|The Glovers of Fulton County|
W I L L I A M B U C K L E Y, called and sworn as a witness, testified as follows:
EXAMINED BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. State your name and address to the stenographer? A. 194 North Sto Street.
Q. What is your age? A. 73 next birthday.
Q. Are you a table cutter? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What plant do you work in? A. Dempster & Place.
Q. How long have you worked there? A. Two years last May.
Q. How long have you been a table cutter? A. Well pretty near sixty years.
Q. Where did you learn the trade? A. In the old country, in England.
Q. How long have you been in this country? A. 42 years, since I came to Gloversville first.
Q. Have you been a glove cutter all that time? A. Except about a year or so, I was in prison in Canada, guarding in a prison for some time, about two years.
Q. Have you been a table cutter? A. Well, it is 65 years since I started first. I could cut gloves when I was fourteen years and after that I was apprenticed until I was 21 but when I was seventeen I joined the Queen's army, so you see I have been a table cutter except about ten years all my life.
Q. How much do you make a week? A. Now I make about eight dollars, I judge about eight dollars. Of course I am an old man. I am not much to go on. If I go down and work five hours I can make 90 cents.
Q. Do you work short days? A. Yes, I work eight to ten hours a day. I work until I can not walk home scarcely to get something to eat. This dissatisfaction has been carried on here for a long time. It used to be a pleasant place to work in, Gloversville, but now it is misery here. This contention all the time with the skins, and one thing or another. We used to get good skins here to cut, beautiful skins, but now we get a lot of rubbish, that's all.
Q. Aside from your incapacity by reason of your age do you think the work is harder? A. Well it is different altogether from what it used to be. They want so much more done to it. Forty years ago we got better wages than we get today. Then we could buy beans for five cents a pound. Forty years ago in this town I got more for cutting a dozen gloves than I get today. We used to finish them up but it was easier to finish them up in those days than it is in these days.
Q. You are not satisfied with present conditions then? A. No, there is no one satisfied.
Q. Are you married? A. Oh yes, I am married, and it took me all these years since I have been here to buy myself a little cottage. I have nothing only a little home. I have worked very hard all the time.
Q. Any money saved? A. No, not five cents to get a cigar. You can't save any money. How can you save any money? I have had a sick woman and that is something that pulls me back some a great many years. There is dissatisfaction in the shops all the time. They want you to do something extra and get nothing for it. This marking and marking puzzles me so that I don't know where I am.
Q. The system of taxation has been in force a great many years hasn't it? A. Not a great many years. They used to threaten them. Men I know years ago made a fortune when they trusted the men. A foreman asked me a certain question when I was sorting mochos. I told him the only man to sort mochos was the man who cut them, if he knew how to cut them; but they will throw them out, throw them out - they are the great I ams. Sometimes I will get a dozen out of a skin when they don't ask for a dozen. At other times I can not. A man who cuts a skin shows how to do it as well as this foreman, just about as well, only of course you must not dictate to them. I spoke to a manufacturer. I said you know we are not getting enough money for our labor. I know all about that but we won't be dictated to. Of course we are the rank and file, the serf, that's all. The poor worker of any country is the working class. When I came here they didn't have these beautiful buildings. They had a few frame houses along here, that's all. Where did it come from? It didn't come from those fellows who ride in automobiles. Littauer's had on one cutter when I come here. Now I suppose he has on one hundred when they are work. Charley Adler had none. I cut about the first gloves he had cut here. Now they are silent. Well, what can you expect? You know where they come from.
Q. Do you think that an increase in the rate would be a satisfactory way of improving things? A. I should think so to a certain extent.
Q. How much of an increase? A. Well I suppose we could get along with what some of the shops are giving, 15 cents - it would be a help. If I could work two days I could get thirty cents. That would help me a good deal, buy bread for me and more too.
