« ÎnapoiContinuați »
The voluntary agreement, therefore, was a failure both from the standpoint of the workers and that of fair competition within the industry.
The facts, therefore, show that the setting of a minimum wage and of maximum hours tends to prevent unfair competition between mills, allowing those with poor labor standards to undersell those with good; to improve hours and wages both for the lowest-paid and the better-paid workers; and to benefit the country as a whole through the greater buying power of a larger proportion of the people.
The increase in the work load, commonly called the stretch out, has created much hardship when introduced with too little study and understanding of the workers and their problems. In a study made under the work assignment boards of the cotton, silk, and woolen industries, it was agreed that each case, because of the many varying conditions involved should be settled in conference, if possible, by the employer and employees immediately concerned. If, however, a settlement was not reached, the case should be brought before a work board with representatives of the employer, the employees, and an impartial chairman which should study the facts and report the proper work load for each particular case.
The need for some machinery to regulate excessive work loads is shown by the thousands of letters from the workers to the code authorities regarding the unfairness of their present work load and requesting that an investigation be made.
No plan for the welfare of the industry that does not take into consideration the need for careful regulation of the work load can hope to permanently establish peace and contentment in the industry.
Mr. KELLER. Are there any questions? If not, we thank you, Mrs. Best.
The next witness is Miss Lenroot, representing the Children's Bureau.
STATEMENT OF MISS KATHARINE F. LENROOT, CHIEF OF THE
CHILDREN'S BUREAU, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Mr. KELLER. Will you please state your name and official title for the record ?
Miss LENROOT. I am Miss Katharine F. Lenroot, Chief of the Children's Bureau, United States Department of Labor.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I wish to comment briefly upon such information as we have available concerning the extent and trends in child labor in the textile industry and the standards of legal protection afforded children by State law in the important textile manufacturing States.
The establishment of the 16-year age minimum in the cotton textile code, and later in the other textile codes, marked a great step forward, which was received with general satisfaction. The importance of these provisions in the textile codes is indicated by the position of the textile industry as an employer of child labor prior to 1933.
In 1930, 31.7 percent of all the children 14 and 15 years of age employed in all manufacturing and mechanical industries, were employed in textile factories. Taking the young people of 16 and 17 years of age, about 20 or 21 percent of all the young people of this age employed in manufacturing and mechanical industries were employed in textile industries.
There was a considerable decrease between 1920 and 1930 in the employment of children in the textile industry but the relative position of this industry in proportion to all manufacturing and mechanical industries was maintained. In fact, there was a slight increase in the percentage of children and young people employed in the textile industries as compared with their employment in all manufacturing industries.
Of all gainfully employed persons in the textile industry in 1930, 11 percent were between the ages of 10 and 17 years, inclusive, most of them between the ages of 14 and 17. This percentage of 11 in the textile industries may be compared with a percentage of 3.3 in all manufacturing and mechanical industries.
The general decrease in the employment of children 14 and 15 years of age in manufacturing and mechanical industries between 1920 and 1930 amounted to 64 percent. In the textile industries as a whole, there was a decrease of 62 percent, but only 51 percent in the cotton textile industry. Of all the children 10 to 15 years of age employed in textile industries in 1930, 51.5 percent were employed in cotton mills.
There is no indication that the proportion of employees who were children changed radically between 1930 and 1933.
The general trend in child labor prior to the establishment of the N. R. X. codes followed the general trend in industrial employment, decreasing when industrial employment decreased and increasing when it increased. With the adoption of the N. R. A. codes, there was an immediate and marked change in the child labor situation. The Children's Bureau, since 1920, has been collecting statistics of employment certificates issued to permit children 14 and 15 years of age to leave school and go to work, and we have those annual figures running back to 1920. So that we have a statistical basis for our statements that the N. R. A. provisions were extremely effective.
This chart which I shall leave with the committee, shows the steady drop in child employment in the areas reporting to us even during the period of rise in industrial employment.
1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934
Since the Schechter decision, the only information we have as to increase in child employment comes from these same statistics of employment certificates issued to children. Immediately after the Schechter decision, the Children's Bureau asked the cities and States reporting to it annually hitherto to report monthly regarding employment certificates issued so that we might have some current indications of trends.
