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LABOR LAWS AND THEIR ADMINISTRATION, 1936

e labor standards-shorter hours, minimum wages, no child
some kind of decent organization and representation of workers
ms of equal bargaining power-met with common assent. It
e common will of the people, so far as anyone can judge. Even
year of campaign, which in our American life is an open season
ing anything you feel like saying, even if it does not make
ense and that is one of the things that will help to preserve
mocracy-I have yet to hear a voice raised to say that he or
against reasonably short hours, wages as high as is commen-
with the value of the services and the American standard of
the abolition of child labor, and the protection of the individual
by organized social security.

y of us think that because the people have said this, either by
by general assent, that it has been accomplished. We have
of thinking that those things we have agreed to have been done,
do not always look realistically into the facts of the situation.
ow that these great ideas have not been accomplished in the
States of America, or in any State. They have been accom-
here and there and where they have been accomplished they
en a blessing, but they have not been totally accomplished any-
and there are great gaps in the program of reality throughout
ited States. It is your duty and mine-we who are the officials
>eople of this country for carrying out their will in this field of
m labor standards-to give reality to these accepted standards.
are not new ideas; they are ideas that have been in common
ion for many years. Most of them have been discussed in this
er meetings for many years, but they must be given reality in
of the people, so that John Jones and Mary Smith, working in
stant mine, in some workshop away up the line-persons far
1 from influence with legislators and politicians and even
ware of the laws of the State-may know in their daily lives
sonably short hours, good wages, and good working conditions
mean; that they may have the simple human decencies and
asis of the experience and enjoyment thereof may begin to
their lives, their own inner capacities. For John Jones and
aith are human souls precious in the sight of God and vital to
f this Republic. Until everyone experiences these high ideals
mon factor of their lives we shall not have discharged our
urs and mine particularly-to the generation that brought
and to the generation that gave us this obligation and this
o perform for our fellow citizens.

um labor standards ought to be as much guaranteed by the
nts of the States and by the Federal Government as our
e guaranteed. Whenever improvements can be made upon
andards, let us make them, by free collective bar-
employers who have vision and capacity

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to explore how they may make conditions better, by the vigor and intelligence of organized workmen who can point a way to better conditions. But let us have certain minima which are the same for everyone. The technical problems which are involved in the actual accomplishment of safety and sanitation, in the accomplishment of regular work, in the accomplishment of reasonable but flexible hours, and in the accomplishment of high and steady wages are many. Our privilege, as well as our duty, is to help in the solution of these problems. Primarily, the responsibility to solve these problems is upon the employers of the country. The laws of every State put the responsibility upon them to find ways and means by which to ventilate a room in which noxious and poisonous fumes are being generated. Primarily, the law puts the responsibility on them to provide methods by which to guard the machines which are likely to cut off the hands of the workmen. Yes, primarily, the responsibility is theirs; but it is the privilege and opportunity of the people who hold high posts in government to help those farsighted and well-intentioned employers. They look to you to find the solution of these problems. It is also your obligation and your privilege to insist that those employers who are not interested in solving these problems, who do not care about solving these problems--and there are some-shall by one device or another be required to live up to minimum standards and the best practice that has been discovered by the best employers in the country.

These 4 years during which I have been a Federal officer in the Department of Labor, rather than a State officer, have given me new insight into many problems of the labor-law people and the State labor officials, and they have also given me new faith in the possibilities of life in our great American democracy, and in the possibility of the solution of some of these apparently difficult technical problems. The people of this country want leadership. They will veto or approve the suggestions made by leaders, and they will do so after ample conversation; then they will decide whether the ideas and plans of this or the other leader are good and sound and suitable for them. They want leadership such as is given to a family by a trusted doctor, who, in the case of illness, analyzes the problem before the members of the family in terms they can understand; who states the known facts with regard to the problem fairly and scientifically, and, relying upon his own experience and upon the good faith and experience of others working in the same field as himself, finally states his solution and his recommendation. It is then up to them to say whether they want to go in the direction he recommends or whether they want to consult another doctor.

