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HOW MONTGOMERY WARD & CO. CHEATS GIRL
EMPLOYES OUT OF THEIR VACATIONS
, BY JANE WHITAKER
Tired, discouraged, dependent on her own resources and thrown out
of a position, wondering with that futile wonder of the workers at the
avaricious greed of their employers, a girl told me this story:
She had been working for Mgntgomery Ward & Co., the mail order
house, which sends literature to the farmers in the small towns, assuring
them of a. square deal, to the farmers whose daughters are kept at home
and given 'healthy food and healthy amusement.
And the farmer may believe the promises in a catalogue run off of a
printer's press, but it would take-more than printer's ink to convince the
girl who told me this story that Montgomery Ward & Co. do deal squarely.
She has worked for them over seven months, worked under their sys
tem of speeding, worked while a man stood back of her ready to snatch
the finished product from her hands, worked the full ten hours the law al
lows very, very often.
But you see, if you work over six months' for Wards they PROMISE
you a vacation of a week, with pay,
and it was to this paltry prize that
the girl was looking forward.
Two months ago, in pursuance of
this supposed custom of Wards, they
let the girls choose the months and
the time of the month when they
would take this week, and the girl in
question choose her week to begin
She prepared as well as she could
on a wage of $8 a week, the sum that
Mr. Thome told the Welfare Commis
sion would support a girl provided
she didn't have any laundry done.
"You see," the girl said to me, "I
was invited to spend the week with
one of my friends, so all I wanted was
my carfare and the little extra money
you must spend when you are visit
ing, and I figured I" could just about
manage with the $8.
"Saturday, June 28, when we were
supposed to close half a, day, they
came to us and told us we would
have to work all day to make up for
the fact that we would be closed on
July 5, so, really, we wouldn't have
gotten any extra time- because we
were giving an afternoon's work for
the morning's, but the public never
knows these tthings.
"I didn't mind working, though I
wasn't going to benefit because I had
chosen my week to include those two
days that would have been extra
otherwise, but when you've worked
hard for months and months and
there's a chance of a week of idle
ness ahead, you get so eager that
you're willing to do anything to fill
in the time. '
"Tuesday is our pay-day, and- it
was Tuesday night that I would have
left to start my week.
"It was Tuesday night that Frank
Koler, assistant manager of division
C in the hardware section called me
over, and handed me my salary. Then
" 'You are one of the girls being
laid off for a month.'
"I just couldn't believe it. I.
thought it must be a. mistake or else,
because he knew I was going to start,
my vacation, he was playing a joke.
" 'Why, I start on my vacation to
morrow, Mr. Koler,' I said. 'Didn't
you know that?'
" 'Yes, I knew it, but you have been
laid off a month instead. Oh, you
aren't the only one. See this bunch
of envelopes? Every one of these
girls is being laid off a msnth, too !'
" 'Is it my work?' I asked him. I
knew it wasn't, because I had never
had to be called down, but I just,
wanted to get some reason.
"'0h, no, your work is perfectly"