« ForrigeFortsett »
New Eight-Hour Law.
Limiting the hours of daily service of laborers and mechanics employed upon work done for the United States, or for any Territory, or for the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That every contract hereafter made to which the United States, any Territory, or the District of Columbia is a party, and every such contract made for or on behalf of the United States, or any Territory, or said District, which may require or involve the employment of laborers or mechanics shall contain a provision that no laborer or mechanic doing any part of the work contemplated by the contract, in the employ of the contractor or any subcontractor contracting for any part of said work contemplated, shall be required or permitted to work more than eight hours in any one calendar day upon such work; and every such contract shall stipulate a penalty for each violation of such provision in such contract of five dollars for each laborer or mechanic for every calendar day in which he shall be required or permitted to labor more than eight hours upon said work; and any officer or person designated as inspector of the work to be performed under any such contract, or to aid in enforcing the fulfillment thereof, shall, upon observation or investigation, forthwith report to the proper officer of the United States, or of any Territory, or of the District of Columbia, all violations of the provisions of this act directed to be made in every such contract, together with the name of each laborer or mechanic who has been required or permitted to labor in violation of such stipulation and the day of such violation, and the amount of the penalties imposed according to the stipulation in any such contract shall be directed to be withheld for the use and benefit of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Territory contracting by the officer or person whose duty it shall be to approve the payment of the moneys due under such contract, whether the violation of the provisions of such contract is by the contractor or any subcontractor. Any contractor or subcontractor aggrieved by the withholding of any penalty as herein before provided shall have the right within six months thereafter to appeal to the head of the department making the contract on behalf of the United States or the Territory, and in the case of a contract made by the District of Columbia to the Commissioners thereof, who shall have power to review the action imposing the penalty, and in all such appeals from such final order whereby a contractor or subcontractor may be aggrieved by the imposition of the penalty herein before provided such contractor or subcontractor may within six months after decision by such head of a department or the Commissioners of the District of Columbia file a claim
in the Court of Claims, which shall have jurisdiction to hear and decide the matter in like manner as in other cases before said court.
Sec. 2. That nothing in this Act shall apply to contracts for transportation by land or water, or for the transmission of intelligence, or for the purchase of supplies by the Government, whether manufactured to conform to particular specifications or not, or for such materials or articles as may usually be bought in open market, except armor and armor plate, whether made to conform to particular specifications or not, or to the construction or repair of levees or revetments necessary for protection against floods or overflows on the navigable waters of the United States: Provided, That all classes of work which have been, are now, or may hereafter be performed by the Government shall, when done by contract, by individuals, firms, or corporations for or on behalf of the United States or any of the Territories or the District of Columbia, be performed in accordance with the terms and provisions of section one of this Act. The President, by Executive order, may waive the provisions and stipulations in this Act as to any specific contract or contracts during time of war or a time when war is imminent, and until January first, nineteen hundred and fifteen, as to any contract or contracts entered into in connection with the construction of the Isthmian Canal. No penalties shall be imposed for any violation of such provision in such contract due to any extraordinary events or conditions of manufacture, or to any emergency caused by fire, famine, or flood, by danger to life or to property, or by other extraordinary event or condition on account of which the President shall subsequently declare the violation to have been excusable. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to repeal or modify the Act entitled "An Act relating to the limitation of the hours of daily service of laborers and mechanics employed upon the public works of the United States and of the District of Columbia" being chapter three hundred and fifty-two of the laws of the Fifty-second Congress, approved August first, eighteen hundred and ninety-two, as modified by the Acts of Congress approved February twenty-seventh, nineteen hundred and six, and June thirtieth, nineteen hundred and six, or apply to contracts which have been or may be entered into under the provisions of appropriation Acts approved prior to the passage
of this Act.
THE SHORT BALLOT AGAIN.
By RICHARD S. CHILDS.*
AST February, Mr. J. W. Sullivan took a few liberties with me in the columns of the AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST under the title, "The Short Ballot-Well, it Depends." By the editor's courtesy I am now enabled to return a somewhat belated fire, and I am glad of the chance, because labor has more at stake in these attempts to recapture the representative system than any other section of our citizenship. First, let me fend off a few of Mr. Sullivan's genial whacks.
