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any of the public works of the United States or the District of Columbia from working more than eight hours upon any of the public works. In terms it was made unlawful for any officer, contractor, or subcontractor upon any of the public works to require or permit any laborer or mechanic to work more than eight hours in any calendar day.

CHAP. 352.-AN ACT Relating to the limitation of the hours of daily service of laborers and mechanics

employed upon the public works of the United States and of the District of Columbia.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the service and employment of all laborers and mechanics who are now or may hereafter be employed by the Government of the United States, by the District of Columbia, or by any contractor or subcontractor upon any of the public works of the United States or of the said District of Columbia, is hereby limited and restricted to eight hours in any one calendar day, and it shall be unlawful for any officer of the United States Government or of the District of Columbia or any such contractor or subcontractor whose duty it shall be to employ, direct, or control the services of such laborers or mechanics to require or permit any such laborer or mechanic to work more than eight hours in any calendar day except in case of extraordinary emergency.

Sec. 2. That any officer or agent of the Government of the United States or of the District of Columbia, or any contractor or subcontractor whose duty it shall be to employ, direct, or control any laborer or mechanic employed upon any of the public works of the United States or of the District of Columbia who shall intentionally violate any provision of this act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and for each and every such offense shall upon conviction be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court having jurisdiction thereof.

Sec. 3. The provisions of this act shall not be so construed as to in any manner apply to or affect contractors or subcontractors, or to limit the hours of daily service of laborers or mechanics engaged upon the public works of the United States or of the District of Columbia for which contracts have been entered into prior to the passage of this act.

In succession Attorney General Miller and Attorney General Olney interpreted this act at the instance of the Secretary of War. Their opinions are here inserted: [The act of August 1, 1892, chapter 352, is of general application, and the limitation as to public works in

said act applies only to such persons as are in the employ of contractors and subcontractors. Whether or not specified persons are such laborers is a question of fact not for the Attorney General to determine. (20 Opinions Attorney General, 459.))

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,

Wa hington, D. C., August 27, 1892. Sır: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note of the Acting Secretary of August 12, transmitting a copy of the act of Congress of August 1, 1892, entitled "An act relating to the limitation of the hours of daily service of laborers and mechanics employed upon the public works of the United States and of the District of Columbia,"

In this note you ask my opinion upon the questions:

First. Does this act apply only to such laborers and mechanics as are employed by the Quartermaster's Department upon public works, or does it include all other laborers and mechanics employed in the Quartermaster's Department performing the usual and ordinary service of that character in that department?

Second. Does it include teamsters, watchmen, engineers, and firemen employed in the public service of the War Department and all engineers, firemen, deck hands, mates, and seamen on Government vessels in the service thereof?

The act, which is short, reads as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the service and employment of all laborers and mechanics who are now or may hereafter be employed by the Government of the United States, by the District of Columbia, or by any contractor or subcontractor upon any of the public works of the United States or of the said District of Columbia, is hereby limited and restricted to eight hours in any one calendar day; and it shall be unlawful for any officer of the United States Government or of the District of Columbia, or any such contractor or subcontractor whose duty it shall be to employ, direct, or control the services of such laborers or mechanics, to require or permit any such laborer or mechanic to work more than eight hours in any calendar day except in case of extraordinary emergency.

“Séc. 2. That any officer or agent of the Government of the United States or of the District of Columbia, or any contractor or subcontractor whose duty it shall be to employ, direct, or control any laborer or mechanic employed upon any of the public works of the United States or of the District of Columbia, who shall intentionally violate any provision of this act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and for each and every offense shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court having jurisdiction thereof.

“Sec. 3. The provisions of this act shall not be so construed as to in any manner apply to or affect contractors or subcontractors or to limit the hours of daily service of laborers or mechanics engaged upon the public works of the United States or of the District of Columbia, for which contracts have been entered into prior to the passage of this act."

The first question for decision is whether this law applies only to labor performed upon public works, or whether, as to laborers and mechanics employed directly by the Government or the District of Columbia, it is general and applicable to all cases. Upon the reading of the law the question is by no means clear, and one which, without great violence to the language of the statute, might well be decided either way.

