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become an engine of extreme oppression and the inflictment of infinite annoyance and damage upon him. It would also be obviously an unconstitutional infringement of his personal liberty, as well as tyrannous subversion of the privileges to which he is entitled.""
If the language of the act now under consideration were given its broadest construction, it would not, of course, cover labor performed by an employee for himself, and the decisions in Ellis v. United States (206 U. S. 246), and the Opinion of Justices (94 N. E. Rep. 1043 (Mass.]), which sustain the constitutionality of legislation such as this, clearly imply that Congress has the power to require the establishment of a complete 8-hour day on the part of those persons who choose to enter into contracts with the United States. Nevertheless, it is clear that Congress inserted the words“ upon such work” into this legislation for the purpose of limiting its scope in some way and of drawing a line on one side of which should fall work within the 8-hour restriction and on the other side some character of work which was not within said restriction. The only line which can be thus drawn conforming to the plain natural meaning of the words used is that suggested by the committee of the Senate; namely, that the 8-hour stipulation and restriction applies only to work done for the Government and not to work done for private individuals. This view of the statute is emphasized by the provision that
every such contract shall stipulate a penalty for each violation of such provision in such contract of $5 for each laborer or mechanic for every calendar day in which he shall be required or permitted to labor more than 8 hours upon said work.” Clearly, no penalty could be collected under the authority of this provision if the laborer or mechanic were required or permitted to labor more than 8 hours a day upon some other work than that contemplated by the contract. 2. Your second question involves the proper construction
any part of the work contemplated by the contract, and “ for any part of said work contemplated,” in section 1 aforesaid. You state that in the ordinary conduct of the business of the contractor work may be done that is
applicable equally to the prosecution of Government contracts within the scope of the act and private contracts; such, for instance, as the generating of power for his plant, the operating of facilities for handling materials, etc. Work may also be done in the way of producing or preparing raw materials finally available for a variety of purposes, but before the fashioning of the specific thing is begun not susceptible of identification as destined for the Government. For example, a contractor for the construction of heavy guns operates a large steel plant and manufactures a great number of steel products for the general market. Through a long process, involving the handling and smelting of ore and the treatment of pig iron, steel is produced, which in this stage as a raw product can be made into cannon for the Government or articles for other pat
You request my opinion as to whether the words in the act“ any part of the work contemplated by the contract,” include work of the kind referred to, necessary for the general operation of the plant, or done in the production or preparation of material which, until segregated for employment on Government work, is indistinguishable from that destined for general commercial purposes; or whether they include the work only from the point where specific material is identified as intended for use in the production of the thing contracted for by the Government.
This general subject was discussed in the debates in the House on the present bill. (See pp. 339, 340, 341, Cong. Rec., 62d Cong., 2d sess.) For example: 66 Mr. CANNON.
but I wanted to see how far the law would apply in the production of armor and armor plate. In the first place, it is made of iron. In the second place, the iron is produced from iron ore.
“ That involves the labor of producing the ore; then the coal or the coke, or perchance the charcoal; that involves labor that goes into the armor plate. Then the furnace in which the armor plate is constructed, so far as the furnace is used, and the furnace itself is built of fire brick. Now, what I want to ask is whether, in all the factors that enter into the production of armor plate, the 8-hour provision as
proposed by the bill would be subject to the control of the 8-hour labor provision ?
“ Mr. Wilson of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, what the committee had in mind in the amendment which they offer was the actual assembling and making at the place of manufacture of the armor plate and not the carrying back to the point of production of the constituent elements in the making of the armor plate.
“Mr. CANNON. The gentleman is satisfied that that would be the construction ?
“Mr. Wilson of Pennsylvania. I think so. “Mr. CANNON. * * *
but I judge from the remarks of the gentleman that it is not proposed by this legislation to do anything more than to regulate the 8-hour labor where the materials are assembled in the actual production of armor plate.
“Mr. Wilson of Pennsylvania. That is what is intended.
