« PreviousContinue »
tract for machinery with such recent information in this regard as may from time to time be at our command.
NEEDS OF THE LABOR BUREAU
In last year's report we dwelt at considerable length upon the necessity of a more general interest in the Bureau, bespeaking for it your hearty co-operation. We pointed out how general was the satis. faction it had given to those members who had sought its assistance. While we are glad to acknowledge that our appeal has had a lively response upon the part of a considerable number of our members, it has been with the utmost difficulty that we have succeeded in obtaining data in respect to actual working conditions. In that report we asked that contracts be sent us to enable us to prepare a digest of their terms and provisions for the general membership, so that members about to negotiate for new labor contracts would thus have at hand and in convenient form data of immediate interest and utility.
To-day our files contain two-thirds, roughly, of the current labor contracts, the largest proportion they have ever held. As these contracts reached us from time to time we proceeded to compile the digest spoken of; but in almost every instance found that to make their contents completely available for such purpose, a letter asking for explanation of their many obscure points would need to be forwarded to their senders. (It will readily be acknowledged that many contracts are silent upon points of importance.) Such a letter was sent with an accompanying schedule of questions. These, with the resultant exchange of further letters, entailed such a mass of work upon the Bureau that our labor adjuster was compelled to drop it, and take up work in the field, the contract-making season having intervened. (The working force of the Labor Bureau consists of the adjuster and a stenographer.)
Since then the work has dragged, as drag it must under the circumstances, being conditioned primarily upon the time our adjuster is able to devote to it without neglecting his more pressing work in the field.
After the convention he will resume the work of compilation, giving it whatever time he can spare. We bespeak for his efforts your kind co-operation, supplying him freely with whatever information he may require from you in connection with your labor contracts. His services, now tested by four years of work in many parts of the country, are always at your disposal; you will find them valuable in the proportion that you give him your co-operation whether he is at headquarters or at work in the field.
In that same report of 1913 we sketched the numerous and helpful activities of which a labor bureau such as ours is capable. We would commend to all those present who have yet to be informed in that direction a re-reading of the part of that report here referred to.
THIE BREWERY WORKERS' CAMPAIGN AGAINST PROHIBITION
Your committee believes a word of recognition is due the Brewery Workers for the intelligent and promising part they are taking in the struggle against Prohibition, its many shams and hypocrisies. That their interests no less than their employers' should compel them to take such part should not detract from the credit due them for the intelligence with which they are co-operating in this work.
They have made powerful appeal to the labor unions, large and small, throughout the country, through the spoken and the written word, at a cost of thousands of dollars. At their national conyention, held a month or two ago, favorable action was taken upon a recommendation of the national officials to give co-ordination and fuller effect to their campaigning. It was decided to levy an annual assessment of one dollar a year on each of their 50,000 members, with the object of creating and maintaining a Legislative Bureau for that purpose. A specific function of this bureau will consist in the collection of all necessary data and the keeping in touch with all antiliquor bills brought before the several state legislatures. This bureau and its related activities are to be under the very competent direction of International Secretary Proebstle.
NEW YORK BREWERS' MUTUAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE COMPANY
In concluding this Report we desire to call the attention of the convention to an enterprise entered into during the present year by the employing brewers of Greater New York. About a year ago the New York State Legislature enacted a Workmen's Compensation Law, covering the leading industries of that State. Exercising a right of election permitted under the law, these brewers proceeded to form a mutual plan of carrying their own risks, believing that not only would such a plan more promptly bring relief to the injured and the bereft, but that it would also prove more economical than
When the Act was passed by the Legislature of New York, the brewers were confronted with a more serious insurance question than had ever before called for their consideration. The law made it imperative to protect the rights of the employees by the adoption of a system of compensation payments for injuries received in the course of their employment. By the terms of the Act, employers were given the option of insuring by any one of the four following methods:
(1) By insuring with a Stock Liability Insurance Company. (2) By insuring in the New York State Fund. (3) By depositing surety with the Commission that they would fulfill all obligations imposed upon them by law. (4) By insuring in a Mutual Insurance Company.
