Telephone Operators Spend Busy Day Following Inauguration of Dial Telephones in Cambridge
Former Manual Operators Will Not Be Forced to Swell Ranks of Unemployed.
With thousands of persons in and around. Boston still using the old telephone numbers, a trying day was spent by the intercepting operators yesterday whose duty was to furnish the correct numbers.
As yet the new directories have been distributed only in Cambridge, Somerville, and parts of Boston. This has necessitated a complete rearrangement of the company's forces and the use of a much larger corps of intercepting operators.
For the moment husbands were separated from the wives, mothers from their children, policemen from their home stations, and Freshmen from Radcliffe, while pay stations were being filled to overflowing with nickels and lead slugs. Throughout the day the headquarters of the telephone company were filled with bustling and confusion as thousands upon thousands of calls had to be hurdled.
Asked whether the new system will cause the discharge of all the former manual telephone operators, the manager of the company replied that such is not the case. Foreseeing the change to the dial system in Cambridge, the company long ago began gradually to transfer the regular full-time operators to other positions in other districts. As a result, the staff of manual telephone operators came in time to consist completely of part-time workers.
These part-time positions were filled chiefly by married women and others who had had experience as telephonic operators but who did not need the positions in order to earn their support. In as much as these women did not arrange or expect to hold permanent positions but had merely seized upon the opportunity offered them of earning a little extra pin money, the necessary loss of their positions will not increase the number of unsupported unemployed.
The complete distribution of the new telephone directories will require about two more weeks. During that time the confusion will become steadily less, and the personnel of the telephonic company will be in a constant state of flux.