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Coal Scrip

Upon reacting to  the Coal exhibit in West Virginia State Museum, the president of the United Mine Worker said, "...the exhibit's assertion of how great the coal company stores were, that they were really the forerunners of the credit card. I mean, that is the most absurd description  imaginable with respect to what the company stores were. You are really stretching things a mile to say that the company stores were the forerunners of the credit cards and how wonderful that was. I don't think there are very many people who would say, 'I wish the company stores would come back. I wish I can go back to that company and pay more. I wish I was obligated to go back to the company store.' You just never hear anyone say that."

(Cecil Roberts, quoted by Michael Kline in "Cecil Roberts Shares His Story", Written in Blood, Wess Harris, ed., 2017, PM Press, Oakland, p. 149)

During the 20th century many coal companies paid the miners in tokens good only for merchandise from the company store.

Sometimes the company would pay in cash on payday but would pay in scrip as an advance against wages due. If the kids are hungry and it's three days until payday, you take the scrip and spend it at the commissary.

Company stores were much more expensive than other nearby independent stores, sometimes as much as 30% or more. 

When the miners attempted to organize the two main issues were safety and low wages.

Miners were very poorly paid. Theirs was hard dirty dangerous work but wages were typically lower than other industries.

There is a myth that coal mines paid in scrip because there was no cash available in remote mining areas. Common sense says that if you can bring in everything you need to dig a mine and build company housing you can bring in payroll.

Also, the scale of the scrip system belies a geographic explanation. Coal scrip was used in most of West Virginia, thirty counties in Kentucky, XX counties in Pennsylvania and many more in Ohio and Alabama.

And that's just coal scrip. Other low wage industries including lumber companies and textile mills used scrip.

Scrip is intended to prey on low wages workers. If you are paid at or below subsistence wages, you always run short and need food before payday.


Well paid workers would never use scrip. Well paid enough to get through the week, they would have no need of such a high interest advance on their pay.

While it is called an advance on pay, note that the miner

In a high wage industry, scrip

Scrip was made for a low wage industry. Workers who did not make enough to make it to the next paycheck would need to use scrip to make it through, and when payday came much had already been spent at the company store.

Payday is every two weeks. Why would workers who will get paid on the 15th take part of their pay in scrip five days before? To spend at a store with a 20% mark up? To spend at the company store cal their only choice
If your family has hungry on Tuesday and payday is Saturday, you take the script. And since that payday will be so short you will need to do it the next pay period and the next.
Look at this group again, I thought often neglected Back of the coin, the reverse as numismatist say.
It says script system. It has a copyright date. You can’t copyright making script. People have been putting images on coins for a very long time

Several thousand years.
Its defenders say that script is not payment of wages, but merely an advance on wages. A payday loan.

But one key ingredient will make most workers have to accept scrip every payday. That ingredient is poverty If a company pays low enough wages, they can guarantee that their workers families will be hungry enough to need payday advances.

Not long you are not long after the end of the Civil War American industry and embarked on a hundred year plan. Over a 30 year period they bought up the mineral rights in the mountains. They formed consortium (PLURAL?) to do it. And Harlan County right group was called Kentenia. 


ask Francine?

Then they started selling rights to specific portions to companies new one in Harlan County  Kentenia  sold mineral rights to Black Mountain
What other companies?
A Dow Jones of northern industrialists bought in. There was Ford motor company, Blank steel Co., Peabody coal Company, yes that Peabody the one that said hauled away Paradise.
Samual Insull from Chicago by way of England and New York and Menlo Park, building a monopoly power grid in the Midwest. Insull needed a lot of coal and ended up buying most of neighboring McCrey County?

Other companies

In West Virginia and the entire region these companies leased the mineral rights and started mining: the Roosevelt, the duPont, Cyrus Eaton,

These companies fell upon the people of the mountains and ruined a way of life that had sustained mountain families for generations
A garden, a cow, some hunting selling some wood showing some whiskey people got bar.
In the community where I was born called Punkin Center just a collection of about 10 houses past the end of Yoakam
Yoakam creek with no store or church and down the creek a mile or so to Disney a collection of 100 houses at a church and a church, and then another mile to where rebody goal company posing here as the Blackmountain company
Opened mine in 1923? And built 400? Houses for the workers in the company store,
What companies advertised far and wide
For minors since no matter how many local Moon went to work in the morning, there could not be enough so
Research this Francine who won how did they recruit.
But recruit they did filling the mountains with families I was labor would be needed for just one generation and then no longer
They paid poverty level wages which kept them if not in debt to the comedy store, study users all good.
A myth that is widely believed because it is passed on or historians and Scroop collectors is that the company store was needed because the mine was so remote from everywhere.
Another story is there was not enough cash available to pay the workers.
Both stories are ridiculous on their face
The size and scope of the script system belies the notion that the minds were to remote. There were over 20,000 coal company stores. That’s just cool. Lumber workers and cotton mill workers are also often paid in script.
What is industries have in common is that they paid extremely low wages. Scrip is based on poverty wages. If workers are being paid enough to live on they will never take a discount by getting their pay in advance and text at such an exorbitant rate. The interest on such a long even if processor only 20% higher or 10% higher is what number
Less calculate that number the argument that there was no cash is Lew your croissants face
Of course give me an advance on wages that can be spent with the company store
Or industrial store as Economus Court
Could be simply done by bookkeeping figures
Or paper script
And it was done those words
If only a few workers needed an advance on their pay that would be fine. But so many did that the bookkeeping became burdensome to the companies. The accuracy was often disputed enter or call! Or call and others created cash register like machines that would issues group and keep careful records automatically. Worker asked for say four hours pay in advance the office with a shoe I am two dollars in scrap or ours are $.50 an hour is two dollars
He would take his group to the company store where it would be spent like our accounted for or cash booking from figures and bits of paper can go astray in a way that physical coins don’t One machine to make her bragged that it could do 500 lower
Looked right up
Per hour
Mines that employed hundreds of workers or eager buyers
Company stores are so profitable but buying the expensive scrub machines and paying for the screwup itself, was a small price to pay for the privilege of being your workers and potatoes and beans

Scrip is so profitable for companies that it has been found in many parts of the world
This summer
Talk about the Mexico Walmart scrub thing
And country after country and state after state here lawmakers have tried to outlaw scrub. But a hold of new US corporations on the legislative process is so firm no effort to outlaw it has ever been successful
Platoons of lawyers screw to find loopholes as when is Samuel insoles mind tried to get around in Ohio law by saying that this group was redeemable in cash on payday
As if a worker would advance ask for an advance and then not spend it

Sent from my iPhone

Is scrip legal?

Is Scrip Legal?

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