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Beneficiary Features of American Trade Unions by James B. Kennedy

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Preliminary Term of
Name of Organization. Age Limit. Good Standing Required

Bakers ........................... 50 years 3 months
Barbers .......................... 50 years 30 days
Boot and Shoe Workers ............ 6 months
Glass Bottle Blowers ............. None
Carpenters ....................... 50 years 6 months
Cigar Makers ..................... 50 years 2 years
Granite Cutters .................. 6 months
Iron Molders ..................... 12 months
Iron, Steel and Tin Workers ...... 3 months
Leather Workers on Horse Goods ... 1 year
Lithographers .................... 30 days
Machinists ....................... 6 months
Metal Polishers .................. 1 year
Metal Workers .................... 12 months
Painters ......................... 50 years 1 year
Pattern Makers ................... 50 years 52 weeks
Piano and Organ Workers .......... 1 year
Plumbers ......................... 6 months
Stone Cutters .................... 6 months
Tailors .......................... 6 months
Tobacco Workers .................. 60 years 1 year
Typographical Union .............. None
Weavers, Elastic Goring .......... 6 months
Wood Workers ..................... 60 years 6 months

Only a few unions make good physical condition a requisite for admission
to the death benefit. In a small number provision is made that if death
result from disease incurred prior to admission the union shall not pay
the benefit. In the majority of the unions every member admitted to the
union is covered by the death benefit. Some of the unions, such as the
Brotherhood of Carpenters, the Boot and Shoe Workers' Union, the
Brotherhood of Painters, and the Pattern Makers' League, provide a
smaller benefit for those not eligible at time of initiation. In the
Brotherhood of Carpenters any apprentice under twenty-one years of age,
or any candidate for membership over fifty years of age, in ill health
and not qualified for full benefit when admitted to the union, is
limited to a funeral allowance of fifty dollars.[99] The Boot and Shoe
Workers' Union provides that members of sixty years of age, or those
afflicted with chronic diseases at time of initiation, shall be eligible
to half benefit only.[100] In the Brotherhood of Painters members of
sound health and over fifty years of age when admitted are eligible to a
semi-beneficial benefit of fifty dollars and to a funeral benefit of
twenty-five dollars in case of death of wife.[101]

[Footnote 99: Constitution, 1903 (Indianapolis, n.d.), secs. 65 and 98.]

[Footnote 100: Constitution, 1904 (Boston, n.d.), sec. 68.]

[Footnote 101: Constitution, 1904 (La Fayette, n.d.), sec. 133.]

The requirement of a preliminary period of membership serves to protect
the union against the entrance of persons who wish to join because they
are in ill health and are anxious to secure insurance which they could
not otherwise get. None of the unions provide, however, for any
deliberate selection of risks, and the mortality is higher than it would
be if the applicants were examined.

The death benefit is thus regarded by the unions not as a pure matter of
business. It is paid partly on charitable grounds, and the small
increase in the cost of the benefit occasioned by the lack of strict
physical requirements is regarded as more than compensated by the
increase in the solidarity of the organization thus attained.

In several important unions the death benefit has been made the basis
for a disability benefit. Thus a member receiving the disability benefit
loses his right to the death benefit. So closely are the two benefits
associated in these organizations that they are practically a single
benefit. This combination of death and disability benefits is found
chiefly in those trades in which the workmen are exposed to great danger
of being disabled by accident.[102] The principal unions maintaining the
disability benefit are the Iron Molders, the Brotherhood of Carpenters
and Joiners, the Cigar Makers, the Painters, the Wood Workers, the Metal
Workers, the Glass Workers, and the Boot and Shoe Workers.[103]

[Footnote 102: Those unions that pay a death benefit and make no
provision for total or permanent disability are: Bakers' and
Confectioners' Union, Barbers' International Union, Cigar Makers,
Elastic Goring Weavers' Association, United Garment Workers, Glass
Bottle Blowers' Association, Granite Cutters' Association, United
Hatters, Hotel and Restaurant Employees, Iron, Steel and Tin Workers'
Association, Jewelry Workers' Union, Brotherhood of Leather Workers on
Horse Goods, Lithographers' Association, Metal Polishers' Union, Pattern
Makers' League, Piano and Organ Workers' Union, Plumbers' Association,
Printing Pressmen's Union, Retail Clerks' Association, Saw Smiths'
Union, Stone Cutters' Association, Stove Mounters' Union, Street Railway
Employees' Association, Tailors' Union, Tobacco Workers' Union,
Typographical Union, Deutsch-Amerikanischen Typographia, Watch Case
Engravers' Association, Wood, Wire and Metal Lathers' Union.]

[Footnote 103: Originally, the Granite Cutters paid a disability benefit
of five hundred dollars. By 1878 the amount of the disability benefit
had been made variable, being raised by an assessment of fifty cents on
each member of the Union. About 1884 the disability benefit was

Nearly all the unions thus combining death and disability benefits grade
the disability benefit. They usually also differentiate the two benefits
either in the amount paid or in the period of membership required for
eligibility to the benefit. The Iron Molders, the Cigar Makers and the
Painters pay the same sums in case of disability as of death.[104] The
other unions, with one exception, provide for a greater maximum benefit
in case of disability. The period of good standing required to draw a
particular sum is usually greater in the case of the disability benefit
than in the case of the death benefit. The provisions of the Brotherhood
of Carpenters are fairly typical.[105] After six months' good standing
members become eligible to a death benefit of one hundred dollars, but
they are not eligible to a disability benefit until they have been in
membership twelve months. The maximum death benefit is two hundred
dollars, while the maximum disability benefit is four hundred dollars.
The maximum death benefit is paid on the death of members in good
standing for one year, while to be eligible to the maximum disability
benefit requires a membership of five years.[106]

[Footnote 104: The Cigar Makers retain fifty dollars until the death of
the member.]

[Footnote 105: The Carpenter, Vol. 2, No. 8, p. 5; Vol. 4, August,

[Footnote 106: Constitution of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and
Joiners of America, 1888 (n.p., n.d.), p. 10; Constitution, 1905
(Milwaukee, n.d.), p. 18.]

The following table shows the amounts of the death and disability
benefits in the more important unions, as originally established and as
paid in 1905:

|Amount Paid Originally. | Amount Paid in 1905.
Name of Union.|------------------------------------------------------------
|Death. |Disability. | Death. |Disability.
Iron Molders. |Yield of a | Yield of a |$100 for 1 yr. |$100 for 1 yr.
|40c. per | 40c. per | 150 for 5 yrs.| 150 for 5 yrs.
|capita | capita | 175 for 10 yrs| 175 for 10 yrs.
|assessment. |assessment. | 200 for 15 yrs| 200 for 15 yrs.
| | | |
Carpenters, |$250 for 6 |$100 for 6 mo.|$100 for 6 mo. |$100 for 1 yr.
Brotherhood |mo. | mo. | 200 for 1 yr. | 200 for 2 yrs.
of. | | | | 300 for 3 yrs.
| | | | 400 for 5 yrs
| | | |
Painters |$50 for 6 mo.| $50 for 6 |$100 for 1 yr. |$100 for 1 yr.
|mo. | mo. | |
|100 for 1 yr.|$100 for 1 yr.| 150 for 2 yrs.| 150 for 2 yrs.
| | | |
Wood Workers. |$60 for 1 yr.|$100 for 1 |$ 50 for 6 mo. |$150 for 1 yr.
| |yr. | 75 for 18 mo.| 200 for 2 yrs.
| | | 100 for 3 yrs.| 250 for 3 yrs.
| | | |
Metal Workers.|$75 for 1 yr.|$500 for 5 |$75 for 1 yr. |$500 for 5 yrs.
| |yrs. | |
| | | |
Glass Workers.|$50 for 6 mo.|$150 for 1 yr.|$150 for 1 yr. |$ 75 for 1 yr.
|100 for 1 yr.| | 175 for 2 yrs.| 100 for 2 yrs.
| | | |
Boot and Shoe |$50 for 6 mo.| | $50 for 6 mo. |$100 for 2 yrs.
Workers. |100 for 2 yrs| | 100 for 2 yrs.|

The ratio of disability benefits paid to death benefits paid varies in
the different unions according to the definition of disability adopted.
The Iron Molders' Union, which took the initiative in adopting a
national disability benefit, undertook to pay benefits to all disabled
members, with two exceptions. First, the disability must not have been
caused by dissipation, and secondly, the member must not have been
disabled before joining the Association.[107] The Granite Cutters'
Union, however, when establishing their voluntary insurance association
in 1877, limited the benefit to members disabled for life by any real
accident suffered while following employment as a granite cutter.[108]
The two benefits were unlike in that the Iron Molders paid the benefit
no matter how the disability had been incurred, while the Granite
Cutters paid only when the disability resulted from a trade accident.

[Footnote 107: Constitution of the Iron Molders' Union of North America,
1878 (Cincinnati, 1878), p. 51.]

[Footnote 108: Constitution of the Granite Cutters' International
Association of America, 1877 (Rockland, 1877), p. 27.]

Some of the unions now paying the disability benefit, as for example the
Boot and Shoe Workers, have followed the policy of the Iron Molders in
paying the benefit in all cases of disability; while others, for example
the Brotherhood of Carpenters, pay only where the disability is incurred
"while working at the trade." Under this system, in the case of the Iron
Molders, the claims for disability were so numerous that in 1882 the
term "permanent disability" was defined to mean "total blindness, the
loss of an arm or leg, or both," and since 1890 also paralysis.[109]
Similarly in 1880 the Granite Cutters defined more exactly what
constituted total disability.[110]

[Footnote 109: Constitution, 1882 (Cincinnati, 1882), Art. 17; Iron
Molders' Journal, Vol. 16, June and August, 1880; Constitution, 1890
(Cincinnati, 1890); Constitution, 1902 (Cincinnati, 1902), p. 40.]

[Footnote 110: Constitution, 1880 (Maplewood, 1880), p. 18.]

The younger unions have usually adopted the later revised definition of
the term "permanent or total disability," with such modifications as are
made necessary by the peculiar nature of the trade. The system of the
Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, adopted in 1886, and still in
force, defines permanent disability as "total blindness, the loss of an
arm or leg, or both, the total disability of a limb, the loss of four
fingers on one hand, or being afflicted with any physical disability
resulting from sudden accident."[111] The Amalgamated Glass Workers as
late as 1900 had made no attempt to give definite limits to the term
"total disability," but in 1903 they adopted the definition of the
Carpenters and extended it to include disability resulting from
paralysis.[112] The Amalgamated Wood Workers, however, still provide
simply that to receive the benefit members shall be disabled from
following the trade.[113]

[Footnote 111: Constitution, 1886 (n.p., n.d.), p. 11; Constitution,
1905 (Milwaukee, n.d.), p. 19.]

[Footnote 112: Constitution, 1900 (Chicago, n.d.), p. 23; Constitution,
1903, p. 11.]

[Footnote 113: Constitution of the Amalgamated Wood-Workers'
International Union of America, 1905 (Chicago, n.d.), p. 42.]

The definitions adopted by the unions are intended as guides for and
restrictions upon the administrative officials, but in all cases the
latter are given considerable latitude. The cost of the benefit,
therefore, depends largely upon the strictness with which the officials
construe the rules. In those unions where the injuries entitling to a
benefit are not specifically defined, the officers have great
discretionary power. Indeed, even if they have the best intention, it is
in many trades often impossible to obtain positive evidence as to the
totality or permanency of the disability. For example, the Brotherhood
of Painters find it almost impossible to pass intelligently upon claims
for disability resulting from lead poisoning.

The table on page 63 shows the sums paid for death and disability claims
in certain unions for which statistics are procurable.

