« ForrigeFortsett »
A careful survey of the situation justifies the following recommendations:
(1) The enactment of model factory and labor laws for the employees of the Government and for the District of Columbia. Such laws, apart from regulating the hours of labor, should also make adequate provisions for the sanitation of workshops, for employer's liability in case of accidents and for a comprehensive system of industrial insurance for all Government employees and employees in the District of Columbia. (See pp. 72-92 of Report submitted February 4, 1908.)
(2) The appointment by the President of a special board composed of Architects and Sanitarians now in the employ of the Government for the purpose of evolving model plans and building regulations for Government workshops and office buildings so that no such buildings will hereafter be erected without due regard to air space, ventilation, light, heating, temperature, humidity, sanitary conveniences, and other provisions, including sanitary supervision referred to in a previous Report, ,
(3) The establishment in the National Museum, and in connection with Museums in Industrial centers generally, of a special section devoted to exhibits illustrative of the hygiene of occupations, habitations, food, safety appliances and other collections for the promotion of industrial and social betterment of wage earners, along the lines indicated on pp. 85 and 86 of the Report, February 4, 1908. It may be found necessary to house such exhibits ultimately in a special building.
(4) While it is gratifying to record a very deep interest in the public schools of Washington in all matters related to social and industrial life, the Committee is of the opinion that even greater emphasis should be given in the curriculum to manual training and domestic science because the practical knowledge thus acquired not only inspires respect for manual labor and domestic service but constitutes in fact the foundation stone for intelligent work and home-making.
(5) The importance of a thorough practical training in domestic science is nowhere more evident than in a study of our family groups whose income is less than $700 a year. While conditions on the whole indicate a fierce struggle for existence, some splendid examples of neat and healthful homes, of thrift and happiness could be cited for the emulation of less competent neighbors.
(6) Since the scale of wages in certain occupations has not kept pace with the cost of living, the Committee recommends adequate compensation of all employees whether in the Government service or in other fields of activity. This applies with special emphasis to married men earning less than $2.00 a day. No effort should be spared to improve the social condition of poorly paid wage earners, and justice likewise demands an increase in the scale of salaried employees in order to compensate for the increased cost of living, especially when no such increase has been made within the past 10 years. It is believed that the principle of permanency of employment, which is so well established as to large numbers of Government employees, should be extended to others to whom it does not now apply, so far as the interests of the Government permit.
(7) The Committee is of the opinion that the standards of living could be materially improved by diminishing the expenditures for tobacco and intoxicants. Taken as a whole the families investigated could add on an average at least one room to their overcrowded homes if the money expended for these items were devoted to the payment of rent.
In order to restrict the consumption of these harmful agents much may be done by educational methods, the establishment of social settlements in connection with the public schools and churches, and the creation of genteel and inexpensive amusements calculated to counteract the influence of saloons and evil resorts. The sale of tobacco and intoxicants to persons under the age of twenty-one should be prohibited by law. We also recommend greater restriction in the sale of proprietary medicines containing alcohol in sufficient quantity to be intoxicants, and greater restriction in the licensing of saloons in residential and manufacturing sections.
We also recommend the enactment of a Bill introduced by Senator Gallinger making drunkenness a misdemeanor and placing habitual drunkards and drug habitués under legal restraint in the hospital for Inebriates in order to bring about their permanent reformation. The Committee believes that the provisions of the Bill will be materially strengthened by making the sale of intoxicants to habitual drunkards a criminal offence and to hold the seller responsible for all damages, when properly warned not to dispense intoxicants to minors and habitual drunkards.
(8) The Committee believes that public playgrounds and athletic fields will promote temperance and chastity and since we are familiar with the physical ravages of vice and disease and the public expenditures incident thereto, we recommend most liberal appropriations for all such moral and social prophylactic measures.
(9) Your Committee believes that quackery and the great nostrum evil are frequent causes of physical and financial impoverishment. In view of the importance of the subject, we recommend the appointment of a special board composed of a representative of the Attorney General in the Post Office Department, of the Public Health Service and the Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry, U. S. Department of Agriculture for the purpose of investigation and the formulation of such additional legislation as may be deemed necessary in the interest of public health and morals.
In the meantime, it is earnestly recommended that the Postmaster General be requested to publish with the monthly Supplements to the Official Postal Guide, a Bulletin setting forth the essential facts in connection with the fraud orders issued during the preceding month, such bulletins to be posted in Post Offices and to be distributed in sufficient numbers along Rural Delivery Routes.
