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have successfully resisted the protection of these children by their own States, and who then come to Congress and assert that the people of this Nation have nothing to do with the question ?
Mr. Chairman, here are two factories making hosiery. You know that one of them is what you might call a good factory, where children are not illegally employed or not employed for too long hours. The conditions are good. Here is another factory where we find the conditions reversed. You would naturally prefer to buy from à good factory rather than from the other factory, and so would any other humane man.
I claim that this bill would enable us to find out under what conditions goods are produced, and would protect the consumer from partnership with the exploiters of child labor, because child labor means cheap labor. It is not that the children get such low wagesin the cotton-mill industry I think they get comparatively high wages for children—but because the employment of children tends to bring down the wage scale for adults to the lowest level, and therefore the consumer can get the goods a little cheaper when made by children. Some of us do not want that advantage. Some of us want to be protected against that sacrifice of childhood for our profits.
The poverty argument has been presented here, and it was suggested somewhere that perhaps this bill ought to make some provision for the children of widows--make some exemptions for them. I found that among the States in which there is some poverty exemption California has a 15-year age limit, but allows children of 14 who are dependent to be employed in industry. Georgia still has this poverty exemption. Virginia has it, but the legislature is now considering wiping it out. The committee reported the bill favorably last week. South Dakota has the poverty exemption, and Washington has the poverty exemption. That exemption was forced into the bill for the District of Columbia when it was passed. A great many States have tried that and they have all given it up except those few whose names I have read, because they found that it opened wide the door for violations of the law. We hold that it is wrong in principle. If child-labor legislation is for the protection of the child, naturally the child, who is already handicapped by poverty, needs that protection even more than any other child, and it is the duty of society to protect the child. It is not a problem of child labor; it is a proble:n of relief.
I was very much interested in what Senator Newlands, the chairman of the committee, said the other day in discussing this very question about some provision being made for these children. I believe I may claim the honor of having written the first mothers' pension law in this decade as a provision of the compulsory education law of Oklahoma. But 20 States or more have since adopted that regulation following the passage of child-labor laws. It is because society will not, so long as they are allowed to earn wages, recognize its duty to those dependent children that child-labor laws precede mothers' pension laws. This bill will equalize these standards throughout the country and provide for the effective enforcement of law, and then we shall have mothers' pension laws throughout the country by State action. They will follow as the night the day, and I think that is the best solution of the problem.
It might interest you to know, however, that in the cotton mills there is no such hardship as you might suppose. Widows' families in cotton mills are generally large families. I have here in this same volume, on page 766, some very interesting figures about the wages of families, etc., with widowed mothers in them.
In North Carolina, in those mills that were investigated, there were 37 families with 48 children—the children of widows that were found at work in that State. The earnings, excluding the labor of children under 14 years of age, were $534 a year. We all know that wages have advanced a great deal since 1908. The families of deserted mothers, $433 a year.
Now, when we come to incapacitated fathers, it was somewhat larger, $776; families of idle fathers, $685; families where both parents worked, $777; families with fathers but without mothers at work, $915. That excludes the wages of children under 14 years of age, and, as we have already said, the 14-year age limit does not seem to concern anybody very much.
I have a photograph of a widow in a Georgia cotton mill who had nine children living with her. She was a widow. Her husband died of tuberculosis. All but the three youngest children were at work in the mill with the mother. The six children in the mill made $6 a week and the mother made $3 a week. That was about 1909, I should presume. The two oldest children, however, had married. They were just a little older than those in the mill. They had left the burden of support on those who were with the mother.
Now, after that picture was published the owner of that mill got interested. He saw that seven younger children under the legal age were sent to an orphanage. So I think that is a pretty good example of the fact that society recognized the obligation as soon as it was pointed out.
That may not have been the best solution of the problem. But every one of those children was illiterate. If we allow that situation to go on, what do we do? We are simply multiplying poverty and ignorance for another generation to take care of. We are simply condemning these children to unskilled employment, and they go on and marry, and they have children, and we have a greater problem in the next generation than we have now.
Mr. KITCHIN. Is it your information that those six children made altogether only $3 a week! Mr. McKELWAY. The six children made $3 a week. Mr. KITCHIN. That is 50 cents a week? Mr. McKELWAY. Yes, sir; an average of 50 cents a week. Mr. KITCHIN. Do you mean that they worked every day? I can not comprehend that statement.
