Share-The-Work Campaign Gets Under Way
A movement designed to spread employment, reduce welfare and tax expense, and
business, and relieve distress among jobless was launched in Greenfield Wednesday
night when 20 local business men and manufacturers attended the opening meeting
of the Chamber of Commerce Share-the-Work committee.
Town leaders present heard Charles C. Ramsdell, western Massachusetts director
of the movement explain the project then unanimously elected John Smead chairman
and Edward Ayer secretary. Smead then appointed a committee of 23 to carry on
Ramsdell, who spent 40 years with the Gilbert and Barker Manufacturing Company,
is giving his entire time to the drive. He stated 3,500,000 persons who otherwise
would be unemployed are not employed and from 20 to 40 per cent of the men now
at work in western Massachusetts are employed as the result of the Share-the-Work
Shorter Week advocated
As examples of what could be done Ramsdell cited the United Shoe Machinery
company, which he said while working on a 44-hour week allows no employe, more
than 33 hours a week. In the case of a Worcester manufacturer, Ramsdell said
work was spread so that each man on piece work is allowed to earn so much a
week, and when he had worked enough for that, he remains home for the rest of
the week. The Westinghouse Manufacturing company, Ramsdell said, was about to
go on a five-hour day and five-day week in its effort to spread the work.
The object is not to add to the payroll, Ramsdell pointed out, but to spread
what payroll there is so that it will go as far as possible and aid in as many
families as possible. This, he said, men now employed have shown a willingness
to do, sensing the seriousness of the situation and the necessity for action
17,000,000 Jobless in U.S.
There are today in this country between 17,000,000 and 20,000,000 unemployed
persons, Ramsdell stated, and business is faced with three choices, either to
find jobs, increase contributions to charity, or take care of unemployed through
increased taxation. The Share-the-Work movement seeks to find jobs for unemployed,
thus relieving taxes.
The Ludlow associates, Ramsdell stated, have taken 200 families off the town
welfare, saving the town $60,000 a year, or a half of the total spent for welfare.
That similar savings can be made in Greenfield was indicated when John Smead
stated that if 50 heads of families were put on the payroll here $50,000 a year
could be struck from the town welfare cost, and this would mean one dollar off
the tax rate.
Ramsdell admitted the Share-the-Work drive is a plain emergency measure, but
he said it was necessary, and quoted Owen D. Young in speaking to backers of
the Share-the-Work as saying, "This movement is as sound in your interest
and mine as it will prove cheerful and helpful to the fellow now out of a job."
Spreading the Payroll
Important advantages of the campaign the speaker pointed out, are that is puts
persons in the spending line instead of the welfare line, that the same payroll
spread among more persons will be spread farther and spent more completely,
and that spreading the works leads to a feeling of job security.
Ramsdell stressed the point that there is no industry, business or store in
which the work can not be shared in order to increase employment, and that a
powerful group of the nation's business leaders, backed by the Federal Reserve
bank of New York, are working in the campaign. Something must be done, he stated,
to relieve distress and to prevent more serious consequences if unemployment
in such wide proportions continue much longer.
The following is a list of persons present and the industries of businesses
they represent: Shepard Raymond, T. Morey and Son; Ivan C. Minott, Minott Printing
and Binding company; Roy Martin, Railway Express agency; Harry E. Duren, Greenfield
Electric Light and Power company; Franklin Judge and Francis Smith, Greenfield
Tap & Die; Frederick E. Hawks, town of Greenfield; George C. Lunt an Denham
Lunt, Rogers, Lunt & Bowlen; Philip Rogers, Millers Falls company; Winthrop
T. Noyes, B. B. Noyes Company; John B. Smead, First National Bank and Trust
Company; Clarence D. Rugg, Rugg Manufacturing company; A. H. Behnke, Production
Machinery company; George W. Pillsbury, W. L. Goodnow company; R. Stanley Reid,
Wilson Department store; Edward M. Ayer, Chamber of Commerce; Willis H. Weissbrod,
Emil Weissbrod & Sons; L. B. Fortin, Greenfield Gas Light company; Herbert
R. Smith, Threadwell Tool company; William J. Thompson, Greenfield Steel Stamp
Works; George Corsiglia and F. W. Wells.
The committee chosen to direct the local campaign, which will in turn elect
an executive committee from its members, is as follows: Harry Duren, L. B. Fortin,
George C. Lunt, Charles N. Stoddard, Philip Rogers, Herbert J. Smith, Shepard
A. Raymond, John A. Ahern, R. Stanley Reid, George W. Pillsbury, Paul C. Belknap,
J. T. Seller, F. E. Hawks, J. D. Abercrombie, Frank Rugg, George V. Corsiglia,
F. W. Wells, Willis H. Weissbrod, William I. Howe, George H. Reed, Joseph Chevalier,
John W. Smead, and Roy Martin.