Q. Can you suggest any way in which the taxation could be improved? A. The taxation can only be improved by trusting the men themselves, that is the only way. If they get good honest men they need not tax them. A man will do justice towards them. They need not tax them. What do they want to tax them for? A man I used to work for five years is a rich man today. He had on ten of us for years and years. He never sorted the skins. He would give the order to us for one hundred dozen of gloves and we would take the skins as we wanted them. You can trust us now. You are looked upon now as a slave; everybody is now. I have seen all of these fellows rise up out of the dirt, most of them. Them would come up with nothing on their backsides scarcely now where are they today? Of course they have had good luck and they started in and they made a factory for a few first and then they got somebody to manufacture a few and they bought them out and one ruined the other and that is how the thing built up. We used to have twenty or thirty small shops, where we now have one or two large ones. Then it was comfortable to work in. Your employer would work at your side and help you along. Read the paper. Today they pass you along with scorn and contempt. Then where I am working - perhaps they favor me a little with giving me easier work because I am not as strong as I was twenty years ago. I have no complaint to find where I am working as far as the work is concerned, but certainly we ought to get more for our labor. A man like me making ninety cents? If I came home making a $1.50 I think I would be doing grand. If I didn't have my own little house I couldn't pay rent. How could I pay twelve to fourteen dollars a month rent?
Q. When you were in vigorous health how much could you make? A. I could make $75 or $80 a month if we got it. There were good times thirty or forty years ago but of course they were not obliged to pay as they pay today. You got orders for what you wanted. You got orders for clothing and other things. You would have five or six hundred dollars coming to you, perhaps when it come to the end of the year, and the employer might skip to California. We had of course our orders in addition to what we had coming. It is different today. They got to pay us now. If you earn a dollar you got to get it. That is years ago. Oh I have made eighty to one hundred dollars a month in those days because we had better pay than we get now. Those beautiful places are most all built up out of dishonesty or cheating honest toil. Yes, sir, they would go on and fail after they got in all the money they could. So and so went to the bank and took all the money and skipped. That is the first thing we would hear at the shop. Boys you can help yourselves. Me and a young fellow worked in a shop where the partner came down and said you can help yourselves, Frank has gone with all of the money. We helped ourselves to the gloves, the first thing we knew we had a constable after us, Mr. Kent. He had a bill of sale for the whole thing and of course we got nothing there. Now it is different. If you earn a dollar you get it, but it is very little you get.
Q. A dollar doesn't go quite so far now, does it? A. I guess not. Two of us could buy half a bullock here and we would part it between us. In the winter time we would hang it in the outhouse and we would get it for five cents a pound. We had plenty of beef for the winter. Now if I have money enough to buy a steak I have to pay thirty cents a pound. I used to get a big joint for that years ago. Of course I know there is dissatisfaction in the shop. It is too bad. It is cruel. That's what the matter. They know they can pay more if they want to. I know it as well as they do.
Q. What makes you think that Mr. Buckley? A. Well I know pretty near the price they get for a dozen of gloves and I know what it costs them to get them manufactured and the cost of the skins.
Q. You have a good deal of experience in this thing? A. I have.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. Have the price of skins gone up recently? A. I guess it has - I think so. The price of gloves has gone up too I understand.
Q. Do you know that? A. I know the price of cutting has not gone up.
Q. The price of gloves to the consumer you think has gone up? A. Oh yes.
Q. How do you know that? A. Well I don't know any more than what I have heard.
Q. Where did you hear it? A. I have heard it talked about amongst different ones; I heard the manufacturers talk about it. They didn't tell me that, it is isn't likely but I have talked with me who know pretty well.
Q. Have you heard of any advance in retail price of gloves since the war started in Europe? A. I have heard of some.
Q. What is your notion of that advance? How much do you think it is? A. I have heard a dollar a dozen and I have heard three dollars a dozen; whether it is so I can not say. Of course they have got to advance there is no doubt about it. They have got to have gloves here from somewhere. They can't get them in the old country anymore because all of the men have gone to be soldiers over there that work in the factories in Germany, England and France. In Italy they have called them in so that they can't get many manufactured over there I don't think.
BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. They can't get the leather in either can they, here? A. They can get leather here. They can get the hies all right here and dress them here. They might not get a lot of dressed skins but the capes don't come from Germany any how, it comes from the Cape of Good Hope, and mochos come from Eden on the Red Sea and that is the principal trade here today, mocho trade. They dress them here better than they can any place in the world, those mocho skins.
