500 MEN WOULD CUT ICE. ~ Big Rush of Unemployed to the Free State Bureau.

January 14, 1909

Big Rush of Unemployed to the Free
State Bureau.

"Reports about there being plenty of work for all the unemployed in Kansas City at Bean Lake did lots of business for us," said Superintendent K. F. Schweizer of the free employment bureau last evening. "Our office at Twelfth and McGee streets has been crowded all day with men seeking work and we have been busy taking their names and addresses.

"Swift & Co. and Armour were afraid they were not going to be able to get men enough to put up the big crop of ice now ready for the harvest, but they changed their mind and sent word last night to stop the rush of men to Bean lake for a few hours. We sent 155 there yesterday and had more than 500 applications today. We told them all to come around at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning, and if the packers sent word for more men, which they are sure to do if the weather continues cold, part, at least, will get a chance to work."

The men are receiving 17 1/2 cents an hour, and some of them are working twelve to fifteen hours -- all they can stand. The most are putting in ten hours and it makes better wages for them than they can get in this city. Their board costs them $3.50 a week. The work is not very hard, but it is cold work, and the men in charge of the ice packing refuse to hire a man if he is insufficiently clothed to stand the long hours working on the ice and in the chilling wind.

"Of the 500 or more men in the office today there were not more than ten who live in Kansas city. They give their address at some cheap lodging house and their last employer as some railroad contractor. In answer to the question as to why they quit their job they invariably answer that they were 'laid off.'

"We are doing much good in assisting the unemployed to find work, but we could do much more if we had an appropriation from the state board to be used in judicious advertising. At the present time we are allowed only money enough for rent and salaries. Fifty dollars each month to be expended at the discretion of the superintendent, would enable us to secure many good positions for stenographers, bookkeepers and clerks when such vacancies are telephoned to us."

If the weather continues cold there will be work at Bean lake for thirty days and this will do wonders in carrying these men over the hardest part of the winter.