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Full text of "Evidence study"

BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 



3 9999 063 



7 544 



\. \ A 



NATIONAL RECOVERY ADMINISTRATION 





DIVISION OF REVIEW 



EVIDENCE STUDY 
NO. 27 

OF 

NEEDLEWORK INDUSTRY IN PUERTO RICO 



Prepared by 
J. F. SCOTT 



October, 1935 



PRELIMINARY DRAFT 
(NOT FOR RELEASE: FOR USE IN DIVISION ONLY) 



THE EVIDENCE STUDY SERIES 

The EVIDENCE STUDIES were originally planned as a means of gathering evidence 
tearing upon various legal issues which arose under the National Industrial Re- 
covery Act. 

se studies have value quite aside from the use for which they wore originally 
intended. Accordingly, they are now made available for confidential use within the 
Division of Review, and for inclusion in Code Histories. 

The full list of the Evidence Studies is as follows: 



1. Automobile Manufacturing Ind. 23. 

2. Boot and Shoe Mfg. Ind. 24. 

3. Bottled Soft Drink Ind. 25. 

4. Builders' Supplies Ind. 26. 

5. Chemical Mfg. Ind. 27. 

6. Cigar Mfg. Industry 28. 

7. Construction Industry 29. 

8. Cotton Garment Industry 30. 

9. Dress Mfg. Ind. 31. 

10. Electrical Contracting Ind. 32. 

11. Electrical Mfg. Ind. 33. 

12. Fab. Metal Prod. Mfg., etc. 34. 

13. Fishery Industry 35. 

14. Furniture Mfg. Ind. 36. 

15. General Contractors Ind. 37. 

16. Graphic Arts Ind. 38. 

17. Gray Iron Foundry Ind. 39. 

18. Hosiery Ind. 40. 

19. Infant's & Children's Wear Ind. 41. 

20. Iron and Steel Ind. 42. 

21. Leather 43. 

22. Lumber & Timber Prod. Ind. 



Mason Contractors Industry 

Men's Clothing Industry 

Motion Picture Industry 

Motor Bus Mfg. Industry (propped) 

fteedlework Ind. of Puerto Rico 

Fainting & Paperhanging & Decorating 

Photo Engraving Industry 

plumbing Contracting Industry 

Retail Food (See No. 42) 

Retail Lumber Industry 

Retail Solid Fuel (Dropped) 

Retail Trade Industry 

Rubber Mfg. Ind. 

Rubber Tire Mfg. Ind. 

Silk Textile Ind. 

Structural Clay products Ind. 

Throwing Industry 

Trucking Industry 

Waste Materials Ind. 

Wholesale & Retail Food Ind. (See No. SI) 

Wholesale Fresh Fruit & Veg. 



In addition to the studies brought to completion, certain materials have been 
assembled for other industries. These MATERIALS are included in the series and are 
also made available for confidential use within the Division of Review and for in- 
clusion in Code Histories, as follows: 



44. Wool Textile Industry 

45. Automotive Parts & Equip. 

46. Baking Industry 
i?. Canning Industry 
48. Coat and Suit Ind. 



49. Household Goods & Storage, etc. (Dropped) 

Ind. 50. Motor Vehicle Retailing Trade Ind. 

51. Retail Tire & Battery Trade Ind. 

52. Ship & Boat Bldg. & Repairing Ind. 

53. Wholesaling or Distributing Trade 



L. C. Marshall 
Director, Division of Review 



o^%\.\ A-sU 



CONTENTS 

Pa,g;e 

Foreword 1 

CHAPTER I - THE NATURE OF THE INDUSTRY 2 

Code Definition of the Industry 

Historical Background 

Operations of the Industry 

General Characteristics 2 

Home Work vs. Factory Work 5 

Number of Plants 

Members of the Industry 5 

Capital Investment 

Failures ' 

Financial Condition 7 

Value and Volume of Production 7 

Productive Capacity ? 

Competing Industries ? 

Competing Products 

Effects of Competition 1° 

Relationship to Other Industries 10 

CHAPTER II - LABOR H 

General H 

Number of Employees H 

Seasonality of Employment 11 

Total Annual Wages H 

Ratio of Labor Cost to Total Cost 

of Production 

Prevailing Wage Rates for Home Work 13 

Prevailing Wage Rates for Factory 

Work I 4 

Daily Wages I 4 

Hourly and Weekly Wages 15 

Estimates of Management Regarding 

Hours and Wages • 

Wage Rates Under the Code ■• 

Piece Rates 

Weekly Wages. ... 

Average Working Hours 

Employment of Minors 

Geographical Specialization, and 

Distribution of Employees 25 

CHAPTER III - MATERIALS 26 

Materials Used 

Origin of Materials 26 

Expenditures for Materials 26 

Equipment Used and Origin 26 



8790 -1- 



CONTENTS (Cont'd) 

Page 

CHAPTER IV - PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION 27 

Exports from Puerto Rico 27 

Value and Volume of Products 

by Localities • 27 

Shifts in Centers of Production 27 

Advertising Media 27 

Products Trademarked 29 

Transportation 29 

Distribution of Products ..... 29 

CHAPTER V - TRADE PRACTICES 30 

Unfair Trade Practices 30 

CHAPTER VI - GENERAL INFORMATION 32 

Trade Associations 32 

Labor and Craft Organizations 32 

Labor Relations 32 

Effect of Code of Fair Competition ..... 33 

Foreign Imports • 33 

General Effect 33 

Statistics 34 

Persons Qualified to Act as 

Experts 35 



8790 -ii- 



TABLES 



Page 



TABLE I - Value of Shipments of Needlework 
from Puerto Rico to the 
United States, "by Kinds, 
1929-1935 8 

TABLE II - Volume of Shipments of Needlework 

from Puerto Rico to the United States, 

"by Kinds, 1932-1935 9 

TABLE III - Estimated Total Annual Payroll, 

1932-1934 12 



TABLE IV - Contractors' Cost of Production, and 
the Per Cent Which Labor Cost is of 
Contract Price and of Total Cost of 
Production on One Dozen 12" x 12" 
Handkerchiefs with Prench Hand- 
Rclled Hems 



13 



TABLE V - Daily Wage Rates, Classified by 

Occupation and Sex, in 358 Inspected 
Establishments, 1928-1929 15 



TABLE VI - Daily Wage Rates of Men, Women, and 

Children in 155 Inspected Establishments, 
by Principal Municipalities, 1930-1331 



17 



TABLE VII - Hourly and Weekly Wage Rates, by Occupation, 
in 91 Inspected Establishments, 
1S32-1933 18 

TABLE VIII - Distribution of Workers in the Needlev/ork 
Industry During the Year 1932-1933, 
According to the Wages Received 19 

TABLE IX - Hourly and Weekly Wage Rates, by Product 
Groups and Sex, in 189 Inspected 
Establishments, 1933-1934 20 

TABLE X - Average Hours Per Week, by Occupations, 
in 91 Inspected Establishments, 
1932-1933 23 



8790 



■in- 



TAHLES (Cont'd) 

Page 

TABLE XI - Distribution of Workers in the Needlework 
Industry, According to Pull-Time Hours 
Per Week, During the Year 1933 .24 

TABLE XII - Average Hours Per Week, by Product 
Groups and Sex, in 189 Inspected 
Establishments, 1933-1934 25 

TABLE XIII - Total Value of U. S. Imports of 

Needlework from Puerto Rico, by 

Months, 1932-1935 28 

TABLE XIV - Value of U. S. Imuorts of Wearing 
Apparel from Puerto Rico and All 
Foreign Countries Combined, by 
Kinds," 1929-1934 36 

TABLE XV - Value of TJ. S. Imports of Household 
Articles from Puerto Rico and All 
Foreign Countries Combined, by 
Kinds, 1929-1934 37 

TABLE XVI - Value of U. S. Imports of Handkerchiefs 
from Puerto Rico and All Foreign 
Countries Combined, by Kinds, 1929-193-'+ ... 30 

TABLE XVII - Summary of Value of U. S. Imports of 
Needlework from Puerto Rico and All 
Foreign Countries Combined, by Kinds, 
1229-1934 39 



8790 -iv- 



-1- 



NEEDLEWORK INDUSTRY IN PUERTO RICO 
Foreword 

The two most authentic sources of information on most NRA industries — 
the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of La"bor Statistics — cannot be 
relied upon for the Needlework Industry in Puerto Rico. There is no Census 
material nor any comprehensive Bureau of Labor Statistics data. NRA' s 
field representatives in Puerto Rico have gathered first-ha,nd a great deal 
of the information contained in this report. The Annual Reports of the 
Governor of Puerto Rico and the reports of the Puerto Rican Department of 
Labor nave been utilized, as well as statements of members of the Industry 
and of Puerto Rican Government Officials. Material furnished by the U, S. 
Department of Labor special study, The Employment of Women in Puerto Rico 
(1934) and imports data of the U. S. Department of Commerce have also been 
used. 

