« PreviousContinue »
suspension of labor in his business” (R. I. 1896, 198, 25; N. J. Sup., p. 772, 14; 1895, 142; Pa. Dig. 1895, p. 2073, $ 1; Mass. 1894, 508, 1). The amended statute of Massachusetts (1895, 129) leaves out the italicized clause.
In Connecticut it is made a penal offense to withhold wages because of a contract, express or implied, requiring such notice (Ct. 1748).
In Louisiana there is a statute prohibiting steamboat employees from leaving without notice, under penalty of damages besides forfeiture of wages (La. Civ. C. 945).
In Texas (1887, 30) all persons in the employment of any railway company were entitled to receive 30 days notice from the company before their wages could be reduced, and were to receive their full contract price for that time; but a similar statute was declared unconstitutional by the Texas supreme court.' Arkansas has a statute requiring railway employees' wages to be immediately paid upon dismissal.
In Maine there is a statute allowing one week's notice to be contracted for in manufacturing or mechanical business, but such notice must be mutual; and one week's wages paid upon discharge without reasonable cause. A Missouri statute (2539, 2540) requires 30 days'
1 Texas (1887, 91):
Whenever any railroad company shall discharge any employee, or whenever the time of service of any employee of a railroad company shall expire, or whenever any railroad company shall be due and owing any employee, such railroad company, upon such discharge, or upon the termination of the term of such service, or upon the maturity of such indebtedness, shall, within fifteen days after demand therefor upon the nearest station agent of said railroad company, pay to such employee the full amount due and owing him; and in case said railroad company fails or refuses to pay such employee, then it shall be liable and pay to such employee tventy per cent on the amount due him, as damages, in addition to the amount so due, in no case the damages to be less than five nor more than one hundred dollars.
2 Arkansas (6243–6245) : Sec. 6243. Whenever any railroad company or corporation engaged in the business of operating or constructing any railroad or railroad bridge shall discharge, with or without cause, or refuse to further employ any servant or employee thereof, the unpaid wages of any such servant or employee then earned at the contract rate, without abatement or deduction, shall be and become due and payable on the day of such discharge or refusal to longer employ; and if the same be not paid on such day, then as a penalty for such non-payment, the wages of such servant or employee shall continue at the same rate until paid. Provided, Such wages shall not continue more than sixty days, unless an action therefor shall be commenced within that time.
SEC. 6244. No such servant or employee who secretes or absents himself to avoid payment to him, or refuses to receive the same when fully tendered, shall be entitled to any benefit under this act for such time as he so avoids payment.
SEC. 6245. Any such servant or employee whose employment is for a definite period of time, and who is discharged without cause before the expiration of such time, may, in addition to the penalties prescribed by this act, have an action against any such employer for any damages he may have sustained by reason of such wrongful discharge, and such action may be joined with an action for unpaid wages and penalty.
3 Maine (1887, 139) :
SEC. 4. It shall be lawful for any person, firm or corporation engaged in any manufacturing or mechanical business, to contract with adult or minor employees to give one week’s notice of intention on such employee's part to quit such employment under a penalty of forfeiture of one week's wages. In such case, the employer shall be required to give a like notice of intention to discharge the employee; and on failure, shall pay to such employee a sum equal to one week's wages. No such forfeiture shall be enforced when the leaving or discharge of the employee is for a reasonable cause. Provided, however, The enforcement of the penalty aforesaid, shall not prevent either party from recovering damages for a breach of the contract of hire.
notice of a reduction in rate of wages from all corporations to their employees; and a similar statute was passed as to railways in Texas, and has been declared unconstitutional.
Some of the Southern States have laws forbidding, under penalty, the termination by laborers of contracts for agricultural labor, especially when rendered under the share system. (See Chap. VI, below.)
In Arkansas an employer dismissing a laborer prior to the expiration of his contract without good cause is liable for the full amount of the wages due him at the expiration, and the laborer has his lien therefor; and on the other hand, if the laborer, without good cause, abandons his employer before expiration of his contract, he is liable for the full amount of any account he may owe him, and shall forfeit the wages or his share of the crop due him, or to become due (Ark. 4789, 4790).
