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Newspaper Page Text
DEPARTMENT STORE BOSSES. FIND NEW GAME
TO INFLICT HARDSHIPS ON SHOP GIRLS
Conditions of the old dark days
still exist in the State street depart
ment stores in the treatment of the
employes by the millionaire owners.
This year, however, afraid of State
Factory Oscar F. Nelson, the bosses
have woTked out a, cunning plan to
remain within the ten-hour law for
Nelson has taken personal charge
of- the investigation of the State
street stores which begun about a
week ago. So far no actual viola
tions of the law have been discovered.
But a stunning game that produces
just as much hardship to the girls
has been uncovered.
The latest scheme tried out by the
merchant princes to extract the max
imum amount of work from the, girls
is the split-time system, that has
been tried by sweatshop owners.
The Fair, Hillman's and the Boston
Store (the latter owned by Mollie
Netcher Neuberger, who was a shop
girl once herself) seem to be the
hardest in their treatment of their
girl employes. But ,all of them, re
membering Inspector Nelson of old,
are careful to observe the law.
At Hillman's the cashiers have to
be in the store at 8:15 a. m., to be
ready for work at 8:30. At 12:30
p. m. they are relieved. At 6 p. m.
they return and work until long
after the store closes, the customers
are all. out and the stock is "taken
Most of the girls live miles from
the store. Nelson pointed out to
' Manager Hitt that these girls had to
get up about 6 a. m. in order to dress,
- eat breakfast and be at the store by
8:15. (It will be remembered that
department store employes who are
' late are fined.)
After 12:30 they must eat lunch.
They hardly have sufficient time to
go home and rest after that.x Nelson
pointed out to Hitt that they must
percentage of their day's salary for
amusement and become subject to
the insults of flirts by loafing either
in the stores or in "movie" theaters.
Whatever they do to pass away the
time in the loop they can get no rest.
The Fair and the Boston Store try
the same stunt Some of the girls
start to work at 11 a. m. and are
through at 11 p. m. But to get dawn
to the 10-hour law they are given two
45-minute meal periods and two 15
minute periods for rest
Nelson received complaints from
several girls that they are not able
to get out of the store until 11:30
p. m. because of the inadequately
small cloak rooms. The stores give
the girls as little room as possible for
their clothes. They are forced to
1 form in lines when they go for their
coats. By the time the end of the
lines are reached it is close to mid
night. "But they are through work
at lo'tfock," the store bosses argue.
So the law is unable to reach the
A score of women's clubs, led by
the Chicago Woman's club, the Con
sumers' league and the Woman's City
club, are making a fight for more
stools for the girls. The S.tate St
Merchants' ass'n is opposing them.
The department store bosses ar
gue that .they lose business if, the
girls are allowed to sit down during
working hours. They say customers
won't buy from a girl sitting down;
that she gives the impression of not
"caring to be disturbed."
After the holidays the women plan
an educational compaign to get the
people of Chicago interested in the
need for stools for the girls who are
now forced to stand up al day.
New York. If U. S. should ever
enter war, munitions plant of Beth
lehem Steel Co. would be turned over
to uses of this government, said
kill time down town, spend a highjchas. M. Schwab. ' -