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Mr. SUMNERS. We are now dealing with the question of conferring power.
Miss ABBOTT. On Congress up to 18 years of age.
Mr. SUMNERS. Yes.
Miss ABBOTT. Of course, Congress may never enact any law at all; it may enact a minimum of 12, 14, or 16; it may include canneries, or it may not include canneries; it may include mines, or it may not include mines. What the law will include is entirely in the future.
Mr. SUMNERS. I was not dealing with the question of law, but of Federal power.
Miss ABBOTT. I think the reason that practically all of the laws have carried an 18-year age provision, is to take care of, possibly, regulations that may run up to that age. We have in a good many States legislation which does run up to and indeed beyond 18 years of age. For example, the employment of young girls is prohibited from morally extrahazardous employments or from physically extrahazardous employments, both girls and boys, in some of the poisonous trades. So that there is a body of legislation in the States which have a general minimum standard of 14, but which also prescribes the conditions of work up to the 18 and even 21 years of age.
Mr. SUMNERS. What I am trying to get at is do you think it would be safe to leave the regulation of labor between 18 and 21 to the States?
Miss ABBOTT. Should it be raised to 21?
Mr. SUMNERS. No; I am asking your judgment. Do you think while we are dealing with the question of creating Federal power, that it is safe to leave the matter of the regulation of child labor between 18 and 21 to the States, or should the Federal Government now get for itself that power?
Miss ABBOTT. I would have no objection to including 21, although I recognize the very great difference between the 17-year-old girl and the 19-year-old girl, as far as the need of protection is concerned. I think you are asking me whether I would like to have that made 21 rather than 18?
Mr. SUMNERS. I was asking for your judgment. Perhaps it means the same thing, of course, but I was asking whether you feel-I do not like to repeat my question again.
Miss ABBOTT. I should say those between 18 and 21 were much better able to look out for themselves than those 18 and under, and the need for legislation over 18 is very much different than for under 18. That is, I should think that 18 was a reasonable upper grant to give at the present time.
Mr. SUMNERS. Then I understand it is your judgment that the regulation of child labor between 18 and 21 can be left more safely to the States than can the lesser ages?
Miss ABBOTT. I think that "safely left to the States" is putting it rather curiously. I do not think there is the same need for including it.
Mr. SUMNERS. I do not question there is not the same need; that is not the question I am asking at all. It does not matter whether the need is the same or different; what I am trying to find out is whether it should be left to the States or not, in your judgment?
Miss ABBOTT. I am advocating 18 years at the moment.
Mr. SUMNERS. Are you doing it as a matter of policy or as a matter of judgment?
Miss ABBOTT. As a matter of judgment.
Mr. SUMNERS. That is exactly what I am trying to get at. (Thereupon, at 11.15 o'clock a. m., the committee adjourned until to-morrow, Saturday, February 16, at 10 o'clock a. m.)
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., to continue hearings on the various bills proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing Congress to enact child-labor legislation. Hon. William D. Boies presided.
Mr. BOIES. Miss Abbott, I understand you wish to complete your statement.
STATEMENT OF MISS GRACE ABBOTT, CHIEF, CHILDREN'S BUREAU, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, WASHINGTON, D. C.Resumed
Mr. FOSTER. What consideration has the committee of which you have acted as chairman given to the form of the amendment? Miss ABBOTT. I have not acted as chairman of a committee, Mr. Foster. I have been consulting with several committees and individuals who are working for an amendment and we have given very careful consideration to language. We began by thinking that the language that Mr. Foster put in last year, and which one or two have put in this year, would be satisfactory. After receiving suggestions as to language from many sources, we concluded that the form of amendment that was introduced by Mr. Foster this year (H. J. Res. 66) would be more generally acceptable. However, that language met some opposition, and we find more general agreement in support of the following language:
SECTION 1. The Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age.
SEC. 2. The power of the several States is unimpaired by this article except that the operation of State laws shall be suspended to the extent necessary to give effect to legislation enacted by the Congress.
Mr. FOSTER. May I ask you if that is the wording in House Joint Resolution 184?
Miss ABBOTT. Yes, it is. We have had the suggestions and criticisms, I think, of some of the most distinguished constitutional lawyers in the country as to whether or not that would meet the objects we have had in mind in working for an amendment, and there has been general agreement that it would accomplish those ends.
STATEMENT OF MR. EDGAR WALLACE, OF THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. WALLACE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, Mr. Gompers would have appeared here but for the fact that his council is in session, making it necessary for him to be at the office.
The American Federation of Labor is deeply interested in the prevention of child labor, because it is the children of the workers who are generally affected. It is the children of the workers who have been robbed of their playtime and who have gone into the battle of life handicapped because in their early days they have had no opportunity of getting an education and of fitting themselves.
We do not see that in this country, where production is only limited by the consumptive power of the people, it is necessary that we should bring into industry the children of the workers as well as the workers themselves, the children to compete with and to depress the wage scale of the fathers. I do not believe it is necessary to try to convince the gentlemen of this committee of the iniquity of child labor; the subject has been covered very well by Miss Abbott. I believe that the general tendencies, the general feeling of not only the members of this committee, but of the Members of Congress and of the various legislatures of the States, is against child labor. It has been my mission in the past to go before the various legislatures of the States on a subject closely akin to the one before this committee at the present time; that is, in connection with minimum safety laws in mines. In going before those legislatures, I have met oposition from the employers and from members of the legislatures, but never on the ground that the laws suggested were not necessary or would not be beneficial. I would go before the legislature of Indiana-and I am using names of States haphazardly without wishing to cast any reflection on them, only to illustrate
Mr. HICKEY. Indiana has a very good child labor law.