We also recommend that all information concerning harmful ingredients in foods, medicines, soft and alcoholic drinks which may come to light during the execution of the pure food and drug law, be published by the Department of Agriculture in the same manner as “Farmers Bulletins” are now being published. The public is entitled to be warned and for this purpose the indisputable facts should emanate from some official source.
(10) The Committee strongly recommends the enactment of a law for the suppression of usury as contemplated by Senate Bill 2296 and H. R. 11,772. Your Committee is convinced that there is a necessity in every community for pawn shops and money lending concerns, to aid persons who are unable in an emergency to secure loans from banks, trust companies, or real estate brokers. It has been shown that the system now in vogue is attended with gross abuses, absolute extortion, and financial distress which calls for remedial action. Since it has also been demonstrated by the experience of the New York Provident Loan Society (a strictly business philanthropy) that such operations cannot be carried on at a lower rate of interest than one per cent. per month, we recommend that the maximum rate of interest be placed not higher than 2 per cent per month. This will legalize the business, enable respectable people to enter the field and by wholesome competition bring about the desired result. The license tax in the proposed bill should be reduced from $1,000 to $100 per annum; a suitable reduction should likewise be made on the Recorders' fees on chattel mortages involving amounts less than $100, as all these expenses are placed by indirection on the borrower. The execution of such a law involves careful official supervision, such as is contemplated in the recommendation of Mr. James B. Reynolds in the creation of a Bureau of Labor.
(11) The creation of a Bureau of Labor would likewise render valuable services both to employers and employees in the supervision of employment agencies, the correction of abuses connected therewith, and also in the enforcement of labor laws, sanitation of factories, workshops, etc.
The fact that in our sociological study of 1,217 families comprising a population of 4,889, 2,202 or 45 per cent carried life insurance, and 855 or 1772 per cent. carried insurance against sickness constitutes a strong argument in favor of a comprehensive system of workingmen's insurance, and adequate supervision, such as recommended by Mr. Reynolds in his Report to the President, April 29, 1907.
(12) Our sociological investigation shows, that out of 5,157 persons enumerated, 613 or 12 per cent had been sick during the past year with an average duration of 29.5 days involving a loss of 18,083 days of work. This, together with information collected by the Board of Charities, emphasizes the need of hospital facilities for convalescents where the earning capacity of dependent patients after an acute illness may be expedited. As it is now, the recovery of such persons is greatly retarded by a return to insanitary homes, insufficient and improper food, etc.
(13) The cases of permanent disability found in the 1,217 families are comparatively few, namely 42. Of these the age is given in 39; 3 of these were under the age of 19 years; 14 between 20 and 49 years; and 22 were over 50 years. This does not include the cases cared for in public institutions, which are taxed to their utmost capacity.
In order to reduce the number of defectives, preventive measures must be invoked early in life and an able corps of teachers, Medical Inspectors and Instructive Visiting Nurses can render most efficient service. A recent inspection of 43,005 pupils in the public schools shows that 15,304 children, or 35.2 per cent of the total examined, are in need of medical or dental service.
Your Committee recommends that the study of hygiene be made an important part of the school curriculum, also the appointment of Instructive Visiting Nurses in the schools, and that Medical Inspectors, nurses and teachers be authorized to suggest to pupils and parents the desirability of securing prompt professional advice in all cases where it is indicated and especially in such instances as are likely to result in permanent disability.
(14) In the interest of general sanitation your Committee recommends: 1. The further purification of the water supply advocated by the officers in charge of the filtration plant. 2. The reclamation of the Anacostia Flats for the reduction of malarial fevers. 3. The enactment of a more stringent law regulating the production and sale of milk and dairy products, for the reduction of milk-borne diseases. 4. The abandonment of box privies, removal of slums, establishment of public baths for all seasons of the year, more liberal appropriations for the Health Department and a larger corps of sanitary inspectors so that the gospel of cleanliness and health may be enforced within and without the homes. 5. Greater co-operation on the part of the Police Courts with the efforts of the Health Department in the enforcement of sanitary laws and ordi
Some of these recommendations have been urged by the Commissioners for years; they are of vital importance to the health, not only of every permanent resident, but to the chief magistrate, his cabinet, the foreign ministers, thousands of public officials, the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, and all citizens having business with Congress, besides the numerous visitors who annually pay homage to the city of Washington.