Q. Don't most of the cape skins come from other parts of the world than the Cape of Good Hope? A. No, sir, the real cape skin.
Q. The real cape, but what is ordinarily called cape comes from Russia, doesn't it? A. Yes, Russian sheep, Russian lamb. The calves come from Russia mostly. Of course they are dressed, they come in the raw.
Q. Have you any other information that you would like to give us? A. No, sir, only I tell you that I am an old man. I won't do very much more in this world any way. I have been traveling around here now for a long long while. Good day Gentlemen.
G E O R G E L I N T O, called and sworn as a witness testified as follows:
EXAMINED BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. How old are you, Mr. Linto? A. 34.
Q. Where do you live? A. 16 Fosdick Street.
Q. Where do you work? A. Perrins & Co.
Q. As a table cutter? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are there any pull down cutters there? A. No.
Q. And how much do you make a week? A. Well that is a thing that you can not say definitely.
Q. About? A. There might be times when you can under good conditions make a fair week and again they might use you so that you could not make over eleven or twelve dollars a week.
Q. How much do you make at the most? A. I would give a fair estimate of what I consider a comfortable week's work, working nine and a half hours a day, at fifteen dollars.
Q. That is what you get you mean? A. No, I don't get that every week, but I would get that if I made an effort to do it with good work.
Q. Would that be enough? A. Not to support a family on.
Q. Would you be getting what your work was worth? A. No, sir.
Q. Are you married? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Children? A. No.
Q. Does your wife work? A. Yes, sir, she has to work.
Q. How long have you worked at this trade? A. 14 yrs. including an apprenticeship of three years.
Q. How have conditions been in the past? A. I think they gradually got worse but as far as I am concerned personally I have been subject to this taxation that they speak of more or less. Some people run up against it harder than others.
Q. It has struck you pretty hard, has it? A. Well at different times, yes.
Q. And how are things now? A. They are about the same way. There certainly is no improvement. They might grow worse.
Q. Are they much worse? A. Not to me personally.
Q. They are about the same as they have been for about seventeen years? A. I don't know anything about seventeen years, I am speaking of fourteen and the three years I was serving an apprenticeship, when I was not bothered about the work. I would rather they didn't have as much because I didn't want to be in the shop then ten hours a day.
Q. How long do you work now? A. Nine hours a day average.
Q. So you think you are entitled to an increase? A. I certainly do. I put in enough knowledge to get at least three or four dollars a week more.
Q. That would be an increase of about 25 cents? A. That would not be anything outrageous.
Q. Are the wages of the other people about you about the same as yours? A. There might be some less than mine; possibly some more.
Q. Have you any money saved up? A. I have saved a little money, but I have saved it through not taking any pleasures and by economical living in order to meet such times as when there was a slackness of work and sickness and taking a year through it would take every cent my wife and I earn to meet the expenses.
Q. Do you own the house where you live? A. No, sir.
Q. How much rent do you pay? A. Eleven dollars a week, which is below the average rent.
Q. You mean eleven dollars a month you mean? A. A month I should say.
Q. How do rents run, from twelve up? A. About $15 a month I should say was a fair estimate, that is for a modern house I am speaking of.
Q. Does that cover an entire house? A. What they call a flatband so many rooms, four or five rooms.
Q. Can you think of anything else you would like to say? A. There is nothing I have to speak of personally except that I am out to get more money which I think I am justly entitled to.
J A C O B K A T Z, called and sworn as a witness testifies as follows:
EXAMINED BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. Where do you live Mr. Katz? A. In Gloversville.
Q. How old are you? A. 57 years old.
Q. You work where? A. Adlers.
Q. How many cutters has he? A. I don't know exactly how many cutters he has, may be one hundred or a little more.
Q. One hundred? A. I believe so, sometimes he has more and sometimes not that much.
Q. Are you a table cutter? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How much do you make a week? A. Oh I make twelve or thirteen dollars, ten dollars, sometimes fourteen dollars.
