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children on farms, with the possible exception that was already referred to by one of the speakers this morning. Where any kind of farm labor is carried on under industrialized methods, it might appropriately become a subject for the consideration of Congress, but even there it is doubtful at the present time, because I believe the observation of most of those who have had experience in administering child labor laws is that the child on the farm can best be protected not directly by prohibitive child-labor laws but by better health and educational and other social facilities originating in the community.
Mr. BoIES. Is there anyone else that would like to address the meeting for a short time?
STATEMENT OF MR. GEORGE L. COOLEY, OF CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OHIO
Mr. BOIES. You are for the measure, are you?
Mr. COOLEY. In one sense, yes. We are representing the agricultural phase of the question.
Mr. HERSEY. What part of agriculture?
Mr. COOLEY. I am a truck and fruit grower in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and represent the organized truck and fruit growers' association of Cleveland. We also represent one part of the farm bureau of that county.
Mr. MICHENER. Are you authorized to represent the farm bureau here?
Mr. COOLEY. Yes, sir; and we want to state the farm bureau's position; that is, the local farm bureau.
Mr. FOSTER. In what county?
Mr. COOLEY. Cuyahoga County. Cleveland, Ohio, is our county seat. We are employing a great many of the city children in our gardens, in picking our fruits, etc. We sometimes hardly know whether we are violating or living up to what is known as the Bing law. That is a State law. So far as the educational phases of the question are concerned, so far as compulsory education is concerned, we believe in it and all of our people believe in that phase of it. We see that the proponents of this measure do not feel that labor on the farm should be prohibited, so we have not any real cause for opposing the measure if that is carried out; but I do want to have the position of the American Farm Bureau Federation set forth by Doctor Walker, of California, who is here representing that association.
Mr. FOSTER. You live up near Cleveland?
Mr. COOLEY. Yes, sir.
Mr. FOSTER. You are engaged in what business?
Mr. COOLEY. I am engaged in fruit growing and truck farming for the Cleveland market.
Mr. FOSTER. Have you onion fields?
Mr. COOLEY. We have probably 15 or 20 bushels of onions.
Mr. FOSTER. The Bing law is a law introduced in the Ohio Legislature by a representative named Doctor Bing, a professor at the university?
Mr. FOSTER. How does it work with you? Do you favor it or not? Mr. COOLEY. It has not affected us. We do not know that there is such a thing, only as some of the welfare workers try to bother us. Mr. FOSTER. You have no complaint of the working of the State law?
Mr. COOLEY. No, sir; not so far as we are concerned. We engage somewhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people.
Mr. MICHENER. Are you in favor of or opposed to this amendment?
Mr. COOLEY. Well, sir; not to the principle so far as education is concerned, but if it is going to infringe on agricultural labor-I can hardly decide the two things.
Mr. MICHENER. Then you are opposed to giving Congress the power to legislate with regard to children? Are you opposed to the principle of giving Congress that right?
Mr. COOLEY. I think I am if they take care of the educational features.
Mr. MICHENER. I asked you if you were opposed to such a right? I think I am.
Mr. COOLEY. Yes, sir; I think that thing ought to originate in the States.
STATEMENT OF DR. W. H. WALKER, REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION, WILLOW, CALIF.
Mr. SUMNERS. What kind of a doctor are you?
Doctor WALKER. I have practiced in the dispensaries for 20 years in Chicago. I am interested in agriculture in California. I was vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and I have four children.
I was asked to state the position of the American Farm Bureau Federation relative to this constitutional amendment. I want to say first that the purposes for which this amendment is drawn meet the hearty approval of the entire membership of the American Farm Bureau Federation. We took this up on the advisability of approving of a constitutional amendment, and the reason why it was not approved or voted down is the reason I want to state here.
In the first place, I notice in the figures prepared by the department that agricultural represents the greater percentage of child labor in the United States. Something like 61 per cent of the children employed are in agriculture. When you take the gainful occupations, excluding agriculture, we have only about 3 per cent left of those in gainful occupations employed in other work besides agriculture.