SEC. 6. AMOUNT OF WAGES.—No State or Territory has yet passed a statute fixing the price of wages in any industry, though Indiana requires 24 hours' written notice of a change in rate (1899, 124, 3), and it is not unusual for cities, towns, or counties to prescribe a minimum rate for unskilled labor and sometimes to provide that the usual local rate for the union rate for that locality shall be paid; and a new statute of Indiana (1899, 226) fixes 15 cents per hour for public or municipal work. The constitution of Louisiana specially provides that “ No law shall be passed fixing a price for manual labor” (La. Con., Art. 49). The new New York labor code provides that wages for public work shall not be less than the prevailing rate for a legal day's work in the same trade or calling in the locality where the work is to be used, erected, etc., when completed. Every contract for the construction of a public work shall contain a provision that the same shall be void and of no effect unless such rate is paid by the contractor to his employees, and violation of this section is made a penal offense. (See the law in full, Art. B, § 1, note.) (N. Y. 1897, 415, 3 and 4; 1899, 567; Kans. 1891, 114, 1 and 2).
ART. B. AS TO HOURS OF LABOR OF MEN, WOMEN,
AND CHILDREN IN FACTORIES, ETC.
The numerous statutes regulating hours of labor may be divided into four classes, the first class including those which merely fix what shall be regarded as a full day's labor in the absence of any contract between the parties, and these may either be general or extended only to special occupations; second, those laws which fix the labor of persons not fully sui juris, as minors, or, in some States, women of all ages; third, those which fix the hours of labor under the police power in occupations specially dangerous or unsanitary, or in which the safety of the public is specially concerned; and, finally, those which fix the hours of adult laborers, male as well as female, in general occupations, and prohibit contracts for longer hours without special rates or pay for overtime. Of these last there are none now existing in the United States, since the Nebraska statute was declared unconstitutional.
Taking these four classes in their order,
SEC. 1. LENGTH OF THE DAY's WORK IN THE ABSENCE OF CONTRACT.-Seven States have passed laws declaring that 8 hours shall be
regarded as a lawful day's work in general occupations unless otherwise expressly agreed (Conn. G. S., 1746; N. Y. 1897, 415, 3; 1899, 567; Pa. Dig. p. 1158, 1; Ind. 7052; Mo. 6353; Cal. Pol. C. 3244; Ill., chap. 48, 1. See also § 4 below for similar statutes not of universal application). In six States the time is fixed by statute at 10 hours (N. H., chap. 180, 20; Me., chap. 82, 43; Mich. 1885, 137, 2; Minn. 1895, 49; Fla. 2117; Nebr. 5329). In Florida the agreement for more or less than 10 hours must be in writing. In New Hampshire, Connecticut, California, and Florida this law applies to all classes of labor; in Indiana, New York, and Minnesota, to "all classes of mechanics, workingmen and laborers, except those engaged in agricultural or domestic labor, or, in Minnesota, the care of live stock; in Illinois, to "all mechanical trades, arts, and employments and other cases of labor and service by the day, except in farm employments, between the rising and the setting of the sun;" in Pennsylvania, to "all cases of labor and service by the day
between the rising and setting of the sun, but not to farm or agricultural labor, or service by the year, month, or week;" in Michigan, to “any mechanical, manufacturing, or other labor calling;” in Missouri, the section does not apply to persons hired or employed by the month, nor to laborers or farm bands in the service of farmers or others engaged in agriculture; while the courts in Indiana have held that the statute does not apply to persons engaged by the week or month.
Generally, these statutes express that work overtime will be permitted with or without extra compensation, but this would, anyhow, be implied from the wording of the statute. In Indiana violation or
i The best form of this statute is found in Indiana ($ 7052):
On and after the passage of this act eight hours shall constitute a legal day's work for all classes of mechanics, workingmen and laborers, excepting those engaged in agricultural or domestic labor, but overwork for an extra compensation by agreement between employer and employee is hereby permitted.
