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hours a day are long enough for people nearly all adults, probably all adults, to work on Federal contract work, either for the Government itself or for private contractors, if eight hours a day constitute a long enough day for convicts in our penitentiaries.
If these hours are long enough for Government and State employees and convicts, we submit to you gentlemen that eight hours a day constitute a long enough day for children between 14 and 16 years of age who have just come out of school, who are in the very midst of that radical change that comes to every child at that time of life, going through the adolescent period, when they need protection and care, not only for their education and morals but for their physical health.
The fourth standard refers to night work, and there are at present 33 States and the District of Columbia and Porto Rico that forbid the employment of any children under 16 years of age at night-a majority of the States,
A question at this point might reasonably be asked: If so many States have taken this stand--if within the past 10 years so many States have made such advances toward the standard sought in this bill--why, then, this relief from the Federal Government in accomplishing what seems to be a foregone conclusion in the future by State legislatures? The fact is, in a number of these States I have mentioned the law refers only to specific industries, and I am mentioning them here simply to establish a principle as a standard and not as affording the protection that is sought.
The sentiment in many of these States where the laws are more sweeping is that while they would not fear protecting the children against these conditions, yet, as a matter of fact, the laws are ignored. In some of the States the departments of factory inspection are entirely lacking. The State will pass a law, but make no provision for the machinery to enforce the law. In other States the inspection departments are either so limited by small appropriations or such a small force or so tied down by other conflicting influences that their efficiency is greatly impaired.
[From report of House ('ommittee on Labor.)
STATEMENT OF MISS JULIA C. LATHROP, OF THE CHILDREN'S BUREAU, DEPARTMENT
OF LABOR, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Miss LATHROP. Directly the bureau was organized its correspondence revealed afresh a country-wide desire to get rid of child labor, a conviction that there must be abolished any condition which defrauds the child of his right to education and a fair start in life. In addition to the correspondence which showed this very wide popular feeling, last year it was my duty to go much about the country stating as well as I could the purpose and scope of the bureau, and I found everywhere groups of people very deeply interested in the question of preventing child labor, persuaded that it is the duty of the public, not merely negatively to abolish the premature labor of children, but to provide those apportunities for the just development of every child which the ideal of a sound democracy requires. These were people not always skilled in legislative wisdom, but who were only waiting for the passage of such a measure as this to take hold of the task of substituting for the labor of children the training which is their due, of putting child training in the place of child labor. The passage of such a measure as this would undoubtedly signalize a distinct and immediate advance in the provisions for the hygiene and education of children.
The CHAIRMAN. You are perhaps prepared to give an opinion upon a question like this: Do the medical authorities find it to be a fact that the stress of continuous labor, industrial labor, affects the growth of the child, the ordinary physical development of the child?
Miss LATHROP. I think that all European and American authorities alike agree upon that. Of course the labor of children is very largely surrounded by such other disadvantageous conditions outside of the factory as go to make the factory injury from impure air or overspeedling, even more disadvantageous to the child than if the child came from a happy and luxurious home, to which he or she returned, where health and comfort were preserved in every respect outside of the hours of labor.
The CHAIRMAN. What age or period of the child's life has been indicated by the physicians as the appropriate age at which labor could safely begin?
Miss LATHROP. I am not aware that there is any uniform decision by the medical profession on this matter, but I notice that every year those who
study most carefully the growth and development of America push that age further and further ahead, whether they are educators or whether they are physicians, or whether they are interested in any form of civic improvement where the interests of the child are concerned.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know whether that indicates a general sympathy for childhood or whether it indicates a medical opinion as to the fact.
Miss LATHROP. I think it very emphatically indicates a medical opinion. Such material as was gathered by Josephine Goldmark in her book on Fatigue and Efficiency is testimony in that particular. There are many medical opinions and brief studies scattered through the whole literature of child labor, but thus far, with the exception of the volume on Fatigue and Efficiency, I know of no general compilation.
I should like to explain to this committee the attitude of the Children's Bureau. The bureau was confronted by the field marked out for it by this conmittee, namely, to investigate and report upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of our people, and at the same time by the fact that its staff consisted of 15 people and its appropriation $25,610.
