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amounted to $1,620.47. This cost is divided between the offices and charged to the regular central office accounts.
In the estimate for the coming year, the Company is preparing to enlarge this instruction force to 140 in order to meet the needs
of a student body estimated for the year 1920 at 7,000. • Up-State.
The methods of training used throughout the state vary so, according to the number of students and pressure of work, that it is impossible to consider them in detail. Training schools similar to the New York school, but on a smaller scale are maintained in the larger cities such as Albany and Rochester. In certain cases, however, girls from these centers are sent to New York to receive special training in order to become chief operators or to fill some particular position. These smaller training schools send out instructors to nearby cities when the situation seems to warrant this. At the present time a special instructor from the Albany training school is working with a group of girls in the Schenectady exchange.
The number of students and instructors and the equipment for training purposes varies in the different schools. In the smaller towns and where the contract system is in operation, girls are still trained by their fellow workers at regular operating positions.
Because of the close connection between the employment problem and the question of training the situation throughout the state is very different from that which exists in New York City. Just as in the case of labor turnover, inefficient service, and the other difficulties now confronting the Telephone Company, the crux of the matter is found in conditions in New York City where industrial upheavals are centered. When we consider the efforts of the Employment Department to secure telephone operators for Manhattan, and the type of applicant who is now classed as eligible, We begin to realize some of the difficulties which are confronting the staff of the training school in their attempt to make efficient operators out of, too often, obviously poor material.
The Operating Force.
A count made during November, 1919, shows that in the Manhattan-Bronx Division there were 4,114 day operators, 2,205 evening operators, 833 night operators, making a total of 7,152. In the Westchester Division there were 219 day operators, 43 evening operators, 55 night operators, making a total of 497. In the Long Island Division there were 1,209 day operators, 1,407 erening operators, 291 night operators, making a total of 2,907. In the Hudson Division there were 408 day operators, 438 evening operators, 92 night operators, making a total of 938. In the Central Division there were 600 day operators, 490 evening operators and 90 night operators, making a total of 1,180 operators. In the Western Division there were 829 day operators, 733 evening operators, 236 night operators, making a total of 1,798. In the New Jersey Division, which includes Staten Island and must therefore be taken into consideration, but which also includes suburban New Jersey, there were 884 day operators, 887 evening operators, 259 night operators, making a total of 2,030. Therefore, in what is the New York Telephone Company, in the operating force for the month of November there were 8,263 day operators, 6,373 evening operators and 1,856 night operators, making a grand total of 16,492 operators. The split trick operators fall either in the day or evening group.
The industry is necessarily continuous for the public demands service all hours of the day and night. The Company must be so equipped that it will know when to expect the peak of the “load " in each central office. In other words, it must know that the down-town business district of New York City is busiest between 10:00 and 12:00 in the morning and 2:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon; that a certain suburban office is busiest in the early evening; that a certain apartment house district carries a heavy Sunday “load,” and it must plan its operating force to meet these “loads” most efficiently.
In nearly all telephone offices the operating force is divided into four divisions or shifts -- day, evening, night and split trick. It is the universal policy to have employees in any exchange, except the all-night operators, come in a few at a time so that the change at the switch board will be soade gradually and without interruption of service. Although definite hours will not be discussed here, the following general definition of operators may be assumed for the different shifts :
Day operator (basic 8 hour day) — an operator who begins work not earlier than 7:00 a, m, and stops not later than 7:00
Evening operator (basic 7 hour day) - an operator who begins work not earlier than 11:30 a. m. and ends not later than 11:00 p. m.
Split trick operator (basic 7 hour day) --- an operator whose work is separated into two divisions by a period of more than two hours and not more than five hours.
Night operator (basic 8 hour day) — an operator whose work begins not earlier than 7:00 p. m. and ends not later than 7:00 a. m.
The New York Telephone Company, in so far as is practicable, permits the operators to select the exchange in which they will work, and makes every reasonable effort to get girls into exchanges near thcir homes. The split trick operators who live farther than ten blocks from their exchanges are paid 10 cents car fare per day to allow them to go home between swings. A choice of tricks or operating shifts is very often granted to girls, although this depends, of course, on the need of operators and it also depends upon the co-operative spirit of the supervisors. There seems to be no general rule of the Company about the length of time a girl shall work on a particular shift.