The addition of a disability benefit to the death benefit as appears
from the table does not add greatly to the cost of maintaining the
benefit. In general, the amount paid for disability ranges from five to
ten per cent. of the total paid for both benefits. The cost of the
benefits is somewhat increased also by the loss of dues from the time of
the disability to the death of the insured.

| |Sum of Benefits Paid. |Percentage of Benefits
| | | Paid.
| |----------------------------------------------
Union. | Year. | Death. |Disability.| Death. |Disability
Brotherhood | | | | |
of |1894-1896|$ 58,527.10|$10,500.00 | 85 | 15
Carpenters |1896-1898| 59,108.44| 11,100.00 | 85 | 15
|1900-1902| 159,249.98| 7,900.00 | 95.3 | 4.7
|1902-1904| 243,218.25| 16,700.00 | 93.6 | 6.4
|1904-1906| 306,295.44| 28,250.00 | 91.6 | 8.4
| | | | |
Painters |1889-1890| 2,894.00| 250.00 | 92.1 | 7.9
|1890-1892| 6,900.00| 750.00 | 90.2 | 9.8
|1892-1894| 10,548.00| 1,475.00 | 87.8 | 12.2
|1898-1899| 7,150.00| 600.00 | 92.2 | 7.8
|1902-1003| 30,307.00| 3,050.00 | 90.9 | 9.1
|1903-1904| 37,711.25| 1,850.00 | 95.4 | 4.6
|1904-1905| 43,855.50| 4,250.00 | 91.2 | 8.8
| | | | |
Wood |1900 | 2,850.00| 250.00 | 92 | 8
Workers. |1901 | 4,200.00| 250.00 | 94.4 | 5.6
|1903 | 5,775.00| 500.00 | 90.6 | 9.4
|1904 | 7,574.00| 750.00 | 91.1 | 8.9
| | | | |
Iron |1890-1895| 56,172.00| 2,400.00 | 96 | 4
Molders. |1895-1899| 36,899.00| 3,600.00 | 91.2 | 8.8
|1899-1902| 67,414.38| 2,600.00 | 96.3 | 3.7
|1902-1907| 259,554.86| 19,600.00 | 93 | 7

An increasing number of unions pay a wife's death benefit as well as the
regular death benefit. This form is of comparatively recent adoption
and its success has not yet been thoroughly demonstrated. Nine American
unions were reported to be paying this benefit in September, 1903, and
eleven in September, 1904.[114] The following is a list of the unions
reported as paying the benefit in 1904: Bakers and Confectioners,
Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Cigar Makers, Compressed Air
Workers, Lace Curtain Operatives, Freight Handlers, Painters, Paving
Cutters, Photo-Engravers, Cotton Mule Spinners, Tailors.

[Footnote 114: Proceedings of the Twenty-third Convention, American
Federation of Labor, 1903 (Washington, 1903), p. 41; Proceedings of the
Twenty-fourth Convention, American Federation of Labor, 1904
(Washington, 1904), p. 46.]

The Deutsch-Amerikanischen Typographia took the initiative in the
adoption of this benefit at the New York Convention in May, 1884,[115]
and was immediately followed in the same year by the Brotherhood of
Carpenters and Joiners[116] and in 1887 by the Painters[117] and the
Cigar Makers.[118] For the year ending September 30, 1904, the
Carpenters, the Painters, and the Cigar Makers paid more than 92 per
cent. of the whole sum expended by the eleven unions that have adopted
this benefit.

[Footnote 115: American Federationist, Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 61.]

[Footnote 116: The Carpenter, Vol. 4, August, 1884.]

[Footnote 117: The Painter, Vol. 1, April, 1887; Vol. 17, p. 529.]

[Footnote 118: Constitution of the Cigar Makers' International Union of
America, 1887 (Buffalo, 1888), Art. 10.]

The wife's death benefit is designed to defray the cost of burial. It
is, therefore, small in amount, not exceeding fifty dollars in any of
the unions in which it is important. The following table gives the
minimum amounts of the wife's funeral benefit paid under the original
and under the present rules in the five unions in which the benefit is
of importance. The term of membership required for participation in the
benefit is also shown.

| Originally. | In 1905.
Name of Union.|Amount.|Required Period of| Amount.|Required Period of
| | Membership. | | Membership.
Bakers........| $50 | 6 mo. | $50 | 6 mo.
Carpenters....| 50 | 6 mo. | 25 | 6 mo.
Cigar Makers..| 40 | 2 yr. | 40 | 2 yr.
Painters......| 25 | 6 mo. | 50 | 1 yr.
Typographia...| 25 | 1 yr. | 50 | none

The wife's death benefit is not graded except in the case of the
Carpenters, where the minimum benefit is twenty-five dollars for six
months' and fifty dollars for one year's membership. The minimum given
in the above table is in all other cases also the maximum.

The success of the wife's death or funeral benefit is not beyond
controversy. The Tailors, who began to pay the benefit in 1889,
abandoned it in 1898. The benefit was at first seventy-five dollars
after three months' membership, but it was remodelled until in 1896 it
became a graded benefit ranging from twenty-five dollars to fifty
dollars according to the length of membership. The chief objection to
the benefit was that unmarried members were taxed to support the benefit
although they did not participate in the advantages. In 1898 Secretary
Lennon declared that the benefit "was based on real injustice, giving
one member more benefits for the same dues paid than to another."[119]
In other unions which maintain the benefit this objection has been met
to some extent, as in the Cigar Makers, by paying the benefit on the
death of the widowed mother of an unmarried member provided she was
solely dependent upon him for support. Provision is usually made that no
member shall receive the wife's funeral benefit more than once. This
rule is intended partly to prevent fraud but chiefly to meet the
complaint that the benefit confers unequal advantages.

[Footnote 119: The Tailor, Vol. 8, No. 1, p. 16.]

The unions which have adopted the benefit have all experienced
difficulty in safeguarding it against fraudulent claims. They usually
require, for eligibility to the benefit, that the wife be not in ill
health at the time the member is admitted to the union. In the unions
which have had the benefit longest in operation it has been found
possible materially to lessen the number of claims for the wife's
benefit after some experience in its operation.

The following table shows the percentage of claims paid by the Painters
for wife's and member's death benefits for a series of biennial periods:

| Percentage | Percentage
| of Wife's | of Member's
Year. | Death | Death
| Benefits. | Benefits.
1889-1890 | 49.1 | 50.9
1890-1892 | 43.5 | 56.5
1892-1894 | 45 | 55
1894-1896 | 37.5 | 62.5
1896-1900 | 35.3 | 64.7
1900-1902 | 32.5 | 67.5
1902-1904 | 32.6 | 67.4

It will be observed that the ratio of the number of wife's funeral
benefits to the number of member's funeral benefits has steadily fallen
for a considerable number of years. The experience of the Painters is
probably typical, although the number of claims of each kind is not
ascertainable in the other unions.

The combination of the wife's funeral benefit with the death benefit
causes a material addition in the cost of the death benefit. This
increase is greatest in those unions in which the wife's benefit is
relatively large in amount. The following table shows the sums paid for
member's and wife's death benefits in three of the more important

| |Wife's Death Benefit.|Member's Death Benefit.
| |---------------------------------------------
| | |Percentage| |Percentage
Union. | Year. | |of Whole | |of Whole
| |Expended. |Sum | Expended. |Sum
| | |Expended | |Expended
| | |for Death | |for Death
| | |Benefits. | |Benefits.
Painters |1888-1889|$ 650.00| | |
|1889-1890| 1,075.00| 26.8 |$ 2,894.00| 73.2
|1890-1892| 2,075.00| 23.1 | 6,000.00| 76.9
|1892-1894| 3,912.00| 27.7 | 10,548.00| 72.3
|1894-1896| 550.00| 19.1 | 2,319.00| 80.9
|1896-1900| 2,025.00| 18.3 | 8,996.25| 81.7
|1902-1903| 6,050.00| 16.3 | 30,307.00| 83.7
|1903-1904| 9,700.00| 20.4 | 37,711.25| 79.6
|1904-1905| 10,025.00| 18.6 | 43,855.50| 81.4
Brotherhood | | | | |
of Carpenters |1890-1892| 23,650.00| 20.1 | 93,696.00| 79.9
|1892-1894| 17,750.00| 14.2 | 106,906.95| 85.8
|1894-1896| 13,525.00| 18.7 | 58,527.10| 81.3
|1896-1898| 6,725.00| 10.2 | 59,108.44| 89.8
|1900-1902| 29,545.00| 15.6 | 159,249.98| 84.4
|1902-1904| 46,892.60| 16.1 | 243,218.25| 83.9
|1904-1906| 45,525.00| 12.9 | 306,294.44| 87.1
| | | | |
Tailors |1890-1893| 17,075.00| 32.2 | 35,880.00| 67.8
| 1894 | 3,600.00| 29.5 | 8,591.00| 70.5
| 1895 | 2,435.00| 23.6 | 7,853.50| 76.4
| 1896 | 1,674.70| 25.9 | 4,774.95| 74.1

From this table it appears that the expenditures on account of the
wife's funeral benefit in these unions range from twelve to twenty-five
per cent. of the total sum spent for death benefits. In the Cigar
Makers' Union and the Typographia it is probably still less.

The cost of the wife's funeral benefit to each member cannot be
determined for all the organizations. In some, even of the older unions,
as the Typographia and the Cigar Makers, separate reports of the cost of
the wife's funeral benefit are not made, and the reports only of the
Carpenters and the Tailors are capable of analysis.

| | | Total | Annual Cost
| |Member-| Expenditure | per Member
Union. | Year. |ship | for Wife's | of Wife's
| | | Funeral | Funeral
| | | Benefit. | Benefit.
Brotherhood |1894-1896 | 29,500| $13,525.00| $ .23
of Carpenters |1896-1898 | 30,600| 6,725.00| .11
|1898-1900 | 50,000| |
|1900-1902 |106,800| 29,540.00| .13
|1902-1904 |141,800| 46,892.60| .16
|1904-1906 |165,700| 45,525.00| .13
| | | |
|Jan. 1-July 1,| | |
Tailors | 1890-1891 | 3,760| 4,925.00| .86-2/3
|July 1-Jan. 1,| | |
| 1891-1894 | 7,560| 12,150.00| .64
| 1894 | 8,200| 3,600.00| .44
| 1895 | 8,600| 2,435.00| .28
| 1896 | 9,600| 1,674.70| .17
|To July 1, | | |
| 1897 | 10,500| 499.00| .10

In both unions the per capita cost of the benefit was relatively high at
the outset, chiefly on account of the larger size of the benefit, but
partly on account of the laxity of the rules governing its
administration. In the Carpenters the wife's funeral benefit of
twenty-five dollars and fifty dollars to members in good standing for
six months and one year, respectively, costs each member about fifteen
cents annually. The cost of the seventy-five dollar wife's funeral
benefit in the Tailors' Union ran in the first year as high as
eighty-six and two thirds cents. At the time the benefit was abolished
the amount paid was practically the same as that now paid by the
Carpenters and the per capita cost had fallen to about seventeen cents
in 1896. It may fairly be concluded that a wife's funeral benefit of
twenty-five dollars will cost each member of the union about fifteen
cents annually.

The consideration of the cost of the death benefit has been deferred
until an examination of the cost of the disability benefit and of the
wife's funeral benefit had been made, since the member's death benefit,
the disability benefit and the wife's funeral benefit are regarded in
the unions with the most highly developed systems as parts of a single
benefit. In only a few unions are the payments for these several
purposes separated. The unions thus differ so widely in the character of
the death benefit paid that it is impossible to institute any comparison
as to the relative expense of maintaining the benefit. Some of the
systems combine death and disability benefits, some group the death and
disability benefits, some pay a wife's funeral benefit while others do
not. It will be possible to describe certain typical systems and to
indicate the cost of the benefit in the particular system and certain
general differences.