Because of the loose organization of the Industry, comprehensive data 
are almost impossible to obtain. All labor data are based upon small samples, 
and all other data have been gathered from scattered sources as indicated 
in the text. 

TThatever pertinent information was available has been presented in this 
study; and where topics in the Outline for Evidence Studies have been omitted, 
there was no information to be had on the subject. 



8790 



Chapter I 

THE NATURE OF THE INDUSTRY 

Code Definition of the Industry 

The Industry was originally defined in the Code of Pair Competition as 
follows: 

"The term 'Industry' as used herein includes the manufacturing 
and processing, including sewing, wholly or in part, within the 
Territory of Puerto Rico, of articles having drawn work and/or 
embroidery done upon them by machine and/or by hand including the 
"business of contracting with reference thereto." 

On April 5, 1935, the Code definition was amended to include: 

"...needlework done on any articles which do not have drawn work 
and/or embroidery on them," "because of the "...considerable quan- 
tity of needlework in Puerto Rico consisting of the manufacturing 
and/or processing of hand-made hems on piece goods, to convert 
such articles into handkerchiefs, not included under the Code." 

Historical Background 1_/ 

The Puerto Rican Needlework Industry had its inception "back in the 16th 
Century in the early days of Spanish colonization and is one of the oldest 
industries on the Island. Work was originally done exclusively "by hand, 
Mayaguez seems to have been the center of the Industry and the first shops 
were established there where skilled labor was abundant. Spain was the 
logical and best market. 

The Industry has developed considerably since the closing years of the 
World War when European producing centers could no longer supply the needs 
of American manufacturers and importers who therefore had to look elsewhere 
for their merchandise. "Marshall Field Company, D. E. Sicher & Co., Weil and 
Weil, Inc., John Wanamaker, and G-lassberg Brothers were some of the pioneers 
in this field. All of these gave preference to needlework of superior type 
which was produced in their own shops. Lower quality work was placed in the 
hands of local agents in the different towns. 2/ 

Operations of the Industry 

G-eneral Characteristics . - Operations of the Industry as at present 
organized are to some extent analogous to those characterizing industry prior 
to the Industfial Revolution, for there is a large amount of "putting out" of 
materials by contractors directly or through sub-contractors to homeworkers 
to be finished on a piece-rate basis. The Industry may be divided into two 
groups, contractors and manufacturers, 

T/ Report on Needlework Industry by Sr. Augustin Rivero Chaves, Ass't. Coram, 
of Commerce, Puerto Rico, May, 1934. 

2/ Statement of Sr. Augustin Rivero Chaves, Ass't. Coram, of Commerce, in 
Report on Needlework Industry, Puerto Rico, May, 1934. 

8790 



- 3 - 

Contractors process in Puerto Rico in their own shops, or "put out" to 
homeworkers, material received from and owned by mainland principals. The 
processing is done on contract. The goods not processed in the shops are 
distributed to the homeworkers through subagents or subcontractors, 

Manufacturers include mainland merchandising or selling concerns operating 
their own manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico and manufacturers located in 
Puerto Rico who distribute by selling to wholesalers or retailers. The members 
of both groups are manufacturers in the full sense of the word and own the 
materials they process. The routine of actual processing is the same for both 
manufacturing and contracting groups. 

Until recently the predominant characteristic of the Industry has been the 
processing on contract by Puerto Rican contractors of materials supplied and 
owned by manufacturers in the States. Of late a tendency has become apparent 
to change from a contracting to a manufacturing basis. More mainland firms 
have begun operating their own shops in Puerto Rico, Seven such shops have 
been established since the effective date of the Code. Incidental to this 
change is the substitution of North American supervision for Puerto Rican. 
This trend is not confined exclusively to the mainland manufacturers, for cer- 
tain Puerto Ricans, too, are attempting to operate on a manufacturing rather 
than a contracting basis, admittedly, in an effort to retain their part of 
the business. 

The conclusion of the writer is that this transition indicates a desire 
on the part of manufacturers for closer supervision and elimination of bar- 
gaining inherent in the contracting system. The probability of permanently 
cheap labor in the Puerto Rican field is an additional factor. 

Chart I, below, shows the organization of the Industry, 



8790 



- 4 - 

Chart I 

Structure of the Puerto Rican Needlework Industry 



Mainland wholesale or retail 
stores or selling organizations 
which either own plants in 
Puerto Rico or "buy from Puerto 
Rican manufacturers 

Number about 15 concerns 




Mainland manufacturers or prin- 
cipals who supply materials to 
Puerto Rican contractors to be 
processed on contract. 

Number about 160 concerns 












Manufacturing operations con- 
ducted in Puerto Rico "by con- 
cerns on mainland or by Puerto 
Rican manufacturers 

Number about 15 concerns 




Puerto Rican contractors: re- 
ceive material from mainland 
principals, process material in 
own shops or by homeworkers and 
return material to States. 
Usually distribute work through 
subcontractors 

Number about 100 


















PUERTO RICAN AGENTS OR SUBAGENTS 

Receive goods from contractors or manufacturers, 
distributing to home workers for sewing, collect 
processed garments and articles. Hire and pay 
homeworkers. Work on commission of from 10 to 
20 per cent of payroll. Intermediary between 
contractors and homeworkers. 

Number about 3,000 














PUERTO RICAN FACTORY AND HOME NEEDIEW0RK3RS 

Usually piece-rate workers. Homeworkers hired 
by subcontractors and ordinarily never come in 
contact with contractors. Process goods for 
subcontractor. Principally female and 16 per 
cent (estimated) are less than 16 years of age. 
Home workers are principally handworkers or 
sewers. 

Number about 70,000 





8790 



«5~ 

Home Vork vs. Factory Work. - The Ratio of home work to factory 
work varies from one branch to another. In the handkerchief branch of the 
Industry the bulk of the sewing is by hand in the homes. The bulk of the 
machine-made silk underwear is produced in the factories. Even though a 
large percentage of the actual processing, in some instances, is done by 
homeworkers, operators maintain shops for distribution, storage, laundering, 
and packing. 

Number of Plants 

In April, 1935, the NRA offices in San Juan registered 116 needlework 
shops. They were situated in sixteen municipalities as follows: 

62 in Mayaguez 

14 " Ponce 

7 " Santurce and San Juan 

6 " Arecibo 

5 " Yauco 

4 " San Sebastian 

3 " Guayama 

2 " Coamo 

2 " San German 

2 " Lajas 

2 » Aguadilla 

2 " Sabana Grande 

2 " Rio Piedras 

1 " Lares 

1 " Maracao 

1 " Humacao 

Members of the Industry 

Members of the Industry numbered 113 as of April, 1935. 1/ 
Fifteen of this number were manufacturers and the remaining 98 were con- 
tractors. 2/ This number does not include the subcontractors. 

There are about 160 mainland firms who send needlework to Puerto 
1 Rico. The following recapitulation made from a list compiled in early 1934 

from questionnaires sent out by the MA, Research and Planning Division, 
''shows both the products turned out and the location of the plants, as 

follows: 

37 firms producing art linens have 

31 plants in Mayaguez 
5 " " San Juan 
1 " " Ponce 

1 " n Arecibo 

2 " " Humacao 

1/ A "List of Known Members" of the Industry, as compiled by the NRA office, 
San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 1, 1935, may be found in the NRA files. 

