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Types of millinery shops in Worcester, illustrating kinds of workers and range of wage.

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Millinery, like dressmaking, shows various stages of economic evolution, and a resultant variety of types of shops. Four fairly definite types appear in Worcester: (1) The small custom shop where the employer does most of the trimming and hires several makers at $6 or $8 a week; (2) the high-grade custom shop, employing a head trimmer at $25 a week, a trimmer at $18, some 10 or so makers ranging from $3 to $10, and an apprentice and stock girl; (3) the large millinery store; and (4) the millinery department of a department store, with correspondingly higher pay for the trimmers in accordance with degree of skill or responsibility required.

The wages therefore show a wide range for the trade as a whole, but a fairly common wage in all shops for similar work. The division requiring creative artistic ability shows a wider range, from $10 to $45, as the tables indicate, according to the amount of responsibility assumed and the degree of artistic and creative ability possessed.

Two features of millinery seem to make trade-school work possible for the girl who wishes to enter or who has entered the trade. First, it is more highly seasonal than any other skilled industry for women, Second, it is characterized by an apprenticeship system, which means that the girl who goes into the trade gives her services without remuneration for two seasons, averaging about 3 months each. Unless the girl can find some other occupation for her dull seasons, which cover about 3 months in winter and 3 in summer, she must work for a year without pay. The second year she is started on a small wage, usually not more than $3 a week, and her pay advances by degrees as her skill increases, but, as one employer put it, she does not become a “real milliner” for 2 years. Now it is a self-evident fact that both the seasonal aspect of the trade and the system of apprenticeship which prevails with most milliners tend to exclude the girl who by reason of economic pressure is obliged to get to work as soon as the law allows, and to attract the girl who can afford to

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wait for the higher wage which comes with experience and a high degree of skill. Yet all the milliners visited reported a great number of girls from whom to choose. Reports from 51 workers in the millinery trade showed that 40 per cent were high-school girls and 50 per cent from the ninth grade, while none had ever worked in unskilled industries. So that in dealing with the millinery situation, the question of the child's economic ability to avail herself of trade training need not enter into the discussion. It is safe to assume that the child who can afford to go into millinery can afford to go to a trade school.

The question which does confront us, the one which some milliners ask, is whether apprenticeship in a millinery workroom does not give the child a better equipment than the training which a trade school could offer? A survey of the situation leads to the conclusion that the present system of apprenticeship leaves much to be desired from the point of view of the prospective learner. Even with the minimum age limit at 16, as is the case in most millinery shops, there seems to be maladjustment and waste. Only 3 of the milliners interviewed were able to say that most of their apprentices “made good," and 1 of these 3 would not take any learners who were not experienced sewers. Two milliners said they used their apprentices each year with no thought of retaining them when they reached the point where they could demand pay. What, then, can the trade school give these girls which the shops can not give them? A training under teachers who can take time enough to give each girl a thorough try out, their aim being to develop individual efficiency, even though the process may be long and unremunerative.

The labor situation in the millinery trade in Worcester, therefore, is much less serious than in the dressmaking trade. There is an annual demand for about 50 young girls now, showing opportunity for larger numbers than in the dressmaking trade. The opportunity is small for the girl of not much skill, but larger for the fairly skilled worker--that is, for the expert maker-and fair for the skilled trimmer. The pay for the expert maker is good and for the skilled trimmer excellent. But it must be noted that the season in the millinery trade is short.

Girls must be fairly efficient to enter and to continue in the trade. Its workers are necessarily a selected few, for two reasons. First, they must have natural ability and millinery taste. Moreover, they must acquire ability to sew and deftness in handling materials which can be developed with training. One milliner says that one of the requisites of millinery workers in a town like Worcester is the ability to make things over; to renovate, rearrange, freshen up old materials, requiring a large amount of ingenuity. Second, the girl who desires to go into millinery must be efficient, but one who need not

acquire immediate economic independence, because the trade partakes of the nature of a profession. She must be the girl with small necessity for economic independence or a larger wage for sometime to come. The more efficient girl without economic independence may be able to go into the trade, and by a brave struggle succeed, by filling in her dull seasons with anything which she may find to do; but for the less efficient it would be questionable.

A possible solution for the problem of a secondary trade appears in the valentine and fancy paper-goods factory of Worcester. The proprietor of the factory thought a large number of his workershe employs 200 in the busy season-came from the millinery shops. Unfortunately, at present the busy seasons overlap somewhat. The time of maximum employment in the valentine factory is from September to December, although the work continues through January and February. The busy season for millinery is September and October, and for some workers, November. Since the valentines, cards, etc., are made for the next year's sale, the question arises if it might not be possible to shift the season somewhat in the valentine factory. Millinery workers might be shifted during their dull season into such a factory, and if they proved their superior ability this change would probably come about of itself. The summer season usually brings opportunities in the hotels at summer resorts for girls who are economically dependent. If some such adjustments with secondary occupations could be made, the economically dependent girl who may chance to have real ability and efficiency along lines of millinery art may find great opportunity to enter and develop her art in the trade.