The death benefit of the International Typographical Union may be
regarded as the simplest type. The greater number of the death benefit
systems found in American trade unions are of this general character.
The union pays a benefit on the death of any member in good standing. It
pays no wife's funeral benefit nor any disability benefit. The benefit,
when established in 1892, was fixed at sixty dollars, and has since been
raised to seventy dollars in 1906. The annual per capita cost of the
benefit has never exceeded eighty-four and has averaged less than eighty
cents. This extremely low rate has been due to the large number of
lapses. The beneficiary system of the union has not been highly
developed and members of the union quitting the trade drop their
membership. There is no sort of provision whereby members may retain
their beneficiary rights on the payment of less than full dues. Only a
small part of the dues are devoted to beneficiary purposes. The net
result in such systems is that the members of the union get insurance at
a low rate at the expense of those leaving the trade.

A second type is that of the Brotherhood of Carpenters. In their system,
death and disability benefits are combined and a benefit is paid on the
death of a member's wife. The benefits are graded but the maximum
amounts are not large. The following table shows the system as a whole:

Member's Death | Wife's Death |Disability
Benefit. | Benefit. |Benefit.
$100 on 6 months'| $25 on 6 months'| $100 on 1 year's
membership. | membership. | membership.
| |
$200 on 1 year's | $50 on 1 year's | $200 on 2 years'
membership. | membership. | membership.
| |
| | $300 on 3 years'
| | membership.
| |
| | $400 on 4 years'
| | membership.

The per capita cost of maintaining this system, adopted in 1882, has
varied greatly from year to year. In 1895 it was as high as $2.46, while
in 1900 it was as low as eighty-one cents. The explanation of this
variation lies in the changes in the number of members and consequent
changes in the age grouping. When the membership was at its lowest point
in 1895 those who retained their connection with the organization were
to a considerable extent the older members who were desirous of keeping
their insurance. The number of claims (death, wife's death and
disability) in 1895 was sixteen per one thousand of membership. In 1900
when the membership had doubled the number of claims per one thousand of
membership was thirteen and in 1906 it was nine. The average amount of a
claim in 1895 was $133, while in 1900 it was $105. In 1906 the average
amount of a claim was $125.

Two deductions may be made from these statistics. The Carpenters have
heretofore been unable to retain their membership in dull times. The
result has been that the death rate has been lower and the average
amount of the claims less than it otherwise would have been. The
increase in membership in prosperous times results also in decreasing
the average amount of the claims, since in such periods the mass of the
members have not been long enough in membership to entitle them to more
than the minimum benefits. The benefits furnished by the Carpenters and
other unions with similar systems of benefits are provided at less than
the cost would be in organizations with stable membership. The per
capita cost of $1.23 in 1906 is far below the actuarial cost.

The Typographia and the Cigar Makers are typical unions of the third and
final class. In these organizations there are highly developed
beneficiary systems. The members receive not only death benefits but
out-of-work and sick benefits. In both unions the membership is stable.
In the Typographia periods of depression and prosperity do not affect
the number of members. In the Cigar Makers the increase in members is
checked in hard times but no decrease is suffered. In such unions the
per capita cost of the death benefit is not lowered by lapses to any
appreciable extent.

The death benefit in the Typographia includes a member's death benefit
graded from sixty-five dollars to two hundred dollars, a wife's funeral
benefit of fifty dollars and a disability benefit varying according to
the age of the member. This combination of benefits costs to maintain on
the average about three dollars. The cost varies considerably from year
to year on account of the small number of members, and the consequent
lack of regularity in the death rate, but taking five-year periods, the
cost is stable.

In the Cigar Makers the cost of the death benefit is increasing. The
full effect of the grading of the benefit has not as yet shown itself in
the cost, since the influx of members recently has caused the rate to be
somewhat lower than it would have been. If the Cigar Makers hold their
membership and the increase slackens, it may be expected that by 1912
the cost of the benefit will be much higher than at present. In 1905, a
normal year, the death benefit, including a member's death benefit
graded from $200 to $550 (two to fifteen years), a wife's funeral
benefit of forty dollars and a disability benefit equal to the death
benefit cost the union the per capita rate of $3.56 to maintain. The
following table shows the per capita cost of the death benefit system in
several of the more important and typical systems:

Year.|Cigar |Typogra-|Carpen-| Typo- |Iron |Leather |Granite |Glass
|Makers.| phia. |ters. |graphical|Mold-|Workers |Cutters.|Bottle
| | | | Union. |ers. |on Horse| |Blowers.
| | | | | |Goods | |
1882 | $0.15 | | | | | | |
1883 | .20 | | | | | | |
1884 | .33 | | | | | | |
1885 | .35 | $2.11 | | | | | |
1886 | .20 | 1.05 |$0.69 | | | | |
1887 | .43 | 1.94 | .66 | | | | |
1888 | 1.23 | 2.58 | .66 | | | | |
1889 | 1.06 | 1.85 | .90 | | | | |
1890 | 1.03 | 1.94 | .90 | | | | |
1891 | 1.51 | 2.23 | .99 | | | | $0.92 |
1892 | 1.60 | 1.60 | 1.38 | | | | 1.02 |
1893 | 1.74 | 2.20 | 1.38 |$0.73 | | | 1.37 |
1894 | 2.12 | 4.36 | 1.62 | .81 | | | 1.28 |
1895 | 2.27 | 3.51 | 2.46 | .78 |$0.44| | |
1896 | 2.69 | 2.36 | 1.62 | .78 | .44| | |
1897 | 2.44 | 4.23 | 1.77 | .84 | .44| | |
1898 | 3.30 | 2.63 | 1.80 | .80 | .44| | |$4.66
1899 | 3.13 | 1.27 | .99 | .83 | | $0.31 | |
1900 | 2.64 | 3.13 | .81 | .78 | .42| .11 | |
1901 | 3.67 | 4.09 | .90 | .72 | .54| .28 | 1.18 |
1902 | 3.11 | 3.58 | 1.10 | .80 | .57| .39 | 1.21 |
1903 | 3.14 | 3.25 | .92 | .72 | .60| .34 | 1.16 |
1904 | 3.24 | 2.26 | 1.18 | .84 | .64| .55 | 1.11 |
1905 | 3.56 | 4.09 | 1.30 | .84 | .72| .38 | 1.53 | 5.93
1906 | 4.08 | 2.71 | 1.23 | .79 | | | |



Second in importance among the systems of benevolent relief maintained
by American trade unions is the sick benefit paid to members who are
prevented by illness from working. Historically, the sick benefit was
probably the earliest beneficiary feature inaugurated by local trade
unions, but, for several reasons, its adoption by the national unions
was delayed. At the present time two systems of sick benefits can be
found among American trade unions. In some unions this benefit is paid
from the funds of the local union but is subject to the general
supervision of the national organizations. In other unions it is
disbursed from the national treasury and is immediately controlled by
the national officials.

Of the one hundred and seventeen unions allied with the American
Federation of Labor in 1904, twenty-eight reported payment of sick
benefits.[120] They were as follows: Bakers and Confectioners, Barbers,
Bill Posters, Boot and Shoe Workers, Brotherhood of Carpenters and
Joiners, Amalgamated Carpenters,[121] Cigar Makers, Compressed Air
Workers, Foundry Employees, Freight Handlers, Fur Workers, Glass
Snappers, Hotel and Restaurant Employees, Jewelry Workers, Leather
Workers on Horse Goods, Machine Printers and Color Mixers, Machinists,
Mattress, Spring and Bed Workers, Iron Molders, Oil and Gas Well
Workers, Piano and Organ Workers, Plumbers, Print Cutters, Street and
Electric Railway Employees, Tile Layers, Tobacco Workers, Travellers'
Goods and Leather Novelty Workers, Wire Weavers. All of these, with a
few exceptions, such as the Machinists and the American Wire Weavers,
pay sick benefits from the national treasury.

[Footnote 120: Proceedings of the Twenty-fourth Annual Convention
(Washington, 1904), p. 46.]

[Footnote 121: An English union with branches in the United States, with
a voting strength of fifty in the American Federation of Labor,
representing about four thousand members.]

The following table contains a list of the principal organizations that
pay national sick benefits, arranged in the order of the introduction of
the benefit:

| Year |Year Sick Benefits
Name of Organization. | Organized. | Introduced.
Granite Cutters ................| 1877 | 1877
Cigar Makers ...................| 1864 | 1880
Typographia ....................| 1873 | 1884
Barbers ........................| 1887 | 1893
Iron Molders ...................| 1859 | 1896
Tobacco Workers ................| 1895 | 1896
Pattern Makers .................| 1887 | 1898
Leather Workers on Horse Goods..| 1896 | 1898
Piano and Organ Workers ........| 1898 | 1898
Boot and Shoe Workers ..........| 1895 | 1899
Garment Workers ................| 1891 | 1900
Plumbers .......................| 1889 | 1903

The Granite Cutters' Union was the first national union to inaugurate a
system of national sick benefits. In its first constitution, 1877,
provision was made for the formation of a voluntary association for the
payment of sick benefits. All members of the Union under fifty-five
years of age were eligible to membership.[122] An initiation fee,
varying from two dollars for members under thirty years of age to six
dollars for those fifty years old, was charged. The amount of the
benefit was fixed at six dollars per week during sickness, without any
limitation on the amount granted during any one year. The association
never had a large membership and was dissolved in 1888. The Union from
1888 to 1897 exempted members during illness from all dues except
funeral assessments; since 1897 members in good standing who have been
sick for two months are exempt from half dues.[123]

[Footnote 122: Constitution, 1877 (Rockland, Maine, 1877), p. 30.]

[Footnote 123: Constitution of the Granite Cutters' International
Association of America, 1888, Art. 38 (New York, 1888); Constitution,
1897 (Baltimore, n.d.), p. 32.]

The Cigar Makers' Union was the first American national trade union to
establish a compulsory sick benefit. The system was put into operation
in 1880.[124] For some years previously sick benefits had been paid by
certain of the local unions, particularly those in New York, New Haven
and Brooklyn. In 1877 the Brooklyn local proposed that the sick benefit
should be nationalized, but the convention defeated the plan.[125] At
the convention of 1878 a committee was appointed to consider the
advisability of establishing a national system of relief. This committee
made a favorable report in 1879, and its plan was finally adopted at the
thirteenth annual session, September, 1880.[126] The success of the sick
benefit was immediate, and in 1881 and 1884 the amount of the allowance
was increased.[127] The popularity of the sick benefit grew rapidly, and
it soon took rank as one of the most successful features of the

[Footnote 124: Cigar Makers' Journal, Vol. 6, Oct., 1880, p. 7.]

[Footnote 125: _Ibid._, Vol. 3, Oct., 1877, p. 3.]

[Footnote 126: _Ibid._, Vol. 5, June, 1879, p. 1; October, 1880, p. 7.]

[Footnote 127: Constitution, 1881 (New York, 1881), Art. 9.]

[Footnote 128: Cigar Makers' Journal, Vol. 14, August, 1889, pp. 10-11.]

In the first national constitution of the Deutsch-Amerikanischen
Typographia, adopted in April, 1873, provision was made for the payment
of sick benefits by the subordinate unions.[129] The system, however,
was unsatisfactory, and in 1879 and 1881 unsuccessful efforts were made
to remedy its deficiencies. The desire for a better system finally led
to the adoption of a national sick benefit at the New York convention in
May, 1884.

[Footnote 129: 25-jaehrige Geschichte der Deutsch-Amerikanischen
Typographia, p. 6; American Federationist, Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 60.]

The sick-benefit system of the Iron Molders' Union may be regarded as
next in importance to those of the Cigar Makers and the German Printers.
Although organized into a national union in 1859 the Iron Molders have
only within a very recent period turned their attention seriously to the
establishment of beneficiary features. In 1866 President Sylvis urged
the adoption of a funeral and a disability benefit, to which, he said,
sick benefits might be added later.[130] Thirty years later, in 1895,
President Fox advocated a national sick benefit as a necessary part of
the Iron Molders' beneficiary system.[131] But both of these officials
cautioned the National Union against extending the national benefits too
far, lest the protective purpose of the association be sacrificed to the
benevolent. The unsatisfactory operation of the "Beneficial Association"
in the early history of the Union, and later the experience of the Union
with the death and disability benefit, had made the membership reluctant
to sanction the establishment of any new benefit. A further deterrent
influence was the almost total failure of sick benefits operated by the
local unions.

