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Committee on Labor.
Congress. House.
Eight hours for women employed in District
of Columbia.

U. S.

l913c

U.6

THE LIBRARY
OF THE

NEW YORK

STATE SCHOOL
OF

INDUSTRIAL

AND LABOR

RELATIONS

AT

CORNELL UNIVERSITY

/

_

•

* JUHTOA1,A

EIGHT HOURS FOR

« ^™»»»1»LA«»I

(EQ i 8LATrorf

WOMEN EMPLOYED

IN

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

HEARINGS
BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON LABOR/OF THE HOUSE
OF REPRESENTATIVES
ON THE BILL

H. R. 27281
RELATING TO THE LIMITATION OF THE HOURS OF WOMEN
EMPLOYED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

JANUARY

30

and FEBRUARY
and 12, 1913

6, 7,

10, 11,

WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
1913

8,

.

COMMITTEE ON LABOR.
House of Repbesentatives.

WALTER
JAMES

P.

ARTHUR

WILLIAM B. WILSON,
HENSLEY, Missouri
MAHER, New York.

L.

B.

ROUSE, Kentucky.

DAVID J. LEWIS, Maryland.
WILLIAM S. HOWARD, Georgia.
FRANK BUCH*NAN, Illinois.

Pennsylvania. Chairman.

PINLY

JOHN

H.

GRAY,

Indiana.

GARDNER, New Jersey.
EDWARD B. VREELAND, New York.
J.

M.

J.

C.

WILLIS

SMITH, Michigan.
C.

WILLIAM

Agnes H. Wilson,

Clerk.

HAWLEY,
S.

VARE,

Oregon.
Pennsylvania.

EIGHT HOURS FOR WOMEN EMPLOYED IN THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA.

Committee on Labor,
House of Representatives,
January SO, 1913.
10 o'clock a. m., Hon. William B. Wilson

The committee met at
(chairman) presiding.
The Chairman. The committee has met this morning for the purpose of hearing statements in connection with House bill 27281, a
bill to regulate the hours of employment and to safeguard the health
of females employed in the District of Columbia, and so forth, and
the committee will first hear from Mr. Peters, the author of the bill.

STATEMENT OF HON. ANDREW

J.

PETERS, A REPRESENTATIVE

IN CONGRESS FROM MASSACHUSETTS.
Mr. Peters. Mr. Chairman, we are here to urge favorable consideration by your committee of House bill 27281, a bill to regulate the
hours of employment and safeguard the health of females employed
in the District of Columbia in any mill, factory, manufacturing establishment, or workshop, laundry, bakery, printing, clothing, dressmaking, or millinery establishment, mercantile establishment, store,
hotel, restaurant, office, or where any goods are sold or distributed,
or by any express or transportation company, or in the transmission
or distribution of telegraph or telephone messages or merchandise.
That is a somewhat long title, Mr. Chairman, but I think it indicates
quite clearly the object of the bill and shows the real scope and effect
of the legislation proposed.
The Chairman. May I ask, Mr. Peters, if the occupations enumerated include all gainful occupations outside of domestic service?
Mr. Peters. That is the intention, Mr. Chairman, to include everything outside of domestic service. It provides that no female shall
be employed or permitted to work in any of the industries or occupations outside of domestic service, as you have suggested, for more
than 8 hours in any one day, or more than 6 days in a week, or more
than 48 hours in any one week, and that no female under 18 years of
age shall be employed or permitted to work in connection with any
of the establishments named in the first section of the act before the
hour of 7 o'clock in the morning or after the hour of 6 o'clock in the
evening of any one day. It is not necessary for me to detain the
committee by reading the whole bill. I think I have indicated in
what I have said pretty clearly its general provisions.
.

PROPERTY OF LIBRARY
NEW YORK STATE

SCHflDL

INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS

3

4

HOUES OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

The committee no doubt knows that there are 30 different States
that have some kind of factory laws relative to the' employment of
women. There still remain a few States which stand forth in unenviable contrast, and I regret to say that one of those localities is the
District of Columbia, which comes particularly under the care and
protection of Congress itself. The only law in the District which
Congress has enacted to protect women in employment is the provision that there shall be a reasonable number of seats provided for the
girls and women when they are not waiting on customers.
The Chairman. That would only apply in the case of mercantile
establishments ?
Mr. Peters. Yes as I understand it, that would only apply in the
mercantile establishments. So it seems to be apparent that if the
Federal Government is to keep pace with the States it must take a
long step ahead of its present position.
Mr. Buchanan. Do you not think the Federal Government ought
to take the lead?
Mr. Peters. I think so, decidedly; and instead of lagging behind
Congress ought to enact a statute that would be in itself a model,
because it is the leading legislative body, and, in addition to establishing a worthy precedent, it should enact a law to give the people
protection for their own sake.
There is a bill now, which is in conference between the two Houses,
which, if enacted, will prohibit the Government and contractors
doing work for this Government from employing men more than
eight hours per day, and it seems that it is only fair to ask ourselves that if Congress will pass a law of that nature why should it
not pass a law granting similar protection to women women who
;

much more need

—

protection.
Three States stand out as having adopted an eight-hour law for
women, and those States are California, Colorado, and Washington.
its

In the bill which you have before you. Mr. Chairman, and which is
presented at the instance of the National Consumers' League, there
has been embodied the best features of the laws of these three
States, and the attempt has been made to consolidate them into a
measure which it is hoped will prove a model measure, and which
will stimulate similar action by the various States.
I do not need to call the attention of the committee to the general
policy of legislation for the protection of workingmen, and the
protection of women and children in particular. Many of the States
have recognized the necessity for protecting their citizens from the
greed of manufacturers and from the greed of employers for a
number of years. From the commencement of the last century
we have seen the slow,, unfortunately slow, but steady growth of
public opinion, putting through one law after another, from the
commencement of the factory laws in England down to the laws
which have been enacted in the last 10 years in this country. While
the spread of the enactment of proper factory laws in the
several
States has not been as rapid as we should like, vet in many
of the
States there has been shown a commendable response to
public sentiment. My own State of Massachusetts has shown this,
and it is
particularly interesting to me to have this matter
come up here
When I was in the Massachusetts State Senate, I was on the committee on the relations of the employer and employee,
and sat in

