« ForrigeFortsett »
in different parts of the country, by which means it is expected that a general knowledge of labor conditions will be gained and disseminated.
Opportunities for employment were formerly determined by drawings, but the method was unsatisfactory, and a system of rotation has been adopted. This system is modified to some extent by local and conjugal conditions, applicants residing in the vicinity of the proposed works being preferred to nonresidents, so far as the supply extends, and married men to single. Married men having dependent children are further favored over those without children. Emergency work is provided, however, for the immediate relief of destitution, and various concessions are made to enable men to avail themselves of the opportunities offered. Thus, railway fares are provided at reduced rates, and advances made to cover this and other preliminary expenses, as for tents, blankets, etc., while cost of provisions has been guaranteed to storekeepers giving credit to men beginning work. This last privilege was so abused that it has been withdrawn. Men leaving dependent families are required to sign orders empowering the department to pay to their wives a portion--not less than one-half-of their weekly wages.
For men physically unfit for steady work and therefore not easily graded as to fixed pay, a system of cooperation called the butty-gang system is made use of. Under this plan the work is let as a job and the returns are equally shared by the members of the gang performing it. This system, which is stated to have succeeded well in New Zealand, was found not to be satisfactory, as the least competent or least willing set the pace, with the result of small returns and general dissatisfaction among the workers.
A casual labor farm, furnished with huts and tools and run on the cooperative basis, provided employment for 198 men for various periods during the year. The period of residence set by the commission was three months, though the majority did not stay so long; others requested an extension of the period, which was in some cases allowed. This farm furnished opportunity for recuperation, mental and physical, and for getting a little sum ahead with which to make a new start on leaving, besides some practical experience in plowing and other farm work which increased the opportunities for future employ. ment. The farm has not been self-supporting, but the deficiency has been reduced of late years, and it is anticipated that it will be entirely wiped out soon, leaving perhaps a balance in its favor.
To provide for another class of the destitute, including tramps and beggars, a labor depot and refuge was established within a few miles of Sydney, to which men are admitted and provided with food and lodging in return for a few hours' work, leaving them free during a large part of the day to seek employment. For those who work more than is thus required a credit system is used by which weekly accounts are kept, and any balance is paid over in cash at the time of final departure from the depot. This refuge was opened only three months before the close of this report, during some portion of which period 48 men were in residence, 23 being still in the institution when the report closed. Of the 25 who went away, 20 took certificates of good conduct, 4 of very good, and 1 the manager declined to certify. Three secured employment before leaving.
Industrial farms for more permanent occupancy under direct official supervision is a mode of relief for men with families, as well as single men, which the commission has in view, but which has not yet been put into operation. Assisted settlements on government lands under permanent leases and a compulsory labor colony for vagrants are recommended as additional agencies to provide for certain classes of the unemployed.
The number of applicants for work registering during the year was 10,501, of whom 217 were classed as clerical, 880 as artisans and mechanics, and the remainder as laborers, classified as follows: First grade, 3,677; second grade, 4,811; third grade, 916. Of the first two classes, 672 registered as willing also to take work as laborers. More than half the registrants were between 20 and 40 years of age, 331 giving their age as under 20 and 718 over 60 years.
The number of offers of work was 16,172; these were accepted in 7,899 instances, rejected in 3,237, and in 5,036 cases no reply was received. The number of individuals accepting work was 5,049, making an apportionment of about 15 jobs to each man that worked.
About 40 per cent-3,175--of the jobs were of less than one month's duration; 1,493 lasted from one to three months, 535 over three months, and in 1,711 cases the duration was not reported. A few jobs lasted a full year. Sickness and accident compelled 159 men to leave their work, and 1,454 deserted. This indicates a considerable proportion not actually desirous of employment. In 645 cases, however, there was a mark of “very good” as to ability and willingness, “good” in 1,502 cases, and 903 were not granted certificates. Conduct was, marked “very good” in 797 cases, “good” in 4,894, and 460 were denied a marking. It would appear, therefore, that incapacity was more in the way of success than was disposition; though the failure of 3,485 original registrants to give any further attention to their applications is suggestive of the use by beggars of the registration certificates to prove that they want work, when in reality they have no such desire.
First Report of the Bureau of Labor, 1900. R. Glockling, Secretary.
This bureau, which is under the commissioner of public works, came into existence under the provisions of an act approved April 30, 1900.(*)
The report presents the results of an inquiry as to labor organizations, including the subject of strikes and lockouts; parts of addresses on certain subjects of industrial interest; a synopsis of the labor laws of Ontario, and digests of official publications on changes in wages.
To the 340 schedules addressed to labor organizations 133 replies were received, representing about 50 trades and callings. Seventyeight unions report a membership of 6,346.
