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REPORT No. 165.


August 21, 1911.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.

Mr. Wilson of Pennsylvania, from the Committee on Labor, sub

mitted the following


[To accompany H. R. 9061.)

The Committee on Labor, to which was referred the bill (H. R. 9061) limiting the hours of daily service of laborers and mechanics employed upon work done for the United States, or for any Territory, or for the District of Columbia, and for other purposes, begg leave to submit the following report and recommends that said bill do pass with the following amendments:

On page 2, line 15, after the word "withheld,” insert the words, "for the use and benefit of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Territory contracting.”

On page 2, line 21, after the word “right," insert the words "within six months thereafter."

On page 2, line 22, after the word “contract," insert the words “on behalf of the United States and the Territories."

On page 2, line 22, after the word “contract,” strike out the word “or” and insert the word “and."

On page 2, line 25, after the word “and,” insert the words “in all such appeals.

On page 3, line 3, after the word "may,” insert the words "within six months thereafter."

On page 3, line 4, after the word “have," insert the word “final."

On page 3, line 9, after the comma following the word "market," insert the words "except armor and armor plate.”

On page 3, line 13, after the word "work,” strike out the words “now being” and insert the words “which have been, are now, or may hereafter be."

On page 3, line 14, after the comma following the word "shall,” strike out the word “when” and insert the words “if the same shall be."

On page 3, line 23, after the word "condition,” insert the words on account of.

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On page 3, line 24, after the word “declare,” insert the words "the violation."

On page 4, line 3, after the word “ninety-two," insert comma and the words "or to apply to work done under contract made prior to the approval of this act."

The bill as amended by the committee will read as follows:

A BILL Limiting the hours of daily service of laborers and mechanics employed upon work done for the

United States, or for any 'Territory, or for the District of Columbia, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That every contract hereafter made to which the United States, any Territory, or the District of Columbia is a party, and every such contract made for or on behalf of the United States, or any Territory, or said District, which may require or involve the employment of laborers or mechanics shall contain a provision that no laborer or mechanic doing any part of the work contemplated, by the contract, in the employ of the contractor or any subcontractor contracting for any part of said work contemplated, shall be required or permitted to work more than eight hours in any one calendar day upon such work; and every such contract shall stipulate a penalty for each violation of such provision in such contract of five dollars for each laborer or mechanic for every calendar day in which he shall be required or permitted to labor more than eight hours upon said work; and 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, and the amount of the penalties imposed according to the stipulation in any such contract shall be directed to be withheld for the use and benefit of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Territory contracting by the officer or person whose duty it shall be to approve the payment of the moneys due under such contract, whether the violation of the provisions of such contract is by the contractor or any subcontractor. Any contractor or subcontractor aggrieved by the withholding of any penalty as hereinbefore provided shall have the right within six months thereafter to appeal to the head of the department making the contract on behalf of the United States and the Territories, and in the case of a contract made by the District of Columbia to the Commissioners thereof, who shall have power to review the action imposing the penalty, and in all such appeals from such final order whereby a contractor or subcontractor may be aggrieved by the imposition of the penalty hereinbefore provided such con. tractor or subcontractor may within six months thereafter appeal to the Court of Claims, which shall have final jurisdiction to hear and decide the matter in like manner as in other cases before said court.

Sec. 2. That nothing in this act shall apply to contracts for transportation by land or water, or for the transmission of intelligence, or for such materials or articles as may usually be bought in open market, except armor and armor plate, whether marle to conform to particular specifications or not, or for the purchase of supplies for the Government, whether manufactured to conform to particular specifications or not: Provided, That all classes of work which has been, is now, or may hereafter be performed by the Government shall, when done by contract or otherwise, by individuals, firms, or corporations, be performed in accordance with the terms and provisions of this act. The President, by Executive order, may waive the provisions and stipulations in this act as to any specific contract or contracts during time of war or a time when war is imminent. No penalties shall be imposed for any violation of such pmvisnin in such contract due to any emergency caused by fire, famine, or flood, by danger to life or to property, or by other extraordinary event or condition on account of which the President shall subsequently declare the violation to have been justifiable. Nothing in this act shall be construed to repeal or modify chapter three hundred and fifty-two of the laws of the Fifty-second Congress, approved August first, eighteen hundred and ninety-two, or to apply to work done under contract made prior to the approval of this act.

