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The experience during the N. R. A. period indicates the practicability of eliminating child labor and we urge that the Association exert whatever influence it can in consolidating the gains which were so spectacularly made under the codes of fair competition. It is no longer a tenable argument to say that the labor of children under 16 in industry is essential to the functioning of the economic process, and we congratulate those States and those employers who have realized the social gain in the elimination of child labor and who are taking a firm stand to prevent its recurrence.
Chairman TONE. I will call on Maj. A. L. Fletcher, of the Department of Labor of North Carolina.
Mr. FLETCHER. The report submitted by our child labor committee is very encouraging. When our association set up this committee and started it to work back in 1932, there were only two States in the Union-Ohio and Montana-which forbade the employment of children under 16 in manufacturing establishments. In the year following L'tah and Wisconsin adopted a 16-year age limit for children in industry, and during N. R. A. days, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania adopted the same standard. To Rhode Island, which is under the splendid leadership of the chairman of our committee, goes credit for the adoption in 1936 of a child-labor law modeled closely after the law proposed by our child-labor committee and approved by our association. Today eight States have adopted the 16-year age limit.
To the casual observer this may not appear to be particularly encouraging-8 States and 40 to go--but when you consider that those & include New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Wisconsin, all of them industrial leaders, you realize that great progress has been made.
All of you who have been interested in progressive legislation have beard the old, old argument about the peril of taxing industry in your state with burdens and restrictions not placed upon competing industries in other States. That argument has lost us many battles in North Carolina and may lose others for us, but I believe that it is zoing to be easier sailing next January when I can say to our legislators that the biggest competitors of our manufacturers are bound by the same restrictions wbich I am asking the legislature to place upon our North Carolina industries.
I think the representatives of the Children's Bureau of the United States Department of Labor who are here today will bear me out in the statement that we have made the most of our child-labor statutes in North Carolina. Under the rule-making power of the commissioner,
. we have thrown just as many safeguards around the child as the basic Law of the State will permit. I realize that we can go no farther until our State adopts a better child-labor law, or until the Federal child. labor amendment becomes law.
In our State, the State federation of labor has again declared for the amendment and will urge it upon the legislature. In my opinion it will fail of approval as it has failed before. To our State belongs the dubious distinction of having been the first State to reject it. You will recall that Congress proposed it in 1924. We had a special session of our legislature in 1924, and a resolution was adopted unanimously and with great enthusiasm rejecting the amendment. The legislature of 1935 killed it and, in my opinion, the legislature of 1937 will do likewise.
Why? Well, they talk about many things, principally States' rights, unwarranted interference with rights of parents by governmental agencies, unfair restrictions on industry, etc.
I have in mind a campaign of education and personal contact before our legislature meets, that will carry me into every industrial county in our State and will enable me to see every important employer. Many of these men have said to me and to others that they do not want child labor and favor the exclusion of children under 16 from their factories, but they are most emphatically against the Federal child-labor amendment.
To these men I am going to say that I differ with them about the Federal child-labor amendment, but that I am not inclined to argue about it if they will come out for a State law that will outlaw the labor of children under 16. Now that I can show them that their principal competitors in the North and East have already adopted such a law, I believe it is going to be possible to secure its passage in North Carolina. I have used the model law drafted by the child-labor committee of our association, with very few changes, for a new North Carolina child-labor law, and I expect to present it to the people of our State before the legislature convenes.
I am glad to be able to report that child-labor violations are almost unknown in North Carolina. Our employers are obeying the law, and such violations as occur are mainly in rural or semirural communities, where children follow various street trades without supervision. We do not have enough money and personnel to deal adequately with this situation, but we do what we can.
In the larger towns and cities we have no trouble in supervising the working of newspaper boys, because our newspapers cooperate with us exceedingly well. In 1935–36 we certified 967 boys to engage in newspaper deliveries and street sales. This was a gain of almost 400 over the previous year, a result of both improved law enforcement and of the decided upturn in business.
The records of my office show that 716 children under 16 were certified to work in North Carolina business and industrial establishments
between July 1, 1935, and June 30, 1936. Of these, 504 received certificates for full-time jobs and 212 for part-time jobs. It is significant that 492, or more than 60 percent, of these children were certified for work in mercantile, service, or other miscellaneous places of business. Only 156 were certified to work in our textile mills, our largest industry and the one that formerly used many thousands of children.
Back in 1922–23, when our law permitted children of 12 and 13 to hold full-time jobs in any kind of industry, our records show a total of
8 9,753 certified, 6,901 of them in textiles. In 1926–27, which was our peak year after the law was amended to fix the age limit for manufacturing establishments at 14, we certified 8,302, of whom 6,081 were for textile mills.
While the N. R. A. was in existence, child labor passed out of the picture and nobody was hurt by its passing. Our manufacturers have learned this lesson, and I know they are not eager for the return of children to their mills. In my State, our leading textile manufacturers have used every means in their power to induce their associates to observe the child-labor provisions of the cotton-textile code, and it is significant that these larger mills do not employ children under 16. On September 1, 1936, only 49 of the 720 textile manufacturing establishments of the State had outstanding child-labor certificates, and all of these were small mills, located in rural areas. For example, in our big industrial county of Durham, no child under 16 was certified to work in a textile mill; in Forsyth, only 1; in Alamance, 4; in Guilford, 4; in Mecklenburg, 1; in Gaston, with 104 mills, only 23. These are the State's largest industrial counties.
