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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, May 09, 1916, NOON EDITION, Image 10

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-05-09/ed-1/seq-10/

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M. ROTHSCHILD EXPLAINS THE
BIG STATE TRREET BREAK
The solid line-up of State street
stores against labor unions and
against the minimum wage is brok
en. Maurice Rothschild & Co., run
ning the largest retail store in the
world selling merr's- clothes, has
quietly gone into a little rebellion and
Friday night signed a three-year con
tract with the Amalgamated Cloth
ing Workers of America. Sixteen
dollars a week is the lowest wage
any married workingman will be
paid. And $8 a week is the lowest
wage any woman worker will start
on. With thousands of married men
paid way under $16 a week in State
street stores, and thousands of wom
en paid way under $8 and as low
as $4 and $5 a week, these state
ments from Maurice Rothschild ex
plaining why he did it are of inter
est. "I did it for selfish reasons get
me?" was Rothschild's direct first
answer. "I get more work from my
people when they are satisfied. It
pays to have" your workers satisfied.
I pay them more than the market
rate for labor and in exchange their
good will makes them give me more
than an ordinary return of labor."
"Do you mean that the $125,000
extra wages to be paid out by you
under this contract will come back
to you, that it's a paying invest
ment?" asked the reporter.
"Well, I may lose a little, but not
much. Even if I do lose a little,
what of it? I'm fixed so that I can
stand it if there is a loss. When I
told my wife about it last night she
said: 'If it makes you more happy
it's the thing to do.' Then she added:
'You can charge all the losses to
your heirs; the heirs can stand it
easily; the big thing is whether you
feel happy about it.'
"There is no charity about what I
have done. I run a business where
it pays me to have all the good will
and skill the workers are capable of
set ine?. It's inyjjolicy to sell no.
suits of clothes for less than $15.
My workers are handling stocks of
value. It pays me to have them sat
isfied while handling the stock.
"I have no fear as to how the min
imum wage will operate. Henry
Ford began paying his men $5 a day.
It was called a rash experiment. But
Ford found that his men worked
harder and did better work than ,
ever before.
"It's the same with Hart, Schaff
ner & Marx. Disaster was predict
ed for them when they signed the
protocol. With a 10 per cent wage
raise they got 25 per cent more
work from their employes.
"Sixteen dollars a week is the
least a married man can live on in
Chicago. Most of our men get much
more than that. Our policy from
now on, however, is to pay at least
$16 to every married man. There
are no lay-offs. And each worker
gets a week's vacation once a year
with pay. Most of our women
workers are paid over $8. a week, but
$8 is the least any woman gets.
After six months the $8 is sure to
be increased."
Rothschild said decisively, at sev
eral points in the interview:
"I did this for selfish reasons
get me?"
The store covers eight floors of
the building at Jackson blvd. and
State st. The ninth floor has the
tailor shop where alterations are
made and where the men and women
work who are members of the only
labor union now recognized among
State street stores.
Without sending in a card or ask
ing to be invited, The Day Book re
porter walked in on Rothschild in fir,,
his office on the eighth floor. It's a
corner with a sweeping view of
State street from Siegel-Cooper's on
down to Field's. As the reporter
stood at this corner window with
Rothschild he asked the merchant:
"What will the rest of 'em along
the street here say about this mini
mum wage racket oryoas2"

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