The most difficult trick to fill is the evening trick, which for the most part breaks into the girl's afternoon and takes up the whole or part of her evening. Girls of the age of telephone operators quite naturally wish their evenings free for recreation. The Telephone Company has offered special inducement to evening operators by placing their evening trick on a basic 7 hour day and paying $1.00 more than to day operators.
Strange to say, the split trick is very popular among telephone operators. One of the favorites is working all morning, off all
afternoon, coming on duty about 5:00 or 6:00 p. m. and working until 8:00 or 9:00 p. m. This gives the girl practically all her afternoons and evenings free. Many of the girls on the split tricks testify that it is a great physical relief to have anywhere from two to five hours off between swings, that physically they are very much more able to stand telephone operating because of this break.
The inost unpopular shifts are naturally the ones which call for Saturday afternoon or Sunday work, as Saturday afternoon and Sunday is the time when the girls' friends are free and has come to be thought of as the play time of working men and women. It is extremely hard for the telephone operator on duty that afternoon to be content with her lot. Sunday employment is divided among the operators. In some exchanges where the traffic is light on Sunday, as for instance those in the down-town business section, the operators take turns working on Sunday and it may mean working only every fifteenth week. In other exchanges, where the Sunday “load” is heavy, such as the up-town apartmenthouse districts, an operator may be on duty once or twice a month. This, t.co, is regarded as a hardship by the operators, even though time and a half is paid for the first Sunday and double time for Sundays in excess of one in any calendar month, and many employees leave the Telephone Company for no other reason than that it means Saturday afternoon and Sunday work.
While numbers of the night and evening operators change to the day force, those dropping out of the day force drop out of the service altogether, except for the few going into, supervisory groups.
It is not difficult to find operators who have left the Telephone Company and gone into private exchanges or into other work, not that the new work always offers better opportunities or higher wages, but that they are free from Saturday afternoon and Sunday labor. A corresponding day off during the week, even though it brings rest and relaxation, is in no way fully compensates for Sunday work. Loading.
What happens when you, Mr. Subscriber, at Madison Square 9500, call Beekman 3000 is something like this: taking down Your receiver causes a small light to flash at number 9500 in
front oi an “A” board operator in the Madison Square central office. The operator takes up an inside cord, known as an answering cord, inserts the plug beneath the lamp signal, opens the corresponding listening key which is toward the face of the switchboard, thus putting out the light and permitting her to talk to the subscriber. Central says “Number please” and you say “ Beekman 3000.” The operator then closes the listening key and presses a small key marked “ Beekman,” which is on her table board. The “J” board operator at the Madison Square exchange is in this way connected with a “B” board operator at the Beekman exchange, and the Madison Square “A” board operator gives the “B” board operator at the Beekman exchange the Beekman number. The “B” board operator at the Beekman exchange then assigns to the “A” board operator of the Madison Square exchange a trunk line number, as, for example, trunk line 30. The “B” board operator at the Beekman exchange puts a plug, which is numbered as trunk 30, into Beekman 3000 and the Madison Square “A” board operator takes the connecting cord corresponding to the answering cord connected with Madison Square 9500 and places it in trunk line 30, closes the listening key and the connection is made. When both parties are through talking and hang the receivers on the hook a light flashes on the disconnected signal of the “A” board operator, who disconnects by taking down first the inside cord, then the outside cord. The removal of the outside cord by the “A” board operator at Madison Square gives a disconnect signal to the “B” board operator at the Beekman exchange, who takes down the trunk line cord and returns it to its original position. The “A” board operator, therefore, in making a connection under normal conditions, with everything favorable, must go through fourteen processes in order to complete a call.
In smaller cities it is not necessary to have the “B” board, as the inajority of local calls can be completed on the “A” board, and therefore the work is less complicated and the human factor does not play so large a part in the service.
While considering the operations necessary to complete a call, it is significant to bear in mind the number of calls an hour which an operator can handle efficiently. The engineers in the Traffic Department have fixed 230 units per hour as the theoretical “load.”