Imágenes de páginas

The ACTING CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you, by way of investigation, are these two associations in North Carolina and South Carolina part of the State government or purely voluntary?

Mr. Swift. Purely voluntary, personal organizations, made up of about a dozen people, men and women, in each State who are interested in the subject.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.

Mr. Swift. My work has been done more largely in North Carolina than in South Carolina. I desire to offer to the committee, if they care to look at it, a resolution adopted by the North Carolina Society for Social Service, which is a representative social organization in our State. I will hand it to the reporter.

The resolution is as follows:


(Raleigh, Feb. 13-15, 1914.)


We deplore the exploitation of childhood and the fact that in the employment of young children as wage earners our State is one of the chief offenders.

We indorse the uniform child-labor law, and in particular we demand and will Eeek for the enactment of such laws as will

1. Forbid the employment of children under 14 years of age in mills, factories, workshops, stores, hotels, and other similar places.

2. Forbid the working of any child under 16 years of age for more than eight hours in any one day, or on Sunday, or later than 7 p. m. or earli han 7 a. m. at those places named in No. 1.

3. Forbid the employment of any child under 16 years of age to be worked at any place or occupation declared by the State board of health to be dangerous to life or limb or injurious to health.

4. Forbid the employment of any child under 14 at any work during the hours when the public school is in session.

5. Forbid the employment of any child under 14 as messenger boy in cities and towns of more than 5,000 inhabitants, and forbid the employment of any child under 16, preferably 18, as messenger boy after 10 p. m. or before 7 a. m. in cities and towns of more than 5,000 inhabitants.

6. Forbid the employment of any child under 16 at any of the places named in No. 1, except with a permit issued in a regular way after evidence of age has been offered.

7. We favor the passing of such laws as will place the enforcement of our child-labor legislation under the department of labor and printing and will specifically charge the commissioner of labor and printing with the duty of enforcing these laws, and of making all necessary rules and regulations, of keeping a record and reporting all children under 16 years of age who are at work, and of making full and accurate reports upon industrial conditions.

In order that the commissioner of labor and printing may do this work we shall ask that he be provided with sufficient money for the employment of as many inspectors as shall be found to be necessary for the enforcement of all laws to the employment of children, and such other laws as shall be found necessary for the protection of the health and the life of all workers.

We recommend that the compulsory educational law be raised to 14 with careful enforcement.

Mr. SWIFT. I also desire to call the attention of this committee to the hours of labor in both North Carolina and South Carolina. In both States the hours of labor are 60.

Senator POMERENE. Per week?

Mr. SWIFT. Per week. In each State this means, so far as my observation has gone, with one or two exceptions, 11 hours a day for five days in the week, with a short Saturday. There is now

pending in the Legislature of South Carolina a bill somewhat modifying the hours of labor, but still leaving it at 11. The last Assembly of North Carolina enacted a bill permitting the employment of persons 11 hours a day. I have not investigated this side of it for nearly a year, but when I did investigate it about a year ago, or a little more than a year ago, there was night work in the textile mills in which women and children are generally employed. The custom was to make 60 hours in five nights, which meant 12 hours work per night. I have no information that that custom has been departed from. In North Carolina a child under 16 can not be employed at night work.

Mr. PATTERSON. Mr. Chairman, I was a witness on yesterday, and I would like to ask the gentle man one question.

Mr. Swift. I will be glad to answer it.

Mr. PATTERSON. I would like to ask whether where the hours were five nights of 12 hours, whether it is equally so that the wages were for a whole week in the night work? I do not use night work.

Mr. Swift. That is true. My information is that the wages were the same. I found a case or two in which the wages for the night work are a little higher, but the general rule was to make as much in five nights as you would in six days.

Mr. PATTERSON. In my State no child under 16 years of age can be employed at night work.

Senator POINDEXTER. When was that law enacted ?
Mr. PATTERSON. That law was enacted in 1911.
Senator ROBINSON. What State is that?
Mr. PATTERSON. North Carolina.
Senator LIPPITT. Are those laws enforced?