He takes me to task for giving the Commission Government cities my own title of "Short Ballot Cities," whereas in his opinion apparently they should be called "Initiative and Referendum Cities." I maintain that my title is the correct and scientific one. The Short Ballot is the one universal salient feature of the Galveston-Des Moines form of government. It is the one significant feature of the plan. The title "Commission Government" is a misnomer, implying as it does an appointive rather than an elective board—a mistake in terms which runs back to the fact that the first commission in Galveston was appointed by the Governor during the emergency period following the great flood of 1900. When it became a democratic form of government, with the commissioners elected by the people, the old name "Commission" remained and has stuck to the plan ever since, although in strict English the term is incorrect. Commission government always vests all power in a single compact board, sometimes of five members; in small cities frequently of only three. These commissions almost break their necks to please the people of their cities. At the slightest hint of public demand the commissioners are on tiptoe to get into agreement with public sentiment. If the sentiments of the bosses run counter to the sentiments of the people at large, the commissioners go with the people. Inasmuch as the people prefer economical and efficient government, these commissions have almost uniformly been giving it. When they don't they get into trouble. When the people go beyond questions of mere economy and honesty, they will continue to get from their commissions exactly what they want the moment they want it.
The responsiveness of these city governments to the people rather than to the politicians and their friends, the privilege-seekers, is because of the Short Ballot. If the commission consisted of fifty members instead of five, it would make all the difference in the world. The fifty members would not feel personally conscious of the public gaze. They would not be held individually accountable by the people if things went wrong. Both at the election and after, they would find it easy to dodge public condemnation. The voters would be voting for long tickets that were too long to remember or scrutinize. The voters would be voting, just as they are now in thousands of other cities, for some men they know all about and for other men whom
they know nothing about. The politicians would be enthroned, public opinion would be baffled and the voters would be getting flim-flammed at the polls because of the unworkable length of the ballot. A ballot that asks more questions than the average voter has time to study and answer is the most undemocratic ballot conceivable. Such ballots-and there are plenty of ballots in this country which run up to fifty offices and several hundred names-such ballots simply disfranchise the voter. They might as well have printed at the top of them the words, "For Experts Only." So if you change commission government in just that one respect by enlarging the commission from five members to fifty, you would find the boss more powerfully entrenched than ever.
When, however, there are only five offices to be filled in the entire city, the people can see what they are doing and elect the men they really want. They can do it every time, and they won't get flimflammed by politicians or privilege-seekers. Giving the people a chance to see what they are getting on election day is the best way to protect them from getting it in the neck. We don't need a maze of checks and balances to make the government popular. We only need to make the ballot a tool which can be used by the people just as conveniently as by the politicians. This is exactly what has happened in commission-governed cities. With only five offices to fill, the people are all complete politicians and the boss of the old days is out of a job.
The Initiative and Referendum are in the charters of many of these cities; not in all of them, however, by a long shot. Galveston, which was the first commission city, and the one which started the great wave of commission government which now has revolutionized 200 cities, does not have the Initiative or Referendum. In all the commissiongoverned cities the Initiative has only been used once or twice; the Referendum not more than half a dozen times. In most of the cities you can't find a trace of an indication of the existence of these devices in the history of the new govern. ment. Having gotten it into the charters, its advocates have promptly forgotten its existence. Why? Because when the people get the representative system under their thumb, as they do with the Short Ballot, the representative system will proceed to do for them everything they want done. The Initiative and Referendum is nearer to popular government than our old-style government, but a short ballot representative government is more accurately popular yet.
In Oregon the People's Power League which invented the Initiative and Referendum, so far as this country is concerned, is using these devices to revamp the representative system and make it more sensitive to public opinion. They see clearly that when a legislature turns down a proposed law by an overwhelming majority, and then the people pass it by an overwhelming majority on an Initiative petition, that something is rotten in the
The reader of this article by Mr. Childs is requested to also read the article which immediately follows it, "Comment," by Mr. Sullivan.