Agriculture is a little bit apprehensive of a national law in the form of a constitutional amendment. The field of work among the 3 per cent of these children might not satisfy the zeal of some of these people and it might be we would constantly be placed in a position of protecting agriculture in various parts of the United States from the very zealous enforcement of the protecting laws, in protecting the workers in agriculture.
We believe that the agricultural work is not harmful but beneficial to the people, and with only a few exceptions that is true; and, it
was argued, in making a broad law for the entire United States it is almost impossible to cover the different conditions. For example, a law that will fit the fruit pickers in California will not fit the wheat growers of North Dakota. We have also noticed that the fact that the child is prohibited from working does not necessarily cure the defect in that community in any particular. I have seen that in my work of many years as a medical man. The reason that the child is working is possibly on account of some family condition, and when he is prohibited from working he is thrown in associations that possibly are not improved in any particular. We believe absolutely in enforced school attendance and the truant work in education, and to that end we have several hundred thousand people in agriculture working in boys' clubs, in educational work in that line. We find that has improved conditions very materially throughout the country wherever that has been introduced, and that community standards have been raised by our agencies going out and teaching them what to do rather than what not to do.
Mr. HERSEY. You are opposed to this bill?
Doctor WALKER. I am stating the reasons and arguments. I think I would very much prefer to see it regulated by States as far as agriculture is concerned. We are afraid, and by illustration I might relate the experience I have known of in some of the States in the enforcement of the automobile laws. I know one State that has a 20-mile speed limit throughout the State. When business gets slack in the cities, they go into the country districts and arrest every autoist who goes through there.
Mr. HERSEY. You are employing city children on the farms? Doctor WALKER. To a certain extent.
Mr. HERSEY. You are opposing this bill because you are afraid that if Congress passed the law forbidding the city children from working on your farm you would be deprived of that work?
Doctor WALKER. The country children themselves work on the farms.
Mr. HERSEY. You said you employed city children.
Doctor WALKER. That would prohibit them, to a certain extent,
Mr. SUMNERS. Do you think it is a bad thing for a child to go out on the farm, for instance, and learn how to work and to have some sense of responsibility?
Doctor WALKER. No; and our schools in many cases adjust their terms to fit the opportunities to serve the communities in which there is work that a child can do. I paid this year $4.50 a day for school children picking up prunes during vacations, and they have made their vacations pay.
Mr. SUMNERS. Do you think that is worse for the child than loafing around the street doing nothing?
Doctor WALKER. It is better for the child. I am absolutely in sympathy with these people who are desirous of stopping the exploitation of child labor. We are afraid, however, that Congress might pass a law which would work a hardship on that great multitude, the 61 per cent of these children who are working in agriculture.
Mr. FOSTER. Does it occur to you that both times that Congress did seek to enact a law on this proposition that neither of them justified the fear that you now have, and if that is true that this amendment should prevail which authorizes the Congress to legislate on the subject. Do you not think your apprehension is a little extreme when you figure Congress will then try to enact a law to prevent this 61 per cent from working?
Doctor WALKER. If Congress has the authority to do this, it puts us constantly on the alert to see that that is not done, and I am speaking-many States have passed resolutions asking us to appear for them.
Mr. FOSTER. They fear Congress might do the thing which they never have attempted to do. Do you oppose this constitutional amendment which would allow Congress, as it did before, to give relief to hundreds of thousands of youngsters that are not in agriculture?
Doctor WALKER. As I have stated, I am not authorized to oppose it or to approve it. We were asked as a big organization in agriculture to state why we did not vote it down or vote in favor of it. Mr. FOSTER. Your apprehension is that Congress might take in that field?
Doctor WALKER. It might.
Mr. FOSTER. In other words, if this amendment should pass, you would go to Congress and oppose including an agricultural minimum in it?
Doctor WALKER. Yes.
Mr. FOSTER. If Congress acted as it has done, you would have no objection?
Doctor WALKER. We do not want legislation that will specifically include agriculture.
