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Constitution of the United States it would have taken months to have even got a word to one of them.
It does not seem to me, gentlemen, with all respect to the ultra States rights doctrine, that it has very much more application in this day and generation to the protection of children than a discussion of county rights would have.
Mr. BOIES. You think that those men who framed the Constitution under the conditions that you describe had a great vision, inasmuch as the Constitution reaches down to and is applicable to-day?
Mr. COOPER. I do not think that any one of them dreamed of a railroad. I do not think that any one of them ever dreamed of the telegraph, or the telephone, or the radio, or the ten thousand things, almost, which have changed conditions so vitally and which affect industries so fundamentally.
Mr. SUMNERS. With a central bureaucratic government in Washington we can neither properly discharge legislative duties nor supervise all these bureaus which have absorbed governmental powers of the States.
Mr. COOPER. No, Mr. Sumners; I do not think that that question quite meets the situation. I think that the regulation of child labor is a question, so far as the fundamental conditions are concerned, purely for the Federal Government, just as much as the regulation of money is. It was said two or three generations ago that paper money would be all right if the States were allowed to regulate it, that their self-interest would make paper money safe, and so we had the State banks and the shinplasters.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that is a totally different question from what we are considering. We are drifting into a discussion of slavery and finance. We had better get back to the main question, which is whether this ought to be left to the States or to the National Government.
Mr. COOPER. It was suggested that the States would regulate this matter, so I brought these illustrations in. The experience is that since the Supreme Court nullified as unconstitutional the two laws which were passed by Congress child labor has increased very materially. That would indicate to me that the sentiment in the respective States is not such that the States can be left to take care of this matter. So I mentioned incidentally what I thought were analogous situations of the past, where other evils left by the founders of the country to the States to stop were not in fact stopped by State legislation. That is the only reason I mentioned that, and I think, with all respect for the chairman, that the illustrations are quite apropos. Mr. FOSTER. I suggest that we now call Miss Grace Abbott, of the Children's Bureau, Department of Labor.
STATEMENT OF MISS GRACE ABBOTT, CHIEF OF THE CHILDREN'S BUREAU, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Miss ABBOTT. In the division of the subject matter, with a large group favoring this amendment, I have been asked to put into the record certain facts with reference to the whole subject so that we might have a fact basis upon which to proceed. It has been indi
cated that we are now discussing the question of giving authority to Congress to enter a field which Congress has already entered, the effects of which we already know, because we have had two Federal child labor laws. We know exactly what those laws did for the children, and we know exactly what they did or did not do for the State governments. We know that during the period that those child labor laws were in effect the children enjoyed a greater protection in many parts of the country than they had before; and that, instead of paralyzing State initiative, the reverse was true. State initiative was stimulated so that the tendency was to raise State standards where they were below the standard of the Federal law. State enforcement was also stimulated; so that, as I said before, instead of paralyzing State initiative the result was that the Federal Government and the State governments cooperated for a common end.
Mr. SUMNERS. Are you going to establish those facts later on? Miss ABBOTT. Yes.
As the acts were declared unconstitutional, the question now comes up, what are the present facts with reference to child labor; that is, what have the States done, what are the practices in the States, in so far as legislative child-labor standards are concerned? It is an intricate subject, and it is not easy to compare what the States have done, because the legislation differs very much in detail. If we undertake to set forth what the laws are in the States in a general way, we have to set forth so many exceptions that it is not accurate to draw a line and say there is a 14-year limit in so many States and there is not in so many others, because of the various exemptions that there are in the various States. At the present time, however, there is a tendency in three directions in the legislation of the States. One of these is to establish a minimum-age standard for children entering industry. That is the one with which people are generally the most familiar, perhaps. Then there is also the tendency to establish an educational standard; and, third, there is the tendency to establish a physical standard for children entering industry, the State providing that children who are not physically normal for their age and not physically qualified to go in the particular industry contemplated shall not be given work permits. And then we have in addition to this minimum-age requirement this physical requirement and this educational requirement, also a tendency to prohibit employment in extra hazardous or dangerous occupations until the child reaches a higher age; in some States the minimum for some occupations being as high as 21 years. In addition, in most of the States we have laws governing the conditions under which children may work during the first few years during which employment is permitted.
The first Federal child labor law and the second Federal child labor law set forth standards that were higher than those in many of the States and lower than those in others. In a sense the Federal law prescribed, for the time that it was in operation, a minimum standard.
At present, a minimum age for work in factories has been established in all except in three States at 14 or over. Six States have higher than a 14-year minimum. However, when I say this it does
not mean that no children may work under 14 in all the States except three; it means that with reference to some one or more particular occupations a 14-year minimum has been established, and that even then children are exempted at certain times or under certain conditions. The occupational inclusiveness of the State laws differs from State to State, and if I were to undertake to indicate the inclusiveness of these laws with reference to the age limit of 14 it would require a very long statement or many maps in order to show what the differences are. There has been a tendency to establish a special minimum for mines, which is 16 in more than half of the States. But four have a higher minimum than that, and some have lower minima. In a State like Ohio, which has a 16-year limit for most occupations during school hours, the period during which most of the special regulations of the conditions of work are prescribed is 16 to 18 years of age; in Massachusetts, which has a 14-year minimum, the general age period of regulation applies to working children between 14 and 16. The regulations most frequently made relate to the hours of work.
As to the length of the working day, 35 of the States and the District of Columbia have recognized the principle of the eight-hour day for children between 14 and 16; and 30 States and the District of Columbia have an eight-hour day which applies to children up to 16 in both factories and stores, four of these allowing certain exemptions. The prohibition as to night work for children is also quite general; 35 States and the District of Columbia prohibit children under 16 years of age from engaging in night work in factories and stores, the prohibition often extending to other employment. In some of the States, however, exemptions are allowed.