At the same time the $300,000 investigation by the Bureau of Labor into the labor of women and children was still not. entirely published, and it seemed grossly absurd to put the two field investigators provided by the law, for the Children's Bureau on this subject; so that we did not begin our field inquiries by further investigation of child labor.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there not a publication of the Department of Labor on child labor forthcoming and ready for print?
Miss LATHROP. Of course they have published certain material on child labor. The full report on woman and child wage earners in the United States contains much material on child labor, and in the reports on the glass industry and textile mills there are special sections on the relation of labor to health. Thus on pages 385–386 in the report on the textile mills (Vol. I) the greater liability of children to accident is shown, and pages 47-59 of the report on the glass industry (Vol. III) describe the great physical strain of the work for boys, and pages 433–447 the relation to health of the work of girls in this industry. Volume XIV, on the causes of death among woman and child cotton-mill operatives, is suggestive in this connection. I have been told that it is intended to make a popular condensation of all the reports. I do not know how this is progressing. Mr. HAWLEY. May I ask a question, Mr. Chairman? The CHAIRMAN. Certainly.
Mr. HAWLEY. There is in the world a growing sentiment in favor of vocational education. You have been interested in that?
Miss LATHROP. Very greatly.
Mr. HAWLEY. There is nothing in this bill that would interfere, you think, with the carrying out of that plan of vocational education?
Miss LATHROP. If I di not think the bill would greatly serve that end I should be absolutely against it. There is appended hereto a statement prepared by Dr. Arthur Reed Perry, of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, under direction of Dr. Royal Meeker, the commissioner of the bureau. I think this statement is unique and feel that I can greatly clarify my statement by adding it.
“There is now being prepared by Arthur Reed Perry, M. L!, through the L'nited States Bureau of Labor Statistics, an extension of his 1905 to 1907 study of factors that shorten lives of woman and child operatives in cotton manufacturing cities (published as Vol. XIV of the nineteenth volume report upon woman and child wage earners, S. Doc. No. 645, 61st Cong., 2d sess.), that will be based upon accompanying circumstances or phenomena of the lives of all persons aged 10 to 64 years dying in Fall River, Mass., during the semidecade 1908 to 1912—the initial study (Fall River) in a survey series of antilongevity causes in manufacturing cities of foremost rank in the several industries.
“Possibly the most conclusive argument against allowing children under 16 to work is the showing, both in Volume XIV, page 72, and in this coming supplementary study of Dr. Perry's, that girl cotton operatives (most of whom even in New England, prior to 1912, began millwork before their fifteenth birthday) after working in the mill only a few years have become very much more liable to die than holds true of the aggregate other girls of their city of the same age.
" Table 84, page 400, of this Volume XIV shows that a sixth (16 per cent) of the female operators dying from tuberculosis within the cities included in that study began millwork before they were 13 years of age.
Tenacity of life is at its zenith around the age of puberty. Conditions must be superlatively bad, therefore, in order to kill outright children either near the age of 14 or those on the threshold of youth in the post-puberty age period, 15 to 19.
“ Vitality conservation quite as much as stature increase is the function of adolescence.
"This is the period, therefore, during which should be jealously safeguarded for the child his inherent right, perquisite, pleasure, and duty to accumulate and save from nature's gifts of vitality, lavishly bestowed upon him daily, a store that later drawn upon will predicate a favorable issue over misfortune and accident, stress and disease.
Nevertheless advantage has been taken of their tenacity of life to impose upon children working days so long, tasks so unsuitable, or workshops so unhygienic that, barely to exist as he is the child is obliged each day to draw upon and use what nature intended for present growth and for later emergency use to insure longevity.
“ For even in these childhood, post-puberty, and youthful years of designed vitality-plenty apparently for some operative girls the exigencies of daily living already had used up their reserve ength, because in three cotton manufacturing cities during a period of three years the number of deaths from tuberculosis to each 1,000 girls of each designated occupation class of specified age Volume XIV shows (Table VI, p. 198) to have been as follows:
Operatives, thus, of the most youthful age group were four times, those of the post-puberty group were twice, and those of the young adult group-20 to 24—were about two and a half times as liable to die from tuberculosis as were, respectively, the girls of like age that did not work in cotton mills. It must be remembered that one-half of all female operatives are aged 15 to 24 and that, therefore, this group is a fair sample of the cotton industry.