Mr. McKELWAY. Maybe I am wrong about that. I will look up the reference for that. It does seem a little improbable, but the children are very small. Mr. KITCHIN. What mill was it? Mr. McKELWAY. At Tipton, Ga. I will get you the exact data, because I have the record. (Subsequently Mr. McKelway said.) Mr. McKeeway. I find on refreshing my memory from the inscription published with this photograph that the mother earned $6 a
week instead of $3, and the group of children earned the same amount; as I said, $6 a week for the group. One of the children worked regularly and one as a “helper” in the mill. In a pamphlet entitled “Child Labor in Georgia" (pamphlet 138), I commented upon this photograph as follows:
One of the photographs published gives the case of “the poor widow," for whose supposed benefit the exception in the child-labor law is made. It should be remarked, first, that before the spread of the cotton-mill industry, there would have been no community in the South where this poor widow would not have been taken care of, and her children given some opportunity for an education. Another significant fact here is that the two elder children have married and left their mother to be at least partly supported by the younger children. If one of these older children had remained at home as a worker she would have been able to make as much as the five children who work in the mill. It is readily seen that with these children working at these ages, and with no opportunity for their education, we are simply perpetuating and multiplying the poverty and ignorance of the present generation. If the law did not permit the burden of support to be laid upon these young children of the family, some way would be found by humane and kind-hearted people to give them a better chance in life.
There are, of course, many things that might be said in contradiction of statements made by the other side on this question. I have taken some notes, but it seems to me that most of what was said was irrelevant and immaterial. Certainly a great part of it was, and I do not know that it is worth while for me to meet such statements. So unless there are some questions to be asked, I am now through.
(Mr. McKelway was thereupon excused.) Mr. KITCHIN. I wish to file some information that we received in response to telegrams about how the Massachusetts law is working. One of the pieces of information is from the Arkwright Club, which is very different from Dr. McKelway's information in the article which was published about two years ago.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. You say this comes from the Arkwright Club?
Mr. KITCHIN. There is one telegram from the president of the Massachusetts Manufacturers' Association, and also from two other big mills.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. The manuscript shows the source, does it? Mr. KITCHIN. Yes, sir. I also wish to file a general compilation as to the effect of labor on children, being a paper that was prepared by the secretary of the Southern Cotton Manufacturers' Association, Capt. David Clark.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. That will be inserted. (The papers referred to are as follows:)
IMPRACTICABLE TO WORK PART OF EMPLOYEES EIGHT HOURS.
Cotton manufacturers have repeatedly stated before this committee that it will not be practicable to employ children between 14 and 16 years of age for eight hours while the older persons work 10 hours, and evidence has been given that a similar law in Kentucky resulted in those under 16 years of age being forced out of the mills.
The advocates of this bill have contended before this committee and also the Labor Committee of the House that the cotton manufacturers of Massachusetts had been able to adjust themselves to a similar law without sending from the mills those under 16, and that the cotton manufacturers of the South could do the same.
In order to get the facts we wired several prominent men in Boston and have received the following replies:
BOSTON, MASS., February 16, 1916. " ELLISON A. SMYTH,
“ Congress Hall Hotel, Washington, D. C.: “ Massachusetts law prohibits children under 16 working more than eight hours per day and at its passage two years ago such children were discharged, and in general are not employed now except in few instances as sweepers or doing odd jobs. Effect of law is claimed to be bad in influence on child who between 14 and 16 neither works nor attends school.
"ALBERT GREENE DUNCAN." (Mr. Duncan is president of the National Cotton Manufacturers Association.)
“BOSTON, MASS., February 16, 1916. * W C. RUFFIN,
“ Congress Hall Hotel, Washington, D. C.: "Massachusetts law provides children under 16 may work eight hours six days a week, but not before 6.30 in the morning or later than 6 in the evening. When law went into effect it caused the discharge of a great many children, and those forced out of employment did not go back to school. The possible benefit to be deriv from the law will be that of keeping children in school until they reach an age whereby they can seek employment.
“T. 0. NICHOLSON." (Mr. Nicholson is connected with C. E. Riley & Co., of Boston.)
“ BOSTON, Mass., February 16, 1916. " ELLISON A. SMYTH,
“ Congress Hall Hotel, Washington, D. C.: “ Massachusetts law provides children under 16 years can not work over eight hours in cotton mills. Number of such operatives has been reduced to a minimum. Those remaining leave mill about 4 o'clock, only working eight hours. Such help usually work on odd jobs like sweeping, cleaning floors, etc., but not operating machines. Opinion divided as to effect of law. Some mills take time out in middle of day, not allowing them on premises, which forces children on street, causing discomfort in bad weather for those not living near mills. Some say more idle children on streets. Don't go to school. Can not stay in mills.
