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adopted in order to help them out in North Carolina. It seems to me that he has done a most splendid job without such an instrumentality.
Mr. FLETCHER. We have gone as far as we can without a Federal amendment or without a new State law limiting the age for employment. In our State under our present law children from 14 to 16 may be employed in the mills, and there are now actually 156 certified to work in textile mills in North Carolina.
Mr. McSHANE. But a Federal amendment to our Constitution will not help you. If you want to help yourself, you can reduce that, can you not? A Federal amendment will not be necessary to enable your own legislature to make a further reduction, will it?
Mr. FLETCHER. That is what I am going to try to do, but I do not know whether I can.
Mr. MURPHY (Oklahoma). I want to congratulate Mr. Fletcher and the people of North Carolina. It certainly is a happy revelation to know of such wonderful progress.
Mr. LORENZ (New Jersey). The approval of working certificates for children between 14 and 16 years of age in New Jersey, as a basis for determining the increase or decrease in child labor, may be interesting at this time. For the fiscal year 1933-34, 2,108 certificates were approved; for 1934–35, 1,934 certificates were approved; and for 1935-36, 4,230 certificates were approved. The fiscal year 1934-35 included the period during which the N. R. A. codes practically outlawed the employment of children under 16 except at domestic service and farm work.
The period following the discontinuance of N. R. A. showed a decided jump, but probably also reflects some slight improvement in business conditions, as we estimate that at least 80 percent of these certificates have been approved for domestic service and farm work. The increase is nothing to be alarmed about as yet, except as
wing the trend, as it is quite evident from the certificates themselves that full employment opportunities for children in our State, as evidenced during 1928–29, do not as yet exist. In that fiscal year the schools issued and the labor department approved 18,024 certificates.
Mr. LUBIN (Washington, D. C.). I should like to have a few min. utes' discussion devoted to the problems Mr. Jacobs raised, namely, the importance of providing work for children. I hate publicly to take issue with Mr. Jacobs, but I do not feel that any person who was compelled to work as a child, particularly at the expense of play, ever gained anything by the process. Members of my family who were brought up on farms have ever since detested going visiting on a farm. The feeling is that compulsory work for children is necessary to the development of manhood and character, and I should like to hear the attitudes of the people here, to see whether that feeling is justified.
Mr. Jacobs. If the child lives to be 18 or 20 years old without any responsibility, after that age he will not accept any responsibility.
Mr. LUBIN. I wonder whether you teach children to assume responsibility by making them work. I am not so sure that Mr. Jacobs believes that himself. I know he would not make his child work.
Mr. McShane. In the final analysis, is it not the particular child and the particular conditions under which he is working that tell whether or not he should be employed? There are some children, perhaps, who should never be employed at hard manual labor. Certainly no child should be employed where conditions are not ideal, but I do not subscribe to that philosophy which says that a child should never learn to work. I know fellows who, as orphans, never knew what it was not to be hungry until they could go out and with their own hands do things to sustain them and build up their bodies. This year, I have two grown sons, one 15 and one 16, in the National Guard. They are real fellows, and can take their place with any man. To say they should not work when they have an opportunity would be foolish. They will be better men if they do work when they are not required to be in school. So I think the physique of the child and the conditions under which he works are the important factors.
Chairman TONE. I think Mr. Lubin's intention was to open up a discussion on vocational guidance or finding out just where a child belongs in this world, as far as work is concerned, instead of having him accept the first job that shows itself. Does anyone else want to discuss the subject?
Mr. Nates (South Carolina). In my State there was an incident which was corrected immediately. About 2 weeks ago I had a tele
2 phone call that a boy was working in a hot-dog stand, and that he had been working there for several days without any sleep. I sent the chief inspector there to make an investigation-it was only two or three blocks from the office. We learned that that child was working in a dairy from 12 at night until an early hour in the morning, and then going to work at the hot-dog stand and working through to a late hour at night. He had worked 4 days and nights and had taken 11 aspirin tablets that day to keep awake. We have a law that a child must go to school until he is 14 years of age. only 11, so the inspectors took him off the job and carried him home. The law has no penalty. So we do need child-labor laws with some teeth in them. We have the same law that North Carolina has for textile mills, I believe. So far, the commissioner of agriculture and commerce has issued 32 permits, and since June 1 I have issued enough to bring it up to a total of 40 for the past year. We have no law in my State governing the hours for minors in mercantile establishments or any other industry except the textile industry. We are going to try to get some laws passed, however, that will cut out child labor generally in South Carolina.
Mr. Murphy. Our child-labor law provides that no child under 16 years can be employed in any gainful occupation, except agriculture and domestic service, more than 8 hours in any 1 day or 48 hours in any 1 week, with 1 full hour off for noonday meal and rest. That takes in every gainful occupation except agriculture and domestic service.
Mr. CRAWFORD (Ontario). Reverting to Dr. Lubin's question, I believe that a child should engage in some purposeful activity, so that when he reaches the age when he should go to work he will go into it with some training for work. I do not believe that child labor is any training for future life. It is, to my mind, a handicap rather
. than an asset, but it is a greater handicap and a pitiful thing when children are brought up to the age of 16 in idleness, with no purposeful activity at all.
