Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
Harding- fcTo, only If one firm
raises wages, the others naturally
O'Hara If one firm did establish
a minimum wage, would the other
firms follow suit or, would they tell
the one firm to let up?
Harding I don't know about that.
O'Hara Wouldn't a humane pack
er revolutionize things by raising all
his employes to a living wage?
Harding, very sweetly That is,
providing the present wages are not
This closed Harding's testimony.
Alfred Urion of Armour & Co. was
called, but apparently had made it
his business not to be present
C. L. Charles, assistant superin
tendent of Nelson, Morris & Co., then
took the stand.
Charles said that 324 girls were
employed at the plant and that 10
cents an hour was the lowest paid
Twenty-six girls, he said, got 10
cents an hour, 128 got 11 cents an
hour; 120 got 12V2 and 23 got 14.
"Why do you pay girls by the
hour?" asked O'Hara. "Do you think
"Well." said Charles. "It's the cus
tom. Others do it We have to for
economic reasons." ,
"Isn't this hour system taking ad
vantage of the weakness -of the
girls?" asked O'Hara.
"No," said Charles, vaguely, "but
there are slack times."
'.'And you think the poor girl
should be mde to bear the brunt of
your slack time, so you will not have
to take a chance?" asked O'Hara.
Charles assiduously cultivated
Harding's habit of admiring the ceil
ing. "Sometimes you lay off all the girls
for a period, don't you?" demanded
"Yes," admitted Charles, reluc
tantly. "Dont you think these conditions
could be improved?"
"Yes I do." , ,
"Can't you sea that your hourly -system
brings the whole -force and
weight of your' big business down
on the head of the little immigrant
girl battling alone to keep herself
"Yes," admitted Charles, "I sup
pose, it does."
"How do the girls escape from this
drudgery? Marry? Or take the more
"I think you have a wrong
idea of the matter," said Charles.
"You see, even after they're
married they stay in our employ
to help their husbands. Some
times their husbands bring them
around to get them jobs. But I
think a girl of the stockyards
goes wrong more from natural
ctesire than -for economic rea
sons. These girls are foreigners
and care nothing for money."
This last seemed to stagger
O'Hara. Senator Beall came to the
"Are you in favor of a minimum
wage bill of $7.50, Mr. Charles?" he
"Yes," said Charles, T think it
would be a good thing. I should not
advise less than $7.50."
O'Hara brightened considerably. '
"Do you think a department store
girl, getting $4.50 a week and forced
to support herself on that amount, is
likely to go astray if tempted?" he
"I don't think there is any ques
tion of it," said Charles confidently
Charles' way of reasoning by this
time had interested the entire -com-misskm.
He was so sure 'that Morris
& Company's employes cared noth
ing for money and went wrong just
because It was their inborn nature to
go .wrong, and so humane 'about
other people's employes.
"Do you think higher wages would"
solve your own problem?" O'Hara
"It might," said Charles, "but you
see so many of our: girls send tneir;