[Footnote 130: Iron Molders' Journal, Vol. 1, p. 309.]

[Footnote 131: Proceedings of the Twentieth Convention, Chicago, 1895
(Cincinnati, 1895).]

President Fox's recommendation was effective, however, in securing the
establishment of the sick benefit. The system became operative on
January 1, 1896, and was essentially the same as that now in
operation.[132] Provision is made for a weekly allowance of five dollars
during a period of not more than thirteen weeks in any one year to sick
members. The beneficiary must have been a member of the organization for
six months, and not in arrears for more than twelve weeks' dues.[133]

[Footnote 132: Iron Molders' Journal, Vol. 31, No. 8, p. 3; Proceedings
of Twentieth Convention, Chicago, 1895 (Cincinnati, 1895), p. 100.]

[Footnote 133: Constitution, 1895 (Cincinnati, 1895), Art. 17.]

Several unions organized in recent years, availing themselves of the
experience of the Cigar Makers and the Typographia, have inaugurated
systems of sick benefits within a few years after their organization.
The Tobacco Workers' Union introduced national sick benefits in 1896,
one year after organization. Similarly, the Boot and Shoe Workers' Union
at their fourth convention in June, 1899, established a national sick
benefit.[134] This system became operative on January 1, 1900, and
provided for members in good standing sick benefits of five dollars per
week for not more than thirteen weeks in any one year.[135]

[Footnote 134: Proceedings of the Second Convention, Boston, 1896 (Lynn,
n.d.), pp. 42-46; Third Convention, Boston, 1897 (Lynn, n.d.); Fourth
Convention, Rochester, 1899 (Lynn, n.d.).]

[Footnote 135: Constitution, 1899, sec. 65.]

Besides the unions thus described, the Barbers, the Bakers, the Leather
Workers on Horse Goods, and the Plumbers each pay five dollars per week,
the last two for thirteen weeks in any one year, the Barbers for twenty
weeks, and the Bakers for twenty-six weeks; the Piano and Organ Workers,
five dollars per week for eight weeks; the Pattern Makers, four dollars
per week for thirteen weeks; the Garment Workers, three dollars per week
to women and four dollars per week to men for eight weeks in any one
year, or twelve weeks in two years, or fifteen weeks in three years, or
eighteen weeks in four years.

In several other important unions the question of establishing a
national system of sick benefits has been much discussed. The following
unions have given the greatest amount of attention to the subject: the
Typographical Union, the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, the
Painters, the Wood Workers, and the Machinists. In each of these many of
the subordinate unions pay a sick benefit. Among the Carpenters the
payment of sick relief has always been an activity of the subordinate
unions.[136] Although the Brotherhood has up to the present left the
management of the sick benefit to the local unions, the national
officials have recommended on several occasions that the benefit should
be nationalized. In 1890 General Secretary-Treasurer M'Guire pointed out
that under the system of local benefits travelling members were
frequently not entitled to sick benefits.[137] At the ninth and tenth
annual conventions, in 1896 and 1898, the subject of unifying the
system was discussed at length.[138] Many local unions had bankrupted
themselves by paying large sick benefits. The convention of 1898
submitted to the referendum a plan for a national system. The defeat of
this proposal was chiefly due to the feeling that it was inadvisable to
pay the same amount in small towns and cities where wages were low as in
the larger cities.

[Footnote 136: The Society of Carpenters, founded at Halifax, Nova
Scotia, February 18, 1798, provided in its constitution that all members
of twelve months' standing, if sick and confined to bed, should receive
two shillings per week; if able to walk about but unable to work, they
should receive such a sum as the Society thought wise (Constitution,
1798, [MS.]).]

[Footnote 137: Proceedings of the Sixth General Convention, Chicago,
1890 (Philadelphia, 1890).]

[Footnote 138: The Carpenter, Vol. 16, October, 1896; Vol. 18, October,
1898, p. 8.]

The Typographical Union, prior to 1892, had manifested little interest
in the establishment of a national sick benefit. At the national
conventions of 1893, 1894 and 1898 President Prescott urged the adoption
of a national system.[139] In 1898 he succeeded in securing a favorable
report from the Committee on Laws, but the convention defeated the
proposal.[140] Although the Union has not up to the present established
a national sick benefit, the Union Printers' Home maintained by the
Union has among its inmates not only aged printers but a large number of
those afflicted with disabling diseases. The Home also serves as a
sanitarium for tuberculosis patients.[141]

[Footnote 139: Proceedings of the Forty-second Convention, Louisville,
1894, p. 3.]

[Footnote 140: Proceedings of the Forty-fourth Convention, 1898, in
Supplement to The Typographical Journal, November, 1898, p. 99.]

[Footnote 141: See below, p. 104.]

The table on page 78 shows the chief characteristics of the sick benefit
as it has developed in several of the more important unions.

| Originally. | 1905.
Name of Organization | |Maximum | |Maximum
| Rate |No. of | Rate |No. of
| Per |Weeks in| Per |Weeks in
| Week |a Year. | Week. |a Year.
Iron Molders ...........| $5 | 13[143]| $5.25 | 13[143]
Typographia ............| 5 | | 5 |
Cigar Makers ...........|/ 3 (1st 8)| 16 | 5 | 13
|\ 1.50 (2d 8) | | |
Boot and Shoe Workers ..| 5 | 13 | 5 | 13
Plumbers ...............| 5 | 13 | 5 | 13
Pattern Makers .........| 6.25 | 13 | 4 | 13
Leather Workers on Horse| | | |
Goods ..................| | | 5[144] | 13
Granite Cutters ........| 6 | 52 | |
Tobacco Workers ........| | | 3 | 13
Piano and Organ Workers.| | | 5 | 8
Garment Workers ........| | |/ 3 (for women)| 8
| | |\ 4 (for men) | 8
Barbers ................|/ 5 (1st 8) | 16 | 5 | 20
|\ 3 (2d 8) | | |
Bakers .................| 5 | 26 | 5 | 26

[Footnote 143: See page 80.]

[Footnote 144: Exemption of half dues.]

The sick benefit is intended to support members and their families while
the member is unable, through illness, to work. Such sickness, to
entitle a member to the benefit, must in all the unions be an illness
which prevents him from "attending to his usual vocations."[142]
Practically all the unions provide, however, that if the sickness is
the result of "intemperance, debauchery or other immoral conduct" the
benefit shall not be paid. A few of the unions also specifically provide
that illness "caused by the member's own act" shall not constitute a
claim for the benefit.[145]

[Footnote 142: Iron Molders' Constitution, 1902 (Cincinnati, 1902), p.
37; Cigar Makers' Constitution, 1896, fourteenth edition (Chicago,
n.d.), p. 34; Tobacco Workers' Constitution, 1900, third edition, 1905
(Louisville, n.d.), p. 25; Barbers' Constitution, 1902, p. 10; Garment
Workers' Constitution, 1902, p. 37; Piano and Organ Workers'
Constitution, 1902 (n.p., 1903), p. 18; Boot and Shoe Workers'
Constitution, 1906, p. 31; Pattern Makers' Constitution, 1906, p. 48;
Leather Workers on Horse Goods' Constitution, 1905, p. 21.]

[Footnote 145: The Boot and Shoe Workers, who have a large number of
female members, provide that "female members shall not be entitled to
[sick] benefits while pregnant nor for five weeks after confinement"
(Constitution, 1906, sec. 64).]

In nearly all of the unions a member must have been in continuous good
standing for six months to be entitled to receive the sick benefit. The
Plumbers require that he shall have been a member for a year. Such
requirements afford protection to some extent against persons in ill
health joining the unions in order to receive the benefit. The unions
rely almost entirely upon those provisions to prevent such abuse. In
practically none is an examination regularly required in order to
determine whether the candidate for admission to the union is likely to
be a heavy risk. Certain of them do provide, however, that in case the
candidate at the time of his admission is over a fixed age, or in case
he is afflicted with a chronic disease, he shall be entitled to a
smaller weekly benefit than would otherwise be the case. Thus, in the
Typographia members fifty years of age and those passing unsatisfactory
medical examinations pay five cents less weekly dues than regular
members, but can draw no benefit until after two years' good standing.
At the expiration of this period they may receive three dollars per
week, two dollars less than the regular benefit, for fifty weeks, and
then one dollar and fifty cents, half of the regular benefit, for
another fifty weeks.

The rules of the unions paying sick benefits vary markedly as to the
time at which the payment of the benefit begins. The Cigar Makers and
the Typographia pay benefits for the first week of sickness but not for
a fraction of a week; the benefit begins from the time the sickness is
reported to the local union. The Iron Molders and the Boot and Shoe
Workers begin payment with the beginning of the second week, and in no
case allow benefits for the first week or for a fractional part of a
week. In the Pattern Makers' League, the Brotherhood of Leather Workers
on Horse Goods, and the Piano and Organ Workers no benefit is paid
unless the illness continues two weeks; the benefits are then paid for
the entire period. The Tobacco Workers begin payment with the second
week, but if the illness continues twenty-one days, payment is also
allowed for the first week. The Plumbers do not pay a sick benefit
unless the illness extends two weeks, in which case payment begins with
the second week.

The sick benefit is not intended in any of the unions as a pension for
persons suffering from chronic disability. In all of them the number of
weeks in any one year during which a member may draw the benefit is
limited. The usual provision is that the member may not receive the
relief more than thirteen weeks in any one year.[146] Several unions,
however, set the maximum at eight weeks, while in a very few a member
may draw it for more than thirteen weeks in a single year. The most
liberal provision is found in the Typographia. A member of that
organization may draw a weekly sick benefit of five dollars for fifty
weeks, and may then draw a weekly benefit of three dollars for another
fifty weeks.

[Footnote 146: See table on page 78.]

Several of the unions have found that certain members draw the maximum
number of weeks' benefit yearly. These members are invalids and
practically unable to work at the trade. The benefit is thus to a
certain extent converted into a pension for disability. The Iron Molders
and the Boot and Shoe Workers have made express provision for retiring
such members from the benefit. In 1902 the Iron Molders provided that a
member permanently disabled who had "drawn the full sick benefits for
three years should be compelled to draw disability benefits." In 1907
the Financier reported that since 1902 eighty-nine members had thus been
retired. In 1906 the Boot and Shoe Workers' Union provided that after a
member had drawn the full amount of the sick benefit for two years he
should be paid a disability benefit of one hundred dollars.[147] The
Garment Workers reach much the same end by providing that a member may
not receive more than eight weeks' benefit during one year, nor more
than twelve in two years, fifteen in three years, and eighteen in four

[Footnote 147: Constitution, 1906 (Boston, 1906), pp. 30-32; Proceedings
of the Seventh Convention, 1906, pp. 44-45.]

[Footnote 148: Constitution, 1906 (New York, n.d.), p. 41.]

The rate of the weekly sick benefit is five dollars in all the unions
except the Tobacco Workers and the Pattern Makers. In the former it is
three dollars and in the latter four. The Cigar Makers when they
introduced the benefit paid three dollars per week for the first eight
weeks and one dollar and a half for the second eight weeks.[149] After a
year's experience the amounts were increased to four dollars and two
dollars, respectively; in 1884 to five dollars and three dollars; in
1891 the benefit was set at five dollars per week and the maximum period
during which the benefit could be obtained was fixed at thirteen
weeks.[150] The Typographia, introducing the benefit in 1884, fixed the
amount at five dollars and paid the same rate without regard to the
number of weeks the benefit had been paid. In 1888 the amount was
increased to six dollars.[151] But in July, 1894, because of the drain
on the funds of the union due to the depression of business, the amount
was reduced to five dollars.[152] The Granite Cutters paid for a time
six dollars, but since 1888 have simply allowed total or half exemption
of dues.[153] The only other one of the unions which has reduced the
amount of the benefit is the Pattern Makers. When this union introduced
the sick benefit the amount paid was fixed at six dollars and
twenty-five cents, but since 1900 only four dollars have been paid. The
only union at present differentiating the amount of the benefit
according to the length of the term of sickness is the Typographia.

