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which the profits coming to the employees would be invested in such a way as to make a permanent connection between the employee and the company, with the result that in 1894-after nearly five years of trial—a new schedule of rates was inade, providing that one-half of the bonus under the schedule to which employees were entitled should be invested by three trustees in the company's ordinary stock, which was then paying five per cent interest, until the amount credited to the employee was sufficient to give him a stock certificate in his own name; the remaining half in all other respects subject to the same conditions as the old schedule; in other words, subject to withdrawal upon notice, or to be left on deposit at four per cent interest. The interest rate on deposits has been changed with the appreciation of the market value of the stock.
As the natural outcome of the purchase of the company's stock by the employees, the question of representation in the board of directors of the company arose. This happened after the investment of about £20,000 of the fund. There does not appear to have been any reason for this, excepting the broad and general one of educating the workmen to a better understanding of the commercial side of the business, as their holdings in comparison with the total worth of the company—about £5,000,000— were not entitled to any such consideration. In 1898, when the fund reached £40,000, two workmen directors were elected, it being necessary to secure an act of Parliament to enable this to be done.
While the wisdom of such a policy may be questioned, it is a fact, according to Sir George Livesey's statements, that it has been eminently successful in this case.
These workmen directors are voted for by the workmen only—the qualifications being continuous service for not less than seven years, and the holding for 12 months prior to the election of not less than £100 of the stock of the company and continuing to hold the same. The method of voting is prescribed in the agreement, and permits one vote for every £10 of stock held in the name of any employee, or jointly with his wife and children up to £100; one vote for every £25 above the first £100 up to £300; one vote for every £50 above the first £300 up to £1,000. Above £1,000,' no more votes ; thus giving a maximum of 32 votes for each' £1,000 holding; the object in this, as declared by Sir George Livesey, being to permit the choice to remain largely with the more thrifty and stable of the workmen. The directors are elected by the year, one retiring each year.
The purpose of this plan of the South Metropolitan Gas Company has been eminently successful, as there are to-day about £200,000 of the employees' money invested in the shares of the company, representing nearly three-fourths of the total bonus which has been paid to the men during the period from the inauguration of the fund. It has taught men habits of saving who never saved before, and has cemented the relations between the employees interested and the corporation. At the same time, it has not limited the scale of wages, as the ruling scale of wages, based upon the general law of supply and demand in London, has been applied; the rate of wages and the hours cí employment being on a par with others of similar employment where such profit-sharing plan is not in vogue.
A similar plan has been adopted by the Boston Consolidated Gas Company, going into effect on September 20, 1906. The plan follows the lines of the South Metropolitan Gas Company, with some modifications. Premiums are to be calculated on the annual salaries or yearly earnings of the employees at the same rate as the dividends for that year on the stock of the company. The first premium was to be at the rate of seven per cent per annum, the present dividend of the company, with gas at 90 cents per thousand cubic feet. The detail of this plan is published in the issue of Progressive Age of October 15, 1906. Practically, in all respects, it is a copy of the plan, as stated above, of the South Metropolitan Gas Company, the principle of the London sliding scale, which has been adopted in Boston, being applied to the profits to be given to the employees.
BENEFICIAL SOCIETIES As to the beneficial societies, or relief funds, we have considered more particularly the plan of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, which, we understand, is the form adopted by other railroads, and which has been in existence since 1886. The purposes of the fund can be better explained by quoting from their own book on the description of their relief department, Section 2, which is as follows:
"The Relief Fund is a fund formed chiefly of regular monthly contributions by employees, who, while so contributing, are styled 'Members of the Relief Fund,' constituting a Mutual Beneficial Association.
"The fund also includes income or profits from investments, appropriations by the company, and gifts of legacies for the use of the fund.
"From this common fund the members are entitled to receive definite amounts, proportioned to their contributions, when disabled by accident or sickness, and in the event of their death certain definite amounts are payable to their relatives or designated beneficiaries.”