“Mr. CANNON. Now, I will ask the gentleman in perfect good faith, because I am in sympathy with the shortening of hours of labor wherever it can be done in justice to the great mass of all the people—here is a contract for a public building which involves the use of brick, of stone, of steel structure ordinarily. Now, under the gentleman's bill, suppose the steel beams were required, or suppose slate or tile is required to cover the building. A man takes a contract for the building and lets the contract for the brick or the steel to somebody who works 10-hour labor or 9-hour labor. Would such production be prohibited under the terms of this bill unless the material was produced by 8-hour labor?
“Mr. Wilson of Pennsylvania. I presume that a part of it might come within the provisions of this bill and a part would not. The things being bought in the open market would not come within it.
“ Mr. Cannon. Now, just at this point. The bill reads except armor and armor plate.' Then this language occurs, · whether made and forming a part of the specifications or not.' Would not this bill, if enacted, as to the matters I refer to, brick, stone, and steel beams, and so forth, be excepted from this act by these provisions ?
“ Mr. Wilson of Pennsylvania. The things the gentleman has enumerated would be excepted from the act, because they are materials that can usually be bought in the open market. “ Mr. MAUDEN. If the gentleman will pardon me, I
presume that what the gentleman intends to have the bill provide is, that if stone is manufactured after it is produced from the quarry that would be material which could not be bought in the open market, and the manufacture of such stone would be required to be made by 8-hour labor. Is not that correct?
“Mr. Wilson of Pennsylvania. No; it would not be required to be made by union labor or nonunion, but made under the 8-hour work day.
Mr. DAVIDSON. I want to ask the gentleman whether material that was constructed in accordance with specifications furnished would be construed as being in the open market. For instance, referring to cut stone for a building. Take a public building to be treated with doors and windows. Door and window sashes are articles to be bought in the open market, and yet for that particular building the doors might have to be of certain dimensions. The window sash might have to be of certain dimensions and there might not be in the open market those dimensions carried in the general stock, but they would have to be manufactured to fit those particular places. Now, if that were the case and contract was issued with specifications, would that come under this 8-hour law ?
“Mr. Wilson of Pennsylvania. Those would have to be things not usually bought in the open market. Where things usually bought in the open market conform to specifications
“ Mr. DAVIDSON. If the article was a stock article which could be bought upon the open market, but if it required that article to be of different dimensions, then, you see, it could not be bought in the open
market. “Mr. Wilson of Pennsylvania. If it were something that could not be usually bought in the open market, then the work in making that article would come under the provi
sions of this act; but if it could be usually bought in the open market, then it would not be required to conform to this act, but in the very nature of the exception there is some latitude that must be allowed to administration.”
There is further debate to the same effect, but these quotations are sufficient to show that Congress intended to draw some line in the manufacture or production of material or articles for the Government beyond which the 8-hour provision should not extend. In an extreme sense a contract for the manufacture of an article “ contemplates” the entire process from the obtaining of the raw material to the end, and “requires or involves” a successive employment of labor therein from the beginning to the end. But the natural and practical view is that which, as suggested by the debate quoted, confines the 8-hour restriction to labor upon the work directly and proximately in view in the contract. The statute provides that “ any
officer or person designated as inspector of the work to be performed under any such contract, or to aid in enforcing the fulfillment thereof, shall, upon observation or investigation, forthwith report to the proper officer of the United States, or of any Territory, or of the District of Columbia, all violations of the provisions of this act directed to be made in every such contract, together with the name of each laborer or mechanic who has been required or permitted to labor in violation of such stipulation, and the day of such violation
It appears, therefore, that the law places upon the Government the burden of investigating and discovering violations of the terms thereof, and it is clear that, unless the words “ work contemplated by the contract” be construed in the manner I have just stated, the law could not be practically enforced. It is impossible in the nature of things for the Government to oversee the enforcement of the 8-hour law in all the ramifications of the industries which go to the production of an article contracted for by the Government. It follows, therefore, that the words “ work contemplated by the contract” must be construed in a manner which will enable the law to be practically observed and enforced, and the construction which naturally suggests itself is that the work contemplated is the work directly