Page images
PDF
EPUB

minimum even for factory work, though for a long time the conviction had been growing that children need the years up to 16 for normal development both mentally and physically. Two national confereences, the Conference on Child Welfare called in 1918 by President Wilson and the White House Conference in 1930, had urged such a standard. Nevertheless, in spite of repeated efforts in many States, little progress had been made beyond the 14-year minimum which had been the standard of the first uniform child-labor law adopted by the Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws as early as 1911, and which had been incorporated in the first and second Federal childlabor laws as the standard for factory work. In the early years of the industrial depression, however, the economic waste of allowing children of 14 and 15 to leave school for work when millions of adults were unemployed had been urged as a powerful argument for keeping these children in school, and the facts brought out at the 1932 conference as to return of sweatshop conditions in many places added weight to its strong recommendation for higher child-labor standards. In the following year two States, Wisconsin and Utah-passed laws which included the 16-year minimum and incorporated numerous other advances. Then came the N. R. A., when a 16-year standard was adopted for employment in practically all the industries operating under the act, thus establishing throughout the country a 16-year minimum in industry and trade. The general acceptance of this standard by industry showed that the adjustment was practicable, and while the N. R. A. was still in effect three additional StatesConnecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania-adopted the same standard. Rhode Island in 1936 became the eighth State to put this standard into law, Ohio, and Montana, which had adopted this standard in 1921 and 1907 respectively, completing the list.

Maximum Hours

Maximum hours of labor standards at the time this committee was appointed had on the whole progressed more rapidly than those affecting minimum age. For a number of years, the 8-hour day and 48-hour week, at least for children under 16, had been fairly general, although a few States permitted children of these ages to be employed for 9, 10, and even unlimited daily hours. For the most part, however, the protection of an 8-hour day and 48-hour week was not extended to 16- and 17-year old minors. In 1935 Pennsylvania reduced hours for children under 16 from 9 a day and 51 a week to 8 a day and 44 a week, and extended the regulation to all minors under 18. In 1936 Rhode Island reduced daily hours for minors under 16, establishing the first 40-hour week for such children, and also fixed a 9-hour day and a 48-hour week for minors of 16 and 17 years. Utah reduced hours of labor for minors in 1933, and in 1935 Massachusetts, New

York, and North Carolina put into effect higher standards for the 16and 17-year-old group. At the present time two States-Utah and Pennsylvania-have a 44-hour week for minors under 18, and four others (Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, and Virginia) have this standard for minors under 16. Seven States-Florida Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and South Dakota-still permit a longer day than 8 hours for children under 16.

Night Work

As to night work, about half the States come fairly close to the 13 prohibited night hours for minors under 16 recommended by the Association, but two States still have no prohibition, a number of others prohibit night work for a shorter period, and only seven States and the District of Columbia meet the standard set for 16- and 17-yearold minors.

Hazardous Occupations In the protection of working minors from hazardous occupations some advance has been made. A number of the members of the International Association of Governmental Labor Officials were represented on the committee of experts which was formed as a result of the 1930 White House Conference on Child Health and Protection to draw up standards regarding hazardous occupations. Enactment of a general 16-year minimum age is in itself an advance in the protection of minors from hazardous occupations, because many of the accidents to minors are caused by factory machines. However, this does not protect the boys and girls 16 and 17 years old. In a few States advance to the 16-year minimum age requirement has been accompanied by further restriction of hazardous occupations for 16and 17-year-old boys and girls.

Employment Certificates But improved standards, as this organization is well aware, are of little use without adequate provision for administration. With advances to a 16-year minimum there has not been sufficient extension of the employment-certificate provisions to minors of 16 and 17. These children should be required to have regular employment certificates for each job, in order that the enforcing official may know something of the kinds of work they are doing and the conditions under which they work.

Industrial Home Work The past few years have seen a notable advance in attempts to regulate industrial home work. Under the N. R. A. codes the prohibition of industrial home work in many industries where the practice had been common resulted in a useful accumulation of experience as to both the practicability and the advisability of such prohibition. Connecticut and Rhode Island have passed industrial home-work laws, and New York has revised its law, making it State-wide in application and providing for complete prohibition by the labor department in certain instances. The first step taken under this provision is the prohibition of home work in the men's clothing industry--a notable advance t.irough State law in an industry which on the whole has been for many years partially dependent on this method of production.

Progress in 1936 A survey of child-labor legislation enacted in the year 1936 alone shows that significant progress has been made, although not to the extent hoped for when the final draft of recommendations was adopted by this organization last year. Rhode Island has set a precedent by adopting a 40-hour week for minors under 16 and has put into effect a 16-year minimum age for work during school hours and for work in factories at any time. A 9-hour day and 48-hour week for minors of 16 and 17 years, and for all females in manufacturing, mercantile, or business establishments, with a 934-hour day allowed to make a 5-day week, has also been established in Rhode Island. A law providing for double compensation to illegally employed minors was also passed by the Rhode Island Legislature in 1936. Illinois, in enacting its workmen's occupational diseases act, provided 50 percent additional compensation for minors under 16 illegally employed on the last day of exposure. In Virginia a bill to establish a minimum age of 16 for general employment, with regulation to 18 years, was introduced, but only a few minor amendments were passed. The minimum age for work in a limited list of hazardous occupations was raised fro.n 16 to 18, with the addition of a few new occupations; a badge requirement was established for newspaper-carrier boys; and the provision of the law regarding theatrical performances, previously prohibited for girls under 18 and boys under 16, was liberalized to allow children of any age to appear once a week in nonprofessional amateur performances on permit.