“ It is scarcely less than obvious that the groups 15 to 19 and 20 to 24 together comprise about the very earliest age period in which premature age at beginning wage earning,' or occupation, childbearing, or, in fact, any other life incident or accompanying circumstance, however debilitating, could have so depleted a worker's native store of resistance and vitality as to have resulted in death.
“And yet Volume XIV has shown, furthermore (Table 52, p. 325), that thus early in life exercise even of the natural function of childbearing by Fall River operatives of 1905 to 1907 was atten ed with an enormously greater hazard to life than it was for nonoperatives similarly aged. (Operative rate from parturition 0.56 per 1,000 of whole population aged 15 to 24; nonoperative rate from the same cause 0.06 per 1,000 of whole population aged 15 to 24.)
“ Moreover, the same table shows that the whole liability of female operatives aged 15 to 24 to die from any and all causes (5.30 per 1,000) was more than one and three-quarters times as great as obtained in the case of nonoperative girls of the same age (2.96 per 1,000).
" Obviously it may be objected that there is an appreciable degree of inequity in comparing the death rate of a class—the operatives—all of whom work, with the death rate of nonoperative girls of the same age, since some of the latter are not wageworkers.
The excess hazard of the operatives, however, is so enormous as more than to offset any unfairness in the comparison.
“ To guard against even the possibility of misapprehension, perhaps it should be pointed out also that there is a considerable degree of probable unfairness in comparing, as respects their hazard from parturition, the whole class of operatives with that of nonoperatives, irrespective of conjugal condition.
"Because, though at the age of 15 to 24, the female population of Fall River, married and single together, is almost equally divided between operatives and nonoperatives, it is extremely likely that operatives constitute a considerable majority of the whole married population of this young-age group. Still the comparison, though admittedly inexact, can not mislead, because (all) operatives, as has been noted above, 'were ten times as liable to die from childbirth as were (all) nonoperatives of the same age, and there is no probability that married operatives were anything like ten times as numerous, even in age group 15 to 24, as were the married nonoperatives.
“ It is now becoming in some degree appreciated how much misery and inefficiency result from long-unrecognized defective vision, and how large is the number of deaths in middle and later life that basically are attributable to unidentified lesions caused in childhood by the so-called mild contagious diseases—as measles and whooping cough-as well as to the severer ones scarlet fever, diphtheria, pneumonia, tonsillitis, and influenza.
Hence, accompanying the crusade for a high age limit for beginning wage. earning, and of no less value practically in conserving health through preventive measures, should be a demand for an employment physician' with power, after a thorough physical examination of applicants, to refuse an employment permit to anyone until crippling defects of vision, nutrition, or disease shall have been corrected, and to withhold from any applicant a permit to work in such industries as shall be deemed grossly inimical to the applicant's longevity. The applicant, for example, with incipient tuberculosis should be withheld from employment in indoor dusty occupations, and he with a leaky heart valve should be kept out of the heavier and physically more strenuous trades. Moreover, whenever change of employment is sought it should be the physician's duty also to reexamine each such applicant and to grant or refuse a certificate for reemployment, whether in the same or in a new industry, wholly with reference to the applicant's physical condition at that time. Incidentally, through such reexaminations ultimately there may be learned much respecting the effect of occupations upon the health.
“ (Respectfully submitted Mar. 18, 1914, by Arthur Reed Perry, M. D.)”
THE EIGHT-HOUR DAY FOR CHILDREN.
[Article by Anna Rochester, former special agent National Child-Labor Committee.]
The eight-hour day has been so widely recognized as the normal working-day for adults that the advantages of such a limit for working children are almost beyond discussion. But to those who are weighing the merits of the eight-hour regulations containerl in the proposed Federal child-labor bill and in child-labor bills now pending before State legislatures, we offer a brief review of existing statutes, their reasons and advantages, together with the practical experience of industrial States which have already restricted to eight hours the workingday of children.