Thirty-five strikes and 2 lockouts were reported to have occurred during the year 1899 and up to September 1, 1900.
to September 1, 1900. Of these, 13 were reported as successful, 8 compromised, 2 settled by arbitration, and 5 unsuccessful. In 1 case there was no settlement, and 8 were still pending when the report closed.
a See Bulletin No. 33, p. 295, U. S. Department of Labor.
DECISIONS OF COURTS AFFECTING LABOR.
[This subject, begun in Bulletin No. 2, has been continued in successive issues. All material parts of the decisions are reproduced in the words of the courts, indicated when short by quotation marks and when long by being printed solid. In order to save space, matter needed simply by way of explanation is given in the words of the editorial reviser.]
DECISIONS UNDER STATUTORY LAW.
CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT- LIMITATIONS-RELEASE OF CLAIM FOR DAMAGES-FRAUD-Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company v. Smith, Court of Civil Appeals of Texas, 68 Southwestern Reporter, page 543.-J. E. Smith was a conductor employed by the above-named railway company and was injured in 1892 while attempting to effect a coupling between two cars. He brought suit to recover damages, but before the matter came to trial one Maxwell, as agent for the company, induced Smith to withdraw the suit, promising him, as he averred, employment for life at $60 per month. Smith withdrew the suit and signed a release of all claims for damages arising from the above accident, receiving in consideration therefor the sum of $300. He was given employment for two years at $60 per month and then asked for a lay off of six or seven months, which was granted. When he went to resume work he was told there was no place for him, but after repeated solicitations he was given work for two days and again discharged. This was in April, 1897, since which time employment had been refused him, and on September 10, 1900, he filed a petition stating the above facts and claiming that the release signed had been fraudulently obtained and that the failure of the company to furnish continuous employment was a failure of the consideration for which he agreed to the release, for all of which, and for loss of employment, he asked damages in the sum of $20,000. He was allowed the sum of $4,000 and costs in the district court of Hill County, from which judgment the company appealed and obtained a reversal of the lower court.
Judge Bookhout, who announced the decision of the court, first discussed the contention of the railway company that since more than two years had intervened since Smith's right of action, if he had such right, had accrued before the filing of his petition, such cause of action was barred by the statute of limitations of two years. On this point the court said:
If it be conceded that the plaintiff was induced to dismiss the suit then pending in the district court of Grayson County (the original ing it.
suit for damages] by the fraud of the defendant's agents, this would not prevent the statute of limitations running from the time he discovered, or should, in the exercise of ordinary diligence, have discovered, the fraud. Undiscovered fraud will prevent the running of the statute of limitations, provided the failure to discover the fraud is not attributable to the want of proper diligence by the party assert
This suit was instituted on September 10, 1900, three years and a little over four months after the company had terminated his employment. Ought not the appellee to have discovered more than two years before the filing of this suit that appellant did not intend to give him employment? After he took his lay off to rest up, he says that when he returned and asked to be put back to work he was told by the agent that they had no work for him, and that he had lost out.” This expression does not indicate that the agents of the company were attempting to conceal from Smith the fact that they did not intend to longer employ him. After hounding after them, as he says, for six or seven months, he was put back to work, and after working two days was again let out. There is not an iota of evidence that the agents and officers of the company led him to believe that he would be again employed, or that they in any way concealed from him their determination not to again employ him. We are of the opinion that the appellee's own testimony shows that his failure to ascertain that the company did not intend to give him employment was attributable to his failure to use ordinary diligence to discover that fact.
The court held that this fact in itself furnished sufficient ground for a reversal of judgment, and that judgment should have been rendered for the company. Another point was discussed, however, which was the question as to whether fraud was practiced in procuring the release.
On this Judge Bookhout said:
The statements made by Maxwell promising appellee a lifetime job if he would dismiss his suit were made at Denison, and before appellee went to work for the company. The releases were signed by him at Waco, and after he had begun to work for the company. Appellee testified that agent “Bower had the release there in the front office, and said to me: “Smith, here is something for you to sign. You are going to work here and we (I) will take care of you. I will make a good place for you. Unless this statement shows fraud, there is no testimony in the record showing fraud in the signing of the releases. There is nothing in this statement showing that appellee was to be given a lifetime job. Appellee did not call for a more specific statement as to what Bower meant by the remark that he would take care of him.” The release plainly showed that it was a settlement of the suit and a release of his demands in consideration of $300. But appellee says he did not read the release. He explains that the money, $300, was paid him voluntarily by the company. It is held that, in order to set aside a release on the ground of fraud the evidence must be clear, precise, and convincing. Slight parol evidence is insufficient. The fact that appellee did not read the release before signing was not sufficient, under the facts connected with his signing, to justify the jury in finding there was fraud in the execution. (Insurance Co. v.