Mr. SUMNERS. If Congress does not have in contemplation exercising the power at some future time of regulating agricultural labor, would not the question be a reasonable one as to why Congress would ask for that power?
Doctor WALKER. I see no reason for asking for it if they do not expect to do it sometime. We are stating our fears. We are in sympathy with the purposes of the bill, but we do not want to be put in the position of being compelled to fight it.
Mr. SUMNERS. If there was in this constitutional amendment a limitation which prevented legislation by the Federal Government with regard to agricultural labor, then you would not oppose its adoption?
Doctor WALKER. No; we would have nothing against it. As an agricultural organization, we would not have any particular interest in it, at least as far as agriculture was concerned. But on that I could not speak for the organization, as it did not pass on that.
Mr. HERSEY. Did you oppose the two child-labor laws that were declared unconstitutional?
Doctor WALKER. I do not think we were represented here at that time.
Mr. FOSTER. Before we adjourn, may I read this statement by Mrs. Blair? The statement is by Mrs. Emily Newell Blair, vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, which was read
before the subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was accompanied by a letter stating she could not be here to-day and she wanted this to go into the record.
(The statement referred to, read by Mr. Foster, is printed below :)
STATEMENT BY MRS. EMILY NEWELL BLAIR, VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE DEMOCRATIC
FEDERAL PROHIBITION OF CHILD LABOR
As a mother interested primarily in the welfare of the youth of the Nation, as a member of several of the women's organizations represented here this morning, and as the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, I wish to record before this committee my entire indorsement of suitable legislation looking to the abolishment of child labor in the United States.
The Democratic Party stands unequivocally for the prohibition of child labor. It holds that the life, health, and strength of the children of the Nation are its greatest assets, and that the conservation of these constitutes one of its most sacred duties. It believes that if labor in immature years is permitted by one generation it is practicing unfairness to the next generation. Democratic platforms and pronouncements have contained definite and precise statements upholding this belief, and its convincing record in child-labor legislation constitutes democracy's response to the demands of modern social justice. Its record is written in its deeds.
Because the Democratic Party is, and has been consistently, the party of new ideas and progressive legislation it believes that laws regulating hours of labor and conditions under which labor is performed, when passed in recognition of the conditions under which life must be lived to attain the highest development of its citizens, are just assertions of the Nation's interest in the welfare of the people, and whenever it has been given authority it has built a legislative record, the constant direction of which has been toward the future. It has rewritten and passed great laws, affecting terms and conditions of employment to accord with the highest dictates of modern conscience and experience. These laws have uniformly tended to improve conditions under which the laboring people work.
Twice, for instance, has a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President sought earnestly to place upon the statute books of the country a child-labor law that would emancipate the children of the whole Nation from industrial oppression; and twice has its intention been defeated.
On September 1, 1916, a Democratic Congress under the sympathetic leadership of Woodrow Wilson, passed the first Federal child-labor law, excluding all articles made by the labor of children from interstate commerce. After being in operation nine months, this law was pronounced unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Congress, not to be deterred in its efforts to safeguard the health and happiness of the youth of the country, again sought to protect children from factory exploitation by enacting a law placing a heavy tax upon the products of all industrial concerns employing children. This law became effective in April, 1919, and was in active operation until June, 1921, when the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a much delayed decision declaring this second child-labor law unconstitutional also.
Adhering firmly to its belief in the sacred right of the child to immunity from premature physical labor, the Democratic Party stands ready to sponsor a renewed effort to provide suitable legislation that will assist the States in rescuing children from the educational, physical, and other losses which their premature labor imposes upon them.
While considerable progress in recent years has been made in State legislation protecting children from industrial exploitation, yet reports recently published by the children's bureau presents disconcerting evidence of child labor still unsafeguarded by effective regulations governing ages, hours, and working conditions, therefore, I feel that I can indorse the sentiment of this report when it says:
"To secure health and an opportunity for mental and physical development for the children of this generation and to provide for the welfare of our future citizenship, experience indicates the need of a Federal amendment giving Congress the right to establish a minimum standard of protection to the