The matter of the weekly hours of work for children has also been a subject of regulation, and most of the States that have an 8-hour day prescribe to-day a 48-hour week, with one State, Virginia, leading in this respect with a 44-hour week for children 14 to 16 years of age.
In the establishment of a physical standard for children, and in connection with the requirement that a physical examination be given children entering work, it is recognized that a physical age and physical fitness are probably more important than chronological age. Twenty-two States make an examination by a physician mandatory before a child may receive his working certificate. In seven others, and the District of Columbia, the examination may be required only if in the opinion of the certificate-issuing officers it is considered necessary.
Then, finally, as to one more standard-and there are many others that dealing with the educational requirements for children entering employment. Only 13 States require the completion of at least the eighth grade as a condition to the issuance of employment permits; and 7 of these 13 States permit exemptions under certain conditions; so that, generally speaking, there are 6 that have a rigid law on the subject. The laws of 18 States and the District of Columbia either have no educational requirement at all or have no definite grade standard; they demand only that before going to work the child must be able to read and write and in some States that he have a knowledge of elementary arithmetic. I have here some maps
which show all the provisions in colors and make the present situation a little more graphic, if the members of the committee wish to see them.
Now, the first Federal child labor law prohibited the shipment in interstate commerce of the products of any mill, factory, workshop, cannery, or manufacturing establishment in which children under 14 were employed, or children between 14 and 16 years were employed more than 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week or 6 days a week, or in which children between 14 and 16 were employed between 7 p. m. and 6 a. m., and prohibited the shipment of any product of a mine or quarry in which children were employed who were under 16. Taking these standards as a measuring rod, 28 States measure up to the minimum age of 14 for factories and canneries. Fifteen States whose laws come up to this standard have certain exemptions. The 28 States that meet that minimum age as inclusively as did the Federal child labor act are: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The Federal law also set up as a standard a maximum 8-hour day and 48-hour week, and 27 States come up to this standard or better it, and 3 others while having this general standard allow certain exemptions. Eighteen States at present are below this standard. As to the standard respecting night work, 26 States come up to the standard of the Federal law, 11 come up to it with exemptions, and 11 fall below it. Twenty-five States carry the minimum age of at least 16 for work in mines and quarries, and these States include the most important mining States. Seven States have this minimum but permit exemptions; and 16 are below it and in these 16 are some States which have mining operations of some importance. So that we come back to the statement that has been made several times this morning, that only 13 States measure up in every particular to the standards of the Federal law. Those States, if I may read them, are: Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. In addition, the standards of the laws of the following five States come up to the Federal standards except in regard to mining operations: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, and North Dakota. These 18 States are, as you see, in various parts of the country and are not confined to any one section.
Mr. Foster has called attention to the fact that State legislatures have been in session since the Federal child labor law was declared unconstitutional and that action has not been taken which would raise these requirements up to the Federal standards.
The CHAIRMAN. Was there any effort made to induce these State legislatures to pass any amendatory laws?
Miss ABBOTT. I was just about to say that of the States whose laws were below the Federal standards, eight States-Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wyoming-did raise their standards in 1923, but they
do not reach up to the standards of the Federal laws in every particular.
The CHAIRMAN. What I was asking is, Was there any such propaganda leveled at these legislatures as has been leveled at Congress for a constitutional amendment? In other words, is there any strength of effort put forth to induce these legislatures to pass amendatory acts?
Miss ABBOTT. I am not informed about all of them. In some of the States a very great effort was made, but I am not informed about the extent of the effort in all of the States.
Mr. FOSTER. This pamphlet, dated December, 1923, came up for discussion this morning. Who gets this up?
Miss ABBOTT. I think that was gotten up by the organizations that are in favor of the amendment. I think they are listed.
Mr. FOSTER. There are some maps in here. State whether or not they are reproductions of the maps you have on the table there. Miss ABBOTT. I do not know. I think they probably are.
Mr. FOSTER. In other words, this pamphlet that the chairman referred to has a sketch that seems to have been reprinted from Collier's Weekly?
Miss ABBOTT. The map on page 5 of this pamphlet is one of the maps prepared by the Children's Bureau.
Mr. FOSTER. You have the original of it there?
Miss ABBOTT. Yes.
Mr. FOSTER. And there is a table on page 10. I just wanted to identify this circular that I took the liberty of leaving with the committee and to know whether it purports to have the sanction of your committee.
Miss ABBOTT. This table on page 10 is based on the Fourteenth Census of the United States.
Mr. MONTAGUE. You have mentioned that the State of Virginia in one particular was ahead. Do you recall what you said about that? Miss ABBOTT. It has a 44-hour week for children between 14 and years of age.
Mr. MONTAGUE. That is the best law in America on that subject? Miss ABBOTT. I shall have to qualify that by saying that there are six States that have higher than a 14-year standard. Of course, the requirement there that children between 14 and 16 can not work more than 44 hours a week does not measure up with the standards of Ohio, which has a 16-year age minimum for work during school hours.
Mr. MONTAGUE. Ohio standards are as good as the Virginia standards?
Miss ABBOTT. They are better.
Mr. MONTAGUE. And yet on your map Virginia is pictured as black?
Miss ABBOTT. Virginia is below because it exempts the canneries. There are exemptions and qualifications in many of these laws. I have a map here which shows Virginia as leading in the matter of weekly hours for the group of States which has a 14-year age mini
Mr. MONTAGUE. Canneries are operated mainly in the summer when children are not in school, for the benefit of farmers who raise their vegetables near by?