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

5

extended hearings relative to the law which was before us for the
protection of women in mercantile establishments in the city of
Boston, a bill very similar to this one, but one which, I am frank
to say, was not as good as this bill, but which, after considerable
effort, we got through, and which persons have told me has proved
not only a help to the women, but the mercantile establishments themselves recognize its justice, and say they would not care to go back
to the conditions which prevailed there before this law was enacted.
Of course, Washington is not a factory city, and it is recognized
that it is not; still the problem of the employment of women and
children is a 'very considerable one to the citizens of Washington.
Because there are few factories here, it does not by any means follow
that there are no abuses and that there is no need to protect the
citizens of the District.
Mr. Chairman, I want to call your attention to a few facts which
have been covered in a preliminary report which has been compiled
by the Department of Commerce and Labor relative to hours, earnings, and duration of employment of wage-earning women in the
District of Columbia.
That department is making a series of reports on the subject of the employment of women and children.
While the report concerning conditions in the District of Columbia
has not yet been published, through the courtesy of the department
I had an opportunity to look into the report, and want to call the
committee's attention to one or two of the statements in it, and
wish to say further that Miss Obenauer, who has compiled the report,
is here tQ-day and prepared to answer the questions of the committee
in regard to any of its contents.
The first division of this report deals with the employees of the
retail stores.' The report of the investigator shows that the average
hours of employment in the retail stores of the District of Columbia
were front 9 to 9-|- hours, considerably in excess of the 8-hour day,
which we propose to provide for in our bill, and considerably in
excess of the hours which the men are allowed to work who are employed by the Government. If Congress provides a limitation for
men in Government employ to eight hours a day there is certainly,
Mr. Chairman, every reason why the women in the District should
be protected in regard to the number of hours during which they
can be employed. The report shows that the retail stores constitute
the largest employers of women. The chief objections to be met in
store work are due to overtime work during the holiday season and
in the long hours every Saturday throughout the greater part of
the year.
The Christmas season brings to the hearts of most of our citizens very definitely a feeling of rest and happiness, but there is
one class of people to whom it brings feelings of tremendous strain
and overwork and suffering, and those are the people who work in
the stores and meet the great increase in the demand on the employees
which comes during the holiday season. It is perfectly practicable
to meet this demand by increasing the number of employees in the
stores, and it has been done successfully by employers in my own
State, which I called to the attention of the chairman a few moments
ago. This is not done, and apparently it will not be done, here unless
the employers are in some way forced to do it.

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

6

The Chairman. You think

unless the employers are in

some way

forced to do it, it will not be done?
w ° en
Mr. Peters, I do. Approximately 70 per cent of all the
in the stores of the
examined by the investigator who were employed
before ChristDistrict of Columbia worked overtime during the week
mas approximately 69 per cent of those examined who worked overthat
time at Christmas were employed 70 hours or oyer during
week. Thirty-one per cent of this number worked from 75 to 80
proportion ot
hours. It is therefore evident that by far a greater
tremendous
the women workers in the stores are subjected to a
Christmas. This investigation furhardship a short time before
ther showed that the hours of some of these employees were from
14 to 15 hours on the day before Christmas.
Mr. Buchanan. Where was that?
Mr. Peteks. In the District of Columbia. The detailed information gathered by this investigation, and which will be included
in this report, has not been published, but I have a good deal of it
During this Christmas rush, Mr. Chairman, that the women
here.
were working over time 31 per cent of them were working about 75
hours a week, while the men in the employ of the Government were
still protected in their 8-hour day.
The other characteristic objection in the retail stores is in regard
to the long hours on Saturday, and this report shows that 58 per
cent of the employees who were examined by the investigator worked
from 11 to 12 hours every Saturday in the year except a short time
during the summer. It may also be of interest to know that of
2,670 girls in these department stores in the District the largest
single group, constituting 16.7 per cent of the whole, received from
Of 193 personally scheduled and reporting
to $5 for their work.
as working over time, 91.7 per cent got no extra pay for this work.
Mr. Buchanan. You mean they received four or five dollars a

m

;

M

week?
Mr. Peters. Yes,

sir that was the pay of the largest single group,
constituting 16 per cent of the whole.
The manufacturing and mercantile establishments, according to the
On
last census, employed 828 women in the District of Columbia.
the whole, their condition, so far as I learn from this report, seems
Fifty-five and one-tenth per cent of the 147
to be rather good.
women scheduled work from 48 to 51 hours a week. On the other
hand it was found that 40 per cent of those reporting overtime to
the examiner worked on an average from 65 to 75 hours, and 32
per cent from 60 to 64 hours. I wish to add that in laundries 47.7
per cent of the women scheduled in this report worked 55 to 59
hours per week. Fifty-four and five-tenths per cent of these women
work 10 hours per day for at least four days in the week. In the
busy season, 44.7 per cent of the women reporting overtime were
employed 12 hours per day. It must be kept in mind that this law
will not affect employment where the hours are reasonable, and it is
only aimed at those instances where there are excessive hours and
where they will continue to be excessive until the employer is compelled by legislation to give his people proper conditions.
It is only fair to the employer, Mr. Chairman, to say that there
are mercantile establishments which do give their employees proper
consideration, and it may be assumed that they are therefore at a
;

HOUBS OF LABOB FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.
disadvantage with their

less

scrupulous and

less

7

enlightened com-

petitors.

The other main division of women employed in the District of
Columbia includes those in hotels, restaurants, and miscellaneous
.establishments.
Here the chief abuse lies in the seven-day week,
with little or no recreation. The report shows that about one-third
of these women had a maximum day of 12 hours though the normal
day was shorter. The particular abuse which exists is the fact
that the employment continues every day in the week.
I need
not take up the time of the committee to any great extent, because
there are numbers of people here who wish to contribute the benefit
of their judgment and experience to the committee this morning,
people from different parts of the country, many of them known
personally and all by reputation, and whose study and work on the
problems involved in the employment of women and children are
far greater and their experience far more extended than mine. I
wish to impress on the committee, however, the fact which I believe

—

the strongest one in favor of this bill the fact that this District
stands in the unenviable position of being far behind the
majority of the States of the Union in enacting legislation for the
protection of women and children, and that we as Members of Congress, who have placed on us the responsibility for legislating for
this District, should provide for it the best code of laws possible
and the greatest protection for its citizens, not only in justice to
them, but so that the laws of the District of Columbia can be pointed
to with pride and will, in themselves, form a stimulus and encouragement to the enactment of laws of this kind in the various States.
The Chairman. Before you leave the discussion of this bill I
would like to point out the fact that in section 1 you provide that
the women and children shall not be permitted to work more than
8 hours in any one day, or more than 6 days, or more than 48 hours
in any one week. In a recent investigation or hearing held by this
committee it was- shown that in certain occupations people were employed and kept on duty for from 14 to 16 hours per day, and yet in
that 14 to 16 hours they were only required to work 7 or 8 hours
Ser day, although they were on duty during the entire 14 or 16 hours,
ow, might not that condition arise here in the hotel and restaurant
service, where employees would be on duty for 14 or 16 hours and
not be required to work more than 8 hours, and come within the
provisions of this law. Do you not think the bill should be amended
so as to make the 8 hours continuous, with, say an hour's intermission for lunch, and that the work must be performed within 9 hours
from the beginning of the service?
Mr. Peters. Well, Mr. Chairman, the provisions of the bill are
that no female shall be employed or be permitted to work in any
mill, factory, manufacturing or mechanical establishment or workshop, bakery, printing, clothing, dressmaking, or millinery establishment, or mercantile establishement, store, hotel, restaurant, office,
or where any goods are sold or distributed, or by any express or
transportation company, or in the transmission or distribution of
telegraph or telephone messages, or merchandise, more than 8 hours
in any one day, or more than 6 days, or more than 48 hours in any
one week. I should be inclined to think that that wording would
is

now

.

HOURS OF LABOE FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

8

carried out
cover that; certainly, I think, that your idea should be

most

clearly.

.

,

that in connection with the preparation
and serving of breakfast that 2£ hours were required, the same in
connection with lunch, and the same in connection with dinner, you.
would then have 1\ hours of actual work in the day.