The purpose sought to be accomplished by this bill has been embodied in bills reported to the House and Senate in previous Congresses and the reports then made are to a great extent repeated in the report on this bill.

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The introduction of labor-saving devices into the industrial and commercial life of the Nation has greatly enhanced the productivity of the workers in a given period of time. Naturally, the workers have sought to secure some of the benefits of their increased productivity in the form of a shorter workday. In many industries in the country a maximum eight-hour workday has been established by mutual agreement between employer and employee. These trade agreements have had the effect of shortening the hours of labor in other lines of industry where no trade agreement exists. The result has been beneficial to the country at large by raising the moral, intellectual, and physical standard of the workers to a higher plane and improving the general standard of living.

It is conceded by many economists that the standard of living has as much to do with the rates of wages obtained as the rate of wages has to do with the standard of living. When, by virtue of a higher standard of living, people have become accustomed to the use of good food, good clothing, good homes, good schooling facilities, and good conditions of employment, they will not readily accept wages and terms of employment that do not enable them to continue these conditions. Notwithstanding these facts, wages do, and will no doubt continue to, fluctuate with varying industrial and commercial conditions. That is not the case, as a rule, with the shortening of the hours of labor. When a shorter workday has been established it seldom occurs that there is a return to the longer workday, and therefore the lessening of the hours of labor almost invariably results in the permanent improvement of the condition of the workers.

It has been the policy of the Government for a great many years, in dealing with its employees, to keep pace with the highest standard in private institutions, and justly so; the Government should be a model employer. That this has been the policy of this and other Governments is made apparent by a review of legislation affecting the length of a day's work.

England was the cradle of the factory system. It was there that the spinning jenny, the spinning frame, the power loom, and the steam engine were brought into existence. It was there that machinery was first brought into general use, and the division of labor became possible. Hence, it was naturally there that the physical and social evils growing out of the excessive long hours of toil in the polluting atmosphere of the factory and workshop first forced the necessity of short-hour legislation upon public attention.

In 1802 a law was passed in England preventing the employment of apprentices (which most factory children were) on Sundays, and limiting their working time to 72 hours a week. In 1819, after years of fierce agitation, this law was applied to all factory children under 16 years of age. The beneficial effects of this measure upon the health and general condition of the operatives were so manifest that the demand for this kind of legislation widened and deepened with the increasing success of each experiment. In 1825 the hours of labor were reduced from 12 to 114 per day. In 1831 they were again reduced to 11, and night work was prohibited for all women and young persons under 21 years of age. In 1833 this law was extended to include woolen, worsted, silk, and flax, as well as cotton mills, and reduced the working time of children to eight hours a day.

a half.

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The reports of the parliamentary committees and other evidence showing the marked improvement in the laborers' condition led to the adoption of a law in 1844 reducing the employment of children under 14 years of age to half time. In 1847 the 10-hour law was enacted, and in 1874 the hours of labor were still further reduced to nine and

The increase of wages, the advance of intelligence, the decrease of ignorance, pauperism, and crime, the use of improved methods of production, and the consequent cheapening of products since the opportunity-creating legislation came into full operation, comprises a most marvelous phenomenon. The economic and social success of the short-hour legislation was so obvious that some of the leading statesmen of England who opposed it afterwards publicly apologized in the House of Commons for their opposition and supported all subsequent measures for extending its applications to other industries. In 1860, 12 years after the 10-hour law came into operation, a bill was introduced to extend it to bleacheries. Sir James Graham, who was secretary of state when the 10-hour law was introduced by Lord Ashley, announced his complete conversion in a speech in which he said:

I have a confession to make to the House. Experience has shown, to my satisfaction, that many of the predictions formerly made against the factory bill have not been verified by the result

, as, on the whole, that great measure of relief for women and children has contributed to the well-being and comfort of the laboring classes, while it has not injured their masters. By the vote I shall give to-night I will endeavor to make some amends for the course I pursued in earlier life in opposing the factory bill.