[Footnote 149: Constitution, 1880, Art. 12.]

[Footnote 150: Constitution, 1881 (New York, 1881), Art. 9; 1884 (New
York, 1884), Art. 9; 1891 (Buffalo, 1892), p. 28.]

[Footnote 151: 25 jaehrige Geschichte der Deutsch-Amerikanischen
Typographia, p. 35.]

[Footnote 152: American Federationist, Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 62.]

[Footnote 153: Constitution, 1877 (Rockland, 1877), p. 31.]

The total amount which may be drawn in any one year in about one half
the unions is sixty-five dollars; that is, thirteen weeks at five
dollars per week. The largest amounts during any one year are paid by
the Typographia, the Bakers and the Barbers. The Bakers and the Barbers
allow members to draw $130 and $100, respectively, while a member of the
Typographia may receive as much as $265 per year.

The table on page 82 shows the total and per capita cost of the sick
benefit in four of the principal unions maintaining it.

The per capita cost in the four unions, for the last year in which data
are available, ranged from $3.59 in the Cigar Makers to $2.18 in the
Leather Workers on Horse Goods. The chief reason for the higher per
capita cost to the Cigar Makers and the Typographia is the more liberal
provision for the payment of the benefit. In both of these unions the
relief is paid from the time the illness is reported. The Iron Molders
and the Leather Workers do not pay a sick benefit unless the illness
extends over two weeks. In the case of the Iron Molders the benefit
begins with the second week. Just how effective these limitations are in
keeping down the cost per member can only be conjectured since the
statistical records of the unions do not afford data for a thoroughgoing
analysis. The financier of the Iron Molders estimated in 1902 that if
the union had paid for the first week of sickness, the amount paid in
sick benefits would have been increased twenty-three per cent.[154]

[Footnote 154: Iron Molders' Journal, September, 1902, Supplement, p.

Year.|Cigar Makers. | Typographia. | Iron Molders. |Leather Workers
| | | |on Horse Goods.
|Total Cost.| Per | |Per | | Per | |Per
| |Capita| Total |Capita| Total |Capita| Total |Capita
| | Cost.| Cost | | Cost. | Cost.| Cost. |Cost.
1881 |$ 3,987.73| $ .27| | | | | |
1882 | 17,145.29| 1.50| | | | | |
1883 | 22,250.56| 1.68| | | | | |
1884 | 31,551.50| 2.77| | | | | |
1885 | 29,379.89| 2.44|$2,444.85|$4.37 | | | |
1886 | 42,225.59| 1.71| 2,751.35| 2.89 | | | |
1887 | 63,900.88| 3.10| 3,034.60| 2.82 | | | |
1888 | 58,824.19| 3.40| 3,495.90| 3.10 | | | |
1889 | 59,519.94| 3.29| 4,831.50| 4.27 | | | |
1890 | 64,660.47| 2.55| 5,361.36| 4.34 | | | |
1891 | 87,472.97| 3.40| 6,175.88| 4.67 | | | |
1892 | 89,906.30| 3.22| 6,790.60| 4.91 | | | |
1893 | 104,391.83| 3.68| 6,051.65| 4.33 | | | |
1894 | 106,758.37| 3.64| 7,004.07| 5.81 | | | |
1895 | 112,567.06| 3.82| 5,098.98| 4.66 | | | |
1896 | 109,208.62| 3.74| 5,426.65| 4.86 |$ 38,511.00| $1.79| |
1897 | 112,774.63| 4.00| 4,681.25| 4.32 | 36,720.00| 1.59| |
1898 | 111,283.60| 3.90| 3,983.85| 3.62 | 37,710.00| 1.50| |
1899 | 107,785.07| 3.45| 4,506.35| 4.20 | 57,465.00| 1.98|$ 855.00|$ .90
1900 | 117,455.84| 3.21| 4,651.65| 4.45 | 102,935.00| 2.49| 2,105.00| .88
1901 | 134,614.11| 3.65| 4,316.81| 4.22 | 118,515.00| 2.46| 4,870.00| 1.22
1902 | 137,403.45| 3.47| 4,977.98| 4.99 | 134,116.00| 2.47| 8,595.00| 1.81
1903 | 147,054.56| 3.42| 3,767.93| 3.77 | 179,355.00| 2.78| 11,680.00| 1.90
1904 | 163,226.18| 3.59| 2,945.68| 2.96 | 198,214.25| 2.59| 16,940.00| 2.18
1905 | 165,917.00| 3.73| 4,835.45| 4.95 | 174.946.28| | 14,345.00| 2.13
1906 | 162,905.82| 3.70| 2,945.68| 3.02 | 176,799.00| | |

Differences in the rate of morbidity in different trades affect the
cost, but these are relatively unimportant in the unions considered. A
more important cause of difference in cost is the extent to which the
unions are able to prevent the sick benefit from becoming a pension to
members incapacitated by old age and disease. The heavy cost in the
Typographia is partly due to the more liberal provision which is made
for such members. In those unions, such as the Iron Molders and the
Leather Workers on Horse Goods, which do not maintain an out-of-work
benefit, the cost of the sick benefit is undoubtedly somewhat higher
than it would be on account of the temptation of the unemployed member
to feign illness.



The out-of-work benefit, of prime importance among English trade unions,
has made little headway in America either as a national or even as a
local trade-union benefit. In 1905 the amount expended for out-of-work
benefits could not well have exceeded eighty thousand dollars, and of
this sum a considerable part was spent by the Amalgamated Carpenters, a
British trade union with branches in the United States. Certainly less
than one half of one per cent. of the expenditures of American national
unions, and less than one per cent. of their expenditures for
beneficiary purposes, is for out-of-work relief. In the one hundred
principal English trade unions twenty-one per cent. of the total
expenditure in the ten years from 1892 to 1901 was for out-of-work
benefits. Of the sum spent by the same unions for benefits of all kinds
(not including strike pay) about one third was for out-of-work

[Footnote 155: Weyl, "Benefit Features of British Trade Unions" in
Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor, No. 64, p. 722.]

Relief to the unemployed member has assumed in American unions three
forms: (_a_) an out-of-work benefit of a fixed amount per week in money,
(_b_) exemption of unemployed members from weekly or monthly dues, and
(_c_) a loan or benefit sufficient to transport the unemployed member in
search of employment. The first and second of these are ordinarily known
as out-of-work benefits, while the third is known as a travelling

The unions that pay a money benefit are the Cigar Makers, the
Typographia, the Coal Hoisting Engineers, and the Jewelry Workers.[156]
The Cigar Makers' Union is still the only American trade union of
considerable membership which maintains a system of out-of-work benefits
under which unemployed members receive a weekly money benefit. On
October 11, 1875, the New York branch of the Cigar Makers' Union formed
an out-of-work benefit and became from that time the steady advocate of
a national system. As early as 1876 the New York Union proposed a plan
to the International Convention, modelled upon the system in operation
in the local union, under which a member was entitled to receive aid for
a term of three weeks, beginning with the second week of
unemployment.[157] This proposal failed of adoption; but the
International Convention agreed that sick members should have their
cards receipted by the out-of-work seal. Proposals for the establishment
of a money out-of-work benefit were made in 1877 and in 1879 at
conventions of the Union. Although International President Hurst
endorsed the idea in 1876 and recommended that it be placed before the
local unions for consideration, the International Convention voted
adversely. A substitute, proposed by Mr. Gompers, was adopted in 1879.
This provided that every subordinate union should establish a labor
bureau for the purpose of securing work for unemployed members.[158] The
compromise was by no means satisfactory, and suggestions continued to be
made for the establishment of a national out-of-work benefit.[159]

[Footnote 156: The Amalgamated Carpenters, an English union which had in
1902 forty-four branches with 3307 members in the United States, also
pay an out-of-work benefit.]

[Footnote 157: Journal, Vol. 1, September, 1876, p. 1.]

[Footnote 158: Cigar Makers' Journal, Vol. 2, April, 1877, p. 2; Vol. 3,
October, 1877, p. 3; Vol. 5, September, 1879, p. 3.]

[Footnote 159: _Ibid_., Vol. 8, September, 1883, p. 9; Vol. 11, October,
1885, p. 6; Vol. 13, July, 1888, p. 7; Vol. 14, December, 1888, p. 3;
Vol. 15, October, 1889, pp. 17-18; Constitution, amended 1889, Art. 8.]

The Cigar Makers' present national system of out-of-work relief was
adopted at the eighteenth session, held in New York City in September,
1889, and became operative in January, 1890. The measure as finally
adopted by the International Convention was framed by Mr. Gompers. It
provided that the unemployed members should receive three dollars per
week and fifty cents for each additional day, that after receiving six
weeks' aid the member should not be entitled to further assistance for
seven weeks, and that no member should be granted more than seventy-two
dollars during any one year. The original system has remained
practically unchanged with the exception that in 1896 the annual
allowance per member was reduced.

From the outset--the first benefit was paid on January 22,
1890[160]--this system has been successful in operation. The report of
the international president to the nineteenth session, September, 1891,
showed that 2286 members out of 24,624, or less than ten per cent. of
the total membership, drew out-of-work benefits during the first year,
to the amount of $22,760.50; while during the first six months of 1891,
the second year of its operation, 1074 out of 24,221, or less than five
per cent., received assistance to the amount of $13,214.50.[161] During
1892 the per capita cost of the benefit was 65-1/2 cents, as compared
with 92 cents and 87 cents in 1890 and 1891, respectively. These years
were immediately preceding the great industrial and financial depression
of 1893-1897, and in consequence during the following years the per
capita amount paid showed considerable increase. In 1894 the unemployed
cost the Union $174,517.25, or $6.27 per capita of membership, and in
1896, $175,767.25, or $6.43 per capita.[162] Since 1897 the yearly
amount paid has gradually decreased with the exception of 1901 and 1904.
During sixteen years of operation, ending January 1, 1906, $1,045,866.11
has been paid to unemployed members.[163]

[Footnote 160: Cigar Makers' Journal, Vol. 15, February, 1890, p. 9.]

[Footnote 161: _Ibid_., Vol. 17, October, 1891, p. 5 (Supplement).]

[Footnote 162: Proceedings of the Twenty-first Session, September, 1896;
in Cigar Makers' Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1.]

[Footnote 163: Cigar Makers' Journal, Vol. 31, April, 1906, p. 13.]

Even before the Cigar Makers, the Deutsch-Amerikanischen Typographia,
the small union of the German American printers, had established an
out-of-work benefit. The Typographia began to pay an out-of-work benefit
in 1884, eleven years after the organization of the national union. The
new preamble adopted at the first national convention in Philadelphia,
1873, declared one of the purposes of the union to be the support of
members "when unable to obtain work."[164] In 1884, when the union
nationalized its system of benefits, the out-of-work benefit was fixed
at five dollars per week. In 1888, owing to the prosperous financial
condition of the Union, it was increased to six dollars per week, but in
July, 1894, because of the strain upon the funds of the organization
caused by the introduction of typesetting machines and the general
business depression, it was reduced to the original sum.[165]

[Footnote 164: American Federationist, Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 61.]

[Footnote 165: _Ibid_.]