Mr. WALLACE. I know that. I went before the Legislature of the State of Indiana on a question of improved mining laws. The opposition did not say that such a change would not be beneficial, but they pointed to the fact that they were competing with Kentucky and Kenucky had no such law, and if Indiana were to adopt such a law and Kentucky did not adopt a like law Indiana would be competitively handicapped in selling the product in the same market as Kentucky. Then I would go to Kentucky and ask for the same law and they would point to the fact that the law had been introduced in Indiana and had not passed there, and because it had not passed there it could not pass in Kentucky without placing the employers or the manufacturers of Kentucky at a disadvantage, considering they had to sell the same product in the market in competition with Indiana. And that went on indefinitely. As a result the States having the very lowest measure of protection, whether it be for the safety of adults or for the protection of children in industry, set the mark or the pace. We hold, then, that in order that the States having the better laws migh be encouraged, it is necessary that we have a Federal law, a Federal minimum standard protecting the children of the country. The welfare of the children
of the country, and the education of the children of the country. are of national importance. We were ashamed when it was pointed out to us that sixty per thousand of the adults of this country are illiterate as compared with but two per thousand in countries comparable to the United States in development and civilization. We hold that child labor, the labor of children in factories, mines, and mills, has much to do with the poor showing that we are making in that respect.
It has been asked if we intend that children shall be forbidden to work at gainful occupations on farms. Well, the proposition before us to-day is an enabling act that would enable the Federal Government to establish some minimum standard of age for the employment of children and to regulate the conditions under which children shall labor in industry.
Mr. HERSEY. Under that amendment, they could exempt farm labor.
Mr. WALLACE. They could if they wanted to. I have seen some of the worst child slavery
Mr. HERSEY (interposing). I am not saying they would or would not. The question before us is the passage of an amendment giving Congress that power. What the legislation will be, I do not know. To discuss the details of that legislation is out of the question here. Mr. WALLACE. I want to continue that I have seen the worst conditions of child labor in sugar-beet fields, worse than I saw in any factory in any part of the country. I believe if this enabling act passes, and I hope it will, the Congress can differentiate between a boy riding the front horse on a harvesting-machine binder, or helping his dad to hoe in the garden, and a child being exploited in a beet field. That is, however, a matter to be considered afterwards.
Mr. BoIES. If you ever rode a horse on a reaper day after day, under a hot sun, I think you would change your mind as to the work he was performing as compared with the boy who was weeding beets. Mr. WALLACE. Mr. Bois, when it comes to weeding beets in the garden, such as we grow in our back yards, there is no trouble about that. But when you see children crawling on hands and knees, day after day, from daylight until dark, for six months in the year, that is another story.
Mr. BOIES. When you referred to the boy riding the lead horse, you happened to speak about something I know something about. I know what it means for a boy to stride an old horse day after day from early morn to late at night.
Mr. WALLACE. That is only for a short time; it is not a steady employment.
We ask that this committee shall pass favorably upon this amend ment. The details have been pretty well covered by Miss Abbott, and I know your time is short. As a representative of the American Federation of Labor I ask that the committee report favorably upon this humanitarian amendment, and we hope that it will pass with the requisite number of votes in both the House and the Senate.
Mr. HERSEY. You understand that this committee has twice reported such a bill, and it was passed twice by the Congress of the United States and the courts decided Congress had no right to do it.
Now you ask for a constitutional amendment giving Congress the right to do what they have done twice before.
Mr. WALLACE. Yes; to empower them this time. I hope the spirit of the Congress has not changed; I do not believe it has. Congress has indicated by its action in the past that it favors legislation to prevent child labor it has done that twice. Now, I ask for the amendment that will empower Congress
Mr. MICHENER (interposing). You speak entirely from a humanitarian standpoint. Is it not also true that the American Federation of Labor favors this amendment because it will put child labor out of competition with other labor?
Mr. WALLACE. Mr. Michener, if you mean that from a selfish point of view we want to eliminate this competition, I would not say so. I think the adult can compete successfully with child labor; but if you mean that the American Federation of Labor is opposed to having the children in the factories while the adults are walking the streets, then yes. We have had that experience in various parts of the country-where the man is not able to find employment but his children and also his wife could find employment at a lesser wage. Mr. BOIES. Is Miss Mary Stewart here?
STATEMENT OF MISS MARY STEWART, CHAIRMAN WOMEN'S COMMITTEE FOR A CHILD LABOR AMENDMENT, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Miss STEWART. I am speaking in behalf of the women's committee for a child-labor amendment, which represents 16 national women's organizations.
Mr. BOIES. Where is your home, please?
Miss STEWART. In Washington. These organizations are as follows: American Association of University Women; American Federation of Teachers; American Home Economics Association; General Federation of Women's Clubs; Girls' Friendly Society of America; National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Association; National Consumers' League; National Council of Jewish Women; National Council of Women; National Education Association; National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs; National League of Women Voters; National Women's Christian Temperance Union; National Women's Trade Union League; National Board of Young Women's Christian Association; and Service Star Legion. These organizations each have a representative on the committee for the purpose of supporting this amendment, or an amendment to prevent child labor.
Now, the objects the amendment should accomplish are, in our opinion, as follows: These various organizations have severally passed resolutions indorsing an amendment to the Constitution empowering the Congress to pass legislation to check child labor, These resolutions agree that to insure the protection of our children, the child-labor amendment must be a grant of power to Congress to establish a national minimum of protection for all children, and also to preserve to every State its right to pass laws giving its children even greater protection that the Nation must give; that it should
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