See also the New York law 1897, 415, 3, amended by 1899, 567, to read as follows:
§ 3. Hours to constitute a day's work.–Eight hours shall constitute a legal day's work for all classes of employees in this State, except those engaged in farm and domestic service, unless otherwise provided by law. This section does not prevent an agreement for overwork, at an increased compensation, except upon work by or for the State or a municipal corporation, or by contractors or subcontractors therewith. Each contract to which the State or a municipal corporation is a party which may involve the employment of laborers, workmen, or mechanics shall contain a stipulation that no laborer, workman, or mechanic in the employ of the contractor, subcontractor, or other person doing or contracting to do the whole or a part of the work contemplated by the contract shall be permitted or required to work more than eight hours in any one calendar day, except in cases of extraordinary emergency caused by fire, flood, or danger to life or property. The wages to be paid for a legal day's work as herein before defined to all classes of such laborers, workmen, or mechanics upon all such public work or upon any material to be used upon or in connection therewith shall not be less than the prevailing rate for a day's work in the same trade or occupation in the locality within the State where such public work on, about, or in connection with which such labor is performed in its final or completed form is to be situated, erected, or used. Each such contract hereafter made shall contain a stipulation that each such laborer, workman, or mechanic employed by such contractor, subcontractor, or other person on, about, or upon such public work shall receive such wages herein provided for. Each contract for such public work hereafter made shall contain a provision that the same shall be void and of no effect unless the person or corporation making or performing the same shall comply with the provisions of this section; and no such person or corporation shall be entitled to receive any sum, nor shall any officer, agent, or employee of the State or of a municipal corporation pay the same or authorize its payment from the funds under his charge or control to any such person or corporation, for work done upon any contract which in its form or
evasion of this act is a misdemeanor, and so in Michigan, to take any unlawful advantage of any person seeking employment because of their poverty or misfortune to invalidate any of these provisions. It is not unusual to provide that persons contracting or doing work for the State or public corporations shall conform to these hours. (See $ 2.)
SEC. 2. PUBLIC LABOR.—The hours of labor in work done directly for the State or any municipal corporation have been limited in many States, as well as by act of Congress, which has power to prescribe hours of labor on Government works, although territorially they are not within its jurisdiction. Some of these statutes merely prescribe the kind of contract the State or public contractors shall make. Others go
further and make it a misdemeanor for any person engaged upon public work to exact labor or even to perform or allow labor for more than the prescribed time
diem. In most States where a statute exists 8 hours is made the prescribed legal day's work for all labor, whether employed by the State or any municipal corporation, or by any contractor for the same, or in work upon public institutions, etc. (N. Y. 1897, 415, 3; 1899, 567; Mass., when voted to accept the act in the city or town, etc., 1899, 344; Pa. 1897, 379, 1; Ind. 7053; Kans. 1891, 114, 1; Colo. 1894, 9; Cal. Con. 20, 17, Pol. C. 3245; 1899, 114; Wash. 1899, 101; Idaho Con. 13, 2; Wyo. Con. 19, 1; Utah Con. 16, 6, Laws 1894, 11; Md. 1898, 458, Baltimore only; D. C., U. S., 1892, 352). In other States the time in such public work is 9 hours (Mass. (see above], 1894, 508, 8; Tex. 1879, 137; but the Texas law only applies to employees in the several departments of the State government). These laws apply equally to work done by contractors, etc., for the State, or on public works; and in New York noncompliance or evasion of the statute forfeits the contract at the option of the State or municipal corporation employing. (See the law in full, Art. B, $1, note above.) The States making it a misdemeanor for the employer to exact or require a longer time are New York, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and an officer of the State or any municipal corporation violating the same is usually subject to removal. In Colorado work in excess of 8 hours a day may be allowed in
manner of performance violates the provisions of this section; but nothing in this section shall be construed to apply to persons regularly employed in State institutions.