The system in operation at present provides that members in good
standing who have been on the unemployed list for eighteen days shall be
entitled to six dollars per week. After drawing twenty-four dollars, no
further benefit is granted until the member is on the unemployed list
again for eighteen days, and no member is entitled to more than
ninety-six dollars in any one fiscal year. Since 1888, with the
exception of the fiscal years ending June 30, 1890, and June 30, 1891,
the amount paid for out-of-work assistance has been the largest single
item in the budget of the Union. During the year ending June 30, 1894,
$17,262.50, or $14.33 per capita, an equivalent of forty-eight per cent.
of the total disbursements for all benevolent purposes, was paid in
out-of-work claims. The total amount paid up to June 30, 1906, was
$145,826.91, and the average yearly per capita cost had been $5.99.[166]

[Footnote 166: See table, page 91.]

Only two other American unions paid out-of-work benefits in 1906. Both
of these are small unions and recently organized. The National
Brotherhood of Coal Hoisting Engineers pay five dollars per week to
members out of employment, after the first thirty days, until work is
secured, or until the expiration of twelve weeks.[167] The Jewelry
Workers provide for the payment of seven dollars per week to married men
and five dollars to unmarried men.[168] Certain other unions, notably
the Pattern Makers,[169] pay a "victimized" benefit to members who are
unable to secure employment because they are members of the union. Such
benefits are directly connected with collective bargaining, and any
discussion thereof lies without the scope of this monograph.

[Footnote 167: Constitution, 1902 (Danville, Ill., n.d.), p. 14.]

[Footnote 168: Constitution, 1902 (New York, n.d.), p. 6.]

[Footnote 169: Constitution, 1906 (New York, n.d.), p. 17.]

The introduction of a national out-of-work benefit has been, however,
much discussed in several important unions. These have been the
International Typographical Union, the Brotherhood of Carpenters and the
Boot and Shoe Workers' Union. The unemployment caused by the depression
of 1892-1897 was responsible for much of the consideration given the

In none of these unions has the subject been more fully debated than in
the Typographical Union. In October, 1895, the New York local union
adopted an out-of-work benefit, which provided for its unemployed
members an allowance of four dollars per week for a period of eight
weeks in each year.[170] Such activity on the part of the largest local
union added considerable force to the movement for an International
benefit. President Prescott in his report to the forty-second session of
the International Union in 1894 recommended the establishment of an
out-of-work benefit, in preference to a sick benefit. He showed that
during 1894 several of the largest local unions had found it necessary
to levy special assessments for the support of unemployed members. The
amount of unemployment, especially in large cities, had increased
rapidly. A large per cent. of the unemployed consisted of old men who
were unable to compete with younger men in the operation of the
linotype. The neglect of this class of men President Prescott
characterized as criminal.[171] All agitation for the establishment of
an out-of-work benefit has, however, up to the present time failed.[172]

[Footnote 170: Typographical Journal, Vol. 7, No. 5, p. 3.]

[Footnote 171: Proceedings of the Forty-second Annual Session, 1894, p.

[Footnote 172: Proceedings of the Forty-third Annual Session, 1896, pp.
76, 86.]

In 1894 at the eighth general session and again at the ninth in 1896 the
Carpenters and Joiners considered seriously the question.[173] The Boot
and Shoe Workers at their fifth convention in 1902, although refusing
to adopt a proposed plan for a national system, recommended as a partial
substitute that all local unions raise funds for the payment of dues of
out-of-work members and provide such other relief as they should deem
wise, "to the end that from the experience so gained a national plan for
relief of unemployed members may be developed."[174]

[Footnote 173: The Carpenter, Vol. 14, September, 1894; Vol. 16,
September, 1896.]

[Footnote 174: Proceedings of the Fifth Convention, 1902, p. 28.]

In the unions maintaining out-of-work benefits it is customary to
provide as a precautionary measure that members must have been in good
standing for a lengthy period before being entitled to the benefit. The
Cigar Makers and the Deutsch-Amerikanischen Typographia provide that
only members of the union in good standing for two years shall be
entitled to the benefit.[175]

[Footnote 175: Constitution of the Cigar Makers' International Union of
America, 1896, thirteenth edition (Chicago, n.d.), sec. 117;
Constitution of the Deutsch-Amerikanischen Typographia, 1901.]

Both the Cigar Makers and the Typographia have also stringent
regulations intended to prevent fraud. In the Cigar Makers' Union a
member thrown out of employment must obtain from the collector of the
shop in which he works a certificate stating the cause of his discharge.
If the unemployment is caused by the intoxication of the member, or if
he has "courted his discharge" through bad workmanship or otherwise, he
is not entitled to the benefit for eight weeks. Mere inability to retain
employment does not, however, deprive a member of the relief. If a
member leaves employment of his own volition, he is not entitled to a
benefit until he has obtained work again for at least one week. Having
obtained the certificate of the collector, the unemployed member must
register at the office of the union in a book provided for that purpose.
After having been registered for one week, he begins to draw the
out-of-work benefit. If while receiving out-of-work pay he refuses to
work in a shop where work is offered him, or neglects to apply for work
when directed by an officer of the union, he loses his right to the
benefit and cannot receive out-of-work pay again until he has had
employment for at least one week. Shop collectors are required to report
immediately the name of any member refusing to work.

After having received out-of-work benefit for six weeks, the member is
not entitled to assistance for seven weeks thereafter. From June 1 to
September 23 and from December 16 to January 15 no out-of-work benefits
are paid. During these periods, however, any member out of work can
obtain remission of dues by application to the financial secretary. He
must, however, pay such dues at the rate of ten per cent weekly when he
secures employment. The total out-of-work benefit which may be paid in
any one fiscal year is fifty-four dollars. Moreover, any member who has
received fifty-four dollars in benefits is not entitled to any further
sums until he shall have worked four weeks. But members over fifty years
of age are not required to secure employment for four weeks, but may
continue to draw the fifty-four dollars yearly although not working.

The protective rules of the Typographia are similar to those of the
Cigar Makers. Members thrown out of employment through their own fault
cannot be entered on the lists for thirty-six days. If a member gives up
his situation voluntarily, he is not entitled to a benefit for four
weeks unless his action is approved by the executive committee of the
local Typographia. Unemployed members must report daily to an officer of
the union. If a member neglects to report he loses his benefit for that
day. If a member drawing the benefit refuses to take a situation he
loses his right to the benefit for seven weeks. If he refuses work as a
substitute he loses his right to the benefit for two weeks. If an
unemployed member is unable to fill a situation and so cannot secure
work, he is not entitled longer to a benefit, and it becomes the duty of
the local executive to recommend that he be given a sum of money in lieu
of his rights as a member.

The following table shows the cost of maintaining the out-of-work
benefit in the Cigar Makers and in the Typographia:

| Typographia. | Cigar Makers.
Year. |---------------------------------------------------------
| | Per Capita | | Per Capita
| Total Cost. | Cost. | Total Cost. | Cost.
1885 | $ 1,118.90 | $ 2.00 | |
1886 | 1,453.08 | 1.52 | |
1887 | 1,240.10 | 1.15 | |
1888 | 1,315.13 | 1.16 | |
1889 | 6,281.50 | 5.55 | |
1890 | 4,315.00 | 3.47 | $ 22,760.50 | $ .92
1891 | 6,067.00 | 4.58 | 21,223.50 | .87
1892 | 9,359.50 | 6.77 | 17,460.75 | .65
1893 | 7,835.00 | 5.67 | 89,402.75 | 3.34
1894 | 17,262.50 | 14.33 | 174,517.25 | 6.27
1895 | 9,464.20 | 8.66 | 166,377.25 | 5.99
1896 | 7,812.00 | 7.00 | 175,767.25 | 6.43
1897 | 8,485.00 | 7.83 | 117,471.40 | 4.46
1898 | 8,603.00 | 7.82 | 70,197.70 | 2.65
1899 | 11,135.00 | 10.39 | 38,037.00 | 1.31
1900 | 8,703.00 | 8.33 | 23,897.00 | .70
1901 | 6,716.00 | 6.56 | 27,083.76 | .79
1902 | 7,839.00 | 7.86 | 21,071.00 | .56
1903 | 4,846.00 | 4.86 | 15,558.00 | .39
1904 | 5,785.00 | 5.82 | 29,872.50 | .72
1905 | 5,105.00 | 5.23 | 35,168.50 | .87
1906 | 5,086.00 | 5.22 | 23,911.00 | .60
Total | $145,826.91 | | $1,069,777.11 |
Average | 6,638.49 | $5.99 | 62,928.06 | $2.20

From the above table some comparison can be made of the per capita cost
of the out-of-work benefit in the Cigar Makers' Union and in the
Deutsch-Amerikanischen Typographia, respectively. For the twenty-two
years ending with the fiscal year June 30, 1906, the average annual cost
to the German-American Printers has been $5.99 per member, while the
Cigar Makers have disbursed, during the fifteen years in which the
benefit has been paid, a yearly average of $2.20 per member. The higher
average cost to the Typographia has been due chiefly to two causes, (1)
the greater amount paid as a weekly benefit, and (2) the larger annual
sum which may be paid. The Typographia has always paid a greater weekly
benefit. From the adoption of the benefit in 1884 to 1888 this union
granted five dollars per week for a maximum period of twelve weeks.
During 1888-1894 six dollars per week was allowed. For several years
following 1894 five dollars per week for sixteen weeks, or eighty
dollars per year, was granted, while at present six dollars per week, or
ninety-six dollars per year, is paid. On the other hand, the Cigar
Makers' Union, during 1889-1896, paid three dollars per week and fifty
cents for each additional day, with a possible maximum of seventy-two
dollars per year; but since 1896 the maximum allowance has been
fifty-four dollars. Thus, at present the German Printers pay both a
greater weekly benefit and a larger maximum yearly amount.

In the Typographia there appears to be a tendency towards an increased
per capita cost, while in the Cigar Makers' Union the reverse has been
true. This may be attributed in large part to the difference in the age
grouping of the memberships. The membership of the German Printers is
small, of a higher average age, and is gradually decreasing, while that
of the Cigar Makers, with a lower average age, shows a steady increase.
Many of the older men in both organizations are employed only when trade
is very brisk and draw each year the full amount of the benefits. The
variations from year to year are so great, however, as to obscure any
general tendency. During the depression of 1893-1897 the per capita cost
in the Typographia rose from $3.47 in 1890 to $6.77 in 1892, and to
$14.33 in 1894. The per capita cost in the Cigar Makers' Union shows a
very sudden increase from 65 cents in 1892 to $3.34 in 1893, to $6.27 in
1894, and to $6.43 in 1896, after which there followed a gradual
decrease. The cost of the out-of-work benefit is therefore far more
variable than that of any other benefit in either of the unions, and
necessitates on the part of both the maintenance of larger reserves.

* * * * *

The systems of so-called out-of-work benefits maintained by the Iron
Molders, Pattern Makers, Tobacco Workers, Granite Cutters, Leather
Workers on Horse Goods, and Locomotive Firemen, as has already been
noted, merely exempt the unemployed member from payment of national
dues. This is a device to retain members in "good standing" during

The system maintained by the Iron Molders is the most important of those
in operation. The history of the introduction of this benefit by the
Iron Molders' Union illustrates the conditions many unions face in
building up a system of relief. As a union develops benefits the dues
required of members are larger. The unemployed member thus finds himself
heavily burdened by the dues he must pay his union at the very time he
needs most the protection afforded by the benefit. The establishment of
the out-of-work benefit in the Iron Molders' Union was the direct result
of the inauguration of a system of sick benefits in 1896. Members in
arrears for dues for a period longer than thirteen weeks were excluded
from sick relief. The limitation aroused serious dissatisfaction. It was
felt that if an unemployed member could not be aided, at least he should
be protected against the loss of his right to benefits. Some local
unions paid the dues of their unemployed members, but in a period of
depression the burden became too great. In October, 1897, two years
after the inauguration of the sick benefit, the national union of the
Iron Molders assumed the responsibility of paying the dues of unemployed
members. All members of six months' standing, who were not in arrears
for more than four weeks' dues, became entitled to relief from the
payment of dues for thirteen weeks during any fiscal year. The
out-of-work benefit does not begin, however, until two weeks after the
member has become idle.[176] The national union issues through the local
unions out-of-work stamps which are received in payment of dues.

