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force. To this end one conference whose membership was eighty, with an average attendance of thirty, selected for each group of ten visitors a volunteer organizer who should see the other nine, and work up their relations to the conference and to the families in care. At all meetings it is of course expected that, as the people in attendance are friendly visitors, they should be friendly with each other; and much is made of cordial social intercourse. Benefit has been realized, also, from holding occasionally a "Friendly Visitors' Social" or 66 'Friendly Visitors' Tea." For this social reunion a large church parlor is usually secured; and all the visitors, ordinarily separated into several distinct conferences within the one large district, are here gathered together. Helpful speakers inspire the company by their thought and spirit; while a general discussion, facilitated by the tea and wafers which are furnished by ladies of the church, completes the social evening. A similar function has been fulfilled among us by the large educational lecture meetings arranged occasionally to interest and instruct the general public.
To any consideration of the proper organization of visitors the question of localization or the placing of conferences is important. Our problem is usually to interest members of a certain well-to-do neighborhood in a certain other quarter which needs upbuilding. In this strategic planning a sociological map assists. A community which has some community spirit of its own, and possesses a few philanthropic public spirits who will form a committee to inaugurate the work, affords the most favorable location for a conference. The latter should be as convenient as possible both to the residences of the visitors and to a cross-town street-car line which leads readily among the poor. Doubtless there will come a time, also, when conferences at the other end will not be uncommon, when the poor themselves will be organized. We are rather hoping, for example, to draw the families from our vegetable garden tract into frequent meetings together and into some arrangements for mutual self-help. These considerations of the training and instruction of visitors and their proper organization throw a light of their own upon the final topic; namely, the enlistment of visitors. An interesting conference which affords social training and is convenient in location strengthens the appeals which must be made for visitors in churches after the sermon, in prayer-meetings, in the meetings of schoolteachers, in clubs, lodges, and societies of all kinds, in printed
matter of the bureau, and through the public press. If we make it clear in public utterances and in our own spirit that friendly visiting is a social force, may we not hope to enlist a goodly number of the many strong people who feel that "the times are out of joint,” and would gladly help to right them if they only knew how to make effective their small unit of time and strength? To do just this, to make the unit of social power forceful, the friendly visitor plan is surely available,—more available, probably, than the social settlement movement, with which in spirit it is one. It appears to me that we might build up for friendly visiting such an enthusiasm as established the order of St. Francis and the Catholic sisterhoods, such as called forth the early Abolitionists or roused those bands of young Italian patriots whom Mazzini organized. I long, in truth, to see the Bureau of Associated Charities become such an altar flame that about it will congregate those scattered individuals who have a gift for social consecration, while from its light and warmth our churches and schools, perhaps our governmental institutions, may be rekindled with social enthusiasm.
To cultivate more harmonious relations between the well-to-do and the poor; to help the poor into such connections with society as shall mean employment, education, and happiness; to improve those industrial, political, legal, institutional, and sanitary conditions which become the broad causes of pauperism or of social health,— these are the appropriate concerns of charity. An isolated visitor may often succeed in cramming back into social harmony a single family; but once conceive of friendly visiting as a social force, as embracing many visitors organized into one body and interested in hundreds of families, which include neighborhoods or groups, and the question reaches out to society as a whole.
The conclusion, then, is that workers in charity organization are called to be one among other social forces whose field is all society, whose theme is social functions and industrial relations, whose task is to enlist and organize the people. And the way to enlist all the people is to enlist people, as many as possible, as representative as possible; people who shall be trained and organized and inspired, until they are efficient friendly visitors, exercising social force. Friendly visiting has been too much isolated, taken for granted, smilingly tolerated as a little sentimental. Ought we not to change that view, and direct to the development of this work our
most able, forceful members?
It is not, with us, a matter of indiffer
ent choice. It is a question of existence. For the social force which each exerts is coming to be made the test by which philanthropies, churches, schools, and even governments are to be judged. If our movement, therefore, is not a social force, if friendly visiting is not a social force, it is not for the future.
The awakening to consciousness of a new social order will come only as individuals, here and there, shall be kindled with social enthusiasm, and shall give their light to others. These individuals. will not realize all they are doing, but in their silence and obscurity the spirit will be at work. A spark will glimmer here. A second spark will kindle from it, and another, and one more. The friendly visitor is the spark, the social light. If he be touched with the true flame, he will enkindle others; and, possibly, those social developments which must come slowly, one by one, will seem to come at last, like the enlistment of Abe Lincoln's volunteers, like a new crusade, like the rushing, sweeping spirit of the Pentecost, like the gathering of early Christian converts at call of the Christ who again is calling us.