Many other hoped-for advances failed of enactment. For instance in California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Texas, and West Virginia, bills to establish 16 years as the minimum age for employment failed, and attempts to advance hours of labor standards also failed in some States.

Thus, although we may point to some accomplishments, the goal is still far off. It still appears that a Federal minimum is necessary if

. we are to have an adequate uniform level below which no State may fall, in order to protect not alone the child worker but also the employer who wishes to uphold high child-labor standards. A beginning of such a Federal minimum may be seen in the new WalshHealey law which requires employers taking Government contracts to comply with certain labor standards. This law, however, affects only a small proportion of employers in the country. The uniform protection for all children still depends upon the child-labor amendment which would make possible a uniform minimum of protection in every State.

Street Trades

In some States where great progress has been made in eliminating child labor in factories and stores, little boys and even girls are still selling newspapers and magazines on the streets and in cafes. Usually boys are required to have badges in order to sell in public places, but they turn over the actual selling to little brothers and friends who make a pathetic appeal to customers and policemen alike. The street-trades laws are enforced by local police jointly with the school authorities or labor departments in some States, and in only four States-Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin (in first class cities)—are the departments of labor not given power to enforce the street-trades laws. We submit that enforcement of the street-trades laws should be turned over to the State departments of labor, which are better equipped to enforce them than are the police, who are concerned primarily with the public order and safety. It is as essentially an administrative function of a labor department as childlabor regulation. The police are by and large making no attempt to prevent small children of 8, 9, and 10 years getting their first work experience in the night life of the streets, cafes, bowling alleys, and saloons, and it seems unlikely that there will ever be proper enforcement under present conditions.

а

Recommendations

Your committee makes the following specific recommendations: We reaffirm the 16-year minimum age requirement for all occupations during school hours and in factories at any time, and the 14-year minimum for nonfactory work outside school hours; the 8-hour day a:d 40-hour week for minors under 18; the prohibition of night work for at least a 13-hour period for minors under 16 and for at least an -hour period for minors between 16 and 18; the requirement of emplotment certificates for minors under 18; the prohibition of employment of minors under 18 in dangerous work or work involving health bazards; and we recommend that the State departments of labor be zsen jurisdiction to draw up from time to time specific occupations and processes which should be prohibited as dangerous. We reaffirm to standards adopted by the Association in 1933 imposing a minimum up of 14 years for boys and 18 for girls for selling newspapers, magazines, or periodicals in public places or for exercising the trade of Bw.backs, except that boys of 12 and over may have paper routes for the distribution of newspapers, magazines, or periodicals in residential districts.

We further recommend that State departments of labor, rather than the local police, enforce the street-trades laws, and that a minimum age of 14 for boys and 18 for girls be required for exercising the street trades except in the case of "paper boys”, who may be permitted to have a fixed route at the age of 12.

We reiterate the previous stand of the Association that uniform and adequate protection for all child workers will never be attained until the Federal Government is given power to act through an amendment to the Federal Constitution.

TABLE 6.How the standards recommended by the International Association of

Governmental Labor Officials are met by existing State child-labor laws

Subject

I. A. G. L. O. standard

States having laws meeting I. A. G. L. 0.

standard

Minimum age.

16 years for factory work and 8 States approximate this standard (Connecti.

for all employment during cut, Montana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylschool hours; 14 outside vania, Rhode Island, Utah, Wisconsin). Or school hours for nonfactory these, 4 have a 16-year minimum in factories work.

at any time (Montana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah), and 1 (Connecticut) bas this minimum in factories and stores at any time. During the N. R. A. a 16-year age minimum

was general for practically all industries. Maximum daily hours... 8-hour day for minors under 7 States and the District of Columbia have an 18.

8-hour day for minors of both sexes up to 18 years (California, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington); 6 other States have this standard for girls up to 18 (Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming); 39 States have an 8-hour day for minors under 16 years

of age. Maximum weekly hours... 40-hour week for minors un. While no State has established a 40-hour week der 18.

for minors under 18, this was general standard of N. R. A. codes for adults and minors alike. Rhode Island has a 40-hour week for children under 16. 2 States (Pennsylvania, Utah) have a 44-hour week for minors under 18; 4 other States (Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Virginia) have a 44-hour week for

minors un 16. Night work..

Prohibited for 13 night hours 10 States meet this standard (Iowa, Kansas, for minors under 16.

Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ore

gon, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin). Prohibited for 8 night hours 7 States and the District of Columbia meet this for minors 16 to 18.

standard (Arkansas, California, Connecticut,

Kansas, Massachusetts, Ohio, Washington). Employment certificates... Required for minors under 11 States i and the District of Columbia require 18.

employment certificates for minors under 18 (Michigan, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wisconsin, and, where continuation schools are established,

California, Oklahoma, Washington). Hazardous occupations.... Minors under 18 prohibited No State equals this standard in all respects

from work in a compre- though many State laws have some of the same hensive list of hazardous prohibitions.

occupations. State agency authorized to 13 States and the District of Columbia have an

designate occupations haz- agency with such authority (Arizona, Kansas, ardous to minors under 18 Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New and to prohibit employ- York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylment.

vania, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin); 12 other States have such an agency with power extending to minors under 16.

11 other State (Alabama) requires employment certificates to 17 years; 7 States require age certificates at least to 18 years: Connecticut; Indiana (by ruling); Georgia, Montana, and Tennessee (for certain employ. ments only); Massachusetts (educational certificate); Louisiana (in practice in New Orleans only, for girls).

« PreviousContinue »