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Occupational pay in the manufacture of men's and boys' suits and coats.

Occupational pay in the manufacture of men's and boys' suits and coats

Straight-time earnings of production and related workers in men's and boys' suit and coat manufacturing averaged $6.29 an hour in June 1984, according to a recent survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 (See table 1.) Virtually all of the 46,716 production workers covered by the survey had earnings between $3.35, the Federal minumum, and $10 an hour; the middle 50 percent earned from $4.87 to $7.45. Earnings levels varied by such factors as occupation, geographic location, method of wage payment, sex, type and size of establishment, union status, and size of community.

The $6.29 average for all workers in June 1984 was 28 percent higher than the $4.93 average recorded in the Bureau's April 1979 survey of the suit and coat industry.2 This increase, averaging 4.8 percent annually, compares with an annual increase of 6.8 percent in the wage and salary component of the Bureau's Employment Cost Index for nondurable goods manufacturing industries over the same period.

Much of the increase in average hourly pay since the April 1979 survey stems from general wage adjustments granted under collective bargaining agreements between the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union and the Clothing Manufacturers Association of America. The current agreement, which expires May 31, 1985, provides for wage increases totaling $1.05 an hour over its 3-year term. Establishments with labor-management contracts covering a majority of the production work force employed nearly four-fifths of the workers in the scope of the survey.

Employees in regular establishments, representing 83 percent of the total work force, averaged $6.29 an hour-- the same as the average for all workers. Regular (or "inside') establishments own the materials and perform all or nearly all of the manufacturing operations required for suit and coat fabrication, including marking, cutting, sewing, and inspecting.

Employees in contract establishments-- 14 percent of the workers--averaged $6.10 an hour, while those in cutting establishments--about 3 percent of the work force--averaged $7.61. Contract establishments perform manufacturing operations on materials owned by others. Cutting establishments own the material and cut the cloth, but deliver it to contract establishments for the remaining processes.

Thirty-two occupations were selected to represent the wage structure, worker skills, and manufacturing operations in the industry; they covered slightly less than four-fifths of the industry's production work force. Nationwide, pay levels were usually highest among cutting room occupations. For example, cloth cutters and markers had the highest average pay ($9.40), followed by cloth cutters ($9.02) and lining cutters ($8.77). Janitors ($5.09) and work distributors ($5.45) recorded the lowest averages.

Sewing-machine operators, representing about one-half of all production workers in the survey, averaged $6.17 an hour on coat fabrication and $5.81 on trouser fabrication. Their earnings, however, varied by the specific task performed. In coat fabrication, average pay ranged from $5.93 for workers who tack facing to front of garment with a blind stitch machine (facing tacking) to $6.84 for those who join collars and lapels to canvas by numerous rows of blind stitching (pad collar and lapels). In trouser fabrication, sewing-machine operators averaged from $5.72 for serging to prevent ravelling to $6.54 for attaching zippers.

Virtually all production workers were in establishments providing paid holidays and vacations. Typical provisions were for 10 paid holidays annually and 3 weeks of vacation pay after 1 year of service and 4 weeks after 20 years.

Virtually all workers were covered by lift, hospitalization, surgical, and medical insurance. Sickness and accident insurance was available to four-fifths of the workers; major medical, to just over one-third; and accidental death and dismemberment plans, to three-tenths. Long-term disability and dental insurance plans each applied to less than one-tenth of the work force. Employers typically paid the total cost of these health and insurance plans.

Retirement pension plans (in addition to Federal Social Security) covered slightly more than nine-tenths of the industry. Most of these workers had plans financed wholly by their employer. Retirement severance plans, however, were rarely provided.

For about seven-tenths of the workers, employers provided health, welfare, and retirement benefits through the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union employer administered funds. Nearly two-fifths of the industry's production workers were in plants where employers provided vacation benefits through such funds.

A comprehensive report on the survey, Industry Wage Survey: Men's and Boys' Suits and Coats, June 1984, Bulletin 2230 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1985) is for sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. The report provides additional information on occupational earnings and employee benefits.

1 The survey covered establishments employing five workers or more which were primarily engaged in manufacturing men's, youth's, and boys' suits, coats, and overcoats (part of SIC 2311, as defined in the 1972 edition of the Standard Industrial Classification Manual prepared by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget). Included in the study were establishments manufacturing tailored suits, separate coats or jackets, overcoats and topcoats, uniforms, and suit vests. Jobbers who perform only entrepreneurial functions--such as buying material, arranging for all manufacturing to be done by others, and selling the finished product--were excluded from the survey, as were separate auxiliary units such as central offices.

Wage data reported in this article exclude premium pay for overtime and for work on weekends, holidays, and late shifts.

2 For an account of the 1979 study, see Industry Wage Survey: Men's and Boys' Suits and Coats, April 1979, Bulletin 2073 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1980).

Table: 1. Average hourly earnings1 of production workers by selected characteristics and in selected occupations, men's and boys' suit and coat manufacturing, June 1984
COPYRIGHT 1986 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:wage statistics
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Jan 1, 1986
Previous Article:Key workers' compensation laws enacted by States in 1985.
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