페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

another whose principal crops were peas and beans worked 17 women 7 days one week; a third whose principal crops were raspberries and cherries worked 47 women 7 days one week; a fourth whose principal crops were strawberries and raspberries worked 11 women 7 days one week, 14 women 7 days in each of 2 weeks, and 17 women 7 days in each of 3 weeks. The last two establishments belong to the same firm.

In these cases there is but little evidence to support the contention of the canners who violated the permit that industrial necessity forces them to work women 7 days per week, even in emergencies. For example, 19 establishments stated that their principal crops handled during the 5 weeks under investigation were berries or cherries while an additional 19 gave as the crops second in importance either berries or cherries. Hence of these 38 establishments which handled berries or cherries, only one firm, operating 2 canneries, worked women 7 days per week.

In like manner, of the 70 establishments which gave peas as their principal crop, only the 2 mentioned above worked women 7 days per week. In each case where women worked 7 days per week the cannery attempted to handle more peas or small fruits than the capacity of the cannery warranted. It appears, therefore, that 7-day work for women is not an industrial necessity but is due to the intent of the individual canner to disregard the provisions of the law whenever it is financially desirable to do so.

The same is true of canners who worked women over 66 hours per week. About one-third of the 94 establishments investigated worked no women over 60 hours per week, while the other twothirds took advantage of the permit to work women over 60 hours per week in emergencies. Only about one-fifth of them violated the permit by working their women over 66 hours per week. There is no evidence to show that conditions affecting those canneries which violated the permit were peculiar to those establishments and were not present in the greater number of cases which observed the provisions of the permit.

To a less marked degree the same is true of those establishments who worked women over 12 hours per day. While all but 9 of the 94 canneries used the permit to work women over 10 hours per day, less than 40 per cent of them violated the permit by working women over 12 hours per day. Again the evidence at hand indicates that those who violated the permit in this manner did so not because of inherent industrial necessity but, as before, because of individual intent to disregard the provisions of the law whenever financially desirable to do so.

Incidentally, transcripts of the payrolls of 88 canneries for these 5 weeks were made. Perhaps some of the wage earners worked short hours and hence would necessarily receive small wages. Nevertheless, the table of wages is significant as an index of the low wages paid in the canning industry since it shows the actual wages paid to all workers during the busiest week of the pea canning season. Only the busiest week of the 5 in each cannery for which transcripts of the payrolls were made is included in the table.

CUMULATIVE PERCENTAGES OF WEEKLY EARNINGS IN 88 CANNERIES IN NEW
YORK STATE FOR THE BUSIEST WEEK FROM JUNE 28 TO AUGUST 1,

1914, CLASSIFIED BY SEX AND AGE GROUPS
MALES

FEMALES

[blocks in formation]

The significant facts shown in this table are as follows: More than one-fourth of all male employees 16 years of age or over received less than $9 during their busiest week; more than onehalf received less than $12; and less than 7 per cent received $20

or more. It should be noted too that during this time male employees over 18 years of age were permitted to work 7 days per week and that no limit was placed on their daily or weekly hours.

Sixty per cent of the male employees from 14 to 16 years of age received less than $5 per week; 75 per cent received less than $7 per week; and only 5 per cent received $8 per week or more.

Of the total number of females 18 years of age or over, including all who worked over 12 hours per day, over 66 hours per week, or 7 days per week, nearly one-third received less than $4 per week; over two-fifths received less than $5 per week; five-eighths received less than $6 per week; and only 15 per cent received $7 per week or over. During the same time approximately 20 per cent of all women over 18 years of age worked over 60 hours per week.

One-half of the females 16 to 18 years of age received less than $5 during their busiest week; three-fourths received less than $6; and only 71/2 per cent received $7 or over.