The Chairman. Suppose

if continued for 6 days, will give you less
work, but those who are employed in that service
than 48 hours of
would naturally have to be on duty in the interim between breakfast
and lunch and between lunch and dinner although not engaged in
actual work. They would practically be on duty the entire length
of time. Now, this bill would not cover a condition of that kind,

The Chairman. That,

would it?
Mr. Peters. Not unless the word "employ" would be construed
to cover that, and that the detention of them in a hotel would amount
I should think it would be doubtful; I should be
to employment.
inclined to think it would be better to add some provision to cover
that.

The Chairman. Has it not been your experience that the courts
in construing a bill of this kind construe it to give the least posssible
advantage to the workers which their construction can give?
Mr. Peters. There are some very unfortunate interpretations of
some of the labor legislation in regard to the hours of work.
Mr. Rouse. I would suggest that the last appropriation bill for the
Post Office Department provides for the number of hours of employees in that department, that they shall not be required to work
more than 8 hours in any 24. That is right along this line.
Mr. Gray. I just want to ask Mr. Peters if he makes any provision
as to the smallest wage that is to be paid ?
Mr. Peters. There is no provision for a minimum wage.
Mr. Grat. You leave that to be perfected by the contract between
the parties?
Mr. Peters. Yes. It was not thought desirable to put such a provision as that in the bill.
Mr. Gray. You would not give them protection in the matter of
the kind of contract that may be made I mean, so far as wages are
;

concerned ?
Mr. Peters. There would not be any protection as regards the
amount of wages in this bill. This bill would affect purely the hours
of labor.

Mr. Gray. The wages

to

be determined by the contract of the par-

ties?

Mr. Peters. Yes. It was felt that that was a separate matter, and
however desirable it might be, an attempt to add that to this bill
would very seriously jeopardize its passage at this time.
Mr. Gray. It would not be very much benefit if the compensation
was reduced to meet the reduction in the hours of labor. The women
would not be very much benefited in that way.
Mr. Peters. I think that their compensation would be governed
by demand and supply, on which this legislation would probably
have little or no effect for experience has shown that the reduction
of hours from 9 to 8 has not been generally followed by a reduction
;

in wages.

WOMEN

•HOURS OF LABOR FOR

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

9»

Mr. Buchanan. I would like to state in that connection that, almost without exception, so far as organized laboi is concerned, thereduction of hours has resulted in an increase of wages, and not in a
reduction.

Mr. Gray. That is where you have an organization.
Mr. Buchanan. That was due to the strength of the organization.
to some extent.
Mr. Peters. Mr. Chairman, I wish to append to my remarks certain extracts from a recent book by Miss Josephine Goldmark, entitled
'Fatigue and Efficiency/' in support of the constitutionality of laws
similar to the one proposed in the bill

THE

"

now

FREEDOM OF CONTRACT

pending.
"

THEORY.

common knowledge that after our Civil War. the fourteenth
of the Federal Constitution was adopted, and similar provisions inthe State constitutions, declaring that " no State shall deprive anv person of
life, liberty, or property without due process of law."
The "freedom of contract" assumption has so vitally affected the very
existence of the laws in which we are concerned that we may well glance at thesix or seven most important decisions of superior courts on' the subject handed
down during the last 16 years, between 1895 and 1911.
The fallacy of this thesis has been of late so much discussed that it need
not delay us long. It is coming to be recognized that since employees do not
stand upon an equality in bargaining power with their employers the so-called
" right " to contract for a day of any length is purely theoretical.
The worker
in fact obeys the compulsion of circumstance.
No one can suppose that young
women working in the box factories of Chicago, discussed in a previous chapter, need or desire to be protected in their " right " to labor overtime nine
months in the year, or that women in laundries should be "free" to work 14
hours or more during several days of the week. They have, in fact, no choice
or freedom in the matter. The alternative is to work or starve. To refuse
means to be dismissed. Modern industry has reduced "freedom of contract"
to a paper privilege, a mere figure of rhetoric.
The first Ritchie case. Yet this was precisely the ground upon which the
judges of the Illinois Supreme Court in 1895 declared invalid an Illinois 8-hour
law for women employed in factories. In what is known as the first Ritchie1
case they declared that the police power of the State did not sanction such
an interference with the working hours of adult women. There was no "fair,
just, and reasonable connection between such limitation and the public health,
safety, or welfare proposed to be secured by it."
Hence the law was declared:
unconstitutional, and for 13 years until this decision was practically overruled by the United States Supreme Court in 1908 it retarded the movement
for the protection of working women in all our States.
The case of Holden v. ffartfi/.— Curiously enough, three years after the decision in the Ritchie case, a law limiting men's hours of labor was carried to2
the Federal Supreme Court at Washington and was sustained.
This case involved the validity of the Utah law fixing an 8-hour day for men employed in
mines and smelters. The court handed down a decision which has become
almost a classic in its clear statement of the broad principles at issue. It is.
true that the employments regulated were clearly dangerous to the health,
Therefore the limitation of hours was more obviously
safety, and welfare.
Indeed, the court based its favorable decijustifiable under the police power.
sion on the fact that work in mines and smelters was not like ordinary employment, but that the operative was " * * * deprived of fresh air and. sunlight
and is subject to the foul atmosphere and a very high temperature, or to the
influence of noxious gases."
But the judges dealt not only with the hazards of these employments. They
struck a loftier note, which rises clear and strong above the technical argument. They were preoccupied with something larger than the single law in disa congregate whole which
pute.
It was the State which figured before them
was only as great as " the sum of all its parts." These parts, they said in
It is a fact of

amendment

—

—

—

—

1

Ritchie v

People (155

2

Holden

Hardy (165 U.

v.

III.,

98; 1895).
366; 1898).

S.,

10

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.
economic
upon an equality with one another in the
of the States inter
and therein lay both the need and the justification

stirring words, did not stand
scale,

Ve

to contract,
"BTt the fad that both parties are of full age, and competent^
does not. necessarily deprive the State of the power to
public healthRemand 8 that
parties do not stand upon an equality, or where the
rhe State still
himself
on party to the contract shall be protected against
may be The whole is
retains an interest in his welfare, however reckless he
mdiwdual health,
no greater than the sum of all the parts, and when the
must sutler.
safetv, and welfare are sacrificed or neglected the State
this decision, that such^ cases
It is significant, as the court pointed out also in
people eager to secure
as the one at bar have not been brought by working
the employeis .to_ whose
their "right" to labor any number of hours, but by
would
court,
advantage it is for them so to labor. " The argument," said the
the other class
certainly come with better grace and better cogency from
personal liberty
These two decisions, then, set forth clearly the issue between
theoretical freeand the police power. In the Ritchie decision the judges set a
dom above concrete realities. In Holden v. Hardy the law appeared to be

^Z^L^IsiZt
,

justified

by

its necessity.

tne arguIn defending the cases which we have reviewed up to this point,
the
ments and citations of the lawyers had been almost wholly confined to
in inpurely legal aspects of those actions. Briefs of counsel had discussed
But the point at issue had, in fact, wholly shifted
finite detail the power.
from relation between the fourteenth amendment and the police the State's
for every
abstract right to restrict individual rights to the practical necessity
such restriction. The question was no longer abstract and legal, but rather in
It followed that the purely legal defense of
a deep sense social and medical.
these laws was falling wide of the mark. It had long been unreasonable to
expect that judges, trained in schools remote from factories and workshops,
should be conversant witli those underlying practices and conditions which
alone could justly weight the scales. The men upon the bench needed for their
guidance the empirical testimony of the working woman's physician, the factory inspector, and the economist. They needed, in a word, to know the facts.
The Oregon enxc and a twir line of defense. Such an opportunity offered In
the very same year. A laundryman was arrested for violation of the Oregon
law fixing a 10-hour day for women employed in factories and laundries. The
validity of the law was affirmed by the Oregon courts, and in December, 1907,
an appeal was taken to the United States Supreme Court at Washington. Here,
then, was an opportunity to present the real issue to the highest court in the
land, concerned for the first time in its history with a statute limiting the

