same room, he was handing them and told him that was not what he was required to do, he was to estimate himself in his own estimation whether the cutter produce the number of pairs that the slip called for. He stated to me that in his opinion the number of pairs were there, that there might be some possibility of one skin not being able to produce what was required. I then said hand them to the original taxer and stayed there myself. The original taxer said I can cut those skins myself. I will admit that one skin will require careful work on the cutters part to produce the pairs that I called for. The cutter immediately became provoked and said that in spite of the fact that two of our estimators stating that the goods were there, they were not. At that I said to the man who is required to go through the room, you state that the number of pairs are there, take those skins that are in doubt and cut them to show the cutter that the number of pairs are there as estimated. He handed the skins to the cutter and told them to dampen those skins because they required dampening before starting in to cut. As the cutter left the room he turned to me and stated that the cutter will not allow me to cut those skins, but I said I want you to cut them because if he should fall short it won't convince him. He said the cutter will not fall short on those skins. He will produce what they are estimated with the exception of the one skin on which we both stated there was a doubt. You may guess the result. The goods were cut by the cutter and produced as taxed, other than one pair.
In reference to taxing, I believe that every fair-minded cutter will tell you as an honest fact that taxing or estimation in Europe is a very much higher estimate than we can produce here. Gentlemen I am very glad of this out burst. We buy considerable of our leather on what is termed foreign tax. I desire to place in evidence proof of that and showing exactly the contention I make. The following is an abstract from a letter written by our office to a leather merchant located in Germany, February 26th, 1913. Our letter reads as follows: "Your production of pairs does not correspond with our actual cutting. This we now find to be positive and we are unable to cut the number of pairs out which you tax your skins." In another part of this same letter we stated as follows: "again we must state that we find a great variance in the cutting of your skins and what you state they will cut." The original letter in answer is here and states as follows: "When giving you a tax of production of pairs of gloves it is made on the foundation that my sorting man which is virtually the tax man - is ready to cut the quantity of gloves. I am writing to you and if you cut less in your factory your glove cutters may not be so sparingly as they are here with leather," and that gentlemen is an absolute fact which can easily be found out.
BY MR. McMANUS:
Q. Does it prove anything? A. It proves that when we get a cutter the first year or two from the other side his production of pairs is very much larger than in after years.
Q. Isn't it a fact that in every business where the stock given to the workmen is estimated that that trouble occurs and that just such conditions as that letter will show are present; for instance if you sell hies for shoes and for other articles and say they will produce so much - the workman can not produce that amount and the man who sells the stock always overestimates what the buyer can get out of them and then he sends an expert, one man out of perhaps five thousand to come in and do the cutting to show what the others can do, and it being unfair it makes a hardship on the workers; that's true in other industries that I know about; that letter reads like others I have read and it proves nothing? A. Your proportion is so different from what this industry shoes. Our proportion is nothing like that.
Q. I say that the man they might send to cut these skins might be one man out of five thousand? A. But I recited the case where we take skins and they are estimated and one cutter says they are not there and our cutter says they are there and can produce them, so that the main fault is with the cutter in not producing.
Q. It was not in the case you cited; you said that all gloves were gotten except one skin; the fact remains that that skin was overtaxed? A. But as I said, we give the man that opportunity, met on a single batch but on every batch and also stated that in no case did a man have to stand a single charge of any nature.
Q. Don't you think that it would be better in the first instance if the man who taxed the skins, if the man who taxed the skins has said that there was some doubt about that particular skin? A. I think, in that case, yes sir.
Q. Don't you think that that is what causes a great deal of trouble? A. I don't believe so. I think that the cutters believe generally that it would be better for them to have no tax whatever or more liberal tax as you might term it, but then our business would suffer in that case.
Q. That is true, but the idea is to get a just estimation or just tax? A. I believe in a just tax and gentlemen I want to state here now that since this trouble has come up I have called our taxers together and stated that if there is a complaint that it should be rectified. There should not be an unjust tax to the cutters, and I stand ready today to let any cutter in our employ come into our office and show us conclusively in any way shape or manner that we are putting a too careful tax on these skins, and I would be glad to see it rectified.
In fact we welcome and I have told it to our men that they should come more often to the office with complaints than they do.
Q. Are there any penalties? A. There are absolutely no penalties.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. Not in connection with taxation but in connection with imperfect gloves, the man who is unable to bring the number of gloves up to the tax lives in constant fear of discharge? A. According to our record there was a payroll of $133,178.82, of which the charges were $12.13 less than one-one thousandth percent.
MR. BAKER: That covers not only penalties?
THE WITNESS: Damages, no penalties.
BY MR. DOWNEY:
Q. What do you say as to the statement made here that glove cutting was a highly skilled trade? A. I believe it is in many cases, in the matter of a great percentage of the glove cutters it is a fact but they themselves will acknowledge to you that there are many of them who do not cut gloves properly and should not be allowed to cut.
Q. As a general proposition it is a highly skilled trade? A. I believe it is.
Q. Now if your firm was to grant this increase asked by the men, of 15 cents, that would only necessitate an increase in the cost of gloves of a cent and quarter? A. As adapted to the pair of gloves, yes sir.
Q. Do you suppose that the trade could stand that increase? A. They could anything they would pay for but it would be another thing if we could get it.
Q. Don't you think that you could get it? A. We never sell our goods in broken pieces.
Q. That would be fifteen cents a dozen? A. No, we would either sell them at the price we have sold them heretofore and take the 15 cents loss or advance them 25 cents a dozen.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. Why not advance then? A. We would find it very difficult to sell the goods.
Q. That is in the face of European competition? A. In the face of all competition, our own, as well as European.
Q. We are talking about this 85 percent which is being turned out in Gloversville; that would avoid that local competition, wouldn't it? A. No. We have local competition. It is one of the points you bring up. We never took advantage of the tariff that we had heretofore. Local competition has taken care of that, men in business willing to do their business on very small profits - that regulates prices.
BY MR. DOWNEY:
Q. But you have no competition in so far as the cutting of the gloves is concerned? A. No competition?
Q. So I understand? A. I don't quite catch the drift of that question.
Q. As I understand, the prices set by the glove manufacturers of Fulton county apply in all factories? A. No it doesn't apply in all factories.
Q. That has been the sworn testimony here? A. The report from the conference committee about one of the concerns who gave into this 15 percent advance admitted that they had not confined themselves to the rate of wages as paid in other factories.
Q. Previous to the strike? A. Previous to the strike.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Isn't the scale regarded as a minimum scale rather than a hard and fast scale? A. I should call it a minimum scale rather than a maximum.
Q. That is the firm you speak of, Hallock & Stewart, were paying slightly more than other concerns were on certain operations? A. Yes, sir, they admitted that, and that proves that the same price does not apply in all factories.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. And in doing that they are selling at a smaller profit? A. Yes, sir.
Q. They are able to? A. It don't prove that they are able to. I know of concerns that have sold goods at less than they were able to and had to go out of business.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Do you know of a concern that pays less than the schedule prices paid? A. I have heard of some, I don't know personally.
(The paper referred to by the preceding witness was marked Exhibit D of this date.)
At this point a recess was taken until two P.M.