2/ NRA Register, April, 1935. 



8790 



-6- 
6 firms producing ladies' blouses and dresses have 

2 plants in San Juan 

1 " » Lojas 

3 " " Ponce 

2 " " Mayagaez 

15 firms producing; cotton underwear and nightgowns have 

14 plants in Ilayaguez 

3 » " Coarao 
2 " " Ponce 

17 firms -oroducing children's and infants' wear have 



11 plants in 1. lay ague z 



1 ' 


' " Lojas 


21 ' 


' " ponce 


2 ' 


' " San Juan 


1 ' 


1 " Guayama 


1 ' 


' " Aguadilla 


1 ' 


1 " Isabela 


1 ' 


1 " Arecibo 



20 firms -producing silk underwear have 
8 plants in May ague z 



10 ' 


1 " Ponce 


2 ' 


' •' San Juan 


2 ' 


' " Aguadilla 


1 ' 


' " Yauco 


2 ' 


' " Arecibo 


1 ' 


' " Eio Piedras 



65 firms producing handkerchiefs have 



i& 



61 plants in Mayaguez 
5 " " Sahana Grande 
5 " " Ponce 
1 " " Rio Piedras 

Capital Investment 

Statistics on capital invested are almost non-existent. Sixteen 
contractors and manufacturers interviewed in early June, 1935, gave esti- 
mates of their investment. The average for these is $19,000 each, hut 
this group is too small a cross section of the Industry to he taken as 
representative. 

In the application for approval of the Code, 28 firms reported an 
investment of $550,000, averaging slightly more than $19,000 each. It is 
probable that the reporting firms were the larger and better-known members 
and that the average for the entire Industry was somewhat less. 



8790 



-7- 

Capital Investment (Cont'd ) 

Investment consists of operating capital (for payrolls only, in the 
case of contractors who do not own materials for processing) and fixed 
capital in buildings and light machinery, consisting chiefly of sewing 
machines, washing and drying machines, and irons. Sufficient data from 
which to estimate ratios between operating and fixed capital are not 
available. 

Failures 

No data on failures are available. Comparatively small capital is 
required to enter the Industry. It is open to any one able to finance his 
payroll. Contractors (who are in the majority) do not own merchandise and. 
consequently are not subject to the usual risks of merchandising and manu- 
facturing such as the accumulation of goods for which there is no sale. 
When there is a shortage of work, they merely cease operating. The struc- 
ture of the Industry does not require maintenance of expensive overhead 
organizations. 

F inancial Condition 

So far as the author knows, no statistics have ever been compiled 
on the financial condition of this Industry. 

Value and Volume of Production 

Tables I and II, below, compiled from monthly summaries of the Bureau 
of Foreign and. Domestic Commerce, give value and. volume data on shipments 
of needlework to the United States, by principal kinds, for recent jrears. 
Since the amount of needlework used on the Island and the shipments of 
needlework products from Puerto Rico to foreign countries are negligible, 
data on shipments to the United States are virtually synonymous with 
production and. may be used in the absence of such data. 

Prod\ictive Capacity 

Productive capacity is not known and would be difficult to estimate. 
Since so small an amount of machinery and capital is necessary to enter 
the Industry, productive capacity may be regarded as almost unlimited. 

Competing Industries 

This Industry competes directly with both mainland and foreign 
wearing-apparel and needlework industries, hut since Puerto Rico is an 
American possession, competition with mainland industries is not classified, 
as foreign competition. China, the Philippine Islands, France, and Belgium, 
are the principal foreign competitors. So far as competition with American 
industries is concerned, it centers chiefly in the following coded indus- 
tries! 



8790 



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3790 



-10- 

Handkerchief 
Dress Manufacturing 
Cotton Garment 
Blouse and Skirt 
Light Sewing 
Art Needlework 
Infants' and Children's Wear 
Underwear and Negligee 

Underwear and Allied Products Manufacturing 
Pleating, Stitching, and Bonnaz and Hand Embroidery 
Schiffli, the Hand Machine Embroidery and Embroidery 
Thread, and Scallop Cutting Industry. 



Competing Products 

Competing products are: 

Cotton and Linen Towels 

Cotton and Linen Napkins and Doilies 

Cotton and Linen Luncheon Cloths, Table Covers, Scarfs 

Cotton and Linen Bridge Sets 

Cotton and Linen and Silk Handkerchiefs 

Cotton and Silk Nightgowns and Pajamas 

Sheets and Pillow Cases 

Children's Dresses 

Cotton and Silk Underwear 

Women' s Dresses, Skirts, and Waists. 

Effects of Competition 

Puerto Rican wages have always been lower than mainland wages, and 
mainland competition has never affected Island wages to any appreciable 
extent. 

The same is not true of foreign competition. Handkerchief contractors 
last year alleged that they were suffering from Chinese competition. Be- 
cause of insufficient statistical data, it is impossible to judge accurately 
the extent or results of this competition, which undoubtedly has had consid- 
erable effect upon the Needlework Industry in Puerto Rico. 

Relationship to Other Industries 

This is essentially a processing industry working in conjunction with 
mainland merchandising and manufacturing organizations, and producing con- 
sumer goods. The principal -products are: Art linens, ladies' blouses and 
dresses, cotton underwear and nightgowns, children's and infants' wear, 
silk underwear, and handkerchiefs. 

Most of the goods are completely finished in Puerto Rico, and are 
shipped ready for sale. An undetermined amount of the total Puerto Rican 
production is only partially processed there and is returned to the United 
States for finishing. The Puerto Rican contractor ordinarily has no part 
in the distribution of the product. 



8790 



-11- 

Chr.pt cr II 
LABOR 



General 



The nature of the Industry (the manner in which work is distributed by 
agents and sub-agents and done principally in the home of the employee) 
makes it practically impossible to gather accurate and comprehensive labor 
information. The Puerto Rican Department of Labor has published data based 
upon small samples, and the United States Department of Labor, Women's 
Bureau, has published a study of employment of women in Puerto Rico; but 
hours and wage rates are so unstandardized, and the Industry so unorganized, 
that all labor data must be understood to apply to the sample covered. 
Piecing together the scattered bits of information warrants one general con- 
clusion: that, compared with American standards, hours are long and wage 
rates pitifully low. 

Number of Employees 

Existing statistics conflict. Estimates range from 50,000 to 100,000. 
General Johnson' s letter of transmittal for the Needlework Code estimated 
70,000 homeworkers and 7,000 factory workers. 

Seasonality of Employment 

There are no statistics on seasonal variation in employment. The busy 
season begins in late summer in preparation for the mid-winter holiday trade. 

T otal Annual Wages 

The Research and Planning Division has estimated, on the basis of re- 
ports from 10 plants, that 71 per cent of the value added by processing in 
Puerto Rico is paid to labor. 1/ Lower estimates are given in "The Dis- 
tribution of the Needlework Dollar in Puerto Rico," taken from material 
furnished the NRA, Research and Planning Division, by Sr. Augustin Rivero 
Chaves, Ass't. Comm. of Commerce. It is here stated that although 60 per 
cent of the value added has been said to go to labor, 45 per cent is more 
nearly correct. 

Taking something about half way between the 45 and 71 per cent estimat- 
ed as going to labor — in other words, assuming that labor gets 60 per cent 
of the contract price — total annual wages may be estimated as in Table III, 
from the value of shipments as reported in the Monthly Summary of Foreign 
Commerce. 2/ 

1/ It is impossible to ascertain whether agents' commissions are included, 

2/ When using customs or Department of Commerce statistics on Puerto Rican 
shipments, it is important to bear in mind that these goods are non- 
dutiable, coming from an American possession to the United States, and 
declarations may not be as correct or as carefully audited as those on 
revenue-producing merchandise. 



