Our state is steadily progressing along all lines of industrial endeavor and the people some time ago set themselves to the task of keeping abreast of the times. Capital and labor in North Carolina are on distinctively friendly terms and labor disturbances are rare occurrences in our commonwealth. There is a hopeful tendency towards even more favorable conditions for the wage-earner as the demand for his services increase with the great industrial awakening now existent.
Employers realize that “the laborer is worthy of his hire” and voluntary advances in the wage scale have been frequent occurrences in North Carolina the past year. This has not been confined to any particular class of workers. It applies to factory, farm—to every trade and profession. Wages were never higher in this State than they are today, nor has the demand for labor ever been greater. Skilled workers of every trade have enlisted with those who are engaged in perfecting government plans for the successful prosecution of the war and their absence is felt in every industry and business activity. But labor has determined to do its best in helping win the war and the average North Carolina worker feels deeply the obligation laid upon him in this great crisis. While necessity requires, the home field must be neglected, for what will home profit us if we do not win the war? So far, no industry in the State has apparently been seriously impaired for lack of labor, although the scarcity of efficient help is being keenly felt in some sections.
The wage-earners, with all other patriotic North Carolinians, are assisting, to the utmost extent of their ability, in the prosecution of the part the United States has taken in the world struggle for democracy. They realize that victory for civilization upon the battlefields of France can be won only by the full exertion of the man-power of the entire country; that full mobilization of that power means not only the placing of a sufficient number of soldiers in Europe, but the unstinted exertion of every able-bodied person in the United States in some field of adequate and useful employment; that the war must be fought by the nation at home as well as by the soldiers upon the field of conquest. Therefore, a large percentage of the toilers of this state have this year been devoting their energies to the execution of co-operative plans, with the Government, in endeavoring to secure the maximum effort on the part of all the people in producing record crop yields and utilizing every resource in making our full man-power effective both at home and in government war activities everywhere. There is no room for the labor slacker in North Carolina. “Work or fight” is the slogan which has been and is still being used with telling effect from one end of the state to the other. Barring a few trifling experiences with professional exploiters of labor, the State has found little difficulty in adjusting the labor situation to new and changed conditions.
Through all the exciting scenes and activities of the past year our people have been able to maintain existing laws and standards relative to the employment of women and children reasonably well. They have tried to avoid the experience England had in the early part of the war, when the health and efficiency of her female workers became seriously impaired through long and continued hours of labor, because more workers were not available. Vigorous action has been taken to enlist the co-operation of every citizen of earning capacity and efforts in this direction have been worth while. Labor is loyal in North Carolina.