[Footnote 176: Constitution, 1902 (Cincinnati, 1902), Art. 19. Until
1899 the unemployed member must not have been in arrears for more than
four weeks' dues, and the benefit did not begin until he had been idle
four weeks. (Constitution, 1898.)]

The fund for paying the dues of unemployed members is supported by a
weekly tax of one cent on each member. For 1898 the income of the
out-of-work relief fund was $6,861.61, while the disbursements were only
$1278, representing 7100 out-of-work stamps. In the whole period
(1897-1907) since the inauguration of the out-of-work benefit, the
revenue has more than sufficed for the disbursements. Although the 1899
convention transferred $10,000 of the surplus to other funds, on June
20, 1907, there remained in the fund the sum of $125,021, nearly twice
as much as had been expended. The Union has not passed through a period
of depression since the system was established, and the officers have
insisted that wise policy requires the maintenance of a large

[Footnote 177: Proceedings of Twenty-second Session, p. 646. In
Supplement to Iron Molders' Journal, September, 1902.]

The exemption of unemployed members from the payment of dues takes many
forms. The Tobacco Workers' Union provides that members out of
employment shall be granted twelve weeks in which to pay dues before
they may be suspended from the Union.[178] The Granite Cutters'
Association provides that any member in good standing and out of
employment for two months or more shall be exempt from half of his
dues.[179] The Brotherhood of Leather Workers on Horse Goods grants
exemption from payment of dues for a period of thirteen weeks in any one
year to unemployed members.[180] The Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen
provides that any member out of employment and unable to pay his dues or
assessments shall not be expelled, and that the local lodge must pay his
dues for one quarter. It is optional with the subordinate lodge as to
whether or not it shall keep the member in good standing for more than
one quarter.[181]

[Footnote 178: Constitution, 1900, third edition, 1905 (Louisville,
n.d.), sec. 43.]

[Footnote 179: Constitution, 1906 (Quincy, n.d.), p. 45.]

[Footnote 180: Constitution, 1904 (Kansas City, n.d.), p. 22.]

[Footnote 181: Constitution, 1905 (Indianapolis, n.d.), sec. 195.]

The regulations enforced by the unions concerning the remission of the
dues of unemployed members are less stringent than the rules governing
the larger money out-of-work benefit. In the first place the period of
good standing required before a member is entitled to assistance is
shorter. A member of the Iron Molders is eligible to the benefit after
six months of good standing. The Granite Cutters require only a two
months' membership.[182] Moreover, the rules as to registration are less
strict. In the Iron Molders' Union an unemployed member must report the
date of the beginning of his idleness at the first regular meeting after
he has been discharged and must report in person at every regular
meeting of his local union; otherwise he cannot claim the benefit. The
Leather Workers have the same provisions. The Tobacco Workers require
idle members claiming indulgence in the payment of dues to report to the
local financial secretary twice each week.[183]

[Footnote 182: Constitution, 1905 (Quincy, n.d.), p. 45.]

[Footnote 183: Constitution of the Leather Workers on Horse Goods, 1905
(Kansas City, n.d.), p. 22; Constitution of the International Tobacco
Workers' Union, 1900, third edition, 1905 (Louisville, n.d.), sec. 43.]

The cost of the exemption of dues in none of the unions is large. The
following table gives the chief facts concerning the benefit in the Iron
Molders' Union for the period 1900-1906:

Year. |Number of Stamps| Value of | Cost per Member
|Issued Yearly. |Out-of-work[184]| per Year.
| | Stamps |
1900 | 23,436 | $ 5,859.00 | $0.12
1901 | 26,349 | 6,587.25 | .12
1902 | 10,389 | 2,597.25 | .04
1903 | 26,073 | 6,518.25 | .04
1904 | 92,685 | 23,171.25 | .27
1905 | 24,906 | 6,226.50 | .07
1906 | 16,676 | 4,169.00 | .04
Average| 31,502 | $7,875.50 | $0.10

[Footnote 184: Approximate number only. Data furnished by Mr. R.H.
Metcalf, financier of the union.]

The great variations in the number of out-of-work stamps issued is due,
of course, to variations in the amount of unemployment. The annual
amount of unemployment per capita, so far as it is measured by the
number of stamps issued, varied from less than one fourth of a week in
1902, 1903 and 1906 to one and one half weeks in 1904. The per capita
cost of maintaining the benefit varied from four cents in 1902, 1903 and
1906 to twenty-seven cents in 1904.

In the history of certain of the principal unions a system of loans or
travelling benefits has preceded the out-of-work benefit. The travelling
benefit may indeed be termed the first stage of out-of-work relief. The
following unions maintain the travelling benefit either in the form of a
loan or of a gift: the Cement Workers, Chain Makers, Cigar Makers,
Compressed Air Workers, Deutsch-Amerikanischen Typographia, Flour and
Cereal Mill Employees, Fur Workers, Glass Snappers, Hod Carriers, Lace
Curtain Operatives, Leather Workers on Horse Goods, Machine Printers and
Color Mixers, the Mattress and Spring Bed Workers, Shipwrights, Slate
Quarrymen, Tile Layers and Helpers, and the Watch Case Engravers. The
travelling benefit and the out-of-work benefit are complementary in
several of these unions. The systems of travelling benefits maintained
by the Cigar Makers, the Leather Workers on Horse Goods and the
Typographia are the most important.

The history of the travelling benefit in the Cigar Makers' Union begins
almost with the earliest years of the Union. Prior to the Detroit
convention, September, 1873, the Union maintained a system of loans to
travelling craftsmen. Under this system any member, travelling in search
of employment, was entitled to a loan sufficient to transport him to the
nearest union. The local union in which the travelling member secured
employment was required to collect at least twenty per cent. of the
weekly wages of such member.[185] This first attempt was an absolute
failure and in 1878 the system was abolished.[186] In October, 1878,
local union No. 122 proposed an amendment to the international
constitution to provide means of aiding "all travelling craftsmen in
need." The aid was not to be a loan but an absolute gift.[187] This
proposal failed of adoption; but in August, 1879, local union no. 144
proposed a new plan.[188] A member of six months' standing, if
unemployed, was to be loaned a sufficient sum to transport him by the
cheapest route to the nearest union and so to the next. The total of
the loans was not to aggregate more than twenty dollars.[189] The plan
was adopted and became effective May 1, 1880. In 1884 the amount of any
one loan was limited to twelve dollars, and in 1896 it was farther
reduced to eight dollars.[190]

[Footnote 185: Constitution, 1867, Art. 11.]

[Footnote 186: Cigar Makers' Journal, Vol. 1, October 5, 1878, p. 3.]

[Footnote 187: _Ibid._]

[Footnote 188: _Ibid._ Vol. 4, August, 1879, p. 2.]

[Footnote 189: Constitution, 1880 (New York, 1880), Art. 4.]

[Footnote 190: Constitution, 1884 (New York, 1884), Art. 7; 1896,
fourteenth edition, (Chicago, n.d.), p. 27. (Issued in 1906.)]

The Cigar Makers have always required members to return the sum
borrowed. The repayment of such loans, in the case of the Cigar Makers'
Union, must commence with the first week of employment, and must
continue at the rate of ten per cent. of the weekly earnings.[191] The
Brotherhood of Leather Workers on Horse Goods require payment at the
rate of fifteen per cent. of weekly wages.[192] The German-American
Printers, on the other hand, grant travelling loans as an absolute
gift.[193] This is the only important union which follows this policy.

[Footnote 191: Constitution, 1880 (New York, 1880), Art. 4; 1896,
thirteenth edition, (Chicago, n.d.), p. 28.]

[Footnote 192: Constitution, 1904 (Kansas City, n.d.), p. 21.]

[Footnote 193: Report of Industrial Commission, Vol. 17, Introduction,
p. XLII.]

Naturally the rules governing the benefit in the Typographia are more
stringent than in the case of those unions which merely loan travelling
money. The chief regulations are as follows: In order to draw the
benefit a member must have been in good standing for at least six
months. He must have paid in full his dues to the day of his departure.
He may draw two cents per mile for the first two hundred miles and one
cent for every additional mile, but he cannot at any one time receive
more than ten dollars. A member assisted with the travelling benefit
must remain at least three months in a place before he can claim another
travelling benefit. When he has drawn a total of twenty-five dollars he
is not entitled to any further assistance for twelve months. Those
members who lose their places through their own fault are not entitled
to a travelling benefit for three months, and those who give up their
places can receive the benefit only if the executive committee of the
local Typographia approves their action. A travelling member going to a
place where there is a local Typographia must report to it within two
days or he forfeits his right to out-of-work benefits for four weeks. If
a member receives the travelling benefit and does not leave, he must
return the amount received, and is not in good standing until he has
done this.

The total amounts paid yearly in some of the leading unions furnish some
idea of the importance of this benefit. Since the inauguration of the
benefit to January 1, 1906, the Cigar Makers' International Union has
paid a total of $991,777.98 in travelling loans, or an average of
$38,145.31 per year.[194] The Deutsch-Amerikanischen Typographia has
paid from July 1, 1884, to June 30, 1906, $8116.11, or an average of
$368.91.[195] For the year ending September 30, 1904, the Cement Workers
paid $1600, the Flour and Cereal Mill Employees, $2084.95, the Hod
Carriers and Building Laborers, $1500, and the Leather Workers on Horse
Goods, $7703.15.[196]

[Footnote 194: Cigar Makers' Journal, Vol. 31, April 15, 1906.]

[Footnote 195: Hugo Miller, 25-jaehrige Geschichte der
Deutsch-Amerikanischen Typographia, 1873-1898, p. 58; Jahres-Bericht,

[Footnote 196: Report of Proceedings of the Twenty-fourth Annual
Convention, American Federation of Labor, 1904 (Washington, 1904), p.

The table on page 99 shows the total amounts paid yearly and the average
loan per capita of membership in the Cigar Makers' Union and the average
per capita cost in the Deutsch-Amerikanischen Typographia.

| Cigar Makers. | Typographia.
Year. | Amount of | Loans Per | Amount of |
|Travelling | Capita of | Travelling | Cost per
| Loans. |Membership.| Benefits | Member.
1880 | $ 2,808.15| $0.63 | |
1881 | 12,747,09| .87 | |
1882 | 20,386.64| 1.78 | |
1883 | 37,135.20| 2.81 | |
1884 | 39,632.08| 3.48 | |
1885 | 26,683.54| 2.22 | $ 345.50 | $0.61
1886 | 31,835.71| 1.29 | 264.10 | .27
1887 | 49,281.04| 2.34 | 483.45 | .44
1888 | 42,894.75| 2.50 | 669.29 | .59
1889 | 43,540.44| 2.71 | 456.17 | .40
1890 | 37,914.72| 1.53 | 576.65 | .46
1891 | 53,535.73| 2.21 | 622.47 | .47
1892 | 47,732.47| 1.78 | 797.19 | .57
1893 | 60,475.11| 2.25 | 439.64 | .31
1894 | 42,154.17| 1.52 | 680.06 | .56
1895 | 41,657.16| 1.50 | 304.46 | .27
1896 | 33,076.22| 1.39 | 339.86 | .30
1897 | 29,067.04| 1.10 | 279.50 | .25
1898 | 25,237.43| .95 | 390.62 | .35
1899 | 24,234.33| .83 | 320.74 | .29
1900 | 33,238.13| .97 | 178.79 | .17
1901 | 44,652.73| 1.31 | 175.05 | .17
1902 | 45,314.05| 1.22 | 107.28 | .11
1903 | 52,521.41| 1.33 | 159.56 | .16
1904 | 58,728.71| 1.41 | 181.85 | .18
1905 | 55,293.93| 1.37 | 195.46 | .20
1906 | 50,650.21| 1.29 | 147.52 | .15
Total |$991,177.98| | $8116.11 |
Average| 38,145.31| $1.63 | 368.91 | $0.33

The travelling loan in the Cigar Makers was for some time badly
administered. Until the adoption of the out-of-work benefit, the
financial secretaries, moved by sympathy, frequently granted the benefit
to members who had never left their jurisdiction and who had no
intention of leaving.[197] This practice endangered the entire
system.[198] Since the adoption of the out-of-work benefit the amount of
loans per capita of membership has diminished. At present the cost of
the travelling benefit in the Cigar Makers is not large; the loans are
promptly and efficiently collected. Data for recent years are not
available; but in the period from 1881 to 1901 the sum of $735,266 was
loaned and $660,255 was repaid. The balance outstanding at the close of
1900 was $75,014, and of this a considerable part was collectible. The
net cost of the system for twenty-one years was thus certainly less than
$50,000, an average annual cost of about $2400, or an annual average per
capita cost of ten cents. Even in the Typographia, where the benefit is
a gift, the annual per capita cost to the membership is not large,
varying from eleven to sixty cents, according to the state of

[Footnote 197: Cigar Makers' Journal, Vol. 6, July, 1881, p. 1.]