8790 



-12- 
TABLE III 
Estimated Total Annual Payroll, 1932-1934 



Year Declared Amount Paid to Estimated Total 

Value of Management for Labor Annual Payroll c/ 

Shipment a/ Expenses and profit b/ 

1932 $11,369,322 $6,820,000 $4,100,000 

1933 13,646,813 8,190,000 4,900,000 

1934 13,398,542 8,040,000 4,825,000 

Source: As explained in footnotes. 

a/ Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Monthly Summary of 

Foreign Commerce . 

b/ Calculated; roughly estimated at 60 per cent of first column. 

c/ Estimated at 60 per cent of second column. 

Ratio of Labor Cost to Total Cost of Production 

Detailed data are not available, but, as indicated above, estimates 
place labor' s share at 45 to 71 per cent of the value added by manufacture 
(i.e, the contract price). 

Table IV has been prepared from data supplied by Daniel Nadal, a handker- 
chief contractor, of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. According to this table his 
direct labor cost is 67 per cent of the contract price, or 74 per cent of 
the total cost of production. Some of the items of cost may have been high- 
er for this operator than for others. For example, this estimate includes 
$.0167 per dozen for ironing. Other operators informed the writer that their 
manufacturers allowed them only $.005 per dozen for ironing. In some instanc- 
es the commission paid sub-agents is less than 20 per cent. 



8790 



-13- 

TABLE IV 

Contractors' Cost of Production, and the Per Cent which 
Labor Cost is of Contract Price and of Total Cost of 
Production on One Dozen 12" x 12" Handkerchiefs with 
French Hand-Rolled Hens 

Per Cent Labor Per Cent 
Item Cost per Cost is of Total Labor Cost 

Dozen Cost of Production is of Con- 
tract Price 



Direct Labor 






Cutting 




$.0075 


Hand Rolling 




.1600 


Washing 




.0050 


Ironing 




.0167 


Assorting & Ribbon 


■ing 


.0100 



Indirect Labor 

Agents 1 Commission, 20$ 

Manufacturing Erpense 

Soap, Water, Electricity 



Material 
Thread 



.1992 
.0320 
.0100 

.0050 



03 

59 
02 
06 
04 
74 



12 



03 



02 



67 



11 



03 



01 



Overhead 

(I0)b of labor, material and expenses) .0246 

Total cost of production 
Commission 



Total amount paid to contractor 



.2708 



.3000 



100 



To Hew York Agent (3$) 


.0090 


Net Profit 


.0202 



03 
7 



100 



Source: Data supplied by David Nadal, handkerchief contractor, of 
Ilayaguez, Puerto Rico. 

Prevail ing Wage Rates for Home Work 

Comprehensive data on home-work wages are not available. Most of the 
home work is paid for on a piece-work basis, and this varies so widely 
among the different types of work and according to the agent that only the 
roughest approximations of home-work wage rates can be made. Furthermore, 
such data as exist are not comparable from year to year. Fragmentary 
evidence is sufficient, however, to indicate the low level of wage rates, as 
the following quotation shows: 



8790 






. 



- 



-14- 

"During the year (fiscal year ending June 30, 1929) 391 
sub-agencies in 55 towns of the island were visited "by the in- 
spectors of labor, there recording 19,254 female home workers. 
These sub-agencies were distributed as follows: In Yauco, 31; 
Ponce, 20; Lares, 19; Mayaguez, 18; and Guanica, 17. Accord- 
ing to our information, the towns in which the largest number 
of workers were employed were: Arecibo, 1,570; Mayaguez, 1,480; 
Ponce, 1,180; Sabana Grande, 1,135; and Yauco, 1,110. The pre- 
vailing weekly wages were $0.50, $1, $1.50, and $2, although 
wager, of $3, $3.50, and $4 were also recorded. " 1/ 

Prevailing Wage Rates for Factory Work 

Daily Wages . - Table V, below, shows daily wage rates in 1928-1929, 
classified by occupation and sex, as gathered from 358 inspected establish- 
ments. The "three types" of daily wages are understood to be those re- 
ceived by the greatest number of workers in each occupation. No explanation 
is offered why, for instance, male chauffeurs received from 83 cents to 
$5.00 per day, with prevailing rates concentrating at $0.83, $3.33, and 
$5.00. The data give some idea, however, of the range of wage rates within 
a single occupation. 



1/ Twenty-Ninth Annu al Report of the Governor of Puerto Rico , p. 742 < 



8790 



-15- 
TABLE V 

Daily Wage Rates Classified by Occupation and Sex, 
in 358 Inspected Establishments, 1928-1929 



Occupation 


Number 
Men 


of Workers 
Women 






Three 


Types 


of Dail? 


r Wa~es 




Men 






Women 




Embroiderers 




334 




- 




$0.25 


$0.83 


$1.25 


Hemstitching 




92 








.20 


.83 


1.47 


Chauffeurs 


16 




$0.83 


$3.33 


$5.00 








Classifying 




20 








.33 


.83 


1.33 


Cutters 


70 


95 


1.00 


3.33 


6.66 


.41 


1.33 


2.30 


Seamstresses 




1,731 








.41 


1.50 


2.50 


Pullers 




133 








.20 


1.00 


2.00 


Designers 


2 


7 


5.50 


7.50 




1.66 






Folding 




20 








.33 


.66 


1.00 


Stamping 


10 


180 


.50 


1.00 


2.50 


.33 


1.00 


1.92 


Laundress 




194 








.50 


1.00 


1.50 


Mechanics 


9 




.83 


2.00 


5.80 








Sewers (machine) 


23 




• 33 


.75 


1.00 








Retailers 


5 


3 


.90 


1.83 


2.50 


.66 


1.16 




I r oners 




855 








.50 


1.25 


2.00 


Receiving 




107 








.33 


1.50 


2.66 


Finishers 




62 








.29 


.58 


.91 


Revisers 




138 








.50 


1.50 


2.50 


Sundry labor 


146 


911 


.33 


1.33 


2.50 


.29 


.83 


1.50 


Total 


281 


4,882 














Source : Twenty-N 


inth Annual Report 


of the 


Governor of Puerto 5 


lico, p. 


754. 



Data obtained through visits of the officials of the Puerto Rican 
Department of Labor, during the fiscal year 1928-1929. 

Table VI, below, gives similar information for the fiscal year 1930-1931 
for principal municipalities. Officials of the Department of Labor made 333 
inspections in 155 shops. In these shops, 468 men, 6,246 women, and 14 
children were employed, a total of 6,728. Men received wages which ranged 
from $.33 to $5.00 a day; women were paid $.12 to $1.70 a day and children, 
$.10 to $.18 per day. The data do not indicate what proportion of total em- 
ployees fell in the different wage groups. The higher rates were reported 
for such municipalities as San Juan, Mayaguez, Arecibo, and Ponce, where con- 
siderable needlework activity is carried on. 

Hourly and Weekly Wages . - Table VII, below, gives factory data on average 
hourly and weekly rates for specified operations during the fiscal year 1932- 
1933. It will be noted that hourly wages ranged from 3.8 cents for "labelers" 
to 31.4 cents for "designers." The "designers" are at the top of the wage 
scale, both hourly and weekly. Their full time earnings per week averaged 
$15.00, while their actual weekly earnings averaged $14.50. This latter 
figure compares with average actual weekly earnings of "labelers" of $1.65, 

Table VIII, below, shows the wage earners included in Table VI l t .dis-" 
tributed according to the hourly wage received. The concentxatiorr'of workers 

8790 



-16- 

in the lowest wage groups is immediately apparent. Computations show that 
18 per cent of the sample earned less than 5 cents per hour and 31 per cent 
under 6 cents; while less than 29 per cent of the sample earned more than 
10 cents an hour. 