First. In the first place, the title, “An act relating to the limitation of the hours of daily service of laborers and mechanics employed upon the public works of the United States and of the District of Columbia," clearly favors the more restricted meaning. While this is by no means conclusive, it is a circumstance worthy of consideration. “Where doubt exists as to the meaning of a statute, the title may be looked to for aid in its construction.” (Smythe v. Fiske, 23 Wall., p. 380.)

On the other hand, the punctuation of the act supports the opposite view. If the law were read with a comma after the word “subcontractor," as first used in the first section, then the phrase "upon any of the public works of the United States or of the said District of Columbia” would qualify all the preceding part of the section, and it would be clear that the law should be applied only to labor upon the public works.

If, on the other hand, it be read without such comma, the opposite conclusion would seem to be correct. In the law itself, both as enrolled and printed, there is no such comma. In the reports of both the Senate and House committees recommending the passage of the bill, in stating the substance of the bill, such comma is used, thus favoring a construction apparently at variance with that indicated by the punctuation of the act itself. It is true, as a matter of law, that “punctuation is no part of a statute” and that "courts in construing acts of Parliament or deeds should read them with such stops as will give effect to the whole.” (Hammock v. Loan and Trust Company, 105 U. 9., p. 34.) At the same time, it is true that by using or omitting the comma after the word "subcontractor," as above, the grammatical reading of this statute is changed. Without the comma the clause “public works, etc.," qualifies only the part relating to contractors and subcontractors; with the comma it qualifies each of the three clauses of the series. So far, then, with the title on the one side and the punctuation on the other, the argument is perhaps fairly balanced.

But another evidence of the legislative intent, more persuasive than either title or punctuation, must be considered. In 1868 Congress passed an act, now standing as section 3738, Revised Statutes, as follows:

“Eight hours shall constitute a day's work for all laborers, workmen, and mechanics who may be employed by or on behalf of the Government of the United States."

This act, without question, was general, applying to all “laborers, workmen, and mechanics” in the direct employment of the United States. In practical administration, however, this section has been held to be merely directory and has not been enforced.

In 1888 another act was passed (Supp. Rev. Stat., 582), containing the following:

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

Such was the state of the legislation upon the subject when the act now under coneideration was before Congress. It is a matter of public history that ever since the enactment of the statute of 1868 efforts have been made to procure legislation from Congress imperatively requiring the enforcement of that act.

An examination of the debate in the House of Representatives, which was quite extensive (Cong. Rec., 6357, etc.), shows that both the supporters and opponents of the bill understood its purpose to be twofold: First, to render the act of 1868 effectua! by imposing penalties for its disregard; second, to extend that act to the District of Columbia and to contractors and subcontractors of the Government and the District; in short, that the purpose was to make a working day of eight hours for all laborers and mechanics in the employ of the United States or the District of Columbia wherever employed, and to make a like day for contractors or subcontractors upon the public works and by proper penalties to enforce the observance of such working day. In the Senate the bill was passed without any considerable discussion. (Cong. Rec., 7638.) But the reports of the committees of both Houses of Congress (Senate 948 and House 1257), while not directly discussing the question here at issue, clearly evince an understanding of the scope and purpose of the act as above stated.

The statute, while in one sense restricting and in derogation of the common right of parties to contract, is nevertheless remedial, and is entitled to a fairly liberal construction.

In view, therefore, of the previous legislation upon the subject of the alleged evils bought to be corrected, and in deference to the legislative understanding and purpose apparent in debate and reports of committees while the act was under consideration, the act itself, without violence to its language, being susceptible of either construction, I am constrained to hold that the law as to laborers and mechanics in the direct employment of the Government and of the District of Columbia is general, and that the limitations to public works applies only to such persons as are in the employ of contractors and subcontractors.