“F. J. HALE." (Mr. Hale is president of Saco-Lowell shops.) These telegrams prove the contention that this bill does practically, in effect, ' raise the age limit to 16 instead of 14, as has been contended.
There are a few jobs around a cotton mill, such as sweeping, that could be filled by a person working 8 hours, but it is impracticable to operate the machinery of the spinning room with persons who work 8 hours while those on the other machinery work 10 hours.
MEMORANDUM RECEIVED FROM ARK WRIGHT CLUB.
Massachusetts laws provide that women and children under 18 shall not work more than 54 hours a week or more than 10 hours in any one day, and that minors under 16 shall not work more than 48 hours a week nor more than 8 hours any one day, nor before 6.30 nor after 6.
Adjustments to new conditions for a year caused much confusion. In some cases minors under 16 were discharged; in other cases they were kept for detached jobs, but not for regular work on machines.
Employers differ about result. Many cases of hardship occurred—where strong boys lost their jobs and their mothers went back to work. In some cities boys loafed about the streets. The final result is that comparatively few under 16 are now at work and none under 14.
Is WORK IN COTTON MILLS INJURIOUS ?
Many of those who favor the Keating-Owen bill are sincere in their belief that young people are being injured by work in southern cotton mills.
They have been educated to that belief by statements which they have heard and articles which they have read and very few have an actual or real knowledge of the conditions which they seek to remedy.
The cotton manufacturers of the South are sincere in their belief that children are not being injured, either mentally or physically, by the work they perform in the cotton mills and they welcome the fullest investigation by this committee or its representatives.
The mill owners and presidents are of the same blood as their employees and keep in very close touch with them. They know most of their employees personally and know how they live and how they work.
LABOR LAWS OF SOUTHERN STATES.
We often hear it said that the Southern States have no laws regulating the ages at which children may be employed or hours that they may be permitted to work.
There is no State in the South that to-day permits the employment of children under 12 years of age under any conditions.
There is no State in the South that permits the employment of children under 13 years of age, with the following exceptions: In North Carolina they can work in an apprentice capacity between 12 and 13 years of age, provided that they have been to school 4 months during the previous 12 months.
In South Carolina children upon whom the parents are entirely dependent can work between 12 and 14 years of age, provided the State secretary of labor is sufficiently convinced of the necessity to issue a certificate. South Carolina Legislature now in session has under consideration and will probably pass a law eliminating that provision after July 1, 1916. Until September 1, 1916, a child between 13 and 14 may be employed in Alabama, provided it has attended school eight weeks in the previous year. In none of the other Southern States can a child of less than 14 years of age be employed.
HOURS PER WEEK.
We often hear it said that southern cotton mills are operating 11 and 12 hours per day.
The laws of every Southern State limit the working hours to 60 per week, or an average of 10 hours per day. By the unanimous request of the operatives the 60 hours per week are so divided as to make Saturday a short day, and leave Saturday afternoon for baseball games, etc. A greater production from the mills could doubtless be obtained by running 10 hours each day, but the mill owners arrange the hours so as to suit the wishes of their employees.
One of the greatest hardships of the Keating-Owen bill is that it will take away from the operative the right to so divide the hours per week that they can have vacation on Saturay afternoon. Men and women who probably never worked a Saturday afternoon in their lives arbitrarily assume the right to specify how the employees of cotton mills shall divide the hours per week and seek to deny them the much-valued Saturday afternoon vacation which means a great deal to them.
Those who favor the Keating-Owen bill bring two indictments against the cotton mills:
1. That children are being injured by the work which they are performing.
2. That the children of the children who are now working will be deficient physically and mentally.
Their claims relative to injury to children may be classified as follows: 1. That their general health is injured by the hard character of their work. 2. That the nature of work causes tuberculosis.
3. That the work is dangerous and many children are either killed maimer.
4. That the work affects the child mentally.
GENERAL HEALTH OF THE OPERATIVES.
There are no renutable statistics showing that the work in cotton mills injures the health of the mill operatives or that rotton-mill children between 14 and 16 are less healthy than other children. We have the testimony of Dr. C. W. Stiles, the famous hookworm expert, that conditions of health are far better in the cotton mills than upon the tenant farm.
A very thorough investigation of the health nf mill boys is now being conducted by the United States Department of Health and the Massachusetts