As early as July 16, 1862 (12 Stat. L., p. 576), Congress provided that the hours of labor and the wages of employees in the navy yards of the United States should conform as nearly as consistent with the public interest with those of private establishments of a similar nature.

On June 25, 1868, Congress enacted: That eight hours shall constitute a day's work for all laborers, workmen, and mechanics now employed or who may hereafter be employed by or on behalf of the Government of the United States; and that all acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act be, and the same are hereby, repealed.

President Grant, by his proclamation of May 19, 1869, checked abuses which were perverting the generous object of this statute by declaring

That from and after this date no reduction shall be made in the wages paid by the Government by the day to such laborers, workmen, and mechanics on account of any such reduction of hours of labor.

On May 11, 1872, President Grant issued a second proclamation referring to the former, and among other things said:

And whereas it is now represented to me that the act of Congress and the proclamation aforesaid have not been strictly observed by all officers of the Government having charge of such laborers, workmen, and mechanics: Now, therefore, I, Vlyxes S. Grant, President of the United States, do again call attention to the aforesaid art, and direct all officers of the executive department of the Government having charge of the employment and pay of laborers, workmen, and mechanics employed by or on behalf of the Government of the United States to make no reduction in the wages paid for the Government, by the day, for such laborers, workmen, and mechanics on account of the reduction of the hours of labor.

On May 18, 1872, Congress further enacted a law providingThat the proper accounting officers be, and hereby are, authorized and required, in the settlement of all accounts for the services of laborers, workmen, and mechanics employed by or on behalf of the Government of the United States between the

twenty-fifth day of June, eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, the date of the act constituting eight hours a day's work for all such workmen, laborers, and mechanics, and the nineteenth day of May, eighteen hundred and sixty-nine, the day of the proclamation of the President concerning such pay, to settle and pay for the same without reduction on account of reduction of hours of labor by said act when it shall be made to appear that such was the sole cause of the reduction of wages, and a sufficient sum for said purpose is hereby appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated.

On March 30, 1888, in the urgent deficiency bill, it was enacted as follows:

And the Public Printer is hereby directed to rigidly enforce the provisions of the eight-hour law in the department under his charge.

And by the act approved May 24, 1888, it was providedThat hereafter eight hours shall constitute a day's work for letter carriers in cities or postal districts thereof, for which they shall receive the same pay as is now paid for a day's work of a greater number of hours. If any letter carrier is employed a greater number of hours than eight, he shall be paid extra for the same in proportion to the salary now fixed by law.

The Department of Justice had held that the provisions of the act of June 25, 1868, were not applicable to mechanics, workmen, and laborers who are in the employ of a contractor with the United States. That act was not intended to extend to any others than the immediate employees of the Government.

In the case of the United States v. Martin (94 U. S., 404) the Supreme Court said, respecting the eight-hour law of 1868:

We regard the statute chiefly as in the nature of a direction from a principal to his agent that eight hours is deemed to be a proper length of time for a day's labor, and that his contract shall be based upon that theory. It is a matter. between the principal and his agent, in which a third party has no interest. The proclamation of the President and the act of 1872 are in harmony with this view of the statute.

We are of the opinion therefore that contracts fixing or giving a different length of time as the day's work are legal and binding upon the parties making them.

This decision recognized the legality of a longer workday in Government employment. The influence of the law and President Grant's proclamations upon public opinion was lessened.

The brevity and the indefiniteness of the eight-hour law of 1868 induced further legislation. Officers of the Government having charge of many employees did not administer the eight-hour law uniformly. Many of the ablest officials were friendly to this statute. Brig. Gen. Casey, Chief of Engineers, declared that he was strongly in favor of an eight-hour law; that it is an advantage to the country and to the laborer, and should be extended all over the country. Yet the employees of the engineers were paid a day's wages for eight hours of labor, but the law was not interpreted to limit the hours of employment in one day. Commander Folger, in charge of the Washington Navy Yard, reported that in an eight-hour workday, if observed, the quality of work produced would probably compensate for the reduced hours; yet he confessed that he did not understand that it was the policy of the Government to limit the hours of service in a Government day to eight hours and no more.


The following act, of August 1, 1892, was the result of discussions and committee investigations during three years prior to itsenactment. Its main object was to prohibit contractors or subcontractors upon

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