Second. As to your second question, pertaining to particular employees, I beg to suggest that its answer depends upon matters of fact not stated and not within my cogni

If the employees named are ordinary laborers or mechanics, working for the Government for wages under ordinary conditions, the statute would seem to apply. At the same time it is quite apparent that, as to some of them, it might frequently happen that they would be within the emergency exception named in the statute; and as to others, as, for instance, sailors or others on shipboard, or teamsters, their employment being peculiar, they might well be held to be, as a matter of fact, neither laborers nor mechanics within the meaning of this law. Respectfully,

W. H. H. MILLER. The SECRETARY OF WAR.

zance.

Certain foremen at the Fort Leavenworth Military Prison are not "laborers or mechanics" within the eight-hour law of August 1, 1892, chapter 352. (Opinion of the Attorney General, vol. 21, p. 22.)]

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, June 7, 1894. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge your communication of May 26, asking my official opinion as to whether certain employees at the military prison, Fort Leavenworth, Kans., are entitled to the benefits of the eight-hour law of August 1, 1892, chapter 352, as “laborers or mechanics."

It appears that four of these men are employed at the prison as “foremen of mechanics," and are each paid under the sundry civil appropriation act of March 3, 1893, (27 Stat. L., 602), a stated salary of $1,200 per annum. Their duties appear to be directing mechanical labor of the prisoners. By section 1345 of the Revised Statutes a board organized by you is empowered to" frame regulations for the government of prisons. You inform me the regulations so framed require more than eight hours' work of the prisoners, and therefore necessarily require more than eight hours' work of the men who are set to watch and direct them. Under these circumstances it is my opinion that the eight-hour law is not applicable to these employees.

The facts as to the other employees mentioned are not so clearly stated, but their case appears to be governed by the same principles Very respectfully,

RICHARD OLNEY. The SECRETARY OF WAR.

The following excerpts from the laws of the various States indicate the extent to which they have deemed it necessary to regulate the hours of employment of labor, and the tendency seems to be toward an eight-hour workday as a maximum day's labor.

In the transportation industries the number of hours of labor permitted is much more than in any other line, but even in that line, with the numerous difficulties to be overcome, the limit in the number of hours of labor permitted in any one day is gradually being reduced.

ALABAMA.

Sec. 6430. No child under the age of 14 years shall be employed or detained in or be in or about any mill, factory, or manufacturing establishment within this State more than 60 hours in any one week.

SFC. 6431. No child under 16 years of age shall be employed or detained in or be in or about any mill, factory, or manufacturing establishment within this State between the hours of 7 o'clock p. m. and 6 o'clock a. m., standard time.

Sec. 6432. No child over 16 and under 18 years of age shall be employed or detained between said hours for more than eight hours in any one night.

ARIZONA.

(Act No. 8.)

Section 1. The period of employment of workingmen in all underground mines or workings shall be eight hours per day, except in cases of emergency where life or property is in imminent danger.

ARKANSAS.

(Act No. 49.) SECTION 1. On and after the passage of this act, 10 hours shall constitute a legal day's work for all classes of workingmen and laborers, designated in the second section of this act.

Sec. 2. This act shall apply to all associations of persons, companies, or corporations engaged in the business of operating or constructing saw and planing mills in this State, and to all workingmen and laborers now or hereafter to be employed by any such associations in the running of said mills.

(Act No. 282.)

SECTION 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, corporation, association operating a railroad in the State to permit any telephone or telegraph operator who is engaged in the handling of trains by the use of the telegraph or telephone, reporting trains to each other and to the train dispatcher registering the same, and operating one or more trainorder signals, telegraph or telephone levermen who manipulate lever machines in railroad yards, or on the main tracks out on the line, connecting sidetracks or switches or train dispatchers in the service whose duties pertain to the movement of cars, engines, or trains on its railroad by the use of telegraph or telephone in dispatching or reporting trains, or receiving or transmitting train orders or messages directing the movement of trains as interpreted in this section to be on duty for more than 8 hours in any 24 consecutive hours

(Act 456.) Sec. 3. On and after September 1, 1907, no child under 14 year 8 of age shall be employed or allowed to labor in or about any factory or manufacturing establishment within the State between the hours of 7 p. m. and 6. a. m., nor for more than 60 hours in any one week, nor for more than 10 hours in any one day.