—

woikday of adult women.
The document was made up from the accumulated mass of British and Continental factory inspectors' reports, commissions, and enquetes. as well as the
It was well received by the
observations of medical men and economists.
Quoting
court, which in its decision upheld the validity of the Oregon law.
from the new empirical evidence contained in the brief, the court stated that
" took judicial cognizance of all matters of general knowledge," thus in a
1
single phrase warranting the new emphasis upon practical data.
The decision in the Oregon case was indeed no narrow victory. It was the
most sweeping decision ever rendered by the Federal Supreme Court in relation
It was not confined to the consideration of the 10-hour day
to working hours.
or to a working day of any particular length. It left to the States the liberty
It went far
to determine what working hours were wholesome and reasonable.
beyond the statute at issue, which dealt with the employment of women in
factories and laundries, and looked toward the protection of women in other
employments. In a word, the highest court of the Nation rejected the fiction of
the free coutract as regards the working woman and declared that " her physical nature and the evil effects of overwork upon her and her future children
justify legislation to protect her from the greed as well as the passion of men."
The new method of defense had amply justified itself.
The second Kiivhic ease. It was again to be put into practice and again to
be justified in the following year (1909), immediately after the auspicious
Oregon decision had in principle reversed the earlier Ritchie decision of the
Illinois Supreme Court. The way was now open for laws protecting women from
overwork, and many States enacted such legislation. Among others, the Illinois
it

—

1

Sue

pt. 2, p.

VS.

•

HOUKS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

11

Legislature of 1909 provided a 10-hour day for women employed in laundries
and factories. Hence, 14 years after the first Ritchie decision a new law was
carried up to the Illinois Supreme Court for its adjudication. 1
„A wholly new bench of judges were sitting in the case. The widespread
public curiosity throughout Illinois as to the outcome of this case bore witness
to a new recognition of the large issues at stake, not only to women in industry,
but to the State. The court in sustaining the 10-hour law was not deterred as
the same court had been 14 years before by the freedom of contract theory.
All that body of " general knowledge " which the Federal judges had taken
into cognizance was again admitted to carry its due weight. In a single illuminating sentence the Illinois court also responded to the new emphasis upon the
substantial and substantiated facts, remarking "what we know as men we
can not profess to be ignorant of as judges."

THE DISTINCTIONS OF

SEX.

Kow, among these
ill

facts known to all men and presented to the court were the
effects of industrial speeding, strain, and the like, upon working women, qua

women. Their physical organization, the greater morbidity of working women
compared with men in the same occupations, and the dependence of future
generations upon the health of women all had been dwelt upon to justify the
legal restriction of their hours.
This was because the earlier decisions overthrowing the validity of women's labor laws had denied any special protection
Women were citizens hence their conto women " on the mere fact of sex."
tructural powers could not be disturbed. Indeed, the New York Court of Appeals went so far as to say in the face of civilized precedent that " an adult
woman is not to be regarded * * * in any other light than the man is re-

—

;

garded when the question relates to the business pursuit or calling."
This specious argument and the alleged impossibility of differentiating between men and women was, indeed, long an obstacle in the way of securing
women's laws. Thus in England between 1874 and 1901 the factory acts were
in the main opposed by an important wing of the women's rights party. Superficially

viewed, the great movement to obtain for

women

in all fields rights

from which they have been debarred, might appear inconsistent with the efforts
But this is a fundamental
to protect one sex as contrasted with the other.
misconception. It ignores the fact that protection of health has never been
held a bar to the efficiency of men as citizens.
Arizona,
It has yet to be suggested, for instance, that the miners of 13 States
California, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon,
Oklahoma, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming are discriminated against, be2
cause the State restricts their working hours to S in 1 day for the explicit
purpose of protecting the health of its citizens. It has yet to be suggested that
the interstate railroad telegraphers are less valuable as citizens than any other
men because Congress in 1907 restricted their work to 13 hours by day and 9
hours by night. This statute and similar restrictions in many States were
enacted nominally to safeguard the traveling public. But its only excuse for
being is the effect of excessive hours upon the operative's efficiency. These
restrictions upon men's working hours have never interfered with their value
or dignity as citizens. Why, then, should similar restrictions wider and more
inclusive for women— operate against their dignity or value as citizens? Their
physical endowments and special functions make the protection of their health
even more necessary than the protection of men's health they need even more
than men the legislative protection which, as Justice Brewer said in the Oregon
"
case, " is designed to compensate for some of tiie burdens which rest upon
them.
It is true that, as we have seen, the restriction of men's hours of labor has
been upheld by the courts only when the occupations sought to be regulated are
manifestly dangerous to health, such as mines and smelters, or where public
safety is directly concerned, as in railroading. Yet in so far as prohibition of
excessive hours for men has been justified by dangers resulting to their health

—

—

—

;

and

efficiency,

the argument for more inclusive women's laws

is

precisely

similar.

&

i

Ritchie

»

Tot[hours

Waymann

Co., i.
in 1 day in

(244

III.,

509, 1910).

Maryland, applying

to

Allegany and Garrett Counties.

12

HOUES OF LABOB FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTBICT OF COLUMBIA.

STATEMENT OF MISS MAUD YOUNGER, OF SAN FRANCISCO,

CAL.

Mi*. Peters. Mr. Chairman. I now desire to present to the committee Miss Maud Younger, of California.
The Chairman. Please state for the record your name and address.
Miss Younger: Maud Younger, 2008 Lyon Street, San Francisco.
The 8-hour law for woman took effect in California on the 21st
of May, 1911.
Since then 20 months have elapsed, and upon the
ground of actual experience we can now say with Mark Twain that
the objections to this measure are all in the nature of prophecies
which have never come true when tried, for many objections were
raised, and dire disaster was prophesied should the 8-hour bill become
law.
First, there was the objection to giving the women 1 day's rest
in 7.
This objection came from those enterprises which were in
operation every day in the year, as telegraph, telephone, and transportation companies, and hotels which said " Our guests eat 7 days in
the week," and condensed-milk factories which cried, " Cows give
milk on Sunday as well as week days." But since the law has gone
into effect all these enterprises have been able to adjust themselves
by the simple method of employing one extra relief girl to every six
previously employed; that is, she relieves
on Monday, B on Tuesday, C on Wednesday, and so on. Consequently it is merely a question of expense due to the employment of additional women.
Then there were other employers who did not object to the 6-day
week, but to the 8-hour day. First came the retail merchants. They
said their stores were open from 8 in the morning until 6 at night, or
10 hours a day. However, since the passage of the bill they have been
able to adjust themselves to the law by having part of their force
work from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon and part from 9
until 6, with 1 hour for lunch.
The laundries also objected to the 8-hour day, though not to the 48hour week. They said that on Monday morning the drivers collect
the wash, so that the girls did not come until noon, which necessitated
longer hours on other days. Since the law has gone into effect, however, they have been able to adjust themselves by having the girls
come on Mondays at noon and work until 9 at night, with 1 hour for
supper. The San Francisco laundries incidentally already had a 48hour week, owing to the union; but the workers said it had cost them
11 weeks' strike and $60,000.
They thought that an 8-hour day
through legislation would be simpler and more economical, also far
less inconvenient to the public in general.
Then it was objected to that there was no provision for overtime or
rush seasons. On this subject a little cracker packer spoke at the
public hearing in our State senate.
She told of her work, 9 hours a day, standing at the end of a canvas chute down which the crackers came so fast that she had to
pack, pack, without turning her head pack without moving aside
unless some one were there to replace her or the crackers would go all
over the floor. Then sometimes, after the day's work was over and
there were rush orders, she must work overtime, 2 or 3 hours perhaps.
She said that though the girls were paid for overtime they would
rather give up the extra pay than to have the wear and strain
that

