VERDE HERITAGE 1900: JEROME; 8-Hour Work Day, July 16
"Jerome, July 15. --- Today the news was broadcast through the town that the hours in the mine have been cut down from 10 to 8 for all men working underground. The news is hailed with joy by every one, for it means more to Jerome than a person can realize. The change will take place tomorrow morning. Superintendent Giroux has not yet decided what hours will be worked, but will decide this evening. Only 2 shifts will be worked, but more men will be worked on a shift. The employment of more men in the mine means the getting out of more ore; getting out more ore means more men in and about the smelters to treat the ores; that means more men in every department of the works, and that means more money paid out in wages every month, which means more support for the town, and a general improvement in every branch of business in town."
"The men may labor under the false impression that they were instrumental in bringing the present state of affairs about, but honor to whom honor is due, such is not the case. W. A. Clark told Superintendent Giroux to establish the 8-hour scale in the mine the day he arrived in camp. The men, desiring such a change, and not knowing that it had already been granted, appointed a committee to wait upon Senator Clark and respectfully request that he make the change in the hours. The committee, much to its discredit, steamed up Friday evening before going to the Montana Hotel to see the senator. He was very busy when they were there and they failed to see him. They claim they were told that they would be given a definite answer the next day at noon at the mine. Hearing of the rumor, I went up there at noon so as to hear what Mr. Clark had to say, it being rumored that he would address the men personally. The noon hour had all but passed and no one had appeared to make the expected speech, so a miner proposed that they go down and see W. A. Clark before they went to work. The line was formed and about half of the men, some 50 in all, marched down the road. They stopped in front of Mr. Giroux's house and a delegation was appointed to go and confer with him. They went upon his porch and Mr. Giroux came out to see them."
"I went with them to hear what was said. Mr. Giroux was told why they came to see him, and he listened to the spokesman. He then informed them that Mr. Clark had told him on the day of his arrival that he had decided to make the change, and that it would be made at once. The men were greatly pleased and went back to work."
"Mr. Giroux then told me that only 2 shifts would be worked in the mine as before, but that the force would be increased very materially. He said that as soon as the tilting furnace now being put in was completed, the output of bullion would be increased, and more men worked in all branches of the plant. With the new tilting furnace in operation the capacity of the refinery will be doubled."
"About the water question, Mr. Giroux said that he had no fears about the supply being inadequate to all present demands. He said that by being careful they had plenty of water to keep the plant running steadily. That is also good news, and will set at rest grave fears heretofore felt by the business man of the town, who realize what it would mean for the works to be idle several days each month. Mr. Giroux says that he anticipates rains very shortly, and that as soon as a little rain falls the water supply will be more than sufficient. He further says that water has not been hoarded as carefully as it might have been, and that now every drop is being saved. This summer the company has twice as much water as it had last, or the town would be short sure enough."
"Just what effect the shortening of the hours in the mine will have on the men in the smelter can only be surmised. They are apt to ask for 8 hours also. At present, the feeders, firemen, charge wheelers, and some others are working only 8 hours. Senator Clark's action in making Jerome an 8-hour camp is highly appreciated by every resident of the town."
"An Austrian became enamored of the fact that he was a bad man last night, and proceeded to get out his gun and fire a shot into the air. As the spot he selected for discharging his weapon was inside the city limits and in the business part of the town, the would-be bad man was arrested and thrown in jail till morning. Judge McKinnon thought that as he was generally a peaceful citizen he would only fine him $25, which sum he drew from the bank and cheerfully paid. If he had bought whiskey with that $25 what a time he could have had all to himself."
"Louis Issoglio is enlarging his saloon and putting in a glass front."
"Mrs. Rebekah Smith is opening a restaurant in her stone building on First Street. She will be ready for business Tuesday. Frank Smith will preside at the range for her."
"Rev. Mr. Smith went to see Senator Clark Friday afternoon to try to interest him in the building of a Methodist church in town. The interview was most satisfactory, and it would be impossible to make Rev. Mr. Smith believe that Senator Clark is not strictly all right, for he told the good disciple of the Lord to draw on him for the necessary lumber to finish the house of the Master. Mr. Smith has certainly worked hard to build the little church and deserves the help of Mr. Clark."
"Pay day will soon be here again and the town will be lively for a few days. Time starts from pay day in Jerome, and is reckoned from one pay day to the next. If these pay days were stopped the town would soon cease to be a town. On account of the 15th coming on Sunday this month the company will pay off on the following day, Monday."
"Fred Hawkins, the efficient night watchman, will begin work again tonight after a week's vacation. Fred is a good man and has the courage to carry out his convictions, whatever they may be. A better officer than Fred is seldom found."
"H. A. Mather leaves today for a trip to New York for his company, the Verde Queen. He will be away a month or 6 weeks."
"Special Correspondent, D. D. M'DONALD."
(Arizona Republican; Phoenix; July 17, 1900; pages 1, 7.)
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