Q. Do you ever make sixteen? A. Not in a short time - many years ago, some years ago.
Q. How long have you worked as a table cutter? A. I have worked along since I was fifteen years old.
Q. Did you formerly make all the money that you wanted in the old days? A. Certainly in nine or ten hours a day.
Q. Well, how about it now? A. The same.
Q. Nine or ten hours a day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are you getting enough money? A. I should get some more.
Q. Do you save any money out of your salary? A. No, I save nothing, only you see I have a house and it is not paid for.
Q. You own a house? A. Yes, sir, but it is not paid for.
Q. How much does that cost you? A. Seventeen or eighteen hundred dollars.
Q. There is a mortgage on that? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What are you paying on the mortgage? A. I pay the man I bought it from so much a month.
Q. How much does that come to? How does that compare with the rent that you would pay if you were renting a house? A. If I rent a house with the taxes like that it would come one way out.
Q. How much a month are your interest and taxes? A. May be thirty dollars, I can't tell you - I pay ten dollars a month.
Q. You pay ten dollars a month on the house? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Probably don't pay over five dollars a month taxes? A. May be I pay thirty dollars the whole year round.
Q. That is about the same as your rental would be? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are you married? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Children? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How many? A. Five children.
Q. Does your wife work? A. No.
Q. Just takes care of the children? A. I have some boys and they help me a little out. If I had no boys I could not do it.
Q. How old are they? A. 23 years, the oldest boy.
Q. Lives with you? A. Yes, sir, lives with me.
Q. What is the total income of your family, does the boy make fifteen dollars a week? A. The boys make fifteen, yes, sir, something like that. That got nothing to do with me if the boy makes fifteen.
Q. He is living with you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Does he pay your rent? A. No.
Q. Does he take his whole fifteen? A. No.
Q. He gives some to you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Then you make between 25 and 30 dollars a week between you? A. May be 25 or something like that.
Q. You haven't any money saved up? A. No, that is what I saved up - what I save up the butcher gets. I got nothing saved up. How can a man save up with many little children and small wages. You must know that yourself. Everything today is dear, meat and everything goes up. If you have a little money it goes. This man wants some money and that man wants some money and they want some money and bye and bye you have nothing more for yourself.
Q. How is the taxation of the skins where you work? A. No good. Too tight packed.
Q. Has it always been tight? A. No, a couple of years like that before you can earn a little more than now. Now everything goes up and you don't earn so much. You should earn more now where everything is so high.
G E O R G E H. T A Y L O R, called and sworn as a witness testified as follows:
EXAMINED BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. How old are you Mr. Taylor? A. Forty seven.
Q. You live where? A. 209 So. Main Street.
Q. You work where? A. C.W. Rose's.
Q. Are you married? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How much do you make a week? A. Well a full weeks working, what I term eight and a half or nine hours a day, I average about fourteen dollars.
Q. Are you considered a fast cutter? A. No, sir.
Q. Don't you work eight and a half hours always? A. Well in the winter time often times we have no chance. We may not work in gas light. We have no chance.
Q. Are you able to save any money out of your wages? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you own the house where you live? A. No, sir.
Q. How much rent do you pay? A. $18 a month.
Q. Is that higher than most rents or do you know? A. Of course I have a family of five and I have to pay that in order to get suitable accommodations for them.
