Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/803
BAIL WAY MANAGERS AND EMPLOYES. 781
The library exerts an elevating and educating influence on the em- ployes of the service, and particularly upon their children, the value of which can only be estimated by those acquainted with the dearth of school facilities, and the ignorance prevailing in the mountain-regions of Maryland and Virginia, and generally throughout West Virginia.
The effect of the savings and building features in inculcating and encouraging prudence and thrift will be readily recognized by us all, who know by experience that there is more need to learn the art of saving money than of earning it. By their means the humblest laborer can provide against seasons of adversity, or if he pleases may provide a home for himself and family and take that rank and independ- ence among his fellows that attach everywhere to freehold and free- dom from debt ; and all this, under circumstances of convenience, cheapness, and absolute security that none but and not many of our metropolitan cities can offer. As illustrating the avidity with which the employes of the Baltimore and Ohio Company are utilizing these new features, it is reported that the savings fund had received in de- posits $273,132.59, of which $159,440.88 have been loaned under its building feature, and only 26 T 3 5 ir per cent of deposits have been with- drawn since the bank was opened.
The benefits accruing to the Baltimore and Ohio Company through the formation of this association were early demonstrated to be mate- rial and important. Though at first there was opposition from some employes caused by a misapprehension of its provision, and unjust, harsh, and ignorant criticism from newspapers inimical to the Balti- more and Ohio management, the end of its first year showed a mem- bership excelled by few if any benevolent societies in the United States, and at the end of its fourth fiscal year ninety-five per cent of all the company's employes other than clerks, telegraphers, and agents, non-hazardously employed were enrolled.
While before its establishment the Baltimore and Ohio, like all other railroads similarly situated, directly or indirectly, yearly dis- bursed large sums for damages to its employes, and was subjected to much annoyance and loss by the angry feelings engendered by litiga- tions with its people and their friends, since 1880 it has not had a dozen such suits, and this almost total immunity from vexatious litiga- tion with its employes has of itself been a saving of several times the entire expenditure on the association's behalf.
Through the system of medical examination of applicants, through the improved sanitary condition of its shops, through the considera- tion and care and compensation paid employes when disablement ne- cessitates cessation from labor, and through the prompt payment of sufficiently large death insurance, the standard of the service has been perceptibly raised, and it is securing a much more efficient and desira- ble class of labor, skilled and unskilled, and has, in some places, drawn the best material from competitive works, and holds its force with