FREE PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT OFFICES.
BY CHARLES E. BARTRAM, COLUMBUS, OHIO.
The labor unions of Cincinnati, in Congress assembled, builded wiser than they anticipated when they petitioned the legislature to enact the law they had drafted, embodying all the principles now contained in the Ohio laws pertaining to free public employment offices. The inception and influential support have come from the labor unions and the labor people in general. They asked for the establishment of the offices; and they benefit, to a larger degree than any other class, from its workings. Without these offices in Ohio the laboring people in the five great cities of the State would pay out of their hard-earned wages not less than $100,000 each year.
In the less than seven years that the offices have been in existence in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, and Dayton, they have
reported to the labor bureau of the State 193,111 applications for work. None of these applications would have been accepted in a pay office unless accompanied with at least one dollar, and in a majority of cases the price demanded would have been two or more dollars. In some instances it would have reached five or ten dollars, the limit being only the amount the applicant could be bled for. Bear in mind that this must be cash. These pay offices do business on a safe basis. They take nò chances: cash in advance is their only motto. The only promises that go with them is their own, and these they hedge about with so many conditions that they seldom have to redeem them.
These pay offices receive a large amount of money from applicants, and a safe basis to figure on would be two dollars for each applicant that registers for work. This would bring them a total of $386,222 from labor for accepting their applications.
Again, the reports of the free offices show a total of 123,592 applications for help coming from employers, who, of course, if they have to pay some one to find them help, are just that much less liberal toward those whom they employ, as it is a recognized fact that capital must and does save itself; and necessity—i.e., labor cannot cope with it, and never does successfully.
Taking two dollars as a basis, or an average charge, which is low, for pay offices to receive from employers, it would make an additional sum of $247,184 to be added to $336,222, the amount received from labor, a total of $633,406, which has been saved unemployed labor in the five cities of Ohio where free public employment offices are located, in a little less than seven years.
This has been done at an expense that will not reach ten per cent. of the above amount saved to those who, as a rule, could ill afford to pay out anything.
Bear in mind that this has been accomplished under adverse conditions, much of the time handicapped as the offices have been for lack of funds to carry on the work as it should be done. Having no money to advertise or solicit, it has been practically impossible for the offices to impress those employing labor with the workings and benefits of this system.
If the workings of the free public employment offices were as well known by the employing public as they are by the laboring class, the results would be double what our reports show. As it is, the offices
have been able to supply those needing help about seventy per cent. of the applications made to them. This is almost equivalent to a total, as there are many applications made to the offices which they cannot fill, for reasons that a superintendent soon learns. Besides, the number is not small that apply for canvassers,- a position that, as a rule, the offices cannot fill, for the reason that people cannot make anything at the business and will not accept the position.
It appears to me that, from the standpoint of profit and expense as regards the State's interests, these offices are a profitable investment, as the loss of work, or rather the time required to find work, is not an inconsiderable matter, both for the laborer and the State; for the loss of time or labor is just that much lost to the State. Every day lost is that much production curtailed.
If each person out of employment had to hunt out the place to work instead of coming to the offices and getting it at once, the time lost would average fully one month. At an average wage of one dollar per day this would amount to thirty dollars lost to production. Multiply the number of positions secured for labor by this amount, and it will show the enormous sum saved of $6,404,825. Whatever hands this has gone into, it has been taxed by the State and county. That sum at the tax rate of this county would net $64,046, fully as much as the expenses of all the offices for the time that they have been in existence. This, in addition to the large amount annually saved to the poor fund of the city and county, which would equal $150,000 for the time, speaks volumes in favor of the offices. These are facts that cannot be gainsaid, and I know of no other amount of money spent by the State that saves it as much.
These offices have had, and continue to have, the hearty co-operation of labor unions and laboring people in general. They recognize the office as a State institution, created for the benefit of all the people, just as much as the railroad commissioners, labor commissioners, insurance commissioners, or the workshop inspectors' offices. They accept them as their right, and not as charity.
Right here I want to impress the fact that successful free public employment offices can only be maintained when you avoid all appearance of, and, in fact, divorce it entirely from charity. There are many other advantages secured by the people, aside from the ones spoken of thus far in this paper, not the least of which is the fact that in State employment offices the officials have not the