Mr. Swift. If you will pardon me, maybe Mr. Patterson knows that we have the same law for night work in North Carolina. In South Carolina, from our investigations and from my observation, the laws are pretty well enforced; at least, there has been a great reduction in the number of children ur der 12 years of age employed in the mills, as is shown by the report of Commissioner Watson. There are two inspectors whose business it is to travel over the State and look to the enforcement of the law. They are enforcing it better and better each year. I want to say, too, that it may be that right now South Carolina may have a 14-year-old law instead of a 12-year-old law.

Senator SMITH. Is not that bill pending now?

Mr. Swift. That was the bill that was per ding. It was out of the house and went to the senate when I left there Saturday night. That simply raised the age limit from 12 to 14.

Senator iOINDEXTER. Will that prevent the employment of children under 14?

Mr. Swift. Yes, sir.
Senator Smith of South Carolina. Under 14 during the day.
Mr. SWIFT. And under 16 during the night.

Senator SMITH. We want to raise the limit by State legislation to 16 and have inspectors to see that the law is rigidly enforced.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN. What is the minimum age in your State?

Mr. SWIFT. It never has at all been clear what the minimum age is. The law says that no child under 12 years of age shall be employed, with a proviso that no child under 13 shall be employed

except in an apprenticeship capacity, and then only after having attended school four months of the year previous. Up to 18 months ago it was generally accepted that that law meant 12, provided the child went to school; that children who went to school were working in an apprenticeship capacity. I talked with a very large number of mill superintendents and mill directors, and the rule was with them at that time to show by the age certificates, where they had age certifcates, that the child was 12 years of age. A great many of them did not have the certificates at all, and uniess they have taken them up within the last year, they have not them now. The age certificate showed that each child wes 12 years of age. I think that was generally accepted. Lately, however, I wish to say that there seems to have come an understanding that 13 is the age limit for employment. None of these children are apprentices under our code procedure. I know that two of three of our lee ding manufacturers have given me information that they are now employing no child under 13. I know that also in another mill where I have made inspection, I found no child under 13. I have seen it stated with authority during the past month that 13 is the age limit; so I think within these three years it is coming to be accepted that a child who goes to work as doffer or spinner is not an apprentice, but is a work hand, and, in some cases, in some of our better mills, they are not now hired until they become 13.

Now, I will return to your question. In North Carolina there is practically no enforcement, and so far as I know, has never been any. I have seen very many children under 12 years of age at work in our mills. I have walked through more than a score of mills with a superintendent or a boss, in a very friendly way, and have children pointed out to me from time to time, and we would frequently find three or four or five under 12 years of age, depending somewhat upon the size of the mill.

We have no inspector for the enforcement of the law in our State. Our commissioner of labor is an inspector of mines, but we have very few mines. When it comes to the mills, no authority has been given to him.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN. Has your association made any effort to have inspectors appointed ?

Mr. SWIFT. We have. At the legislature, just prior to the legislature of 1911, I had spent several months traveling over the State and most of my business was in a very friendly conference with the manufacturers, and I thought I was getting along nicely, and we came to a sort of agreement between the manufacturers and this association upon what should be done and a bill was drawn which provided for inspection under certain State officers, who were to select the inspector. We introduced that bill, but we could not make progress with it.

Senator LA FOLLETTE. It stuck somewhere?
Mr. SWIFT. Yes, sir; it stuck.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN. Is there any objection to your filing affidavits against those mills or other persons that you came in contact with ?

Mr. SWIFT. No, sir; I have not filed the affidavits for the reason that I was working as a private citizen. The State officials are there. We have sent certain reports that we have made to the commissioner

of labor and he has sent them in turn to the different solicitors. That is as far as we have gone. In 1913 another bill was introduced, known as the Weaver child-labor bill which is practically the same as the standard set up in the bill now pending in Congress.

Mr. KITCHIN. I do not want to interrupt you. Have you finished your explanation about the instructions ?

Mr. Swift. No; I want to go a little further. This bill was offered, and we failed in getting it along. Then Senator Nash, of Oregon County, made a motion on the floor of the Senate for the appointment of inspectors to enforce the law and discover the facts. That did not get along either. Under our present law the county superintendent of public instruction is charged with the duty of reporting to the solicitors of each district violations of the law. I have heard of only two or three reports. I did hear the State superintendent of public instruction say that the county superintendents could not and would not do that work.