8790 



-17- 



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-18- 

TABLE VII 

Hourly and Weekly Wage Rates, by Occupation, in 91 
Inspected Establishments, 1932-1933 





Number of Estab- 
lishments 


Number 
of 




Average Earnings 


Occupation 










Inspeci 


bed 


Employees 


Per 
Hour 


Per 

Full-Time 

Week 


Per 

Actual 

Week 


Basters 


4 




40 


$.065 


$3.11 


$2.45 


Button Sewers 


11 




27 


.087 


4.19 


3.57 


Classifiers 


5 




35 


.055 


2.65 


2.55 


Common Laborers 


16 




21 


.085 


4.14 


3.97 


Designers 


5 




5 


.314 


15.00 


14.50 


Delivery Clerks 


7 




13 


.111 


5.35 


4.96 


Directresses 


20 




36 


.286 


13.72 


13,55 


Distributors 


19 




35 


.119 


5.67 


5.39 


Embroiderers & 














Drawn Workers 


26 




545 


.058 


2.77 


2.12 


Finishers 


20 




338 


.058 


2.68 


2.22 


Folders 


9 




24 


.061 


2.93 


1.71 


Hand Cutters 


2 




3 


.081 


3.84 


3.10 


Hand Sewers 


16 




201 


.057 


2.67 


2.25 


Ironers 


62 




768 


.079 


3.82 


2.53 


Labelers 


2 




6 


.038 


1.81 


1.65 


Machine Cutters 


25 




49 


.170 


8.16 


6.60 


Machine Sewers 


44 




1,532 


.105 


4.92 


3.89 


Material Spreaders 


6 




23 


.054 


2.59 


2.41 


Packers 


34 




144 


.087 


4.15 


3.75 


Perforators 


10 




11 


.145 


6.96 


6.83 


Receiving Clerks 


30 




89 


.098 


4.68 


4.45 


Repairers 


12 




59 


.066 


3.14 


1.91 


Revisers 


51 




205 


.096 


4.54 


4.22 


Sample Makers 


11 




54 


.054 


2.58 


2.30 


Sewing Machine 














Mechanics 


9 




10 


.239 


11.46 


10.80 


Stain Removers 


88 




13 


.078 


3.69 


3.06 


Stampers 


41 




168 


.079 


3.77 


2.95 


Supervisors 


15 




34 


.178 


8.41 


8.15 


Thread Drawers 


13 




139 


.098 


4.68 


3.74 


Washerwomen 


33 




96 


.075 


3.59 


2.50 


Total 


91 




4,723 


.089 


4.21 


3.32 


Source: Puerto Ric 


;o Department of La 
1932-1933, p. 103. 


bor. Annual 


Report 


of the Commissioner 


of Labor., 


Data cover only 


those establ 


ishments 



inspected. 



8790 



-19- 





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«790 



-20- 

Further information on hourly and weekly wage rates is given in Table 
IX, below, which shows rates classified "by principal product groups, and 
by sex, for 189 inspected establishments. The highest earnings were re- 
ceived by males making children's garments, but relatively few such persons 
were employed. It is noteworthy that this characteristic of few men work- 
ing at relatively high rates holds for each of the product groups listed. 
There was also less variation in the earnings of women workers from one 
group to another than in the case of men. 

TABLE IX 

Hourly and Weekly Wage Rates, by Product Groups and Sex, 
in 189 Inspected Establishments, 1933-1934 









Humber < 


)f 




Average Earnings 








Establi: 


sh- 


Number 








Product Group 






ment s 
Inspecti 


3d 


of 
Employees 


Per 

Hour 


Per Full 
Time Week 


Per 
Actual 

Week 


Children's Garments 


















Males 






7 




32 


.235 


10.83 


9,66 


Females 






11 




956 


.084 


3.95 


3.18 


Handkerchief s & Art 


Linens 














Males 






19 




166 


.107 


5.09 


4.42 


Females 






33 




952 


.078 


3.65 


3.13 


Ladies' Underwear 


















Males 






7 




49 


.168 


8.06 


6.89 


Females 






24 




1,558 


.079 


3.76 


3.02 


Miscellaneous 


















Male s 






26 




58 


.151 


7.13 


5.55 


Females 






26 




1,259 


.087 


4.16 


3.38 


Source: Thirty-Fourth 


Annual Report 


of 


the Governo 


r of Puerto Rico. 


p. 123. 



Data do not cover entire Industry, but only establishments inspect- 
ed by the Department of Labor in the fiscal year 1933-1934, 

Estimates of Management Regarding Hours and Wages . - The following ex- 
cerpt from the U. S. Department of Labor Study on The Employment of Wcnen. 
in Puerto Rico gives further information on the subject of hours and wages 
in this Industry. The situation with regard to any or all of the products 
made could be described, but the following illustrations with regard to 
cotton pillowcases, silk lingerie, infants' dresses, and silk blouses are 
sufficient proof of the generally low wage levels and long hours of work 
prevailing, 

"In several instances contractors or agents with an intimate 
knowledge of the labor required on various styles estimated the 
time required to complete the necessary operations; and this time, 
correlated with the rates per dozen, disclosed shockingly low wages 
in every case. 



8790 



-21- 

"Cotton pillowcases 

Hand scalloping and ornate embroidery for which the rate is $1 
per dozen pieces. A manager stated, 'A girl must be very rapid to 
make two, working steadily all day.* If a girl could make two a day 
(and no girl doing this type of work reported such an accompli shment) 
she would earn 16 or 17 cents, less than 2 cents an hour. 



"311k lingerie 

(1) A hand embroiderer inside a factory — a good worker — has 
the record of finishing her work on two silk undergarments in a day. 
At the rate of $2 a dozen, her daily earnings are 33 cents, or 4 cents 
an hour, 

(2) On another style the agent herself was sewing; she stated that 
with great concentration she could do one piece in a full day. The rate 
being $1,75 a dozen, she is able to earn about 15 cents a day, roughly 

2 cents an hour. 



"Infants' dresses 

Infants' dresses with fagoting, hemstitching, and an embroidered 
design on yoke and hem, the type of garment that retailed in the summer 
of 1933 in some stores for about $1 a piece, are made for $1.50 a dozen. 
It takes a day to make one of these garments and nets the maker 15 
cents, roughly 2 cents an hour. 

"Silk blouses 

Home workers receive $6,50 a dozen for making silk blouses by hand. 
The agent estimated most carefully that it requires 1^- days to make 1; 
that is, 54 cents for at least 12 hours of work, or 4| con'ts as. hour. 

"In these 10 cases, as reckoned by someone connected with manage- 
ment, daily earnings ranged from 10 cents through 15, 20, 30, to 36 
cents, and hourly earnings ranged from 1 to 4-g- cents; one may have 
reached 5 cents, but the most were around 2 cents an hour. This 
corresponds quite closely to a statement made by a contractor who had 
inside embroiderers, that they made perhaps 30 cents a day, not over. 

"Furthermore, these estimates by management did not differ much 
from the estimates made from the statements of home workers. In both 
cases the hand embroiderers and sewers could count on little more than 
a few cents a day, at the most 2 or 3 cents an hour." 1/ 

1/ Op. cit., pp. 5-7. 



8790 



-22- 
Wage Rates Under the Code 

Piece Rates . - Under the Code, which was approved June 28, 1934, a 
piece— rate commission was established to set piece rates that would yield 
the required minimum weekly wage for home workers. Studies were made and 
rates were set. Curing the fall and winter many charges were filed contend- 
ing that piece rates were so high as to drive business from the island. 
Department of Commerce figures (see Table XIII below) show that shipments 
for the first six months of 1934 exceeded shipments for the same period of 
1933 by nearly $800,000, but shipments for the last six months of 1934 fell 
below those for the same months of 1933. Whether this recession was in fact 
due to the additional labor cost imposed by the Code, or whether it was a 
result of such factors as changes in consumer demand, the general slackening 
of all business activity in the latter half of 1934, and seasonal fluctua- 
tions, is, of course, a broad question. 

After much pressure by manufacturers, contractors, and Government 
Officials in Puerto Rico, some of the piece rates were revised downward. 
Decreases ranged up to 50 per cent of the initial rates. Since the percent- 
age of decrease was not uniform it is difficult to determine the net result 
per hour, day, or week. Rates for silk underwear and women's dresses and 
blouses were not changed. No study was made to determine the yield of the 
revised rates. 

