Monday, January 21, 2008

the status of labor

Mabel Pritchett Marrs with unidentified children c. 1955. The fishpond has been filled in.

In judging these extremely low payments, however, correspondingly small salaries of the management must be considered. In 1876, for example, the treasurer received only $1,000, out of which he had to pay clerical help. During the Following year, Marchant's salary as president and superintendent was merely $1,750.
Writers have commented sufficiently on the low wage scales of Southern laborers and on their influence in attracting Northern capital. Likewise the lower living standards of the South are well known. But too often the wage scale overshadows other aspects of the status of labor which reflect more properly the attitude of employers toward their workers. For example, if one judges the condition of the employees of the Charlottesville Woolen Mills in the seventies solely on the basis of their modest pay, he will believe them exploited. In fairness, one must realize that the administration was forced to keep wages low simply because of competitive prices and reluctant capital. At the same time, one must also note the sincere interest that was actually shown for the welfare of the employees. --Harry Poindexter

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