Miss McCONNELL (Washington, D. C.). The training which children get in some kind of educational opportunity certainly gives them better training for useful citizenship and useful work when they become an appropriate age to go to work than if they are taken out of school before they have an opportunity for adequate training, to go into whatever kind of a routine job they can get at that age. Many employers in this country today say they will not take boys and girls for the better jobs in their establishments unless they have finished high school or until they are 16 or 18 years of age.
When I was in the Pennsylvania State Department of Labor we had the dubious distinction of having one of the largest child-employing groups of industries in the country. The outstanding industrial establishments of the State of their own volition made rules and regulations establishing a higher minimum age for entrance into employment in their plants than we had been able to establish through State law.
Mr. Lubin. In that connection, we have just completed a study of engineers and the effect of the depression on engineers. One of the things we tried to find out was the effect education has upon their future. We found that the group who went through engineering school, by the time they were 23 years of age were not making the money that the boys who had learned the job in the plant but not gone to school were making; by the time they were 30 the boys who went to school were way ahead, and by 45 or 50 they were making three times as much.
Wage-Collection Laws and Their Administration
Report of Committee on Wage-Collection Laws, by E. I. McKINLEY, Chairman
For the great number of wage earners who are completely dependent each week upon their wages it is important to receive their pay without delay. To the individual worker the loss of a week's wages brings want and privation. No statistics exist which tell the extent to which wages are unpaid, but that many workers have had the experience of not being able to secure their pay is clear. The records of legal-aid societies, of State labor departments, and of small-claims courts indicate that many employees receive their wages only after bringing legal action or threatening to do so. A recent publication of the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics relating to the Growth of Legal-Aid Work in the United States says that during the decade from 1924 to 1933 over 20 percent of the cases undertaken by legal-aid societies involved wage claims. The total number of wage-claim cases handled by such societies within that same period of time exceeded 300,000. The Commissioner of Labor and Statistics of California reported that in his State alone for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1934, more than $1,000,000 was collected for some 60,000 employees. These figures, of course, are confined to those workers who have brought their cases to the attention of either the legal-aid societies or the State administrative officials charged with the duty of aiding employees to secure their wages.
Many workers cannot bring their cases to the courts. The expense and the delay of litigation make it difficult for the wage earner to get his day in court. The plaintiff who is seeking to obtain wages which are due him is at great disadvantage. Crowded dockets and the necessity of observing procedural forms delay the final disposition of
But an employee cannot wait for his pay envelope. He needs immediately for the present necessities of life the money which he has earned. Even a short delay causes hardship. To give an employee his wages after the lapse of some weeks and often of months which it takes to dispose of cases in the courts is a denial of justice.
Moreover, litigation in the courts of law is expensive. There are (res for filing the case, fees for issuing the summons and subpoenas. There are entry fees. Many people have not the ready money to
make the necessary prepayment of such costs. Then, too, the amount of money involved in single wage-claim cases is usually small. To the average worker the few dollars which may be withheld from his weekly earnings are very important. But the costs of bringing civil action in courts are out of all proportion to the amount of money involved, and in many instances exceed the possible recovery for which claim is made.
In addition the claimant in court needs a lawyer. Although a man may represent himself in court and prepare and argue his own case, the average layman cannot be expected to cope successfully with legal technicalities in opposition to an adversary represented by a trained lawyer. Most wage earners cannot afford the expense of hiring an attorney. Without the opportunity to secure legal advice, a claimant is faced with a serious handicap in prosecuting his wage claim.
The disadvantages which face the wage claimant were early recognized. In 1879 the Massachusetts Legislature passed the first statute which attempted to mitigate the plight of the worker who found it necessary to go to the law for aid in securing his wages. This act required weekly payment of wages. Since that time a number of States have passed different types of wage-payment and wage-collection laws. The present draft prepared by the committee has taken those features from the various laws which it felt are most workable and best in making it possible for the wage earner to recover his wages. In the suggested draft it has included those devices which it is hoped will make for a speedy and inexpensive procedure in the settlement of
The proposed draft requires all employers to pay employees their wages in full, semimonthly. It requires that discharged employees be paid within 24 hours of the discharge. Those who resign are to be paid within 72 hours of their resignation. Where employees strike, they must be paid wages which are due them on the next regular pay day. These provisions appear in many State statutes relating to wage payment and wage collection.
A very important section of the draft places the enforcement of these provisions with the State labor commissioner, or the equivalent administrative officer. The official in charge has the power to hold hearings and take testimony. It has been the experience of those State labor commissioners who have the duty of administering wagepayment laws that most cases are settled at this point of the proceeding. Here the labor commissioner and his staff can advise the worker as to his rights, whether he has a claim or not, and how to go about obtaining his wages. Many wage-claim disputes arise because of misunderstandings as to the obligation of the parties. The commissioner, through his power to obtain the facts, can determine the wages which the parties have agreed upon and usually obtain a settlement.