Mr. Kirchin. That is what I want to show, that the superintendent of public instruction is charged with the duty of reporting.

Mr. Swift. The superintendent is charged with the duty of reporting, but he is not charged with the duty of looking into the mill and see how things are going. The report must come to him before he sends it out. That is the status of the law, as far as I remember, and I would like any question to be asked me on that subject.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN. Do you mean to say that the law has been so construed that it is his duty to report and not his duty to get information?

Mr. SWIFT. There has been no construction of the law at all. Senator La FOLLETTE. Is that the way he construes the law? Mr. Swift. My understanding is, that it is. S nator LA FOLLETTE. Is that the superintendent of instruction? Mr. SWIFT. The county superintendent. Senator Smith of South Carolina. Without investigation, but who is to report to him?

Mr. Swift. Nobody is to report to him. He would have heard of it in passing

The ACTING CHAIRMAN. He had better get a legal adviser.

Senator POINDEXTER: The whole system seems to have the hookworm. [Laughter.]

Mr. SWIFT. That is a little embarrassing to a citizen of that State. Now, on the other side of it, I want to say to the committee that in looking over this field I have seen a great deal of very good work done in the way of schoolhouses, in the way of erecting Young Men's Christian Associations, and in the way of employment of teachers.

Senator LIPPITT. By whom?

Mr. SWIFT. By the mills. My observation is that those who do the work do not constitute the large percentage of the more than 300 mills in the State.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN. What proportion of them do it?
Mr. Swift. I should say not 50 per cent; I do not think it is 40

per cent.

Senator LIPPITT. Do you mean 50 per cent of the mills or 50 per cent of the helpers? It is mostly the larger mills.

Mr. Swift. Most of the larger mills are doing some betterment work.

Senator LIPPITT. So if the large mills would do it, it should be a very much larger per cent that got the benefit of it?

Mr. Swift. Yes, sir; but I do not think the large per cent of mills do it. Now, whenever you find a mill in a city or town they have school advantages and whatever advantages come to the city. I am speaking of mills that are not located in a city or town. I do not know of very many or not a large number of Young Men's Christian Associations or with very many district nurses. I have made some examination of the educational opportunities offered the children who would come in from the country, and it has led me to the conclusion that the movement from the country to the mill for education does not work that way. As far as I have studied the reports, and if it is desired I will file them later--the family or child of a family that moves from the country to the mill district does not stand as good a chance to get

an education as if it had stayed in the country. Senator LIPPITT. Why do they move from the country to the mill district ?

Mr. Swift. This is one reason: It is mighty attractive to themto the people living on the farm, who have been working hard-to know that they can get money; that every two weeks it passes into their hands.

Senator LIPPITT. You say “working hard.” Do you know of a child working harder on the farm than it does in the mills ?

Mr. Swift. I do not think so. It would depend upon what you mean by hard work.

Senator LIPPITT. You employed the expression. You said “working hard." Mr. Swift. They are not rich people; they are very poor folks. Senator LIPPITT. They come in because they are better paid?

Mr. SWIFT. They think they are. For the time being I think they are. The better pay comes this way: You can not use children very profitably on a farm except for about three months when you are raising cotton or corn and about a month when you are gathering cotton or corn. They can not be used profitably. When a man would carry those to a mill, all the children-say, from the age of 12—would become wage earners, and I think they would get 50 cents or more for the youngest, or may be 75 cents. So the family income looks large.

Senator LIPPITT. And the family gets a larger living, I suppose, as a whole ?

Mr. SWIFT. I doubt that, because in the mill

Senator LIPPITT. I thought you just said their living depended on this?

Mr. Swift. No; I do not mean to say that their living would depend on this. They could keep a cow in the country. They generally can not in the mill town; and in the country they could raise a garden, in the mill town they do not. Still, there is not so much difference. I would not say they might not wear better clothes and have better food.

Senator LIPPITT. Better clothes?
Mr. SWIFT. Yes, sir.
Senator LIPPITT. Better houses ?

« AnteriorContinuar »