Q. Does your wife contribute to the income of the family at all? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you anything you want to say about conditions? A. The conditions that I meet in the glove trade - I am here twenty-four years ago.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Where have you been working lately? A. C.W. Rose. I have only worked at two glove shops in Fulton county. One was Littauer Brothers and C.W. Rose. I have worked three years for Littauer Brothers and the rest of the time I worked for Rose. In the meantime I have been away working in the interest of labor. It was easier to live then, rent was cheaper, coal was cheaper and everything else as we all know. I think we had 85 cents a dozen for the straight work that we get 90 cents for now. There was a difference every where then. We had ten cents for punching quirks, that is little set pieces to set in the fingers to support them. All extra work we did helped us to make a larger salary. We got a dollar and a dollar five for gloves which we get 95 for. We were told from shop to shop that if the McKinley tariff was passed they could afford to give us a ten cent raise. When the McKinley tariff became a fact we were not organized. We asked when that raise was coming. They said we will do the same as the other men will do. We made no concerted effort and we did not get it. Later on came the Wilson bill. Prior to the passage of this we were laid off from June. In December we were sent back to the shops and told we could resume work but at a reduction. Our wages came down to 80 cents. In some instances it was as much as forty cents a dozen. All the extra we had to do free, such as laps, extra bindings, quirks and the revell which we used to get ten cents a dozen for and we had to do them free. The revell is a small place on the glove as a guarantee that the glove is a perfect fit. All that we have to do free. Instead of accepting that - that was about the twenty first of December, - as I say we were out from June and in December they sent for us and offered a reduction and we refused it. We struck until about the 21st of February. We had to get back to work. In 1905 we went on a strike again. Four or five shops went out and we gained some of those extras back again. It didn't come on the glove itself but the extras we had to do free and which we demanded pay for, and we got that. Again when the dingley bill was passed we thought then that it was time that we ought to have it a little different from what we had and when we appealed to the manufacturers we were told that the increase in the tariff did not mean anything in the rate of so much per dozen increase of wages; it meant that there wee more hours of labor, there would be more work for us to do and by that at the end of the year we would have a greater income than we had before, although previously we had fairly good work, from 1893. We went out on a strike for eleven weeks I think and gained proportionately. We gained then - the gain of from 80 to 88 cents. Then we built up an organization that was practically unanimous until it came to 1903 when we went before the manufacturers and asked them to sign the scale for the ensuing year . We asked no increase of any description. We were told that before they would consider any business with us we must first agree not to discriminate against unorganized labor. We only had two men in the county who wee not members of the organization. We were locked out from the 21st of December to the 28th of June. We returned to work and from then on conditions have been getting tighter and tighter, largely due to the leather, due to the greed of the manufacturers, some of course much worse than others. Some manufacturers treat you fairly decent. Others the very reverse. The taxation of the skin, of course, got much tighter and makes it harder for us to get out the work. In the taxation of skins, while I have heard considerable since I have been waiting, I want to say that upon the cutter depends the manufacturer's profit. The cutting is a highly skilled trade. In Europe they rank it with the highly skilled trades of any community and it is the same here. Years ago we were told all manner of things. Men used to teach only their sons. It has been stated many times it was almost a family secret, similar to the Hindoo fakers handing down their magic tricks from father to son. Of course that is all bosh. It is a trade that can be learned by any one of intelligence. We do claim that the wages are far below the wages paid to employees all over the country. Wages have been largely increasing for the skilled trades where they have been lapsing. We never gained much while we had an organization and just volunteered anything. It was a question of those who did not ask did not want, and those who had asked could not have and that is the state we are in today. The taxation is largely due to our troubles. Leather has been diverted into other channels different from what it used to be years ago. Leather was more free and of different quality than from what we get today. The automobile takes a great deal of leather in the manufacture of backs, seats and so on and that takes a great deal that was largely used in gloves. The cost of stock has risen. The buy a cheaper grade of stock, but the trouble is they expect us to keep up the same standard as what we used to give. They try to get the same number one class out of number two stock and men have been threatened with discharge because they did not produce a certain number of number one gloves out of the stock as another man. Another thing, in the grading they seem to have a suspicion that table cutters have something up their sleeves, that we do not produce out of the stock all we could produce. That in Europe they can produce more out of the same stock. Most of us were brought up in Europe. There are about fourteen nationalities represented in the table cutters. Spain and Portugal are about the only two nationalities not represented. When a man sells leather he sells it to a manufacturer rated or graded to produce a certain amount of gloves out of the skins. The manufacturer in many instances a table cutter himself has an idea of the value of the skin. Then