Shorter Hours for Women.
New Law Affecting Mercantile Establishments--Women and Miners in Turners
Falls are Working Beyond Legal Limit--Will not Have Much Effect in Greenfield--
How it Affects Orange.
An amendment to the law fixing the hours
of labor for minors and women went into
effect July 1st. It is doubtful if it has much
effect in Greenfield, but there seems to be
reason to think that women and minors are
required to work overtime in Turners Falls.
By this amendment minors and women in
mercantile establishments, that is, stores, can
work but 58 hours in each week, except in
the month of December, which exception is
made on account of the holiday trade. This
applies to the stores the same provision that
has applied to factories, where, for some
years women and minors could work but 58
hours a week.
The dry goods men in Greenfield say that their schedule of hours comes within
the the limits of this amendment. There are not many stores in town where minors
and women are employed and the shops and factories have been pretty thoroughly
regulated by the old law. But at Turners Falls the new law will affect quite
a few in the different stores. Some of the women and minors are at present working
about 63 or 64 hours per week. The stores now close three nights a week, Tuesday,
Thursday and Friday at 6.30, Monday and Wednesday they close at 8 o'clock, but
Saturday night they keep open until 10 o'clock and some later.
Most of the proprietors say they would gladly close earlier if the people would
only buy in the daytime and not put everything off to Saturday night, as many
do at present. No action has been taken as yet, but it is expected the storekeepers
will get together and all agree on shorter hours.
The Jonh Russell Cutlery works have been
compelled to go on 9 ½ hours time owing to
the large number of minors and women employed in their factory, by reason of the old
factory law passed some time ago. Mr. Dustin, the treasurer, found it was almost impossible to run on 10 hours time with the help
stopping at different hours in the day, so he
decided to go on 9 ¼ hours time for all.
The new 58 hour law interests nearly every
merchant in Orange. At present there are
employed in town a score or more persons
who come within the scope of this law. The
business places close three nights a week at
6 or 6.30 o'clock. The other nights a 9,
excepting Saturday, when the closing hour
is a little later. Under the present system
the number of working hours range about 64.
The views of several tradesmen on the subject are that they will look up the law and then
endeavor to arrange so they will not violate
any part of it. It is the opinion of the merchants that the law would affect the country
stores full as much as it would those of the