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from such exposure. In dealing with this problem the safeguarding of saws, jointers, planers, matchers, molders and shapers in the woodworking industry--are all a part of the functions of a State department of labor.
Civil service in department of labor.--That part of the subject assigned me and having to do with civil service in departments of labor is too broad to be included in my address in the brief period allotted, as there is much more to be said on the subject of departments of labor alone. Therefore my remarks on civil service at this time will be brief.
First, it is a personal matter with me, if you will pardon personal reference, but no one knows the limitations of an individual better than the individual himself, and while we take unto ourselves a great deal of consolation and satisfaction for the success of the Department of Labor in Oklahoma under its present administration, this is more or less confirmed by references made to our department in a report on a Survey of Organization and Administration of Oklahoma, submitted to our governor in 1935 by the well-known Institute of Government Research of the Brookings Institution of Washington, D. C., which reads in part (on page 186), as follows:
General comment: In general, the Department of Labor of Oklahoma appears to be excellently administered. Its personnel, because of the continuity of service that has prevailed, seem to know their work and to devote themselves to it quietly and without confusion. The annual report of the commissioner deserves special commendation. The safety manuals are also well done.
When times are better, consideration should be given to the salaries in the department of labor. They are at present low; but the commissioner has apparently been able to secure and keep a staff of reasonably competent employees.
However, in the face of our experience and the splendid reference made in the Brookings report, had Oklahoma been operating under civil-service regulations, the present commissioner would never have had the opportunity of serving the good people of our State, because he could not have met civil-service requirements, and, not only that, at least 75 percent of our splendid, loyal, and efficient field and office personnel, being selected from the laboring class and being deprived of necessary educational background, would also have been eliminated. There are many other reasons which we hope to have the opportunity of presenting at the proper time.
Mr. Lubin. I should like to ask you, Mr. Murphy, whether, if perchance you had decided 4 years ago you did not want to be labor commissioner any more, you believe that the staff you had at that time would have been maintained as efficiently as it has been?
Mr. MURPHY, I should not want to take on new people under any circumstances. I will place the work of my people right up with the most highly trained engineers. I expect my assistant to succeed me,
and they will all still be there. I cannot see better operation than that. I have confidence in them. We feel the agitation for civil service is a step to eliminate us, to get us entirely out of the whole show,
President CRAWFORD. Civil-service laws have been in effect for some time in Ontario. Our experience has shown that civil-service regulations in no way kept out men from the organized-labor movement. No examination that I know of ever barred men from organized labor.
Mr. MURPHY. We could not make it because of our lack of educational background.
Mr. MAGNUSSON (Washington, D. C.). Are you not giving the best and soundest argument for civil service? I would conclude from your remarks that you were the staunchest backer of civil service.
Mr. Murphy. If they do not meet the minimum requirements they have to vacate. If they meet the minimum requirements they can keep their jobs.
Mr. Magnusson. Those on the job presumably qualify. You can start from scratch there, having a qualifying examination, not a competitive examination.
Mr. Murphy. You admit that we are eliminated if we do not meet the minimum requirements.
Mr. Wilcox (Washington, D. C.). Why does not organized labor get behind the movement for making the formal educational requirements apply to the new employees of the department?
Mr. MURPHY. I had only a fourth-grade education. I could not qualify under civil service, but I still think we can get the job done,
Mr. Lubin. If you are on the job, that experience qualifies you automatically for the job. If you had a civil-service law in your State passed tomorrow, every one of your people could keep their jobs. Your minimum requirements are not necessarily educational.
Mr. JACOBS (Tennessee). You had to make a minimum rating to be taken into the employment service.
Mr. Lubin. That was because you had a new group which had just come into the service.
Mr. Davie (New Hampshire). I think the point Mr. Murphy raised is a very good one. I wonder if there is anyone here who has kept any record of those who were in the State employment service prior to the examinations that were required by the United States Employment Service. Practical, fine young employment men were absolutely barred right from the start. I am in favor of civil service, but I feel the point you want to make is that the standards are so high that it eliminates quite a number of people who are quite capable of taking care of their jobs.
Mr. PATTON. If I had known the turn this discussion was going to take, I would have brought with me some figures. I am sure, though, that a great many of the inspectors in New York are just the kind of people Mr. Murphy is talking about. The kind of civil-service system Mr. Murphy is afraid of is the kind of thing we want to guard against. I believe if civil service were inaugurated in the State of Oklahoma tomorrow that there is not a man in the United States who could beat Pat Murphy for commissioner.
