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BOOK OF THE ROYAL BLUE.
COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY THE PASSENGER DEPARTMENT, BALTIMORE & OHIO RAILROAD.
THE RELIEF DEPARTMENT OF THE BALTIMORE & OHIO
EW persons outside of those immediately interested know that the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company has an organized department for the relief of its employes who may be injured or otherwise incapacitated, and to provide for their families in the event of death. Of those who do know of the efforts the company has made in this direction, not many have any conception of the magnitude of the operations of this department and its antecedent "Relief Association" since the scheme was put into operation more than twenty-four years ago.
Prior to 1880 several attempts were made by the railroad company to form an association, but it was not until on May 1 of the year named there was formed the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Employes' Relief Association, which was subsequently granted a charter on May 1, 1882, under the name of the Baltimore & Ohio Employes' Relief Association.
Several companies have followed the lead of the Baltimore & Ohio by inaugurating relief departments, but in one way or another they lack the comprehensiveness which is the feature of that department of the Baltimore & Ohio.
The Relief Department is divided into three features, which are known as the Relief, Savings and Pension Features.
The Relief Feature has for its object the affording of relief to its members entitled thereto, when they are disabled by injury or sickness, and to their families in the event of death.
The Savings Feature affords opportunity to employes and their near relatives to deposit their savings and earn interest thereon, and enables members of the department to borrow money at moderate rates of interest and on easy terms of repayment, for the purpose of acquiring or improving homesteads or freeing them from debt.
The Pension Feature makes provision for those employes who, by reason of age or infirmity, are relieved or retire from the service of the company.
The Relief Feature is supported by the contributions of its members (employes of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company
and affiliated lines), donations from the company, and the income derived from investments.
To start the scheme off on a sound basis the company donated $100,000.00 to the Relief Association. In addition to this it pays the Relief Feature $6,000.00 per annum for relief purposes and $10,000.00 per annum for the physical examination of applicants for membership. The company holds these funds "in trust for the Relief Department," and pays interest at the rate of four per cent per annum on the monthly balances of cash in its hands to the credit of each feature. The company also furnishes at its own expense, office room and furniture, not only for the headquarters force but for the numerous "Medical Examiners' offices" located along the line of road; gives the services of its officers and employes and the use of its facilities in every way these services and facilities can be utilized to advance the interests of the department; becomes the custodian of its funds, with full responsibility therefor, and guarantees the true and faithful performance of all the obligations of the department in conformity with the regulations. If the operations of any one year show an excess of disbursements over receipts (in the Relief Feature), the company makes good the deficiency out of its own funds; if there is a surplus it is added to the fund which the Relief Feature is accumulating as a reserve against possible contingencies.
The contributions of the members are graded according to their monthly rate of pay and the hazard of their occupations. Membership is divided into two general classes; what is known as the "first class" consisting of those engaged in the operation of trains and rolling stock, and the "second class" of those not so engaged. These are further subdivided according to their monthly pay, as follows:
CLASS A Those receiving not more than $35.00 per month.
CLASS B-Those receiving more than $35.00 and not more than $50.00 per month.
CLASS C Those receiving more than $50.00 and not more than $75.00 per month.
THE RELIEF DEPARTMENT OF THE BALTIMORE & OHIO R. R. 3
Contributions made at the above rates entitle the members to all the forms of insurance provided by the department; that is, accident, sickness and death, and to the privileges of the Pension Feature. Employes who are not exposed to accidents in the service-the clerical force, telegraph operators, etc.-may, if they wish, insure against death only, or against sickness and death only, such insurance carrying with it also the title to pension. The contribu
tions for the sick and death benefits are at the rate of 25 cents per month for each such benefit of the lowest class. No contribution of any kind is required of a member while he is on the sick or injured list.
Any member in the service, under fifty years of age, who can pass a satisfactory medical examination, may enter a higher class than that to which his pay assigns him, provided his total insurance does not exceed five times that of the lowest class. The natural death benefit only may be retained after the member leaves the service of the company, the cost being 25 cents per month for each benefit carried.
In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, free surgical and hospital attention is given members who are injured in the discharge of duty.
Members of the Relief Feature in the service of the company, their wives and children, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, wholly dependent on them for support, are allowed to travel over all the lines of the Baltimore & Ohio at one-half the rates charged the public. The children of such members, under sixteen years of age, are given free transportation over all lines when going to and returning from daily school. Furloughed and suspended members and pensioners, who retain their natural death benefits, are entitled to the same privileges.
The membership of the Relief Feature on June 30, 1904, was 46,198, of whom 2,136 were out of the service and retaining
their life insurance. The total amount of life insurance carried by the members is $23,901,500.00.
It is in its Savings Feature that the Baltimore & Ohio Relief Department is especially unique. So far as is known no other railroad company or industrial corporation has so comprehensive a plan or one so likely to be of financial help to its employes.
The Savings Feature is itself divided into two subordinate features, known as the Deposit and Loan Features.