$4. Violations of the labor law. - Any officer, agent, or employee of this State, or of a municipal corporation therein having a duty to act in the premises, who violates, evades, or knowingly permits the violation or evasion of any of the provisions of this act shall be guilty of malfeasance in office, and shall be suspended or removed by the authority having power to appoint or remove such officer, agent, or employee, otherwise by the governor. Any citizen of this State may maintain proceedings for the suspension or removal of such officer, agent, or employee, or may maintain an action for the purpose of securing the cancellation or avoidance of any contract which by its terms or manner of performance violates this act, or for the purpose of preventing any officer, agent or employee of such municipal corporation from paying or authorizing the payment of any public money for work done thereupon. ` All acts or parts of acts inconsistent with this act, in so far as they are inconsistent, are repealed. But nothing in this act shall apply to any existing contract for public work.
1 Thus, in California (Pol. C., § 3245) :
Eight hours' labor constitute a legal day's work in all cases where the same is performed under the authority of any law of this State, or under the direction, control, or by the authority of any officer of this State acting in his official capacity, or under the direction, control, or by the authority of any municipal corporation within this State, or of any officer thereof acting as such; and a stipulation to that effect must be made a part of all contracts to which the State or any municipal corporation therein is a party.
emergency cases, but such excess shall be treated as a part of a subsequent day's work, and in no one week shall there be permitted more than 48 hours, while in Kansas, in cases of overtime, done upon such emergency, extra pay shall be given at the current rate.
In Massachusetts * cities shall at intervals not exceeding 7 days pay all laborers who are employed by them at a rate of wages not exceeding $2 a day, if such payment is demanded” (Mass. 28, 12). The California code provides that all work done upon public buildings, skilled or unskilled, must be employed by the day, and no work may be done by contract (Cal. Pol. C. 3233), and every person who employs laborers upon the public works, and who takes, keeps, or receives any part or portion of their wages due them from the State or municipal corporation is guilty of felony (Cal. Pen. C., act of April 1, 1872)
SEC. 3. HOURS OF LABOR OF WOMEN, MINORS, ETC. — There is no general law in any State limiting the hours of labor of women of full age, but there are a few such as to child labor in any occupation. Thus, in California : “Every person having a minor child under his control, either as a ward or an apprentice, who, except in vinicultural or horticultural pursuits, or in domestic or household occupations, requires such child to labor more than 8 hours in any one day, is guilty of a misdemeanor” (Pen. C. 651). And night labor of children outside the family, or for wages, is in a few States prohibited. Thus, no child under 16 in Minnesota and Ohio, or 14 in Massachusetts, and girl under 18 in Ohio, may be employed to labor for wages (outside the family in Minnesota) in any manner between 7 p. m. and 6 a. m. (Mass. 1898, 494, 1; Minn. 1897, 360; Ohio 1898, p. 123, 2). In Florida “whoever hires or employs, or causes to be hired or employed, any minor, knowing such minor to be under the age of 15 years, and under the legal control of another, without the consent of those having ing such control, for more than 60 days is guilty of a misdemeanor (Fla. 2733); and in North Carolina “it is made a misdemeanor to employ and carry beyond the limits of the State any minor without his parent's consent" (N. C. 1891, 45). And the new Illinois statute provides that “no person under the age of 16 years shall be employed or suffered to work for wages at any gainful occupation hereinafter mentioned more than 60 hours in any one week, nor more than 10 hours in any one day” (Ill. 1897, p. 90, 4). And so in Minnesota, as to any labor outside the family.
SEC. 4. HOURS OF LABOR IN FACTORIES, MINES, RAILROADS, AND OTHER SPECIAL OCCUPATIONS: Factories.—A few States have laws resembling those in section 1 above, declaring what shall be a day's work in special occupations in the absence of contract, but not prohibiting contracts or agreements for overtime; usually, however, factory hour laws are prohibitive. Thus, in Ohio and Wisconsin 8 hours is made a day's work, in the absence of special contract, in any manufacturing or mechanical business, and 10 hours in Minnesota. İn Ohio the
1 Massachusetts (1898, 494, 1):
No child under fourteen years of age shall be employed in any factory, workshop, or mercantile establishment. No such child shall be employed in any work performed for wages or other compensation, to whomsoever payable, during the hours when the public schools of the town or city in which he resides are in session, nor be employed at any work before the hour of six o'clock in the morning or after the hour of seven o'clock in the evening.