Mr. McLOGAN (Wisconsin). I do not think there is any question but that we all agree to the principle of civil service, but since we have gone on record in favor of civil service, it behooves us to recognize immediately the advantages of civil service; that is, that when one has given years to a career in the State service, he should not be thrown out lik- a dirty shirt. He is entitled to protection. However, do not let us be mistaken in the idea that the present civil-service laws-not only as to their minimum requirements, but also as to the method of examination-are free from politics. They are not. First, let us go on record in favor of civil service, but then let us not sit back and let someone else run the show. For instance, what have we in the Wisconsin industrial commission to say with reference to the question of requirements and the examiners. Very, very little. It is the method of examination I dislike; for instance, true and false questions in the written examination. I agree 100 percent with Mr. Murphy when he says that certain minimum requirements should not be so high.
Our industrial commission had some experience with the Employment Service of the Federal Government. When we signed a contract with it we had men in our employ who had been doing excellent work for years. We had a terrible time convincing the Employment Service that those men ought to stay on the job, but we fought and they are still on the job and doing the excellent work they did before. I am not going to condemn the principles of civil service, however. I think it is a good thing. The weight is with the advantages under civil service.
Mr. Baird (Kansas). In 1920 I was called in to Washington to take the Federal civil-service examination in the Veterans' Bureau for rehabilitating the disabled soldiers. There were 52 of us who took the examination. Forty-nine of the 52 had college degrees, and three of us poor working union boys did not have more than a high-school education. After the examination we each received our grades. About 2 months later the big boss came through St. Louis where I was and said, "These fellows who took the examination the same time you did are jealous of you." I asked why and he said, "Two of you fellows who never had college education received the highest score in
that examination.” They gave us more credits for having experience on the job.
In reference to our law in Kansas for appointing a labor commissioner, I might state that early in 1913 we had elected a GovernorDemocratic, by the way. At that time we had what was called the "State Society of Labor and Industry”, which met every January. This governor decided that he wanted a change in the labor commissioner. The procedure followed before that time had been that the State Society of Labor elected a secretary. The unions were entitled to a delegate at this convention. The secretary elected was usually paid by the State of Kansas as the labor commissioner, He then appointed the factory inspectors. This Governor wanted to make this an elective office by the people. We objected to making this an elective office, for the simple reason that there might be put in some lawyer or some farmer who knew nothing about machinery, equipment, and factory inspection, and nothing about laboring conditions. The society appointed myself and another gentleman to wait upon the Governor on a certain date and object to this bill before it went to the legislature. We were in session with him for about 3 hours, and we got him to change that bill so as to take the matter out of the hands of the voters by making it an appointive office. We thought that then we could hold the Governor responsible for that appointee. Under the law of Kansas a man has to be affiliated with some labor organization for at least 4 years before he is eligible to be a labor commissioner. The main thing I want to stress is the weight that should be given to the service the man has been doing before.
Mr. McLogan. The bureau in which you took the examination gave what I consider a proper examination. We have no quarrel with that method. But there are other agencies that do not handle it that way.
Training of Factory Inspectors in Europe By David VAAGE, Chief of the Safety Service, International Labor Office, Geneva,
Before discussing the training of factory inspectors in Europe generally, it may be well to make a brief survey of the various systems on which the factory-inspection services were originally organized in the three most important industrial countries of the old continent-Great Britain, Germany (Prussia), and France.
In Great Britain the factory-inspection service was set up by an act of August 29, 1833. At that time there were no legal provisions in force on the prevention of accidents. There were four factory inspectors for the whole country, and they were mainly concerned with the protection of women and children in the cotton industry.
The first legal provisions on accident prevention were contained in an act of June 6, 1844. These provisions required machinery and mill gearing to be fenced in certain cases; they were, however, quite general, without any more detailed technical regulations. The inspectors were empowered to issue orders directly to employers on the spot for the better protection of a machine or workplace.
Against such orders the employer had the right of appeal to arbitration by technical experts; and noncompliance with any such order, even if it had been confirmed by the arbitration award, did not render the employer liable to penalty. However, if an accident occurred that could be incontestably attributed to noncompliance with such orders, the employer would be heavily fined.
In this way considerable technical experience was accumulated and utilized, little by little, to draw up general regulations. These regulations were then amended as experience required. As their scope was extended and more uniformity obtained, the inspectors' right to issue orders was limited correspondingly.
These methods obviously required the inspection officers (and particularly the subinspectors, whose work became increasingly important as the activities of the inspection service were extended) to
1 For fuller information on the origin and the development of the factory-inspection services in the various countries, see Factory Inspection, Historical Development and Present Organization in Certain Countries. Geneva, International Labor Office, 1923.