there is the foreman and then the sorter, and then they come to us and push it up as high as they can and often times we are in difficulty. In many instances I have seen men with four or five dozen lots lacking one or two pairs in actual gloves and six or seven thumbs and two or three forchets, missing there; they have to use their time running around other men's tables to see if there are scraps left with which they can fit up these lots. Every man objects to submitting his work, unless he is working under a force scale, but in a general shop where a man has to produce a certain amount of gloves out of leather he is ambitious to produce that as much as the manufacturer is to receive it. The question has been asked and it seems difficult to know about this taxation of the skins. Gloves come to us in two, three or four pairs, according to the sizes of the skins. Often times you get a skin large enough for three pairs. It may cut three pairs of gloves, but only one pair of fittings. That is the thumbs and forchets to match them up, or you can get two pair and you can cut another skin which may give two pairs and you can get some fingers out of it. On some classes of goods you can't get fingers and others you get an abundance of them. You take the long gloves, they are cut with such a flange (illustrating) and it leaves you a considerable amount of fittings that can be used for anything else, but the gloves of course are expensive gloves, and that fitting can be used later on. Of course, as I stated, there has been greater exaction of late years. I do not understand why we can not get more money. I do not see any reason why we should not. I can not understand why if Fownes & Co. can increase their man fifteen cents a dozen and they have been of late under the expense of building a building here, that the other manufacturers can not do the same thing. The question of the skilled labor part of it was brought out in evidence during a case that the government prosecuted against Madison & McIntosh of Grinnell, Iowa, for importing contract labor, and the defense that they successfully carried forward was, that these men were highly skilled glove cutters, that they manufactured ladies gloves and that glove manufacturing was an unknown industry in the United States and I understand that there are employers from this vicinity, according to a witness who came back and they also sent affidavits to say there were not 50 skilled ladies table cutters in Fulton county or in the United States. Now a lady's glove is no more difficult to manufacture than a gentleman's glove, no more difficult to cut, unless it is the mosquetire glove, but that was their argument, that it was a skilled trade handed down from father to son and the general community at large can not be taught it, and I do consider myself that the glove trade is one of the most highly skilled trades in the community.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Are you familiar at all with the circumstances which attend the arrival of the glove cutter at Gloversville from other countries? I see most of the men who have testified here have learned their trade abroad; can you tell us anything about that? A. You mean in the manner in which they were brought here?
Q. Yes sir? A. It is just a matter of that some saved their money and some had friends who helped them out. It is a very easy matter here, to go down to a steamship ticket agent and pay him so much a month and get their friends here.
Q. You think then that the average foreign taught workman who deserves to come to America is headed for Gloversville in the first place? A. Yes, sir. They come straight practically to Gloversville. Gloversville is the head of the glove trade of the United States and every glover throughout the world knows that.
Q. How do the wages compare here with the wages in the old country now, according to our opinion? A. It is 24 years since I was in England and the wages there - conditions of work are very different here and there. Here a man will have to do much more for his wages than he does there. In the shop I worked at the average wage I presume for that shop -- that was at Fownes - the average wage there would be from seven to twelve dollars a week. Here you have to punch quirks and stamp your fittings and have to match everything. There you do not have to do that. You don't have any punching or fitting, you just stand at the table and cut the gloves.
Q. A higher wage would be necessary in this country in any event, wouldn't it, on account of price of commodities in other countries? A. Exactly. There is a vast difference in the cost of living in Europe and in the United States. House rent and coal and everything like that is altogether cheaper. A mechanic can get a good house for a dollar and a quarter or a dollar and a half a week. Coal, a man would not use more than a ton or a ton and a half a year, and that is an item to consider in this country, in this country especially. We are in the snow belt and the only part of the United States where we have six months winter and we have on an average 168 days sleighing and ninety days of snow. My thermometer will go down to thirty. The average quantity of coal I burn is 9½ tons. . You have to be clothed warmer. There is a great deal of difference. Our expense here in the winter is much higher than it is in any other part of the state.
Q. The requirements of an American family to live decent is considerably higher, isn't it? A. Yes, every country has its own standard and method of living. It is entirely different. The tendency here has been of course downward.
BY MR. DOWNEY:
Q. In your statement in regard to the tariff, you said you were laid off and then the Dingley bill became a law and you were put back to work? A. No, not exactly that. The Wilson bill came into operation about 1893 and the Dingley bill was in operation in 1897. We were out of work. There was no employment here in the summer and the fall of 1893 during the panic that was here - and we returned to work under a reduction in March or February of 1904. We work then through until 1897 when the Dingley bill was passed which gave a protective tariff that they talked so much about and then we struck for higher wages.