A

—

HOUBS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

13

esulted from the extra work. She said that the day after they were
tired that even shorter hours could not make up for the strain
mder which they filled the rush orders.
short time after the law
vent into effect I met this same girl on the street and asked how the
aw was working. She said the girls practically did as much in the 8
lours as they had previously done in 9, because they were so much
iresher when they went to work in the morning. She said also that
here was no difficulty in filling the rush orders.
Then, it was objected that there was no provision for special seaHere came the department stores again, with their Christmas
ions.
season when they remain open at night. However, they have been
ible to adjust themselves to this law by having part of their force
:ome at noon or at 1 and remain until 10 in the evening, with 1 or
hours for supper. The owner of one department store told me that,
hough this involved an additional expense, that the eight-hour law
lad proved very satisfactory, owing to the greater efficiency of the
jirls.
He said that previously, under the long hours, the girls had
jroken down and it had been necessary to replace them and to train
lew girls during the terrible holiday rush, but that, under the eightlour law, every girl had remained at her post throughout the entire
season, and the law had thus been of benefit to the merchants themselves.
In a letter which Mr. Harris Weinstock, one of our best
mown merchants, wrote while the bill was before our legislature, he
;aid " In some of the mercantile enterprises in which I am interested
ve have been working on an eight-hour basis for women with every
satisfaction to them and to ourselves. If the eight-hour day in mercantile establishments is made a common condition in California,
ncluding the Christmas holiday season, it will work no hardship
ipon the employer, it will be a blessing to the woman worker, and
vill tend to make for a higher degree of efficiency on her part."
Then came other trades with other seasons. The candy men
claimed three seasons Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth of July.
Sach trade seemed to have a special season, and each predicted caamity should the bill become a law.
However, notwithstanding all the opposition, and this bill was the
lardest fought of the entire session, public sentiment was so strong
hat the bill went through with only five dissenting votes in the enire legislature. Since it has become a law the opponents have adapted
hemselves very readily to the change. I have talked with many of
10

A

!

:

—

—

—

hem owners of department stores, hotel men, manufacturers and
hey have all said that the law was not at all terrible, as they sup)osed it would be, and they would not again oppose it.
It was also objected, in behalf of the girls themselves, that wages
vould be reduced. I have asked very generally, but have found only
wo or three instances of this kind. One was a girl who had stood
>ehind a counter nine hours a day for three days a week and the other
hree days she had worked from 8 in the morning until 1.1 at night.
?or this she had received $9 a week. After the law went into effect
" Oh, yes a
asked if her wages had been reduced and she said,
glad to give up the extra pay
lollar a week; but I don't mind; I'm
or the sake of the shorter hours."
Then it was objected that women would be replaced by men
¥e see, however, that the only adjustment that has been necessary
displacing, of women,
ince the law went into effect has not been the
;

HOURS OF LABOB FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

14

but rather the employment of more. This has meant an additionalexpense, but we know that the expense in the end is not borne by
the employers, but by the public; and it is an expense which we in
California' bear very willingly for the sake of a healthier, happier
womanhood. This greater expense is, moreover, made up to a large
extent by the greater efficiency of the girls.
This eight-hour law has been upheld by the Supreme Court of California. The decision was unanimous.
The test case was that of a
hotel waitress. Now, it has been proved by means of a pedometer
that a waitress who works 10 hours a day walks 10 miles a day. In
some hotels there were girls working 12 and 14 hours, yet I believe
the United States Government allows its mules to walk only 13
miles a day.
I am going to close by taking you into a hotel. In this case it is
in the laundry of one of the large hotels of southern California. It
is the 22d of March, 1911, eight days after the bill, having passed
the legislature, had reached the governor. The girls were working
in the laundry 14 hours a day. As they passed the irons wearily
over the clothes they discussed the bill, with its prospects of relief.
They said, " No; the governor won't sign it. They'll never let him.
Its too much to hope for."
And they worked on hopelessly. Suddenly the door opened.
girl burst in, waving an afternoon newspaper and shouting, " Girls, he's signed it, he's signed it
The eighthour bill is law." At once there was pandemonium. The girls
laughed and sang and danced and shouted. Suddenly some one
cried, " Look at Julia and Nellie
They've fainted " Yes they
had fainted. The relief, so longed for, so hardly expected, had

A

!

!

come, and coming, overwhelmed them.

!

They had dropped

;

at their

posts.

Now, it had been objected that the women themselves opposed the
passage of this bill, but there were scenes of this kind throughout
California when the eight-hour day became law.
These laundry girls had worked 14 hours a day, but I am going
to close with the words of one girl who had worked only 9.
She
said, " You don't know what that extra hour means to me. Why, I
never knew what heaven was until we got the eight-hour law."
Mr. Buchanan. You stated that in one case there had been a reduction in wages of $1 a week?
Miss Younger. Yes.
Mr. Buchanan. What was the salary?
Miss Younger. The salary had been nine and it was reduced to
eight.

The Chairman. In section 2 of this bill it is provided that no
female under 18 years of age shall be employed or permitted to work
in any of the establishments named in section 1 before the hour of
7 o'clock in the morning or after the hour of 6 o'clock in the evening.
I understand from your statement that some of these establishments in California have adjusted themselves to the conditions under
the new law there by having some of their employees come at noon,
or in the afternoon, and remain until 8 or 9 o'clock in the evening,
as the case may be. Does the law in California exclude the employment of females under 18 years of age after six o'clock in the

evening ?
IVTiss

~Y

r

nTT'vrorT>

"Vr>

•

if

rlnoo v»^f

HOUKS OP LABOK FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.

15

The Chairman. Consequently, they would not be required 'to employ after 6 o'clock in the evening, in adjusting themselves to the
requirements of the new law, women more than 18 years of age;
they might employ younger persons then under your law ?
Miss Younger. Yes. There was no prohibition of night work at
all, but I believe that most of the girls, except the
cash girls in the
department stores, are over 18 years of age. Certainly those in the
laundries.

Mr. Peters. You approve of
Miss Younger. Yes, sir.

this provision in section 2

?

STATEMENT OF MRS. FLORENCE KELLEY, OF NEW YORK, N.
REPRESENTING THE NATIONAL CONSUMERS' LEAGUE.
Mr. Peters. Mr. Chairman, Mrs. Kelley has come from
to talk about this

Y.,

New York

bill.