representative system. So now they come forward with an Initiative proposal to introduce the Short Ballot throughout all Oregon. Their proposal abolishes the State Senate, makes the Governor an important member of the Legislature and gives him power to appoint his own cabinet, simplifies county government-that ancient citadel of bossism-and lengthens the terms of all public officers to four years, subject to recall, so that the longest ballot in Oregon will be five offices instead of twentyfive. The State ticket under this proposal will be just three officers-Governor, State auditor, and member of the Legislature. The county ticket will consist of three county directors. The laziest voter in Oregon can defend his rights and vote intelligently on ballots like that. When there are only three to five offices to be filled, it won't be possible for a railroad to sneak its man into office, or for a franchise grabber to get his attorney past the voters to a seat in the Legislature. That kind of thing becomes impossible when the people can see what they are doing on election day. If that Initiative proposal goes through, we will suddenly see in Oregon a new kind of representative system-a kind which will perform the exact will of the people promptly and willingly, making resort to Initiative and Referendum superfluous. A correct representative system will make Initiative proposals hopeless, because if the Short Ballot Legislature won't pass a proposal, that will be a demonstration that the people won't pass it either. That is the kind of representative system that the Short Ballot movement aims at. The Initiative and Referendum in States are useful transitional expedients.
A word as to my defense of the British city. In my book I did make the statement, "The British
City is a democracy." Perhaps I should have said it is a democracy so far as the problem before us is concerned." In the same spirit I might describe the organization of a social club which elects a small board of directors, and call it a democracy, although it is exclusive as to membership. It was unfair of Mr. Sullivan to pick that one sentence out of its context and assail it as if I had undertaken by that statement to defend the restrictions on the franchise or the influence of the House of Lords over municipalities. I readily concede everything that Mr. Sullivan says regarding the deplorable lack of home rule in British cities, and the undue respect of British opinion for silkhatted privilege. Nevertheless, the British city is a democracy in the sense that within the limitations of the national law, the voters really control their officials and are not subject to an oligarchy of bossism.
The Short Ballot is not a goo-goo reform, and you will find that it is consistently promoted for the sake of popular government, rather than "good" government. We seek reform via democracy. We are undertaking to destroy the present oligarchy called "government-by-politicians" and substitute a form of sensitive representative government which will listen to the people rather than to a self established unofficial ruling class.
The Short Ballot is not in opposition to the direct election of United States Senators. It does not aim to limit the number of Initiative and Referendum questions on the ballot. It does not undertake to justify the various incidental imperfections of the commission plan. It aims at popular rule by the creation of a system of politics in which the ordinary busy, hard-working citizen can easily and naturally take the boss's job!
By J. W. SULlivan.
'N THAT last paragraph Brother Childs moves so far away from his merely Short Ballot, and so near the Effective Ballot, that he deserves congratulations. He does not notice, however, my warning to the wage-workers not to let slip their direct control over judges, prosecuting attorneys, and the police of every degree, nor over the licensing, taxing, and school system. A little more argument on these points and perhaps he might be with me. He is welcome to whatever consolation he may find in declaring I was unfair in separating from its context his assertion, "The British city is a democracy." The fact is that if that conclusion was not the point and purpose of his chapter on this part of his subject, it had none. As to his method of stating facts, as against mine, the reader may put in comparison his statement that "not by a long shot" are the Initiative and Referendum in the charters of commission cities, and my statement that, according to one of the latest writers, Ernest S. Bradford, out of fifty such cities, all but half a dozen have the system in some form.
But, surely, my trade union readers can not expect much space in this magazine to be used in trying to reason with a promoter of such a catchphrase as "The Short Ballot" while he honestly
believes he states a fact in saying that, so far as this country is concerned, The People's Power League of Oregon "invented" the Initiative and Referendum. Hundreds of thousands of union members were employing this democratic method, by these terms, many years before there was any movement for direct legislation in Oregon. A decade before the constitutional amendment of 1902 went into effect in Oregon, the International Typographical Union had in full swing all the features characterizing a "people's power" system, i. e., Initiative and Referendum, direct nominations, Australian ballot, woman suffrage, and discussion in official print of questions to be voted on and of the views of candidates as announced by themselves. It may be necessary to inform Brother Childs that the Typographical Union has 51,000 members; he might otherwise think it an east side settlement society in New York. The experiences of the trade unionists of Oregon with the workings of a pure democracy in their own unions enabled them to play an important part in showing the People's Power League what to do. I take occasion to repeat my injunction to the wage-workers not to loosen their hold, by a single hitch, on the law making power, the law-interpreting power, or the law-administering power.