[Footnote 198: _Ibid.,_ Vol. 9, July, 1884, p. 3.]



In 1901 thirty-eight of the one hundred principal British unions paid a
superannuation benefit. These unions had a membership of 566,765, and
the amount paid in superannuation benefits from 1892 to 1901 was about
one sixth of the total amount expended for all benefits.[199] In the
American trade unions, on the other hand, superannuation benefits are
paid by only a few unions. A considerable number of unions have in
recent years been considering the advisability of introducing this
feature, and it is likely within a brief period to form an important
part of the beneficiary system of the American unions.

[Footnote 199: Weyl, "Benefit Features of British Trade Unions," in
Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor, Vol. 12, p. 722.]

The superannuation benefit may take several forms--a weekly stipend, a
lump sum or a support in a home for the aged. The aim of the benefit in
all three cases is to protect the member in old age. The weekly stipend
is regarded as the preferable form, since in going to a home the member
must leave his family. Ordinarily, too, a weekly payment is deemed wiser
than a lump sum, since the aged member cannot very well manage property,
and the chances are that he will lose his capital. The British trade
unions uniformly pay the benefit in the form of a weekly or monthly

The earliest attempt made by any American trade union to make provision
for the support of aged members was that of the Typographical Union in
1857. The National Convention of that year appointed a committee to
consider the proposal of the Philadelphia printers for the establishment
of an "Asylum for Superannuated and Indigent Printers." This plan was
defeated at the ninth convention in 1860.[200] The Iron Molders' Union
as early as 1874 provided for the establishment of a "superannuated
fund," from which superannuated members of twenty years' standing were
to receive three hundred dollars and those of twenty-five years' four
hundred, if permanently disabled and unable to earn a living at their
trade. Membership was to date from July 5, 1859, and no benefit was to
be paid until August, 1879.[201] Because of the failure to accumulate
sufficient reserve for its support, the regulations were repealed in
1878 before any benefit fell due.[202] The superannuation benefit
adopted by the Granite Cutters early in their history met a similar

[Footnote 200: Proceedings of the Seventh Convention, Chicago, 1858 (New
York, 1858), p. 11; Proceedings of the Ninth Convention, Nashville, 1860
(Boston, 1860), pp. 53-54.]

[Footnote 201: Constitution, 1876 (Cincinnati, 1876), Art. 18.]

[Footnote 202: Constitution, 1878 (Cincinnati, 1878), Art. 17; Iron
Molders' Journal, August, 1878, p. 4; October, 1878, p. 30.]

In recent years agitation for the establishment of some form of
superannuation benefit has been carried forward in several of the more
important unions. In 1893 Mr. Gompers proposed the establishment of this
form of beneficiary relief in the Cigar Makers' Union. In June, 1904, a
plan was discussed for the payment of a monthly benefit of six dollars
to members sixty years of age and twenty-five years in good standing.
Larger benefits were to be paid to members older and of longer standing.
Up to the present, however, the Cigar Makers have not adopted any of the
plans for a superannuation benefit. The Brotherhood of Carpenters and
Joiners, at the 1900 convention, provided for the payment to members of
twenty-five years' continuous membership and over sixty years of age
such amount as the National Convention might designate.[203] In 1902 it
was decided that if the members by referendum vote endorsed an increase
of dues, the amount of this benefit should be fixed at $150.[204] But
the increase of dues failed of ratification, and the plan for a
superannuation benefit was abandoned.

[Footnote 203: Proceedings of the Eleventh General Convention of the
Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Scranton, 1900 (Scranton, 1900).
p. 67.]

[Footnote 204: Proceedings of the Twelfth General Convention, 1902
(Atlanta, 1902), pp. 123, 163; The Carpenter, Vol. 22, November, 1902,
p. 3; Vol. 23, No. 1.]

A few unions have allowed aged members to draw all or a part of their
death benefit. Thus, the Granite Cutters permit members sixty years of
age who have been in continuous good standing for ten years to draw the
sum of $125.[205] The Typographia also pays an indeterminate lump sum to
aged members who wish to retire from the trade.

[Footnote 205: Constitution, 1905 (Boston, n.d.), p. 28.]

More important still, a considerable number of unions have made
provision for the payment of a superannuation benefit in one form or
another at a definite future date. Such unions are the Journeymen
Plumbers, the Pattern Makers, the Machinists and the Jewelry Workers.

In the Plumbers' Association any member of at least twenty years' full
membership and not less than forty-five years of age, who, through old
age or infirmity, is incapacitated from following his employment, is
entitled to the benefit according to a prescribed scale; those of twenty
consecutive years' full membership and not under sixty-five years of age
are to receive three hundred dollars; those of twenty-five years'
membership and not under seventy years of age, four hundred dollars;
those of thirty years' membership and over, five hundred dollars. The
rule providing for the payment of the benefit became effective in
January, 1903, but no benefit is to be paid before January, 1923.[206]
The Pattern Makers' League provides that superannuated members be
divided into two classes: (_a_) members sixty years of age and of
twenty-five years' continuous membership, who receive twelve dollars per
month, and (_b_) those sixty-five years of age and over and of thirty
years' membership, who receive sixteen dollars per month. The provisions
of this rule became operative July 1, 1900, and the first benefit will
be payable on July 1, 1920.[207] The Jewelry Workers have the same
specifications as the Pattern Makers. The rule went into effect January
1, 1902, but no benefit will be paid until January 1, 1922.[208] The
Machinists provide that any member sixty-five years of age and of ten
consecutive years' good standing shall receive five hundred dollars and
those sixty-eight years of age and of twenty years' standing shall
receive one thousand dollars. This benefit became effective June 1,
1903, and no payment can be made before June 1, 1913.

[Footnote 206: Constitution, 1904 (Chicago, n.d.), pp. 52-53.]

[Footnote 207: Constitution, 1906 (New York, n.d.), pp. 15-16.]

[Footnote 208: Constitution, 1902, Art. 11.]

The only two American trade unions which in 1908 are actually paying a
superannuation benefit as distinguished from a mere compounding of the
death benefit are the Granite Cutters and the Typographical Union. In
both the establishment of the benefit is very recent.

In 1905 the Granite Cutters made provision for the payment of a monthly
benefit of ten dollars for "six months each year beginning with
November" to those who had been members for twenty years and who had
reached the age of sixty-two. The applicants must have been in
continuous good standing for the "last ten years previous to arriving at
the age of sixty-two."[209] The first payments under the new rule were
made in December, 1905.

[Footnote 209: Constitution, 1905 (Quincy, n.d.), p. 45.]

The Typographical Union has, however, led all the American trade unions
in the provision which it has made for its aged members. As has been
noted above, as early as 1857 it was proposed to establish a home for
aged printers in Philadelphia, and the project was revived from time to
time. The persistence with which this proposal appeared and reappeared
gave evidence of its popularity. In 1870 a Kansas union proposed the
establishment of a "Home for Disabled Printers." All members of local
unions were to be taxed two dollars each for the purpose of endowing the
Home. The committee of the International Union to whom the plan was
referred reported that they "deemed it impracticable at the present
time." In 1877 a similar proposal was defeated. In 1882 a committee
consisting of the officers of the union was appointed to inquire into
the possibility of establishing and maintaining a "Home for Disabled
Printers." This committee expressed its approval of the project, but
doubted the ability of the union to finance it.

In 1886 Messrs. George W. Childs and A.J. Drexel of Philadelphia
presented to the International Union the sum of ten thousand dollars.
This donation was to be used in any manner the union might see fit. For
some years an active discussion as to the best use to be made of the
fund was carried on, and in the meantime the sum was being increased by
contributions from members of the union.

It ultimately became evident that some plan for applying this fund to
the establishment of a home for aged printers would best satisfy the
membership. In 1887 the Austin, Texas, union announced that the Mayor
and City Council of Austin were willing to present a site for such a
home. In 1889 the Board of Trade of Colorado Springs offered to donate
eighty acres of land for the same purpose, and other offers of land were
received from time to time. The International Union finally decided to
accept the offer of the site at Colorado Springs, and this decision was
approved by a referendum vote.

The Home was opened on May 12, 1892. Applicants for admission were
required to have been members of the union in good standing for five
years. Persons incapacitated either by age or by illness were admitted
to the Home. The number of residents has increased from twenty-two in
1893 to one hundred and forty-three in 1907. A considerable part of the
residents are sufferers from tuberculosis, and the union has made
provision for treating them according to modern methods. A part of the
inmates, however, have always been persons whose incapacity was solely
the result of old age.

About 1904 an agitation began to be carried on in the union for making
more adequate provision for the maintenance of aged members. The
establishment of the Home had made provision only for those
incapacitated members who were willing to leave their families and live
in an institution. It was argued that the Home benefited one class of
the aged, and that another class, equally worthy, was left entirely
dependent upon its own resources. Moreover, certain innovations in the
trade had made the union highly sensible of the helplessness of its aged
members. The introduction of the linotype caused many old members to
lose their employment. The New York local union established an
out-of-work benefit in 1896 which has since been maintained. This
benefit, while nominally an out-of-work benefit, was in many cases
really a superannuation benefit. In 1903 the Chicago local union made
provision for the payment of old-age pensions to its members, and other
local unions rapidly followed the same policy.

In 1903 and 1904 propositions were introduced at the sessions of the
International Union for the establishment of an International old-age
pension system. In 1905 the session of the International authorized the
appointment of a committee to investigate the subject. The eight-hour
strike which taxed for two years the resources of the Union delayed the
consideration of this report. In 1907 the committee reported in favor of
the establishment of old age pensions, and presented a plan which when
submitted to the referendum was ratified by a large majority, and on
August 1, 1908, the International secretary-treasurer began the payment
of pensions. All members sixty years of age who have been in continuous
good standing for twenty years, and who earn less than four dollars per
week, are entitled to a weekly pension of four dollars. The original
plan provided also that in order to receive a pension a member must have
no other means of support. The officers of the Union, however, have
construed this provision liberally, and the pension is paid as of right
and not as a form of charity.

The pension scheme thus adopted by the Typographical Union is the most
ambitious that has been proposed in any American trade union. The sum of
money required to finance the project will be very large, and the Union
has levied for the support of the pension system an assessment of one
half of one per cent. on the wages of all its members. Whether this will
be sufficient adequately to support the benefit is as yet uncertain,
since the number of pensioners cannot be estimated with any accuracy. It
is certain also that the number of pensioners will not reach its maximum
for a considerable period.


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