What significance, then, has this situation for the trade school ? There would be, without doubt, a demand on the part of a fair number for a short course, which might be offered to the younger girls in the trade school. There certainly seems to be opportunity for advanced and medium dull-season courses or evening courses, since there is a dull season of 3 months in the winter and 3 months in the summer, and since the reports of milliners seem to show a large number of girls not immediately economically independent. Finally, this economic condition might seem to indicate a moderate demand for longer courses of 2 years.

VII. SUMMARY.

Worcester is a city of factory industries which employ more than 8,000 women. Four industries-machine operating, textiles, wire and metal goods, and paper goods-receive 90 per cent of these

women,

1. THE EXODUS OF YOUNG GIRLS FROM SCHOOLS. These industries offer openings for a large number of young girls. In 1910, 700 employment certificates were issued to 14 and 15 year old girls leaving school to go to work, an increase of 40 per cent over 1905. Sixty per cent of these girls were 14 years of age, and more than one-half had not reached the ninth grade in school. Of 214 homes visited, the majority on a conservative estimate showed that economic pressure was not the impelling force of the large outgo of young girls. Yet 25 per cent of these girls had left before reaching the seventh grade, and 71 per cent were from Swedish, Irish, and American families. Such facts seem to indicate the need of additional lines of training not yet provided by the public schools which will meet the demands of the “motor-minded” girls who are not forced by economic pressure to go to work as soon as the law allows.

II. INDUSTRIES WHICH YOUNG GIRLS ENTER. Two great industries draw more than half these girls just out of school. The machine-operating trades drew 38 per cent, the corset factories receiving the larger proportion-28 per cent, and the textile mills 18 per cent of last year's outgo. The other half are employed in mercantile establishments, metal trade and paper goods, various forms of clothing manufactures, and scattering industries which can not be considered from the industry point of view.

III. KINDS OF WORK OPEN TO YOUNG GIRLS. The little girl of 14 or 16 has opportunity to enter only unskilled work, or “blind-alley” occupations. Even in the machine operating trades, where there might seem to be opportunity for rise and financial advance, the opportunity is apparent rather than real; for here, too, young girls must begin on the unskilled, monotonous, and mechanical work. A large proportion of the girls either (1) lose the capacity for or fail to develop the intelligence and responsibility necessary for a higher grade of work; (2) become impatient with the monotony and discouraged with the outlook; or (3) are laid off in slack season and drop out of the trade. The masses of the young girls, therefore, not easily adapting themselves to the preliminary processes, drift from one place to another, thus learning or becoming proficient in no one trade. Hence arises the army of drifters and unskilled laborers. When they reach the age which makes them eligible for the better trades, such as high-class machine operating, dressmaking, and millinery, they have not the capacity for taking advantage of the better opportunities. The more skilled industries have no satisfactory system of training the prospective worker for the trade, so that the mass of workers who begin work in the unskilled trades remain there and have no way of bettering their condition.

IV. WOMEN-EMPLOYING INDUSTRIES.

A. The unskilled industries. Of the four factory women-employing industries, the unskilled trades--textiles, metals, and paper goods--employ 48 per cent of the women workers. These trades in themselves offer little outlook either for self-development or for social advancement. The workers in the trade are, therefore, all the more in need of opportunity for supplementary trade development. Nevertheless, there would probably be small opportunity for these workers to profit by such courses offered in a technical or trade school except in evening schools for the more mature worker. A large number even then could not be reached because of the demands of the ten-hour working day on the physical strength of the woman worker. In the textile trades alone is found a sufficiently large number of girls to make part time work feasible. These are the workers who leave school at an early age. Therefore, it is through the unskilled industries employing children that these workers must be reached during the 14 to 16 year old period.

B. The skilled industries-(1) Machine operating: Machine operating, the remaining factory industry, employing 52 per cent of the women factory workers, presents a stage of transition from the unskilled to the skilled trades. Certain phases of machine operating, such as stitching on canvas goods and overalls, hemstitching, and tucking ruffles in muslin underwear, and the simpler and more mechanical processes in the corset factories, can not be called more than low-grade skilled work and hence command a wage ranging from $5 to $10. On the other hand, making the finer, more expensive corset, and certain processes in the better grade lingerie require a fair degree of skill, and good workers can command from $10 to $15. Machine operating in the shoe factory also requires a high degree of skill, the less skilled operators receiving from $8 to $12, while the highly skilled workers range from $10 to $25. Since, however, there are no factories in Worcester which produce a high grade of women's clothing, there is not the opportunity for highly skilled workers on the lighter and more agreeable materials that is open to machine operators in New York or Boston. Increased skill on the part of the workers might perhaps be instrumental in inducing the manufacturers of Worcester to expand their business by the introduction of a finer grade product. The introduction of a trade school might, therefore, augur the development of a more desirable product, hence broader opportunity for highly skilled workers.

The study of machine operating, therefore, shows that there is a large number of factories demanding ordinary machine stitchers at a usual wage of $7 or $8; a fair opportunity for a better class work requiring a higher degree of skill, as in the better corset factory, where a wage of $12 to $15 may be secured; and finally, opportunity

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