After very careful consideration, the Brewers decided that in view of the conditions imposed by law upon employers, there was no excuse for the perpetuation of Stock Company Insurance in this particular field, involving as it does heavy toll taking from the moneys paid by employers for the benefit of their injured workmen in the form of commissions to agents and profits to stockholders.
As far as the State Insurance Fund was concerned, the Brewers felt that at the time the coverage afforded by the Fund was not clearly enough defined. As to depositing surety with the Commission to fulfill the obligations, each brewer felt that insurance matters should properly be cared for by trained insurance men, and they further thought that to insure themselves individually in this matter, would be to lose the benefits derived from co-operation. They gave their attention to the merits of a Trade Mutual Insurance Company, believing that when employers in any branch of industry were furnished this form of insurance through a Trade Association, the question of rates is eliminated practically, because the matter of the initial premium is of slight significance when the insured can count upon getting back any excess of premium charges over insurance costs in the form of dividends. The Trade Association has the advantage of giving each group of employers the exclusive benefit of their own experience without being required to share it with other groups of employers in some cases less favorably situated. Similarly, any reduction of insurance costs, through systematic accident prevention, would go entirely to the benefit of the employers adopting safety standards. Experience had taught the brewers that insurance, contrary to general belief, was not a gamble. Over a period of years, with conditions the same, the cost of insurance would not vary greatly.
After deciding what was best for the brewers collectively from the financial standpoint, they then took up the question from their employees' standpoint. Proud of what they had already done for their workmen in the matter of employment and wages, they decided to go still further in an effort to show the workmen that they had their best interests at heart. The brewers wanted their employees to know that they were interested in them to the extent that they were administering the provisions of the Compensation Act for them particularly, and not leaving it to some corporation certainly not interested in the welfare of the employees.
The brewers decided finally that they could best meet the situation and protect their own interests, as well as those of their employees, by the formation of a Trade Mutual Insurance Company. Accordingly, in June, 1914, almost fifty brewers of Greater New York organized the Brewers' Mutual Indemnity Insurance Company, with the following officers and directors:
PETER DOELGER, President.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
WILLIAM P. RINCKOFF
Jacob RUPPERT, Jr.
RUDOLPH J. SCHAEFER
LOUIS B. SCHRAM
The list of subscribers includes the largest, as well as the smallest, brewery in the metropolis, breweries modern to the last detail and some not so favorably situated. The distribution from an insurance standpoint is ideal. Brewery work, from the employees' position, is unquestionably among the most satisfactory of all industries, providing, as it does, one of the highest wage in the industrial scale. This condition necessitates a very large payroll, and, as the premium for Workmen's Compensation in that State is based upon each $100 of the payroll, times a given rate, it was easy to accumulate a premium approximating $150,000.
Heretofore, as far as these Brewers were concerned, this sum was positively gone. Now, operating their own company, they feel they have every reason to expect a substantial dividend, provided they have a normal year, and each man does his share in the prevention of accidents. Considering they have no acquisition expenses, no commissions to pay brokers, and greatly reduced overhead charges, they are confident they can do all that any Stock Insurance Company can, and still return to the subscriber what other companies consider profits.
Affording compensation protection to nearly seven thousand employees, it is to be expected that many accidents are reported. Of these seven thousand employees, two thousand are classified as chauffeurs, drivers and helpers, exposed to all the hazards of traffic operations in the largest city in the world. Having been in operation nearly three months, they have had time to list and investigate almost four hundred reports of accidents. Most of these were trivial, necessitating only a few days lay-off for the injured men, but a great many were serious.
Among the serious cases, two were fatal. One man received an injury to his eye, which necessitated its removal—another had an arm amputated. Several had fingers and toes removed, and there were three cases of bad arm and leg fractures. Of the four hundred cases, almost everyone had some medical treatment, which gives us a large comparative proportion of expense for doctors and hospital treatment. The compilation of statistics reveals the interesting fact that at least two-thirds of the accidents reported are directly chargeable to carelessness on the part of employees, and, until such time as the employees realize this truth, the unnecessary economic loss will continue-first, to the employees in the fourteen days they actually lose before drawing compensation, and, further, in the subsequent loss of the difference between 663 per cent. of their wages while receiving compensation, and their full daily