While the situation is nothing to worry about, I do not think it wise to overlook the lessons of the past. Always, as business improved, child labor has increased, and I am going to do everything in my power to make it impossible for the old conditions which I have told you about to return in North Carolina.
Chairman Tone. I will now call on Mr. W. E. Jacobs, of the Department of Labor of Tennessee.
Mr. Jacobs. It is not my purpose in this brief paper to prescribe a panacea, legislative or otherwise, which will cure the ills centering around child labor. The problem is too complex and far reaching to be dealt with in any such manner. It is, however, my aim to present to you some of the fundamental principles involved, as I see them, hoping that what I say will in some measure help all of us to work more effectively toward bringing about a national child-labor situation which will more closely approximate the ideal.
In order to determine the obstacles which must be overcome in order that we may reach an objective, it is first necessary that we not only bare an objective, but also that we agree upon that objective. The following definition of an ideal child-labor situation is tentatively offered as an objective upon which we might all agree;
An ideal child-labor situation would be achieved when every child could receive the maximum character building benefits which result from the performance of regular duties, provided that the performance of such duties does not in any way hinder the child's process of developing into a good citizen.
The metamorphosis of the American family from a social unit almost complete in itself to a group of individuals living in a situation almost entirely free from the necessity of mutual home endeavor has resulted in the elimination of childhood chores. This situation is in a large measure responsible for the present unprecedented instability of our youth. One of our most difficult tasks is to find a substitute for these chores which will not violate the principles of our previously stated objective for child labor.
One important group of families has largely escaped this metamorphosis—farm families. I believe that the training in responsibility and the rewards of disciplined effort gained in the early life on the farm of many of our most prominent men has been greatly instrumental in enabling these men to gain their present positions of prominence.
Before we can determine whether or not certain existing child-labor situations hinder the child's process of developing into a good citizen, we must first approximate an agreement upon what are the factors which tend to make a good citizen, considering only those factors over which we can reasonably hope to exercise some control.
In my opinion, these factors are: 1. The possession of organic health ; 2. Adequate opportunity to live a normal life. Man's necessary triumvirate of existence is work, play, and religion, with the emphasis on play where children are concerned; 3. Adequate opportunity for the individual to attain his maximum vocational efficiency in order to insure the highest possible degree of personal economic security; 4. Adequate opportunity to engage in cooperative endeavor so that habits and ideals of cooperative living may be built up.
Obviously, then, a child would be hindered from developing into a good citizen if: 1. He were forced to do such work, and under such conditions, as would injure his present or future organic health; 2. He did no work at all; 3. He had not adequate opportunity for play, particularly cooperative play; 4. He worked under conditions normally degrading; 5. His work prevented him from acquiring vocational skills and knowledge necessary to develop his potential usefulness as a worker to the higheset possible degree.
Assuming that we are now agreed upon our objective, our one really big problem remains. How are we going to bring about conditions in harmony with our objective? Legal methods have never been completely effective in creating an ideal social situation of any sort. Our recent experience with the prohibition amendment is one indication of the truth of this statement. Legal regulations are effective in controlling some of the worst features of a social situation. Such regulations can and should be Federal in character, and Federal regulations should be the first step, but must not be so comprehensive or detailed as to conflict with peculiarly local situations. I believe that the proposed Federal child-labor amendment is as effective and comprehensive as it is possible for such Federal regulations to be without seriously conflicting with local problems.
The effectiveness of any law is dependent upon the preponderance of public opinion behind it. The more localized the law in its application, the greater the probability of there being such a unanimity of public opinion, and hence the greater the probability of its success. In like manner, the problem of creating a desirable public opinion and attitude in regard to child labor is greatly minimized by such localization of effort.
It seems to me, then, that after Federal regulation has done all it can do, the next logical thing to do is for all of us to bend our efforts toward the creation of localized public opinion and attitudes in line with our ideas about an ideal child-labor situation, so that effective local regulations may be established and maintained. A first step in this direction would be the proposal of certain minimum standards for child labor in our own individual city or county.
We should also carefully scrutinize and analyze existing and proposed State and Federal legislation to see if they contain regulations too broad to be applicable to the State or Nation as a whole. In other words, we should make sure that such regulations are capable of being supported by State and National public opinion. In this conDection we must again set up our proposed minimum standards.
At all times we must keep in mind that if we keep the objective of producing good citizens foremost we will incidentally render the greatest possible long-range contribution to the creation of an ideal economic order, for no country can advance economically or otherwise beyond the sum total of the possibilities represented by its citizenship.
Mr. PATTON (New York). Mr. Fletcher, do the few child-labor certificates in North Carolina mean that only that few children are employed?
Mr. FLETCHER. We firmly believe that is so, Mr. Patton.
Mr. FLETCHER. We do not have such a large force of factory inspectors in North Carolina, but we do have a provision whereby every county has a welfare officer who is a representative of the department of labor. That gives us a careful check.
Mr. Patton. Is it not voluntary, and not mandatory, with the officer to make those inspections?
Mr. FLETCHER. He is a salaried man.
Mr. McSHANE (Utah). I should like to ask Mr. Fletcher if he thinks it important that an amendment to the Federal Constitution be