Q. Do you know about how much the tariff was increased at that time? A. The Dingley Tariff I think I amounted to about $4.50 for straight men's glove, 50 cents specific duty on pique, prixime and the three embroidered back, three strand back as they termed it.
Q. And after that bill was in effect and this duty placed on the gloves you had to go out on a strike to get the increase? A. Eleven weeks we struck. You will not get anything here unless you do.
Q. Then as far as you are concerned for the glove workers of Gloversville are concerned the tariff did not prove of benefit to them? A. I have no faith in the tariff any more.
Q. The tariff did not prove of benefit then? A. No, sir. The tariff was made so much higher that we are suffering from higher tariff. I think high tariffs are producing monopolies and we get it in the neck.
Q. What in your judgment will the effect of this war be on the importation of gloves into this country from foreign countries? A. It ought to make America. United States have I think about three million and a half dollars worth of work come from Germany and about the same amount from France, and about eight hundred thousand dollars from other countries. Now those countries are entirely eliminated. There are only one or two directions where traffic can cross the ocean today and Germany is practically tied up. The glove works of France are tied up. They have gone to the war and the glove factories of Grenoble are used as barracks. I think we have in the United States today, 96 percent of the mens trade, but of the ladies trade probably 85 percent comes from abroad, and there is an opportunity for the manufacturers to get that trade, and once got they will never lose it.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. How will they get the trade if they haven't the skins? A. We have a considerable stock on hand and a considerable stock can be got in. Necessity is the mother of invention we say and we can get a vast amount of cape stock here. Most of the cape stock goes through London before it goes to be dressed. Some of the ports of Russia are open, the carrier nation of the world. Their ships are free and you can get enormous amounts of hide from Africa, the north of Africa and they get considerable from France and Spain. The only question has been of dressing. Dressing of course takes some time, and an American financier does not like his money tied up too long before he can use it. He wants to turn it over too often. In the dressing of the skins it takes some time. It takes a long time for a skin to remain idle before it can become true for work. The mocho skin is of course an American product. It comes from Arabia. That is an American skin. They export those skins from here to England, but previously they had to come from Arabia.
BY MR. DOWNEY:
Q. There are not enough skins come from the South American republic or the United States in your judgment to supply the ordinary demand for gloves in this country? A. That I don't know; I can't say; but I thunk myself when the panic and the downfall and the destruction of trade that has been produced in England, which is a great market, when they get over that and down to normal conditions of things, I think things will become very much easier than they are today. I would like to emphasize the fact that there has been no demand made upon the manufacturer for an increase of wages upon the old price stock or the class of gloves that they have been selling at the old prices. The reason of the men making this demand was on the knowledge that the employers were intending to increase their future stock and we felt that we had a perfect right and if they were taking advantage of the war and getting an increased price on their gloves that we had a right to demand some little part of it ourselves. On previous prices we had nothing to do with.
BY MR. DOWNEY:
Q. In other words if prosperity comes to this country by any reason of the war you want your divide of it? A. We wanted a few more crumbs dropped off the table than what we had before.
Q. The claim is made here that about sixty to eighty percent - I have been informed that since I came here - of the glove cutters of Gloversville owned their homes; what have you to say about that? A. That can be proven if so. There are many I have no doubt that call it their own home but they have very little in it. It is a very hard task for a man here to buy a home for himself. There are cases where a man is exceptionally swift and I suppose that there is not another industry where there is such a distinction between a minimum and a maximum of a man's earnings. There are men who can earn in three years time the wages of another man. A man may be the most perfect cutter it is possible to produce and he may earn living wages. There may be another man who will rip along and by his speed will earn from 20 to 24 dollars a week, but he may not be as good a cutter as the slow man. There are men who with their wifes working with them, refusing any pleasures buying a home but usually with a mill stone around his neck. It is a pretty hard proposition in this vicinity for men to buy homes. I have known them to try since I have been here and they were paying six percent on their mortgages. That is what they aim for, to pay off the second mortgage and reduce the rent to about eight dollars a month.