Weekly Wages . - Weekly minimum wages as set by the Code of Pair Competi- 
tion were: home hand sewers, $2.00, factory hand sewers, $3.00; factory 
machine workers and other factory workers, $5.00; machine sewing done in the 
home to be paid for at the same rate as factory machine sewing. These wages 
were based on a forty-hour week. 

Average Working Hours 

Table X below, shows that full-time hours for all occupations in the 
establishments inspected during the fiscal year 1932-1933 ranged from 46.3 
to 48.5, with the average for all groups 47.3. Actual hours worked averaged 
37.2. 

Prom Table XI below, which shows a distribution of the workers covered 
in Table X according to full-time hours per week, it is seen that 4,094, or 
approximately 87 per cent, of the sample were working under a 48-hour 
schedule. 

The variation in full-time hours in 1933-1934 for the different product 
groups and sexes is small, as would be expected from the fact that the range 
from one occupation to another for both sexes combined is small. (Sec 
Table XII below.) As to hours actually worked, there is more variation, with 
women usually working slightly shorter hours than men, and with both men and 
women working shorter hours in the miscellaneous than in the other product 
groups. 



8790 



\lt. 



-23- 



TABLE X 



Average Hours Per leek, by Occupations, in 91 Inspected 
Establishments, 1932-1933 





Number of 
Establish- 


Number 


Average Hours 


Occupation 








ments 


of 


Per Full- 


Per Week 




Inspected 


Employees 


Time Week 


Actually Worked 


Basters 


4 


40 


48 


37.8 


Button Sewers 


11 


27 


48 


40.8 


Classifiers 


5 


35 


48 


46.1 


Common Laborers 


16 


21 


48.5 


46.5 


Designers 


5 


5 


47.7 


46.1 


Delivery clerks 


7 


13 


48.2 


44.7 


Directresses 


20 


36 


47.9 


47.3 


Distributors 


19 


35 


47.4 


45.1 


Embroiderers and 










Drawn Workers 


26 


545 


47.8 


36.2 


Finishers 


20 


338 


45. 3 


38.6 


Folders 


9 


24 


48 


28 


Hand Cutters 


2 


3 


48 


38.7 


Hand Sewers 


16 


201 


46.7 


39.26 


Ironers 


62 


768 


47.9 


31.8 


Labelers 


2 


6 


47.3 


43 


Machine Cutters 


25 


49 


48 


38.8 


Machine Sewers 


44 


1,532 


46.7 


35.9 


Material spreaders 


6 


23 


48 


44.2 


Packers 


34 


144 


47.8 


43.1 


Perforators 


10 


11 


48 


47.1 


Receiving clerks 


30 


89 


47.9 


45.6 


Repairers 


12 


59 


47.5 


28.8 


Revisers 


51 


205 


47.5 


44.1 


Sample Makers 


11 


54 


47.9 


42.7 


Sewing Machine 










Mechanics 


9 


10 


47.9 


45.2 


Stain removers 


8 


13 


47.4 


39.2 


Stampers 


41 


168 


47.8 


37.3 


Supervisors 


15 


34 


47.3 


45.8 


Thread Drawers 


13 


139 


47.7 


38.1 


Washerwomen 


33 


96 


47.9 


33.3 



Total 



91 



4,723 



47.3 



37.2 



Source: Puerto Rico Department of Labor, Annual Report of the Commissioner 
of Labor, 1932-1933 , p. 103. Data cover only those establishments 
inspected. 



8790 



-2-V 



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2790 



-25- 



TABLE XII 



Average Hours Per Week, by Product Groups and Sex, in 189 
Inspected Establishments, 1933-1934 



ITumber < 

Establi; 

Product Group ments 

Inspecti 


jf 

3h- 

3d 


Number 
of 
Employees 


Average 


Full Time 

Hours Per 

Week 


Hours 
Actually 
Worked per 










Week 


Children' s Garments 










Males 7 




32 


46.1 


41.1 


Females 11 




956 


47 


37.8 


Handkerchiefs & Art Linens 










Males 19 




166 


47.6 


41.5 


Females 33 




952 


46.8 


39.9 


Ladies 1 Underwear 










Males 7 




49 


48 


40.9 


Females 24 




1,558 


47.6 


38 


Miscellaneous 










Males 26 




58 


47.2 


36.7 


Females 26 




1,259 


47.8 


38.6 


Source: Thirty-Fourth Annual Report 


of 


the Governor of Puert 


o Rico, p. 123. 



Data cover only establishments inspected by the Department of Labor 
in the fiscal year 1933-1934. 

Employment of Minors 

From approximately 300 questionnaires analyzed under supervision of Dr. 
Ortiz of the University of Puerto Rico, it is estimated that in March, 1934, 
16 per cent of the homeworkers were under 16 years of age. Since this work 
is paid for on a piece-rate basis, earnings of minors would equal earnings 
for adults for equal amounts of similar work. Employment of minors of less 
than 16 years is illegal in Puerto Rico, but widely practiced. Theoretically, 
employment of minors exists only by permit, but as a practical measure, en- 
forcement is impossible inasmuch as children are usually employed at home. 

Geographical Specialization, and Distribution of Employees 

This Industry and its employees are confined to Puerto Rico. Within 
Puerto Rico, certain classes of work are said to be confined to certain 
localities. Hand rolling of handkerchief hems, for example, is said to be 
confined almost exclusively to the Cabo Rojo District. To what degree this 
type of specialization has developed is not known. 

The "List of Known Members of the Needlework Industry in Puerto Rico" in 
the HRA files indicates that factories of the various branches of the Industry 
are fairly widely scattered over the Island. It does not necessarily follow, 
however, that the distribution of employees conforms to distribution of shops, 
since so large a percentage of the processing is done in homes. 



8790 



-26- 

Chapter III 

MATERIALS 

Materials Used 

The principal materials used are cotton, linen, and silk. 

Origin of Materials 

None of the materials used originates in Puerto Rico. The needle- 
work is done in Puerto Rico on cotton, linen, and silk cloth received 
from the mainland. The raw materials for these consist ordinarily of 
American cotton, Irish linen, and Japanese or Chinese silk. 

Expenditures for Materials 

As noted before, the majority of the needlework operators do 
not buy, but merely process materials supplied them by their principals 
in the United States. Title to the goods remains with the principals. 
From the data available, no reliable estimate can be made as to the 
value of the materials used in processing. 

Equipment Used and Origin 

Equipment consists of sewing machines, electric and gasoline 
irons, washing machines, and driers. All machinery is imported from 
the United States. Its origin by states is not available. 



8790 



-27- 

Chapter IV 

PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION 

Exports from Puerto Rico 

Except for a negligible portion, all Fuerto Sican needlework products 
are shipped to and sold in the United States. Annual value and volume data 
for recent years are given in Tables I and II, above, and Table XIII, below, 
presents monthly data for the years 1932 to 1935. 

Value and Volume of products by Localities 

Detailed data showing production by localities are not available, 
About 50 per cent of the Industry is said to be located in Mayaguez. 

Shifts in Centers of production 

Reports have been received by the NRA office in Puerto Rico of the 
removal of needlework machinery to the mainland, but any such changes have 
been offset by new plants established. The Deputy Administrator's Office 
in San Juan reports the establishment of plants in Puerto Rico by seven 
mainland manufacturers since the effective date of the Code. 

Advertising Media 

Needlework operators do not advertise extensively, because of the 
nature of the Industry. In general, they work for only a few firms, 
maintaining contacts through representatives in the United States. The 
Handkerchief Industry Association Bulletin for the month of September, 
1934, carried only four advertisements mentioning Puerto Rican products, 
and all of the advertisers were North American dealers. Data on ad- 
vertising expenditures are not available. 



