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LABOR LEGISLATION IN REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC
STATES. There is no better way of judging the merits of a political party than by the laws which are passed by the legislators who are elected to office from its ranks. With regard to legislation for the protection of the workers much remains to be done before they receive their full measure of protection and justice, but as can be shown by the statistics of the different States, nearly all protective labor legislation in the United States was first enacted by Republičan States, and then adopted by way of imitation by the Democratic States. At the present time, that is, up to the close of 1901, the proportion of Republican States having protective labor legislation is much greater than that of Democratic States. This is plainly shown in the following two tables:
Not only must our labor be protected by the tariff, but it should also be protected so far as it is possible from the presence in this country of any laborers brought over by contract, or of those who, coming freely, yet represent a standard of living so depressed that they can undersell our men in the labor market and drag them to a lower level. I regard it as necessary, with this end in view, to reenact immediately the law excluding Chinese laborers and to strengthen it wherever necessary in order to make its enforcement entirely effective.-President Roosevelt, in message to Congress, December 3, 1901.
The Government should provide in its contracts that all work should be done under “fair” conditions, and in addition to setting a high standard should uphold it by proper inspection, extending, if necessary, to the subcontractors. The Government should forbid all night work for women and children, as well as excessivo overtime.-President Roosevelt, in message to Congress, December 3, 1901.
American wage-workers work with their heads as well as their hands. Moreover, they take a keen pride in what they are doing; so that, independent of the reward, they wish to turn out a perfect job. This is the great secret of our success in competition with the labor of foreign countries.--President Roosevelt, in message to Congress, December 3, 1901.
Labor legislation in Republican States. [The stars show the States which have enacted the legislation indicated on the left of the table.]
Labor legislation in the Democratic States. [The stars show the States which have enacted the legislation indicated on the left of the table.]
Creating labor bureaus..
years of age in factories
years of age in mines.. Regulating woman labor...
Requiring seats for females in shops.
The first table shows all the States which were Republican at the time of the last State elections, and the second table all those which were Democratie. The stars (*) show the States which have enacted the legislation indicated on the left of the tables. An examination of these tables presents an interesting lesson in practical politics. We shall take up in rotation each of the more im, portant subjects of labor legislation, and see which States have done the most for the workingman.
Labor Bureaus.-There are few agencies which have done more toward giving a clear insight into the problems of labor and capital, that have brought employer and employee nearer together, that have furnished the laboring people with facts for arguments in favor of protective legislation, than bureaus of labor and labor statisties. The above tables show that at present there are 31 State labor bureaus in the United States. Of these, 21 are in Republican States and 10 are in Democratic States. Reducing these figures to a proportionate basis, we find that 21 out of 27 Republican States, or 78 per cent, have lab bureaus; 10 out of 18 Democratic States, or 56 per cent, have labor bureaus.
Factory Inspection Service. It is well known to all working people that protective labor laws are practically a dead letter in any State unless there is a factory inspection service organized for the purpose of searching out and bringing to justice persons who violate such laws. It is easy enough to enacț protective legislation, but it is another thing to enforce it. If a State therefore enacts such laws and fails to organize a service for their enforcement, it is betraying those whom it pretends to favor. Let us again observe the tables. We find that 20 out of 27 Republican States, or 74 per cent, have established factory inspection servioes. We also find that 3 out of 18 Democratie States, or 17 per cent, have factory inspection services. In examining the other subjects of labor legislation which follow we must not lose sight of the fact that only 3 of the Democratic States have factory inspection services organized for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the labor laws which will be under consideration.
Eight-hour Law-For many years labor organizations have heen endeavoring to secure legislation prohibiting labor on Government works or public contracts for over eight hours per day. They have succeeded thus far in securing such legislation in 21 of the 45 States of the Union. Of these 21 States 16 are Republican and 5 are Democratie. In other words, of the 27 Republican States, 59 per cent have enacted the eight-hour law, and of the 18 Democratiq States, only 5, or 38 per cent, have yielded to the demands of the labor oroanizatina in this regard,
Child Labor in Factories.- Ever since the introduction of the factory system, over a century ago, the greatest sufferers from the greed of inconsiderate and cruel employers have been the helpless , children, who often at a tender age are placed in factories and are ruined physically, morally, and mentally by their work,” their surroundings, and their loss of opportunity for education. It is a principle recognized in all civilized countries that children under 12 years of age should not be employed in factories, and in nearly all European countries laws have been passed placing,a limit of 12 or 14 years upon such child labor. In our country 24 out of the 45 States prohibit the employment of children under 12 years of age from working in factories. Of these 24 States 18 are Republican and 6 are Democratic! In other words, two-thirds of all the Republican States and only one-third of the Democratic States have laws prohibiting children under 12 years of age from working in factories.
Child Labor in Mines.—Twenty-two States prohibit the employment of children under 12 years of age in mines. Of these, 16 are Republican and 6 are Democratic States.
Woman Labor.- Next to the children the greatest victims of abuse by greedy employers when unrestrained by law are women. Investigations have shown that their condition is sometimes pitiful where employers are given free scope in their employment. Their protection, in the interests of humanity and morals, has also been the subject of legislation in nearly all civilized countries. In the United States 30 States have legislated upon this subject. Of these 30 States, 23 are Republican and 7 are Democratic! Reducing these figures to a proportionate basis we find that 85 per cent of the Republican States and only 39 per cent of the Democratic States have laws regulating woman labor.
Seats for Females in Shops.-Legislation on this subject needs no comment. Any man who has a daughter or sister employed in a shop or store, and every physician, knows what a hardship it is to a woman to be compelled to stand all day at a bench or behind a counter. Fortunately in 26 States legislation has been enacted requiring employers to provide seats for females. Of these 26 States, 18 are Republicans and 8 are Democratic.
Sweatshop Legislation.- There is no greater menace to the health of the working people, and nothing which tends more to lower and degrade human beings, than to crowd them together in small, filthy workshops, where they are often compelled to work, eat, and sleep without regard to health or morals, and where the hours of labor are often so long that the victims, who are usually foreigners unacquainted with our language, are shut out from all opportunities for education or betterment of any kind. The scenes