One-half of the females 14 to 16 years of age received less than $4 during their busiest week; and less than 2 per cent received $6 or over.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION As stated at the outset.this has been only a review of administrative experience. Administration of the law being a matter of its enforcement, the detailed review naturally has dwelt chiefly on the nature and extent of violations of the law. In all fairness, however, and in order that a true impression of the situation may be given, it remains to emphasize here that over against the nonobservance of the law detailed above stands extensive compliance therewith in the year 1914.

In other words, while it is true that there was considerable illegal employment of children in sheds (or tents) by a number of canners, and while there were not a few violations of the law concerning hours of women, and while some canners who choose 80 to do, feel that they can, and actually do, violate the law practically with impunity owing to public sentiment adverse to the law in their communities, nevertheless violation of law was far from general. On the contrary, for a large proportion of individual firms no violations were recorded. In fact, as may be seen by comparison of the number of firms which violated the law with total firms, there stands out clearly a majority of canners for whom no violation was recorded. It is to be noted here also that for many of these latter as well as for some even of those against whom violations were reported, the inspectors especially reported that the employers were evidently faithfully endeavoring to observe the law.

In short, three classes of canners seem to be revealed quite clearly by the inspectors' reports; first a majority who both endeavored to and did observe the law; second a smaller number whose intent was to observe the law but who violated it under stress of special circumstances; and third, a still smaller number, though embracing a few of the largest establishments, who displayed an inclination to evade the law at will.

It is important to emphasize the large extent to which the law was lived up to, not alone as a matter of fairness but as a fact of vital importance with reference to any question of change in the law. The fact that so many canners conducted their business without violation of law, argues most strongly that the law as it now stands is not an unreasonable restriction upon the industry, and makes it clear that violations of the law are chiefly the result of the individual canner's attitude toward it and not of the necessary exigencies of his business. Furthermore, it should be the principle in such a case, where, as it must not be forgotten, it is a matter of departing from standards for women and children in industry required without exception in all other lines and recognized both by courts and public opinion as sound health measures, that the practice of firms with the highest standards rather than others, should guide. Following, therefore, this principle, that it is the standard of the law-abiding rather than the law-evading employer which should be maintained, it is recommended that the present law should not be changed.

This does not overlook the problem of enforceability in the case of the few recalcitrant canners, but as to that this report can only set forth the facts without recommendation.

(B) THE DAY OF REST LAW The Legislature of 1913 passed what is commonly known as the one day of rest in seven law. Incorporated in the program of the special legislative committee for revising the entire code of factory laws of the State, this law met but little opposition from former opponents of similar proposed legislation. This apparent change of heart may be explained in part by contending that this law was lost sight of in the mass of other labor legislation which passed the same session of the Legislature. On the other hand, there was undoubtedly a frank recognition on the part of many who influence legislation in this State of the necessity of granting more protection to the hitherto unprotected classes of wage earners. The grant of one day of rest in seven is merely one manifestation of this change.

The law went into effect October 1, 1913. It does not prohibit Sunday labor but provides that “Every employer of labor engaged in carrying on any factory or mercantile establishment in this state shall allow every person, except those specified in subdivision two, employed in such factory or mercantile establishment at least twenty-four consecutive hours of rest in every seven consecutive days.” Subdivision two specifically exempted certain classes of employees from the operation of the law. The Industrial Board was given power to “except specific cases for specified periods from the provisions” of this law when “ the preservation of property, life or health requires.”

Even before the one day of rest in seven law became operative a considerable volume of correspondence began to be directed to the Department of Labor containing inquiries about the scope and operation of the law. These inquiries indicated many of the administrative difficulties to be encountered in the enforcement of the law. In order to answer these inquiries and to anticipate future inquiries of a similar nature from other interested parties, the Department issued in January, 1914, a one day of rest in seven bulletin. This contained the text of the law; opinions of the Attorney-General in regard to the definition of certain terms used in the law; rulings of the Department of Labor in response to specific questions; further definition of the terms of the law; directions to employers to facilitate compliance with its provisions; and a classification of industries and wage earners affected and

« 이전계속 »