The normal day. In the majority of skilled trades, the eight-hour day has for years been the recognized standard, and “overtime ” beyond this limit has received special compensation. In line with this tendency are the statutes of some half dozen States which provide that eight hours shall constitute a clay's work unless otherwise specified by contract. Ten other States limit the work of convicts to eight (or less) per day. More significant are the increasing number of States limiting the hours of work of public employees to eight a day without overtime except in cases of emergency. Their provisions vary greatly, applying in some cases only to persons employed directly by the State or by municipalities and in other cases to all persons employed on contracts for the government. The law covering Federal employees is fairly comprehensive and shows that Congress has definitely accepted the principle that eight hours constitute a normal day's work for adults.
Health. There is another type of State laws fixing in eight-hour day for adults in certain specified occupations. Arkansas, Nevada, Maryland, and others limit to eight hours the working-day of persons on whom depends th safety of
others. Certain classes of railroad employees (particularly those who are responsible for the spacing of trains) and hoisting engineers in mines are specially selected for such restriction, because a mind alert and well controlled is obviously necessary for the protection of the public in one case, and of fellow workers in the other. The statutes tacitly admit that an alert mind, which means a body free from excessive fatigue, can be assured only by the eighthour day.
Consider: The adult is assumed to fall below par physically if he works more than eight hours. What then of the immature youth, the child under 16 years, who works more than eight hours? His work may not involve the safety of others, but it surely involves his own physical deterioration. And yet 16 of these States, whose laws set an eight-hour for one or another class of adult workers, allow their children to work a longer day.
Again: Some States have fixed an eight-hour day for all workers in mines, and this suggests another query: Which is more subject to injurious fatigue, an adult working underground or a youngster repeating the monotonous processes of a typical, highly specialized factory? Reserve your answer until you read this little extract from the brief submitted by Mr. Louis D. Brandeis and Miss Josephine Goldmark to the Supreme Courts of Oregon, Illinois, and Ohio, and now published under the title of “Fatigue and efficiency." (The brief was based on a compilation of opinions of scientists and on special investigations and researches.) They say:
“Besides physical strain due to speeding and complexity of machinery, health is injured by the extreme monotony of many branches of industry. Specialization has been carried so far that change and variety of work is reduced to a minimum. Minute division of labor results in the constant repetition of similar motions and processes by the same worker favoring the onset of fatigue and requiring for relief the establishment of a shorter workday.”
Or more in detail, note the opinion of one leading physician of Cincinnati :
“It is well known that excessive exercise of certain muscles will result not in increase of strength but in degeneration and weakening.
Apply these statements in practice to the case of a girl feeding material to a machine and sitting in one posture for hours at a time; to the case of a boy handling small articles of manufacture, having perhaps nothing more to do than to remove them from one machine to another close by, or to perform, in the standing position, a set of movements with rapidity but involving no test of strength. Such work commonly develops quickness of eye and dexterity of fingers. It is certainly not looked upon as involving physical strain of any account.
As a matter of fact, standing and sitting are possible only by active muscular work and, when prolonged, have connected with them the disadvantage of permitting but little change of activity to other muscles. Under these circumstances the tissues yield under unrelieved strain, the leg and trunk muscles become excessvely fatigued and compel the assumption for relief of faulty postures which finally take the place of the normal and leave the child more or less deformed.
Standing occupations involve the feet and legs in greatest strain, and more especially the feet. In consequence we see developing, during the adolescent years, that condition known as flat foot.
Lateral curvature of the spine is frequently seen in girls who have been engaged in sitting occupations during the developmental period.
Such a severe degree of lateral curvature adds greatly to the likelihood of developing pulmonary consumption.
The remoter effect of the deformity upon the pelvis of the girls I need only mention to the extent of saying that
this has always been recognized by medical men as of potentially serious influence upon the material function."
Approximately 100,000 children under 16 are now working more than eight hours a day in the factories and mills of the United States.
Recreation, study, and efficiency.-Involved in these physical effects are others disastrous alike to the child and to industry. The complaint that workers as a class are apathetic, stupid, incompetent, and generally inefficient is repeated so often by certain employers that one might fancy the entire race was degenerating. But wouldn't you be apathetic if you were chronically tired? Wouldn't you be stupid if your work consumed so many hours that you had little or no time for recreation? “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' And suppose you were strong enough in body and in will to keep your interest
1 99,387 factory workers under 13 years in States having no eight-hour law for children, United States Census of Manufactures, 1909 (based on employers' reports).