BY MR. ROGERS:
Q. Do you think that the piece price plan is the best plan for cutting? A. I do not believe in the piece price plan. It tends to bring the wages down. I believe the proper way to pay wages is by the hour and by the day. There is too much competition in it. A swift hand, as they will probably tell you, I have no doubt they will when they show their side of it, show you the very best man or slow man - and our wages usually when we used to meet them to discuss the scales for the ensuing year, we would generally find about certain men earning enormous wages. When we investigated we found he had a healthy young apprentice with him and it was a double wage. There are men in some of the shops that can show comparatively big wages as compared with the rest of the wages but they have practically been slaves, no Sundays off, no sabbaths. At six in the morning they would be waiting for the shop to open, taken home work nights, Saturday afternoon, working until the close of the shop and take work home Sundays and work Sunday. Of course that is a false conception of wages. Those are the means by which we are dragged down. I don't want to work any hours of that description. I claim the right to live and enjoy life. I do not aspire to automobiles or anything of that kind. What we get is the smell of the vapor as they leave us by. Some years ago when we used to meet the manufacturers, it was agreed by the Manufacturers Association and by the organization in the reports we had to send to Albany, the average wage of the table cutter was two dollars a day. I do not believe today that the average wage of the table cutter is $13 a week, taking it as a sample on a ten hours basis as a day's work. I do not believe that the average of the glove workers throughout the county is more than $7.50 a week. I believe that was the figure to the department some time last year . A question has been asked me on the question of the imported glove and the domestic glove. I believe when they were endeavoring to get the ladies gloves raised some little time ago under the Payne tariff law, when Mr. Payne was the Chairman of that Board, they tried to get an increase in the price of the importation of ladies' gloves and they spoke then of the conditions up here and I believe that Marshall Field's man was there with the President and showed where our domestic glove was selling for I think 7.50 a dozen against the imported $9.00 a dozen glove and the argument here was that we could not compete. I think that is one of the records held in Washington during the controversy when that attempt was made to increase the ladies' tariff.
E U G E N E S I M M O, called and sworn as a witness testifies as follows:
EXAMINED BY MR. McMAHON:
Q. Where do you live? A. 14 Beach Street.
Q. How old are you? A. 41 years.
Q. Where do you work? A. Lucas Kennedy.
Q. And how much do you get a week? A. Ten to twelve dollars a week.
Q. How many hours a day? A. Ten hours.
Q. Are you a table cutter or a pull down? A. Table cutter.
Q. How long have you worked at that? A. Two years and a half.
Q. Always with Lucas & Kennedy? A. Yes, sir, I worked in Littauer's shop before I worked for Lucas-Kennedy.
Q. Was that more than 2½ years ago? A. Yes.
Q. How long ago was that - how long have you been a table cutter? A. 12 years in this country.
Q. Have you always made from ten to twelve dollars a week? A. Yes.
Q. Never made any more? A. No.
Q. Never made any less? A. Well some weeks thirteen dollars, some weeks nine dollars and a half, some weeks eleven dollars - all the year ten dollars a week.
Q. Are you married? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Does your wife work? A. No she stopped work last year.
Q. She was working? A. Hand work and she done work at home.
Q. Is that a rule down there at Lucas-Kennedy that they can't take any work home? A. No.
Q. Have you any money saved up? A. No, sir, I have not.
Q. Do you owe any money to anybody? A. Somebody lends me money sometimes.
Q. Do you owe the grocer or the butcher? A. Yes I am in debt and I have many bills to pay.
Q. Do you own the house where you live? A. I got the house, but I think only the roof belongs to me along with the chimney.
Q. Why is that? A. Eight years ago I paid five hundred dollars and I give my father who lends me money two or three dollars a year. When I pay a tax I pay a penalty every time. I have to borrow the money and I never pay the taxes on time.
At this point the hearing was adjourned to meet at ten o'clock at the same time and place, Friday, October 9th.
ADJOURNED TO FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9th, 10:00 A.M.