The Chairman. Give your name and address for the record.
Mrs. Kelley. Florence Kelley. My address is 106 East Nineteenth
Street, New York City; general secretary of the National Consumers' League.
I wish to call the attention of the committee to one objection
which I think is quite sure to be made before the discussion ends
and the bill is adopted and signed. It is one that we have heard in
every State in regard to legislation like this, namely, that where one
State or district goes rather far ahead of the adjacent territory in
legislation such as this there is a danger of driving valuable industries away.
For instance, it may be asserted that they might move
from here into West Virginia or Maryland, or other places which
have not the eight-hour day for women and girls. We always meet
that objection, and I wish to forestall it. There is in the District of
Columbia no considerable amount of manufacturing, and the employment of women here is chiefly in industries which, in the nature
of things, can not move away, such as hotels, telephone service,
laundries, and stores; nearly all the industries which are characterof the District of Columbia would be obliged to stay where the
people are whom they serve, whether the working day is eight hours,
as the Government guarantees to its employees, or whether it is unlimited.
I ask attention also to an objection raised here which, I
think, is covered in the bill. That is as to the detention of women
for a long period of hours, even though they are actively occupied
only a part of the time. I think that is covered in the text of the
istic

bill.

The Chairman.
Mrs. Kelley.

We

On

would be glad to have you point
page 3, section 5. [Reading:]

it

out.

5. That every employer shall post and keep posted in a conspicuous place
every room in any establishment or occupation named in section one of this
ict in which any females are employed a printed notice stating the number o£
lours such females are required or permitted to work on each day of the week,
:he hours of beginning and stopping such work, and the hours of beginning and
jnding the recess allowed for meals. The printed form of such notice shall be
'urnished by the inspectors authorized by this act. The employment of any
such female for a longer time in any day than that stated in the printed notice
The presence of
shall be deemed a violation of the provisions of this section.
iny such female on the premises at any other hours than those stated in the
)rinted notice shall constitute prima facie evidence of a violation of this secion. Where the nature of the business makes it impracticable to fix the recess

Sec.

in

HOUBS OP LABOR FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.

16

allowed for meals at tlie same time for all females employed, the inspectors
authorized to enforce this act may issue a permit dispensing with the posting of
the hours when the recess allowed for meals begins and ends, and requiring
only the posting of the total number of hours which females are required or
permitted to work on each day of the week and the hours of beginning and
stopping such work. Such permit shall be kept by such employer upon such
premises and exhibited to all inspectors authorized to enforce this act.

That is taken from the statute of Massachusetts and other States
which regulate working hours. It has been found possible to enforce the provision that the employees shall only be there while they
are actively engaged in work. It puts the burden of proof on the
employer to show that.
The Chairman. Under this provision it would be simply up to
the employer to furnish evidence that they were not employed during that period. It would not be conclusive; simply prima facie
evidence that they were not thus employed?
Mrs. Kelley. Yes.
The Chairman. Now, take the instance which I cited in my question to Mr. Peters, a hotel employee working for 2-J hours in the
preparation and serving of breakfast, %\ hours in the preparation and
serving of lunch, and 2| hours in the preparation and serving of
dinner; there you have 1\ hours all told, but there is an interim between breakfast and lunch and dinner, that, taken in connection with
the 1\ hours, makes the number of hours very much greater than
these 7-| seemingly working hours.
Now, if the women who performed that service in the hotels, in the kitchens, in the dining rooms
for a longer period than 2^ hours on each of those occasions it
would be prima facie evidence that the proprietor was violating the
law but suppose he does not allow them to remain on the premises
in the interim. They must hold themselves in readiness just the same
to be there at a specified time, so that, while not on the premises,
they would be practically on duty from the beginning of the preparation of breakfast until the closing of the serving of dinner. In
the practical application of this clause, which you say is taken from
the Massachusetts and New York law, do you find it actually protects the girls against a condition of that kind, so far as your obser;

vation goes?
Mrs. Kelley. So far as our observation goes, it does.
The Chairman. Your observation is that it does?
Mrs. Kelley. I would like to call your attention to another thing.
have tried to incorporate in this bill only those things which
have been tested by experience. The primary provision, the restriction of working hours to eight, has been held constitutional by the
Supreme Court of Washington and the Supreme Court of California
and has just been adopted by a large majority vote in a referendum
in Colorado.
If experience should show that this particular clause is defective,
it can be remedied later.
In drafting a bill with relation to working hours of women we
always suggest its contents under the shadow of the courts and our
great desire in this case, since we aim at model law in the District of
Columbia, is to have only those things which have been tested by
experience.
I hesitate to urge the committee to put in a provision which was
i"fllr£»n
rllrpnf frnm o
c»r]nT>al latxr ixrifL TeacvavA f/% v\^ctfnl ^-m~1 ~„„~~

We

;

,

"lH

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

17

because Congress can draft a law for those employees in any way it
sees fit. In regard to private contracts it seems safer to stay within
the limits of those provisions which have been upheld as the general
restriction of hours has been upheld by the Federal courts and the
other provisions by the State courts.
The Chairman. Do you not think it would make the bill very
much stronger, without making any greater chance of being thrown
out by the court, if the bill specifically stated that eight hours should
constitute a day's work and that 8 hour's work must be performed
within 9 hours in the 24, thereby allowing for the usual hour for
lunch and obviating the possibility of this intervening or lapsed
time between portions of the day's work?
Mrs. Kelley. If we had any precedent in which the court had
sustained that provision in regard to private contracts between private parties, I should be glad to have it put in.
Other suggestions in regard to the bill can be better made by. Miss

Goldmark.
Mr. Buchanan. I would like to ask Miss Younger a question in
regard to the amount of wages. You. referred to one case where there
had been a reduction of wages, due to the reduction of hours. Do
you know of any other case where wages were reduced on account of
the reduction of hours

?

Miss Younger. There were two or three other cases, but they were
arbitrary. The day the eight-hour law went into effect certain manufacturers arbitrarily reduced wages. It was usually where there was
just extra work and they had not given the girls an opportunity
to see whether they could do as much.
Mr. Buchanan. There has been no general reduction of wages; it
is

rather the exception to the rule?

Miss YorNGER. It is very exceptional.
Mr. Buchanan. I simply wanted the information as

a

matter of

record.

STATEMENT OF MISS JOSEPHINE GOLDMARK.
Mr. Peters. The next witness I wish to present is Miss Josephine
Goldmark.
The Chairman. Miss Goldmark, give your name and address to
the stenographer.