We have compiled these figures for the 7 months following the Schechter decision; that is, the period from May 28, 1935, through December 1935. Unfortunately, we are not able to break these figures down to show the figures for the textile industry. But the general trend indicates a tendency to return to employing children, although the gains are still being held to a considerable extent. But there is nevertheless evidence that children are going back into industry in many places.
For 6 entire States and 102 cities covering a very representative area in the country, the figures show that nearly 17,000 certificates permitting 14- and 15-year old children to go to work were issued in the 7 months in 1935 to which I have had reference.
In contrast, in these same areas during the entire year of 1934, only about 7,000 children were certificated. In other words, in the 7 months of 1935, after the protective provisions of the codes were removed, the number of 14- and 15-year-old children going to work in these localities was 58 percent larger than the number going to work during the entire year preceding. The percentage of certificates issued for manufacturing and mechanical employment rose from 1 percent in 1934 to 12 percent in 1935.
More definite information relating to the textile industry is contained in a bulletin issued by the North Carolina Department of Labor in January 1936. North Carolina has been outstanding in the attempt that has been made to hold the gains with reference to child labor that had been achieved under N. R. A. The State department of labor has conducted an active educational campaign among employers to hold these gains, and has had marked cooperation from a number of employers.
In North Carolina, in 1930, 3,118 children 14 and 15 years of age received employment certificates for work in manufacturing, of which probably about nine-tenths were for work in textile industries. In 1933, 1,805 received certificates for manufacturing. In 1934, there were no children 14 and 15 years of age in North Carolina receiving employment certificates for manufacturing establishments.
In the whole year 1935 there were 276 children certificated, 14 and 15 years of age, of whom 106 were certificated for manufacturing and 90 of these 106 were certificated for textile industries. All except 23 of the total number of certificates and all except 12 of these for manufacturing industries were issued during the last 7 months of the year; that is, since the Schechter decision.
These figures do indicate that while substantial gains are still being held through the cooperation of the State labor department and the employers, there is a measurable tendency to return to the employment of children in some of the establishments in North Carolina.
We do not have for the other textile areas of the contry as comprehensive figures as these for North Carolina.
With reference to the legal standards, the provisions in this bill regarding child labor, contained in section 21, incorporate the best standards that have been developed and put into practice with reference to the employment of children and young people under the age of 18 years.
Of 15 representative textile States, we find that there are 3 whose State laws meet the minimum age requirement of 16 years. Those three States are Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New York. There are only 7 States in the entire country which have established a 16-year minimum, the minimum which was generally accepted in practically all of the N. R. A. codes. Only one of the textile States has a night-work standard comparable to that in this bill.
Of course, the provisions for hours of labor in this bill are more advanced than those incorporated in State laws in any of these textile States.
There 5 of the 15 States which have provisions with reference to the employment of young people under the age of 18 in hazardous occupations comparable to the standards developed under N. R. A. and incorporated in this bill.
I think that completes my statement, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KELLER. Are here any questions? If not, we thank you very much, Miss Lenrott.
The next witness is Mr. Meadows, of the American Federation of Labor.
STATEMENT OF S. P. MEADOWS, NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE
REPRESENTATIVE, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. KELLER. Will you state your name and whom you represent?
Mr. MEADOWS. My name is S. P. Meadows; I represent the American Federation of Labor.
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I wish to say that the American Federation of Labor is cooperating with the textile workers' international union in its advocacy of the legislative measure, H. R. 9072, which it formulated and presented to Congress for enactment into law.
The American Federation of Labor is in favor of the intent and purpose of this bill.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Welch (presiding). The next witness is Mr. Hinrichs, from the Bureau of Labor. Will you state for the record your name and your position?
STATEMENT OF A. F. HINRICHS, CHIEF ECONOMIST, BUREAU OF
Mr. HINRICHS. My name is A. S. Hinrichs. I am chief economist, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Mr. Chairman, I have no prepared statement with reference to the bill. I was asked to appear to answer such questions as might be asked, and I presume that the interest in having the Bureau of Labor Statistics appear was that it might present the latest figures which are available with reference to employment and pay rolls and earnings in the various branches of the textile industry.
I have prepared a series of tables, which I will submit.
Mr. Welch. Without objection, they may be inserted in the record at this point.
(The tables referred to are as follows:)