CHAPTER XI

DURING the summer the packing-houses were in full activity again, and Jurgis made more money. He did not make so much, however, as he had the previous summer, for the packers took on more hands. There were new men every week, it seemed -- it was a regular system; and this number they would keep over to the next slack season, so that every one would have less than ever. Sooner or later, by this plan, they would have all the floating labor of Chicago trained to do their work. And how very cunning a trick was that! The men were to teach new hands, who would some day come and break their strike; and meantime they were kept so poor that they could not prepare for the trial!

But let no one suppose that this superfluity of employees meant easier work for any one! On the contrary, the speeding-up seemed to be growing more savage all the time; they were continually inventing new devices to crowd the work on -- it was for all the world like the thumb-screw of the mediæval torture-chamber. They would get new pace-makers and pay them more; they would drive the men on with new machinery -- it was said that in the hog-killing rooms the speed at which the hogs moved was determined by clock-work, and that it was increased a little every day. In piece-work they would reduce the time, requiring the same work in a shorter time, and paying the same wages; and then, after the workers had accustomed themselves to this new speed, they would reduce the rate of payment to correspond with the reduction in time! They had done this so often in the canning establishments that the girls were fairly desperate; their wages had gone down by a full third in the past two years,

-130-

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The Jungle
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II 23
  • Chapter III 35
  • Chapter IV 49
  • Chapter V 63
  • Chapter VI 75
  • Chapter VII 86
  • Chapter VIII 99
  • Chapter IX 108
  • Chapter X 118
  • Chapter XI 130
  • Chapter XII 141
  • Chapter XIII 150
  • Chapter XIV 160
  • Chapter XV 168
  • Chapter XVI 183
  • Chapter XVII 193
  • Chapter XVIII 205
  • Chapter XIX 218
  • Chapter XX 229
  • Chapter XXI 241
  • Chapter XXII 252
  • Chapter XXIII 265
  • Chapter XXIV 277
  • Chapter XXV 292
  • Chapter XXVI 315
  • Chapter XXVII 335
  • Chapter XXVIII 351
  • Chapter XXIX 368
  • Chapter XXX 379
  • Chapter XXXI 394
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