Goldmark; 106 East Nineteenth
York, N. Y.
Mrs. Kelley spoke, in passing, of the various decisions of the
courts holding this legislation for women to be constitutional, and
I think the committee might like to have brought to its attention
what the decisions of the courts have been in regard to the constitutionality of measures, such as the one which has been suggested here.
I hardly need draw your attention to the fact that it is now five
years since the Federal Supreme Court, the United States Supreme
Court here in Washington, upheld an Oregon measure limiting the
hours of labor of women. It was the first time that question had
ever been brought to the United States Supreme Court. There had
been a previous case in which the Supreme Court of Illinois had
held this kind of legislation unconstitutional as an infringement
upon women's freedom of contract. The Supreme Court here at
Miss

Street,

Goldmark. Josephine

New

78634—13

2

18

HOXJES OF LABOB FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Washington considered the question carefully and handed down a
decision which has become classic, holding that the special physical
burdens of women and the need of preserving the health of women
for the sake of the Nation gave States the right, under their police
powers, to enact legislation protecting women from excessive hours
or labor. The court said that this question affects not only the
women themselves, but affects the welfare of the whole Nation to
preserve working women from being exhausted by too long hours.
That was in the year 1908, in the case of Muller n. The State of

—

Oregon.
Since then the supreme courts of other States have upheld the constitutionality of similar laws.
Illinois was the next State to consider the question, and it is of great interest to find the Supreme
Court of the State of Illinois in the year 1911 entirely reversing
the decision of the same court which had passed upon a similar
measure 14 years before. Following this decision of the United
States Supreme Court in the Oregon case, the Illinois Supreme Court
also held a similar measure constitutional, saying, " What we know
as men we can not profess to be ignorant of as judges." They said
that the excessive hours of labor in factories and stores and laundries
undoubtedly injured the health of women, and they declared the law
constitutional, as a valid exercise of the police powers of the State.
Since that there has been similar cases in Michigan and Ohio, and
the Supreme Courts of those States are on record also as upholding
legislation of this kind.
These laws provide for somewhat longer hours than the bill now
before you provides, but within the last year both the Supreme
Courts of California and Washington have upheld the constitutionality of eight-hour laws, as Mr. Peters has pointed out, similar to
the bill under consideration at present. In both cases the decision
of the United States Supreme Court was again followed, and the
decisions both specifically said that it Avas within the police power to
tafeguard the health of its women in this way.
In regard to the need for this protection, as far as some of the
department stores are concerned, there is no doubt that the physical
hardship which women and girls suffer who work in department
stores has not been recognized.
The physical strain is much greater

than

is

popularly supposed.

The long hours which the women and

girls are required to stand are particularly injurious to health,

the
ing
for
the

standing

and

practically continuous during the rush season.
Durthese seasons the girls have not an opportunity to sit down except
a very short break, which is not at all sufficient to compensate for
strain of the long day.
The Government report on laundries,
which was published as a part of the Federal investigation of women
wage earners in 1910 and 1911, showed the excessive strain on health
in that employment.
The women not only have long hours of work,
is

but they suffer from the heavy physical strain that is inevitable in
using laundry machinery, which involves great phvsical effort. The
"body ironing " machines, where a heavy tread is necessary for each
operation of the machine, is particularly harmful. This hard physical labor and the long hours which prevail in laundries are undoubtedly dangerous to health.
If the committee should wish, I should be glad to furnish them
with a copy of my book called " Fatigue and Efficiency," which

HOUES OF LABOE FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

19

brings out these points in regard to the strain on health, and brings
out also various points in regard to the increase in efficiency under
shorter hours. It is not a matter of theory; it has been proved in
establishments where careful records have been kept giving the output under long hours and under the eight-hour day. Unfortunately,
only a few such careful records have been kept in this country. They
have been more carefully kept abroad, and where they have been kept
they show that after a short period of adjustment efficiency has been
increased with shorter working hours and the amount of the output
has gone up. It is a matter of getting a better result from the
workers in the shorter period. The book also goes into these questions of the constitutionality of the labor laws which I have just
briefly reviewed.
The Chairman. We would be pleased to have you leave the book

with us, Miss Goldmark.
Mr. Buchanan. Could we not have those parts containing the matters spoken of by Miss Goldmark made a part of the hearings ?
The Chairman. That would necessitate some one going through
the book and making a selection of the parts that should be used.
Mr. Peters. I will be responsible for that, arid Miss Goldmark and
I can go over it together, and I can incorporate such parts of it in
my remarks.
Mr. Buchanan. I think it will be of great value.
The Chairman. You may do that, Mr. Peters. If there is no objection, then, that
Mr. Peters. It
House meets at 11
and I will ask the

course will be pursued.

my attention that the
considerably past that hour,

has just been brought to
o'clock,

and

it is

now

next witnesses to be as brief as possible.
will be Dr. George M. Kober, a professor in the
medical department of Georgetown University, of this city.

The next witness

STATEMENT OF DR. GEORGE M. KOBER, PROFESSOR OF HYGIENE,
MEDICAL DEPARTMENT, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, WASHINGTON,

D. C.

Mr. Peters. Mr. Chairman, I will now present to the committee
Dr. George M. Kober, of this city.
The Chairman. Please give your full name and position and
address to the stenographer.
Dr. Kober. George M. Kober; professor of hygiene, medical
department, Georgetown University, Washington, D. C.
As a teacher of hygiene, I am very much interested, especially
from the standpoint of health, in the bill which is now before you.
I feel that we have been somewhat negligent in safeguarding the
health of our working classes practically all over the world. This
especially applies to the safeguarding of the health of our working
women, many of whom are destined to be the mothers of the future
citizenship of this country. Upon their physical vigor the vigor of
the Nation must necessarily depend.
Efforts are being made, in recent years, to safeguard the health
of the workingmen, and very properly. I have advocated in a textbook on industrial hygiene the eight -hour working day, from the
standpoint of hygiene and for reasons that have already been given
to

you by Miss Goldmark.

20

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

I believe that the enactment of such a law will result not only in
benefit to the laboring classes, but also increase his efficiency and
output and thus benefit the employers. After all, we are only
human machines, capable of doing so much work, and work performed beyond the point of endurance will greatly impair our

Most of the acciefficiency. 'There can be no question about that.
dents that occur occur as the results of overstrain and fatigue.
I was so much impressed with the absolute brutality and excessive
hours of labor for women that I requested, as chairman of the section
of industrial hygiene, of the Fifteenth International Congress of
Hygiene, held here last fall, Dr. Eosalie Slaughter Morton, of New
York, to present a paper on the " Effects of industrial strain upon
the health of working women," and as it is a comparatively brief
paper I commend it to your favorable consideration, as it points
out very clearly the injurious effects of overwork.
It does not require much expert, medical testimony to convince
you of these evil effects. You can see the effects of overstrain even
in the department stores where the labor is presumed to be light,
and certainly it is light as compared with many other occupations,
but when you observe the physical conditions of the women engaged
there, you will be impressed with the fact that their health is by no
means robust. They do not compare with the average farm girls,
who, as you know, work probably considerably over eight hours a
day, but there is a great difference in the physical environment.
They are engaged in an outdoor occupation with pure air and sunshine, whereas the industrial workers are confined in an atmosphere
often vitiated by products of combustion and respiration, insufficient
ventilation, and defective lighting, and of course such an environment is calculated to seriously affect the physical welfare of the
operatives.

The Chairman. Doctor, in that connection, the tendency of our
industrial system is to specialize, is to have the same individual performing the same operations continuously from one year's end to the
other.
Have you given any attention to the physical effect, both as
to the special development or abnormal development of certain
muscles brought about by the specialization and the effect upon the
nervous system, of continuously doing the same thing in an occupation? What is the effect upon the nervous system?
Dr. Kober. I should say that the excessive use of certain groups of
muscles or nerves is bound to lead to a breakdown sooner or later.
That is illustrated by the frequent occurrence of telegraphers' and
typewriters' cramp; and many other so-called fatigue nervouses,
which are entirely the result of the excessive use of certain groups of
muscles in the arms and hands and also of special senses, as in the
numerous affections developed in telephone operators. Then again
the monotony of certain work results in a great deal of wear and tear
to the nervous system; although the machine performers most often
work symptoms of fatigue appear earlier than when individuals are
engaged in work where they have to go through more or less of a
mental operation and where the work is not so mechanical.
I am simply here to make a strong plea for the enactment of the
bill, and I want to say that if the Congress of the United States
enacts such a bill as is presented here they will do more for true

HOURS OF LABOK FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

21

womanhood and motherhood

in the United States than by the enactment of any measure that has ever been presented before you.