England's National Insurance Act."
By WILLIS BRUCE DOWD.
RECENT request by mail to Hon. Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer of England, for a copy of the National Insurance Act, lately adopted by Parliament, brought a courteous reply from his secretary and the desired statute under separate cover. It is a large act covering 122 pages. Its title is as follows: "An Act to provide for Insurance against Loss of Health and for the Prevention and Cure of Sickness and for Insurance against Unemployment, and for purposes incidental thereto." The main purpose incident thereto is to provide benefits for workers in old age.
This act was passed under protest of the labor organizations of England. It applies to the laboring classes, whether they are British subjects or not. The burden of insurance falls more heavily on the males than on the females, but the benefits are proportionately higher for men than for women. For illustration: Paragraph three, under the caption of Contributions says, in general, that the funds for providing the benefits conferred by the act shall be derived as to seven-ninths (or, in the case of women, three-fourths) thereof from the contributions made by, or in respect of, the insurers themselves, or their employers; and as to the remainder, by Parliament. This looks favorable to the women, but another part of the act, in which the money benefits are provided, tells a different story.
Looking at the schedule for benefits under the head of health insurance we find that men are to have 10s. a week for twenty-six weeks, but women only 7s. 6d. for the same time. Yet the disablement benefit is the same for men and women, to wit, 5s. a week. In the case of unmarried minors, the sickness benefit is for males 6s. a week during the first thirteen weeks, and 5s. a week for the second thirteen weeks. For females the rate is 5s. a week for the first thirteen weeks, and 4s. a week for the second thirteen weeks. Here the disablement benefit is for females only, and the rate is 4s. a week.
This act has been drawn with such minute care to economic conditions that the rates have been made lower in Ireland than they are in England, which illustrates, of course, the difference in the standard of living in the two countries. The wonder is to American eyes, however, what substantial benefit can be derived by anybody from the receipt of a few shillings per week whether in health or in sickness. Of course, the answer is, that a penny will buy as much in one country as a pound in another. Money is worth only what it will buy.
The act provides for medical benefit, sanatorium benefit, sickness benefit, and maternity benefit. These benefits cover practically the whole range of human infirmities, including the cure of tuber
Notwithstanding anything in the act, insured persons shall not be entitled:
(a) To medical benefit during the first six months after the commencement of this act;
(b) To sickness benefit until twenty-six weeks have elapsed and at least twenty-six weekly contributions have been paid by, or in respect of, the insured;
(c) To disablement benefit until 104 weeks have elapsed and 104 weekly contributions have been paid for;
(d) To maternity benefit unless twenty-six weeks have elapsed since the entry into insurance, or fifty-two weeks, in the case of a voluntary contributor, or twenty-six or fifty-two weekly contributions have been paid according to the conditions.
There are numerous provisions for lessening the benefits to persons who are in arrears, or, by accident or otherwise, are in position to receive benefits, irrespective of the provisions of the act. It is also provided that where parties entitled to insurance are inmates of workhouses, hospitals, asylums, convalescent homes or infirmaries supported by the public, the funds accruing under the act may be used for the support and maintenance of those dependent on the insured.
It is not proposed that the Government shall directly insure, but that approved societies shall be formed under the supervision of the Insurance Commissioners for the purpose of making the provisions of the act effectual. No society shall receive the approval of the Insurance Commissioners unless it satisfies the following conditions:
(1) It must not be a society carried on for profit. (2) Its constitution must provide to the satisfaction of the Insurance Commissioners for its affairs being subject to the absolute control of its members.
(3) If the society has honorary members, its constitution must provide for excluding such honorary members from the right to vote in their capacity of members of the society on all questions under this act.
It is not necessary for the approved societies to be incorporated, but they may be incorporated.
It is further provided that each approved society shall give security satisfactory to the Insurance Commissioners to provide against fraud or mismanagement by officers of the society in respect to funds belonging to it.
Provision is made for the transfer of membership from one society to another, and this extends even to the English colonies.