8790 



-28- 



TABLE XIII 



Total Value of U. S. Imports of Needlework from Puerto Rico, 
"by Months, 1932-1935 
( In thousands) 





1932 


1933 




1934 


1935 






Cumu- 


Cumu- 




Cumu- 




Cumu- 




Value 


lative 


Value lative 


Value 


lative 


Value 


lative 






Value 


V 


alue 




Value 




Value 


January 


$762 


$762 


$798 


$798 


$861 


$861 


$1,057 


$1,057 


February 


929 


1,692 


908 


1,706 


827 


1,688 


1,077 


2,134 


March 


1,063 


2,755 


1,052 


2,758 


1*272 


2,960 


962 


3,096 


April 


939 


3,694 


1,056 


2,814 


1,020 


3,980 


1,303 


4,399 


May 


974 


4,668 


1,076 


4,892 


1,844 


5,824 


1,786 


6,185 


June 


1,085 


5,755 


1,309 


6,201 


1,162 


6,986 






July 


784 


6,537 


1,110 


7,311 


1,016 


8,002 






August 


1,084 


7,621 


1,476 


8,787 


1,337 


9,339 






September 


775 


8,396 


1,271 


10,058 


966 


10,305 






October 


877 


9,273 


1,138 


11,196 


1,115 


11,420 






November 


1,102 


10,375 


1,567 


12,763 


1,116 


12,536 






December 


994 




910 




854 








Total for 
















Year 


11,369 


i 


13,673 




13,390 








Monthly 


















Average 


947 


1 


1,139 




1,116 




1,237 





Source; Unpublished data obtained from the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic 
Commerce. 



8790 



-29- 



Pro ducts Tradensrked 



The products of this Industry ordinarily do not bear trademarks. Retail 
trade practice discourages use of any marking that denotes place of Ox'igin. 
The :ost bitter of all fights under the Code developed over the use of labels, 
manufacturers claiming that use of labels denoting Puerto Rico as origin would 
preclude sale of products, and the Code Authority insisting upon the use of 
labels for aid in enforcing compliance with the Code, and as an advertisement 
for Puerto Paean goods. 

Transportation 

Express companies operating on the steamship lines are the media of 
transportation to the United States. Parcel post is used to a limited extent. 

Distribution of Products 

For all practical purposes Puerto Rican operators do not perform distri- 
buting or marketing functions. Those functions are performed by mainland con- 
cerns. The United States location of mainland manufacturers who manufacture 
in Puerto Rico or who let out contracts there, as taken from a list compiled 
in the Deputy Administrator's Office in February, 1934, follows: 1/ 

Infants' and Children's Uear Group 
17 concerns in New York City 

Art Linens and Pillow Cases Group 
37 concerns in New York City 

Ladies' Blouses and Dresses 
6 concerns in New York City 

Cotton Underwear and Night Gowns 
15 concerns in New York City 

Silk Underwear Group 

19 concerns in New York City 
1 concern in Philadelphia. 

Handkerchiefs 

57 concerns in New York City 
1 concern in Lindenhurst, N. Y. 
1 concern in Troy, N. Y. 
3 concerns in Passaic, N. J. 

1 concern in Lebanon, Pa. 

2 concerns in Chicago, 111. 



1/ In addition, a Los Angeles silk underwear concern lias recently arranged 
to have work done in Puerto Rico. 

8790 



-30- 

Chapter V 
TRADE PRACTICES 



Unfair Trade Practice 



The following resume by J, R. Chisholm, Assistant Deputy Administra- 
tor for this Industry, describes the nature of complaints most frequently 
voiced. 

"The unfair trade practices existing in the Needlework Industry 
in Puerto Rico prior to and during the life of the Code are quite 
similar to those to he found in almost every other branch of the 
needle trades. Although their application might be somewhat differ- 
ent on account of the peculiar structure of the Industry, made up, 
as it is, of Continental manufacturers, Insular manufacturers, con- 
tractors, sub-contractors, factory work and homework, nevertheless 
destructive price cutting as in the other needle trades was a prin- 
cipal source of complaint. This price cutting was generally with 
the end in view of underbidding a competitor to secure a contract. 
This was encouraged by the mainland principals with whom the Puerto 
Rican contractors dealt. Frequently the mainland manufacturers 
might go so far as to quote to one contractor the bid received 
from another one, which, although in violation of ethical business 
practice, generally served quite effectively to reduce the cost of 
processing in Puerto Rico. The contractor, on the other hand, until 
the Code went into effect, rarely reduced his percentage of profit. 
As a result, the actual cut in price was borne by the sub-contrac- 
tor and by the worker. The Code tended to mitigate this condition, 
but the complexities of the Needlework Industry served to prevent 
really effective general enforcement. 

"Sub-contractors who might be either salaried or commissioned 
employees or independent agents presented a problem of their own. 
During the administration of the Code, when competition for business 
became extremely keen, prices were oftentimes quoted without making 
allowances for a commission to be paid to the sub-contractor. In 
such a case, the sub-contractor would quite naturally receive his 
compensation at the hands of the homeworker, who correspondingly 
suffered a loss in revenue for the work performed. Indeed some home- 
workers, particularly when work was scarce, were so desirous of aug- 
menting their slim incomes as to voluntarily offer to pay sub-contrac- 
tors who would obtain work for them. 

"Many unfair practices actually performed are not stibject to 
check. For example, almost every contractor pays one or more visits 
to New York each year; and the principals in the different needle 
work lines in the United States dealing in Puerto Rican work custom- 
arily pay one or more visits each season to the Island. Many instan- 
ces have been recounted from time to time where one "tallerista" would 
misrepresent the work, good faith, or interest of a rival. Obviously 
there is no way of checking such misrepresentations aside from hear- 
say. Secret rebates exist in the Needlework Industry as in most 
other industries and proof of such practices is just as difficult to 
obtain, if not more so. 

8790 



-31- 

"Destructive price cutting, particularly as respects articles 
processed with hand made hems, was especially detrimental to the 
handkerchief branch of the Industry. It is estimated that as high 
as 40 per cent of the handkerchief business is confined to hand 
made hems of one type or another, principally French rolling, 
Puerto Pico has always been the center of the hand rolling industry 
of the world and tariff restrictions are sufficiently high so as 
to minimize foreign competition. Accordingly price cutting in this 
line served no good purpose whatever and prevented members of the 
Industry from making a legitimate profit with corresponding b enef its 
to labor. 

"The handkerchief branch of the Industry has always presented 
the greatest source of difficulty in the application of regulatory 
measures. More concerns are engaged in the production of handker- 
chiefs than in any other line of needlework. The field is highly 
competitive and the margin of profit is customarily low. Since the 
Island is small in area, every member of the Industry knows every 
other member and likewise all mainland concerns doing business in 
Puerto Pico are -.veil known to those who would seek their business. 
It is only natural that the price structure would reflect quickly 
any changes in the prices of individual members since the mainland 
concern benefiting by these price cuts customarily uses this added 
margin to reduce the price of his merchandise on the market," 



8790 



-32- 

Chnpter VI 

GENERAL INFORMATION 

Trade Associations 

This Industry has never had an effective representative trade associa- 
tion. The first organization of which the N. R. A. has record was the 
Mayaguez Needlework Association, made up of a group of handkerchief con- 
tractors. In January, 1934, this Association, in order to become more 
representative, geographically and otherwise, "became the Puerto Rican 
Needlework Association and sponsored the Code of Fair Competition for the 
Industry. At that time, the Association had 64 members out of slightly 
more than 100 Industry members. Another organization is the Handkerchief 
and Art Linens Association, formed in the Spring of 1935. This organiza- 
tion has about 30 members. ±J 

Lack of achievement on the part of these organizations may be ex- 
plained by mutual distrust, personal likes and dislikes, and racial ani- 
mosities among the Jews, Svrians, North Americans, and Puerto Ricans making 
up the Industry. 

Labor and Craft Organizations 

No substantial organization of the homeworkers has ever been accom- 
plished. Factory workers come under the "Federacion Libre," a branch of 
the Americen Federation of Labor. The II. R. A. has no data on membership. 