ADDRESS BY MISS FRANCES PERKINS

It is the duty of those who are charged with the administration of government in a democracy to state the facts and all the known experience of the world fairly and honestly and clearly, so that those

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who are deciding whether they will veto or approve the program can know with what they are dealing. It is just the same with people and with government in this complicated world as it is with doctors and their patients in a complicated scientific situation. Your responsibility as government labor officals is to find the solutions, particularly the technical solutions, in your field, and by truth and by knowledge honestly and faithfully lead the people to the reality, to the substance of the things hoped for. All of the people of this country want conditions to be as good as possible for the 30 million wage earners of the United States—there is no question about that—and it is our duty to find the solution for the technical problems which stand in the way of the accomplishment of those ideas.

The United States Department of Labor has for many years-and I think I should say at this time, because you are by way of being my constituents, has specifically, for the last 3 years while I have been in office in the Department of Labor-sought and invited the cooperation of the State departments of labor. We have not attempted to direct, to control, or to govern, but have sought by conference and consultation to arrive at common standards, practically conceived, which all of us could carry out-common standards of legislation, common standards of performances. I think that I have seen a good will between the States in this field of labor legislation and labor-law administration such as has rarely been seen before in the history of the United States.

We are now faced with a new problem in the United States Department of Labor, for which we are again seeking the cooperation of the State labor departments. The Walsh-Healey Act, which prescribes certain labor standards on contracts of the Federal Government to purchase goods from various dealers, goes into effect next Monday, and I have the opportunity of expressing to you today the hope that the government labor officials of the various States will find it possible to cooperate with the United States Department of Labor in enforcing and administering this particular law. There is, as you probably know, a clause in the Walsh-Healey Act which permits the Secretary of Labor of the United States, who has the final responsibility in the matter, to ask for the cooperation of the State governments in the matter of the inspection of factories and of the terms and conditions of work. Although the contract between the purchasing department of the United States Government and the particular contractor will stipulate that the hours must be 40, that there must be no child labor, that there must be healthful and safe physical working conditions, and that the wages must not be below a certain minimum established by the Secretary of Labor, for the carrying out thereof the law specifically points out that the Secretary may invite and request the cooperation of the State, and may utilize the State inspection services when consent to such a program is given by the governments of the States.

This clause was not written in lightly. I can say to you, who are professional labor-law administrators, that the Department of Labor went before the committees of Congress and specifically requested that this clause be written in, so that the State labor departments might guarantee to the United States Government the safe and sanitary conditions of the factories in which the work was being done in their States and might carry on the inspection services with regard to hours of labor and compliance with minimum-wage regulations in their particular States. We feel not only that this will be a tremendous practical benefit to the United States, but also that it will be of inestimable advantage to the enforcement of State labor laws in the various States. Some of your laws are excellent, admirable, and have been administered conscientiously by administrators in the various States, and the benefit of the act lies in the fact that the contract for a big order of goods is not valid unless your State labor law is complied with by those who are manufacturing those goods. That will give you a real help and, shall we say, a free and cooperative enforcement of the labor laws of your State. So we hope that great progress is to be made in the technique of cooperation between the States and the Federal Government. It is my hope at this time that it will be found possible to refund. periodically to the States any financial outlay that they may incur in cooperating with the United States Department of Labor with regard to labor conditions in carrying out the particular rontracts which are enumerated under the Walsh-Healey Act. Many of the States are willing and able to help in the administration of this act, and with such central supervision from Washington as will ensure uniformity in the interpretation of the standards and in the application of the law, I believe there will be a tremendous improvement in this technique of cooperation.

Of particular interest and significance to the State labor adminisrations is the provision that the contractors must comply with the ubor standards existing in their States with regard to safety and Eralth. Fundamentally, the successful extension of safeguards to

to which will result will be the achievements of the States backed of the Federal Government. There are three reasons why we are w strongly for State cooperation and State aid in the carrying out

{ this Walsh-Healey Act: First, the United States Department of Libor has always in the past built its work upon State cooperation od wants to continue to do so in the future; second, we are specifically sithorized to utilize administrative offices of the States; and, third, froin a practical standpoint in the present situation, the United States Department of Labor has not as yet been granted sufficient and necescary funds for the full enforcement of the law. So that at present the only available activities and facilities will be those which can be provided by the States in cooperation with the Federal Government, and we hope to build on that a practical type of enforcement. I think it is very important in carrying out this Walsh-Healey Act that we should utilize at every point the techniques of persuasion and confidence, that we should not come down suddenly with regulations which have not been amply discussed by both employers and labor in the industries affected.