And it is further provided that any surplus which may accrue in any of the societies shall be
In the May issue of the AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST there appeared an article by Mr. Dowd in which he held up to view the "Sins of the State." In this article Mr. Dowd shows that England is atoning for some of her sins.
applied toward the reduction of the expenses or the lessening of the charges to be made against the parties insured.
We come now to provisions for special classes of insured persons. The first thing to be noticed is that a woman, who marries while insured, is suspended from the benefits of the act until the death of the husband. It is provided, however, that where a woman has been employed before marriage and continues to be employed after marriage, she shall not be suspended so long as she continues to be employed. In other words, the act assumes that the husband will take care of his wife.
Notwithstanding these provisions, a married woman, being a member of an approved society, if suspended from the ordinary benefits may, within one month after such suspension, become a voluntary contributor subject to the following modifications:
(a) The rate of contributions payable by her shall be 3d. a week;
(b) The benefits to which she shall be entitled shall be (1) medical benefit, and (2) sickness benefit and disablement benefit, at the rate of 3s. per week.
There is an interesting schedule of additional benefits attached to this act. For instance, medical treatment and attendance are provided for persons dependent upon the labor of a member. There is a provision for building or leasing suitable places for convalescent homes. Also for the payment of pensions or superannuation allowances, whether by way of the provisions of the act of Parliament of 1908, known as Old Age Pensions Act, or otherwise; also payments to members not allowed to attend work on account of infection.
It will be interesting now to notice, briefly, the cost of this insurance. There are two general rates for the employed and unemployed. The employed rate in the case of men is 7d. a week, in the case of women, 6d. a week. This is to be made up as follows: The employer is to pay 3d, a week; the
employed, if a man, 4d. a week, and if a woman, 3d. a week. These figures do not apply, but a less rate is charged if the insured is a person under twenty-one years of age and his or her income does not exceed 2s. and 6d. a working day. The employed rate is 2d. for workingmen in an insured trade, and the employer must pay at the same rate for every week that the workingman is so employed. Now, the insured trades for the purposes of the act are in brief as follows: 1. Building.
2. Construction of works.
4. Mechanical engineers.
5. Iron foundry.
6. Construction of vehicles.
The benefit under the unemployed schedules is roundly 7s. a week, not exceeding fifteen weeks in any year unless otherwise expressly provided.
The two most noteworthy features of this act are: It follows the example of Germany in compelling wage-earners to provide against uncleanliness, sickness and dependence, and it discloses the power of the British government to use public funds for private benefit, which is a thing that could not possibly happen under the Constitution of the United States. When Parliament proposes to put aside certain sums of money to insure working people against accidents and sickness and want in old age, we are obliged to take note that this is a power which our Government can not exercise. The question is, however, have we the advantage over England in this respect, or have England and Germany and other countries, which have adopted this sort of legislation, the advantage over us? Hardly anybody will say that our State and National Governments are immaculate. It is open to argument whether they ought not to be changed so as to give the people the power to insure themselves against the burden of improvidence and disease and the natural dependence which comes with old age.
CONVENTIONS OF INTERNATIONAL UNIONS, 1912.
July Atlantic City, N. J., National Brotherhood of Operative Potters.
July 8, Peoria, Ill., Theatrical Stage Employes International Alliance.
July 9, Hamilton, Ontario, Can., International Broom and Whisk Makers' Union.
July 15, Victor, Colo., Western Federation of Miners.
July 16, Columbus, Ohio, Retail Clerks' International Protective Association.
July 16, Belleville, Ill., Stove Mounters' International Union.
July 20, Belleville, N. J., American Wire Weavers' Protective Association.
August 5, New York, N. Y., International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers.
August 12-17, Cleveland, Ohio, International Typographical Union.
August 19-24, Denver, Colo., International PhotoEngravers' Union of North America.
August 26, Cleveland, Ohio, International Brotherhood of Roofers, Composition, Damp and Waterproof Workers of the United States and Canada.
August, Chicago, Ill., Brotherhood of Railroad Freight Handlers.
September, Boston, Mass., United Association of Plumbers, Gasfitters, Steamfitters and Steamfitters' Helpers of United States and Canada.
September 2-3-4, Salt Lake City, Utah, National Federation of Post-office Clerks.