Labor Relations 

The policy of management has been to keep its relationship with labor 
as casual as possible. Wherever the manufacture is carried on in employees' 
homes, management has little direct contact with labor. Contractors who 
distribute work to homeworkers profess to know little or nothing about 
their employees — their number, names, geographical distribution, working 
hours, or wages. Indifference of libor has made effective organization 
impossible. The annual reoort of the Puerto Rican Commissioner of Labor 
for 1932-1933 gives accounts of nine strikes and one lock-out in this In- 
dustry in one year. 

The following erccerpt from The Employment of Women in Puerto Eico 
relates some abuses encountered by labor. 

"WAGE AGREEMENT FRUSTRATED" 

"In September, 1933, there was an agreement with the employees 
by the terms of which the employers were to raise wage rates 15 
per cent to 25 per cent, depending upon the article. This agree- 
ment has been observed conscientiously by some, but broken by others. 
It was possible to trace through the hands of the agents 126 styles 
for which the contractor paid the increase as agreed upon. 

1/ About twelve Puerto Rican manufacturers are members of the Silk Guild, 
a mainland organization. 

8790 



-33- 

"It was with surprising frankness that agent after agent ad- 
mitted that he had kept all the benefits from the recent raise in 
piece rates for himself and had passed on none of the gain to his 
home workers. In over one-third of the cases the agent was paying 
the home worker the full incre-se as he received it from the con- 
tractor, but in almost two-thirds the home worker was receiving 
none of the increase whatsoever, the agent "being the sole gainer. 

"When questioned on this point, only 16,6 per cent of the 
individual home workers reoorted that they were getting the in- 
crease. Others could not tell, due to changes in the style, "but 
the majority felt they were not getting it. Of course, they did 
not know whether the fault lay with the contractor or with the 
agent. 

"This reference to the agreement of September, 1933, is per- 
tinent here as showing how lightly and with what a spirit of evasion 
this serious agreement has often been treated, a recognition of 
which is necessary in preparing a code of fair competition in the 
industry. " 1/ 

Effect of Code of Fair Corn-petition 

The wage and hour provisions of the Code have been described above 
in Chapter II, and also the necessity for later lowering the piece-rates 
first established. 

To what extent Code wages became generally effective is entirely 
problematic. Lack of organization of the Industry, the recognized lack 
of compliance and the existence of violations, lead the writer to con- 
clude tha.t the workers in many cases did not receive the benefits contem- 
plated by the code. 

Foreign Imports 

General Effect . - Potential Puerto Rican production is, of course, 
decreased by the amount of competing goods of foreign manufacture imported 
into the United States. Since some operators in Puerto Hico also have 
plants in several foreign countries of low wage level;:. — as for example, 
China., France and Belgium — it is often possible to play the different 
producing centers off against each other. 

Abundant, cheap, and unorganized labor is the magnet which draws manu- 
facturers to Puerto Rico. Easy and speedy accessibility is another im- 
portant factor. When speed is of no consequence, the materials may be 
sent to China for processing. The present structure of the Industry per- 
mits the mainland manufacturer to place his work wherever labor is cheapest. 
The i-JRA office in San Juan has proof that materials which had been received 
in Puerto Rico for processing had been reshipped to China. 



1/ U. S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau, The Eirrployment of Women in 
Puerto Rico (1934), pp. 11 and 12. 

8790 



-34- 

Puerto Rican needlework is not renowned for high quality. Mainland 
nanufacturers have claimed that it would be extremely difficult, if not im- 
possible, to sell articles hearing labels denoting Puerto Rico as country of 
origin. Puerto Ricans have countered with the implication that their products 
are being represented and sold on the mainland as imports from foreign coun- 
tries. 

One effect of foreign competition manifests itself in the transition with- 
in the Industry from a contracting to manufacturing basis. Puerto Rican con- 
tractors have planned to enter the manufacturing field to protect their inter- 
ests. This will entail the establishment of selling organizations on the 
mainland. 

Statistics . - The data found in Tables XIV, XV, XVI, and XVII were from 
"Imports for consumption" as published in the annual reports on Foreign Com- 
merce put out by the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. In studying 
these statistics it should be taken into consideration that commodity classifi- 
cations are not comparable throughout. Import data are frequently available i 
more detail for Puerto Rico than for foreign countries. For example handker- 
chiefs from Puerto Rico arc segregated, while foreign handkerchief s r?.d r.tuf- 

1 L*s are combined and no breakdown is avail-Able. Tl& figures for Puerto Ri- 
can '/caring apparel do not include men's clothing, as do tho figure;.: for fo.r- 
oi n imports. Knit r?,d lace wearing apparel have been excluded in all caries 
since they do not a] ar among Puerto Rico's products. However, fro:" these 
statistics one can for:: a good iden of Puerto Rico'; - relative position. 

1. Wearing Apparel 

Of the cotton wearing apparel import:; into the United States 
included in Table XIV, in 1929 Puerto Rico produced 49 per cent and in 
1934, 74 per cent came from Puerto Rico. 

Linen wearing apparel of the type covered by the Code is one 
of the less important items in the Industry. 

The figures for shipments of silk and rayon wearing apparel 
seem to indicate considerable fluctuation. In 1930, the total from Puerto 
Rico was nearly $400,000; in 1932 it was about $1,378,000. The amounts 
reported for 1933 and 1934 are $674,000 and $117,000, respectively. The 
correctness of these figures is open to question, however. In June of 
this year, for instance, while URA' s survey was being made, three manu- 
facturers reported to the Research and Planning Division aggregate pro- 
duction of silk underwear in excess of $100,000 in 1934 — almost as much 
as the amount reported for the entire Industry by the Department of Com- 
merce. 

2. H ousehold Articles 

As shown in Table XV, shipments of Puerto Rican household 
articles increased from 1929 to 1932, while those from foreign countries 
declined. Since that time this trend has been reversed and by 1934 Puerto 
Rico had fallen back somewhat relative to other countries. 



8790 



-35- 

3. Handkerchiefs 

In 1932, shipments of cotton handke r chief s from Puerto ?,ico 
'.'ere greater than in 1929. Table XVI shows that Puerto Rico's position 
relative to other exporters of cotton handkerchief s was most favorable in 
1932 and that there has been some falling off since that time. There has 
been a steady and tremendous increa.se in imnorts of Puerto Rican linen 
handkerchief s until in 1934, 21 per cent of the total imported came from 
the Island. 

4. General 

While it does not appear from Table XVII that total value of 
Puerto Rican needlenork imports has increased appreciably during the five 
years covered by the statistics, the actual volume of imports would un- 
doubtedly show increases when allowance is made for the lower price level 
characteristic of recent yea.rs. It is true, furthermore, that Puerto 
Rico's relative position has improved. The most comprehensive statistics 
obtainable cover the years 1932, 1933, and 1934. Of the inroorts included 
in the statistics for those years, Puerto Rico's proportion was 46, 53, 
and 50 per cent, respectively. 

Persons Qualified to Act as Ercoerts 

The list below was supplied by Mr. Boaz Long, Deputy Administrator for 
the Industry. These persons are and have been for years leaders in the In- 
dustry and are successful business men and women. Further information on 
their qualif ications can be obtained from the NRA office in San Juan. 

Handkerchiefs 

Mr. Julio Irrizarry, Mayaguez, P. R. 
Mr. William Mamary, Mayaguez, P. R. 

Art Linens 

Miss Maria Luisa Arcelay, Mayaguez, P. R. 
Mrs. Gloria Domenech, Mayaguez, P. R. 

Silk Underwear 

Miss Nellie Cifuentes, Manager for Lande and Miskend, 

Mayaguez, P. R, 
Mr. Sam Schweitzer, Mayaguez, P. R. 

Ladies' Presses 

Mr. Jack Hartner, Manager for Morris E. Storyk, San Juan, 
P. R. 

Infants' and Children's Wear 

Mr. C. M. Rosich, Ponce, P. R. 
Mr. Luis Tuttraan, Arecibo, P. R. 
Mr, Rafael Nido, Guayama, P. R. 

Cotton Underwear 



8790 



Mr. I. Shalom, Mayaguez, P. R. 
Mr, Rafael Gomez, Mayaguez, P. R. 



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