The law makes certain basic minima clear-working conditions, child labor, and the 40-hour week, except in special cases. Provision has been made for the Secretary to set a minimum-wage standard where that is necessary. There are many industries where the minimum-wage standards are way above what could be called a sweatshop level of wages, and yet there are others in which the sweatshop level of wages tends to pull down all the wages in that industry. We shall be quite practical, if I may say so. We shall begin with the most important things first. We shall begin with the abuses. We shall attempt first to inquire into the minimumwage levels that ought to be established on Government-contract work in those industries where we know of our own knowledge that in the past there has been continuous exploitation and underpayment on Government work. Some of you have been horrified to see an order for Government raincoats go to the factory in your State which you know to be the greatest chiseler, while some of the best factories conducted by high-principled employers did not get the order and could not compete. It is in the spirit of helping those employers who are trying to maintain their standards in their industry, of helping them to promote that public interest and not to be beaten down by the competition of the conscienceless employers, that we want to approach this problem. I see no othur spirit among the working people of this country than one of desire to cooperate with those employers who are fair and high-minded and who want to cooperate with them for the best development of the industrial life of the community.

I think that in every State you will have the best kind of advisory relationship on the development, extension, and enforcement of the Walsh-Healey Act. The year 1935 in the United States was a banner year in labor legislation, and the impetus has continued into this year also. I want to point out to you—and again I speak to you as constituents to whom I should make a report at the end of my first term of office—that from the very beginning the participation of the various commissioners of labor with the United States Department of Labor by invitation and intent has been good and complete, and I lay the fact that 1935 and 1936 were banner years in State labor legislation to the cooperation and understanding between the State labor departments and the Federal Department of Labor. We met together frequently, in small groups and in large groups, to discuss what should be our fundamental program for labor legislation in the United States. We admitted from the beginning that it was necessary to build up the State labor laws coordinately and cooperatively with any codes that might be established for fair labor practices under N. R. A., and because we were not slothful, because we paid attention to these small areas where progress could be made, we have had great improvement in State labor legislation throughout the C'nited States of America. I myself and the people of our Department have had great stimulus and inspiration from these conferences, because of the fact that you and those behind you in your State, who represent a desire for the best kind of labor law and labor-law administration, have practically and honestly cooperated in building a program which was adapted to the people in the locality, and to advise the best technical ways of enforcement.

We have also had a surprising exchange of technique among States. The Federal Department of Labor has striven, at your suggestion and request, to build up in its own personnel a body of people who can be called on as consultants in particular fields to discuss with any State, any community, any group of labor officials, or trade union or employer officials, a particular technical problem having to do with the carrying out of one of the general provisions of labor law. We have in the Federal Department of Labor a consultant on industrial diseases and their prevention. That person is available for consultation and advice to any State, any trade union, any competent body of employers, at any time. We have persons who are expert on accident prevention, and who are available for consultation anywhere in the United Ştates when their advice is needed. We have persons who are expert on enforcement or inspection with regard to the payment of minimum wages, with regard to the checking of pay rolls for certainty as to the number of hours worked. They are available at any time. We have persons expert on the problems of children and young people who labor. These are available at any time for consultation by any department of labor or any body of organized workers or employers who want real technical help.

There are 30 million wage earners in the United States of America. I want to point out to you what a considerable part of the population they form, and how important it is that their health and that of their children and families should be promoted. It is a part of the function of the Department of Labor to promote this, just as it is a part of the Department of Agriculture to promote the interest and welfare of the farmers and their children. As yet we have been able to get only about 5 or 6 million dollars to spend on the welfare of laborers. It is a field in which the people of the United States want to spend more money, for insofar as the life of our wage earners is the life of the people who do not completely share in the best of civiliza

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