The Deposit Feature is practically a mutual savings bank, in which any employe of the company, his wife, children, father or mother, or the beneficiary of a deceased member of the Relief Feature may deposit sums of not less than $1.00 nor more than $100.00 in any one day, the safety of such deposits and their repayment on demand, with four per cent interest, is guaranteed by the company. The profits of the Loan Feature are used for the payment of interest on deposits, and dividends may be declared by the Committee on Relief Department when the earnings justify. For several years past extra dividends of one and one-half per cent have been declared, making the total interest on such deposits five and one-half per cent per annum.
The company designates certain of its agents as depositaries, who receive deposits and record them in the pass-books issued to all depositors, and the company becomes responsible for moneys so deposited. There are depositaries at all the stations of any importance, and they are also appointed at any small station where two or more employes express a desire to take advantage of the Deposit Feature. Thus many employes are given opportunity to safely deposit their savings who could not do so without going to some neighboring city or town where there is a savings bank. Checks for withdrawal of deposits are issued from the headquarters of the department and sent to the most convenient depositary, and these checks are cashed by any agent of the company having funds in his possession.
That this feature is appreciated by the employes is shown by the fact that during the year ended June 30, 1904, the deposits amounted to $604,014.89. From August 1, 1882, when this feature was put in operation, to June 30, 1904, the total amount deposited was $5,958,322.80, of
4 THE RELIEF DEPARTMENT OF THE BALTIMORE & OHIO R. R.
which $2,872,912.92 remained on deposit on June 30, 1904.
A depositor who ceases to be employed by the company may retain his privileges as a depositor if he then have a balance of $50.00 or more to his credit in the Savings Feature.
Any member of the Relief Department who has been one year in the company's service and has a good record may take advantage of the Loan Feature. Loans are made from the funds on deposit as above, only on real estate security, to enable the borrowers to build homes, purchase improved real estate, or to improve or release liens on property already owned. cent interest is charged on such loans, which are made in sums of not less than $100.00. They are repaid at the rate of one and one-half per cent monthly on the amount of the loan, interest being charged only on the amount actually due after each payment. Payments in excess of one and one-half per cent monthly may be made, or the whole loan may be repaid at any time. On a loan of $1,000.00 the first month's interest would be $5.00, making the total indebtedness $1,005.00. The monthly payment on a loan of this amount, which is $15.00, leaves a balance of $990.00 on the first of the second month, the interest on this being only $4.95, and so on. The monthly payment remains the same throughout, and the loan is repaid in about eighty-two months, the total interest charges amounting to $219.43. This makes it certain that the employe will eventually own his own home free of encumbrance. Loans are limited to three-fourths of the market value of the property offered as security, the balance being supplied by the borrower out of his own pocket or by means of a second mortgage.
This feature has been much appreciated by the employes. The amount loaned during the last fiscal year was $498,073.57, and the total amount loaned $4,532,575.11. The amount outstanding on June 30, 1904, was $1,389,026.04.
The amount loaned during the whole period was expended in building 1,602 houses, buying 2,174 homesteads, improving 473 already owned, and releasing liens on 1,227 properties.
Any employe of the company who has been for four years a member of the Relief Department and ten years in the service, and who has reached the age of sixty-five
and been honorably relieved from duty, may take advantage of the Pension Feature. Members under sixty-five may be pensioned if the circumstances justify and the condition of the fund permits, and pensions have been granted in quite a number of such cases. The fund for the payment of pensions is derived wholly from the contributions of the company, $75,000.00 per annum being donated for this purpose.
Pensions are paid monthly. sioner receives a daily allowance, excluding Sundays, equal to one-half the benefits provided to be paid for sickness, under the regulations of the Relief Feature, to a member of the class of which he is a member. In the case of an employe who has been continuously a member of the Relief Association or Relief Department for fifteen years, this allowance is increased by the addition of five per cent thereof, and a like increase is made for each additional term of five consecutive years of such membership.
From October 1, 1884, when the Pension Feature was inaugurated, to June 30, 1904, 830 persons had been pensioned, of whom 354 were still on the list on the date last named. The amount paid for pensions last year was $67,199.23, and the total payments on this account have been $756,409.10.
The value of an institution like the Relief Department can be readily perceived. In the first place it affords the workingman an opportunity to procure, in one policy, all the various kinds of insurance he needsi. e., against sickness, accident, death and old age, and at a cost much lower than he would have to pay for such insurance in separate policies in ordinary insurance companies. In most cases the cost of such insurance in commercial companies would be so high as to be practically prohibitive. The employe is at no trouble in the matter of making payments and his insurance cannot lapse while he remains in the service, the premiums therefor being deducted from his pay each month. The receipt of benefits during periods of disablement prevents the distress which generally results when the head of the family is prevented from earning wages.
The question of the company's liability for an accident does not enter into the right of a member to receive benefits. He is paid his benefits whether there is any