The advantages of the fund are of course obvious to every
The enrollment is voluntary among the employees, and any employee, if not over 45 years of age, may, on application, become a member upon passing a satisfactory physical examination. Wherever it is possible the men are induced to join the organization,
The relief fund from which benefits are paid is composed of voluntary contributions from employees; appropriations by the company to make up deficit, if such deficit occurs; income or profit derived from investment of the moneys of the fund, and such gifts or allowances as may be made to the fund. The company agrees to take general charge of the voluntary relief department; to guarantee the fulfillment of the obligations assumed by the fund in conformity with the regulations from time to time established; take charge of the funds and be responsible for their safe keeping; supply the necessary facilities for conducting the business of the relief association, and to pay all the operating expenses thereof.
There are five classes in the fund, which are divided according to the amount of salary received, and the contributions per month vary with the salary, as follows:
Per Month First class, any rate of pay...
3.75 These rates are not varied from, and there are no extra assessments on account of demands upon the fund.
Any employee, not over 45 years of age, may enter or change to a class higher than that determined by his usual earnings, upon passing a satisfactory physical examination if he shall have been a member of the relief fund one year and continuously in the service for five years, both immediately prior to the time of application to enter the higher class.
The members are entitled to the following benefits:
PAYMENTS FOR EACH DAY WHILE DISABLED BY ACCIDENT IN THE COMPANY'S
For 52 Weeks After 52 Weeks First class.
PAYMENTS WHILE DISABLED BY SICKNESS OR INJURY OTHER THAN ACCIDENT IN THE COMPANY'S SERVICE, FOR EACH DAY AFTER THE FIRST
For 52 Weeks After sa Weeks First class.
PAYMENTS IN THE EVENT OF DEATH
1,250.00 Any employee, upon passing a satisfactory physical examination, can take additional death benefits, as per the following table: Death Benefit
Total of Class
Death Benefit First class.
$250.00 $500.00 Second
2,500.00 For each additional death benefit of the first class, the rates are as follows: Taken at not over 45 years of age..
30 cents per month over 45 and not over 60 years.
45 over 60 years.
60 This rate is not increased on account of increasing age.
There are various details entering into the operation of this fund which your committee will be very glad to give to any of
the members who desire the information, the purpose of this report being merely to explain the method adopted by the railroad system for the beneficial association.
The fund is in charge of the superintendent, who is subject to the control of the general manager, and with his approval employs the medical and clerical force. The superintendent is under the control of the advisory committee, which committee consists of the general manager of the company as member ex officio and chairman, and fourteen members, seven chosen by the directors of the companies and seven by the members of the relief fund, to serve for periods of one, two and three years respectively, and thereafter for periods of three years each. The seven committeemen chosen by the members of the relief fund are selected from the seven different divisions of the company, which divisions are included in this "Voluntary Relief Department,” as their fund is called. It is the duty of the advisory committee to have general supervision of the operations of the department; arrange for investments of money not required to be kept on hand for current use; appoint persons to audit the condition of the fund each year; propose such amendments to or changes in the regulations as it may deem desirable; and 'act upon questions brought before it, by appeal from decisions of the superintendent or otherwise, respecting the rights and claims of members.
A particular and important feature in this fund for the benefit of the workmen was set forth in the statement made at Washington in regard to this department and the attitude of the company toward it, the charge being made that the relief department was maintained in the interest of the company and for the purpose of depriving members of their legal rights. We refer particularly to the guarantee of the fund by the railroad company, and, to more thoroughly explain this, we will quote from that report:
"In addition to these large contributions by the companies, there is the absolute guarantee of the companies that all just claims against the fund will be met when presented: this alone is a very valuable consideration, especially when considered in connection with the very small amount of cash on hand, equivalent to less than one per cent of the risk of over $47,000,000 liability for death of members. This condition would be impossible with