CALIFORNIA.

ARTICLE 20. Sec. 17. The time of service of all laborers or workmen or mechanics employed upon any public works of the State of California or of any county, city and county, city, town district, township, or any other subdivision thereof, whether the said work is done by contract or otherwise, shall be limited and restricted to eight hours in any one calendar day, except in cases of extraordinary emergency caused by fire, flood, or danger to life and property, or except to work on public, military, or naval works or defenses in time of war.

Sec. 3244. Eight hours of labor constitutes a day's work unless it is otherwise expressly stipulated by the parties to a contract, except those contracts provided for in the following section.

SEC. 3246. Twelve hours shall constitute a day's work on the part of drivers and conductors, and gripmen of street cars for the carriage of passengers.

(Act No. 1611.) Section 1. !o child under the age of 18 years shall be employed in laboring in any manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishment or other place of labor more than 9 hours in one day, except when necessary to make repairs to prevent the interruption of machinery, and in no case shall the hours of labor exceed 54 hours in one week. (Act No. 2665, sec. 1.)

As a measure for the protection of the publich health, no person employed by any person, firm, or corporation shall for more than an average of 10 hours a day, or 60 hours a week of 6 consecutive calendar days, perform the work of selling drugs or other medicines, or the compounding of physicians' prescriptions, in any store or establishment or place of business where and in which drugs or medicines are sold at retail.

COLORADO.

ARTICLE 5.

Sec. 25A. The general assembly shall provide by law, and shall prescribe suitable penalties for the violation thereof, for a period of employment not to exceed 8 heurs withing any 24 hours (except in cases of emergency where life or property is in imminent danger) for persons employed in underground workings, blast furnaces, smelters, and any ore-reduction works or other branch of industry or labor that the general assembly may consider injurious or dangerous to health, life, or limb. (Constitution.)

Sec. 2801A. In all work hereafter undertaken in behalf of the State or any county, township, school district, municipality, or incorporated town it shall be unlawful for any board, officer, agent, or any contractor or s.: bcontractor thereof to employ any mechanic, workingman, or laborer in the prosecution of any such work for more than eight hours a day.

Sec. 2801B. Nothing in section 1 of this act shall be construed so as to prevent work in excess of 8 hours a day in emergency cases: Provided, That hours in excess of 8 a day shall be treated as constituting, part of a subsequent day's work: And prorided, That in no one week of 7 days shall be there permitted more than 48 hours of labor. Any violation hereof shall be unlawful.

Sec. 2801E2. It shall be unlawful for any person, agent, firm, company, copartnership, or corporation to require any child, either boy or girl, of 16 years of age or less, to labor or work in any mill, factory, manufacturing establishment, shop, or store, or in or about coal or other mines, or any other occupation not herein enumerated, which may be deemed unhealthful or dangerous, for more than eight hours in the 24-hour day, except in cases where life or property is in imminent danger, or in the week before and following Christmas day.

CHAPTER 119. SECTION 1. All labor of miners in underground mines or other underground workings, and labor directly attending blast furnaces, either in smelters or in iron reductina works, in directly attending stamp mills, chlorination and cyanide processes, etc., which labor is in contact with noxious fumes, gases, or vapors, is hereby declared dangerous and injurious to health, life, and limb; and the period of employment for all persons so employed in underground mines or other underground workings, attending blast furnaces, either in smelters or in iron reduction works, etc., shall be eight hours per day, except in cases of emergency where life or property is in imminent danger.

CONNECTICUT. Sec. 4692. Eight hours of labor, performed in any one day, by any one person, shall be a lawful day's work, unless otherwise agreed.

(Acts of 1907.1

CHAPTER 251. SECTION 1. No minor under 16 years of age, and no woman, shall be employed in laboring in any manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishment more than 10 hours in any day, except when it is necessary to make repairs to prevent the interruption of the ordinary running of the machinery, or where a different apportionment of the hours of labor is made for the sole purpose of making a shorter day's work for one day of the week * * but in no case shall the hours of labor exceed 58 in a week.

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