Effects of Industrial Strain on the Working Woman.
[By Rosalie Slaughter Morton, M.

D.,

New York

City.

Kend before Section IV,

Inter-

national Congress of Hygiene.]
Ill reviewing the literature on the hygiene of occupations, I have been interested to observe that much of the most able and comprehensive work has been
done by women, and also that physician have given much gratuitous time to an
analytical study of this subject. 1
What has been done shows the great desirability of the appointment, under
a national department of health, of a commission to make a systematic study of
industries and their various forms of strain on normal women of different ages
and types. Such a study would involve the detailed consideration of modifying
factors which are necessary in order that accurate deductions may be made
from statistics. For instance, present records show a high percentage of tuberculosis among both men and women working in tobacco. Unquestionably they
are affected by the irritation of dust and fumes which render them susceptible
to various derangements, especially bronchial catarrh, which lessens their resistance to tuberculosis; but, on the other hand, stripping, sorting leaves, rolling stogies, and so on, is not as strenuous as some other form of work so many
who already have tuberculosis seek employment in tobacco factories.
The available data on a number of trades show the value to the business and
social welfare of the world, as well as to the individual, of wisely conducted industry, for, to become truly constructive to the state, it must be profitable both
;

to

employer and employee.

The

work

to an eight-hour day has proved necessary for men,
retain their efficiency, and such regulation of hours for
women is equally necessary. Shorter hours and fairer pay would lessen the
effects of industrial strain upon the working women, both individually and
eugenically, to an extent which would raise the health and efficiency of our race
Factory and other noudomestic industry is not in itself
at least 70 per cent.
a menace to women in fact, in many instances a woman's physical and mental
health is better when she is engaged in a regular and impersonal form of work.
Statistics from insane asylums and life insurance companies show that a
higher percentage of insane come from the class of domestics and housewives
than from women in trades and professions, and that longevity among women
has increased during the last 25 years. Most of the women who break down
from work do so from causes which are in no way related to sex. In gathering
information for this paper, I found that the average of temporary illnesses in
three New York department stores shows that the number of employees who
seek relief in the hospitals located in the stores is divided between men and
women in about equal ratio to those employed. Of the women patients, approximately, one-third suffer from headache, one-third from indigestion and miscellaneous ailments, and only one-third have menstrural disorders, making a very
small proportion out of the total number of employees. For instance, in a store
which employs 3,000 women, there will average not more than 10 a day who
come to the rest room or hospital for a few hours on account of dysmennorrhea.
In one of the stores, which employs approximately 3,500 women, the nurse who
had been in attendance for 8 years said that she knew of only 15 cases of
permanent pelvic trouble brought on by work in the store. In one store, which
is situated at the junction of several surface and elevated street car lines, the
daily attendance in the store hospital is double that of a store in a more quiet
location. The ventilation of the former store is also poorer than in the latter.
The proportion of those who suffer from dysmennorrhea is larger in the store
which is not so well ventilated and which is noiser, showing that general
hygiene has its effect upon a woman's health during her period. A point which
is often overlooked when statements are made regarding the endurance of
women as a class is that their lower wages do not enable them to purchase such
sustaining food as men customarily have. For instance, the average amount
paid for their lunch by women in shops, factories, and clerical positions is 15
cents the average paid by men in the same lines of work is 30 cents. The con-

regulation of

in order that they

may

;

;

1

See appended

list

of references.

22

HOUES OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

women
sequent lack of nutrition in a very short time lessens the endurance of
L,iie
workers. Among the 3,800 employees in the head office of the Metropolitan
Insurance Co. absences on account of illness have been conspicuously reduced
since the company has provided a substantial lunch for them, and a similar
result has followed this wise economic step taken by other employers.
On the general subject of hygiene in relation to industry, many significant
deductions may be made which apply to women workers In their homes,
colleges, in professions, in shops, and in factories, showing that their endurance,
capacity, and output are influenced by mental and physical hygiene rather than
by sex. The papers which have been or will be read before this congress direct
intensive thought toward many details of industrial strain which are applicable
as much to the working woman as to the working man in fact, according to
the schedules of the Twelfth Census (1900), we find women in 295 out of the
303 separate employments there tabulated. The general headings given are:
Agricultural, professional service, domestic and personal service, trade and
transportation, manufacturing and mechanical pursuits. The eight employments in which no women are recorded are: Soldiers of the United States, (2)
sailors of the United States, and (3) marines of the United States, (4) street
car drivers (though two women are reported as motormen), (5) firemen (in
the fire department), (6) apprentices and helpers to roofers and slaters. (7)
helpers to steam boiler makers, and (8) helpers to brass workers.
It may be of passing interest and, perhaps, a surprise to note that a limited
number of women were registered in unusual occupations 5 women were employed as pilots on steam railroads, 5 as baggagemen, 31 as brakemen, 7 as
conductors. 35 as engineers and firemen, and 26 as switchmen, yardmen, and
flagmen 6 women were reported as ship's carpenters, and as many as 181
were reported as blacksmiths, and 508 as machinists; 8 as boiler makers, 31
as charcoal, coke, and lime burners, and 11 as well borers.
The laws, or lack of them, for the protection of women's health and the
occupation in which women suffer from lack of fresh air or proper light, too
great heat or cold, speeding up, inhalation of irritating dust and gases, etc.,
and the effects of these various forms of industry, have been so comprehensively
presented to you that anything I might say would be in large part a repetition:
therefore, I will confine my paper to the especial effect upon women of trades
which involve prolonged and unnecessary standing, the pushing of heavy trucks
from room to room, as in the larger canneiies the constant carrying of heavy
weights, as core makers in foundries, who carry trays of sand cases weighing
from 10 to 50 pounds from work benches to ovens; or operating machinery by
treadle pressure, with incessant kicking, as in a case cited by Dr. Caroline
Hedger, where, in assembling screw drivers, a girl kicked 7,000 times a day
with one foot. Violent treadle pressure, as in button-stamping machines, perforating presses in binderies, and the laundry cuff press, is especially harmful

m

;

;

;

;

to

women.

In order to push or cany a heavy weight it is necessary to forcibly inflate
the lungs and rigidly fix the diaphragm. This increases interabdominal tension,
and will eventually lead to prolapsus, antiversion, antiflexion, retroversion, or
retroflexion of the uterus. The fatigue consequent upon continuous heavy muscular effort causes a relaxation of the ligaments which support the uterus, and,
as the organ is situated in the pelvis with the heavy end up, when the ligaments
lack tone the force of gravity tends toward misplacement. Normally the uterus
is well balanced by the round and the broad ligaments on each side, the sacrouterine behind, and the vesico-uterine ligaments in front, and is to some extent
supported by the vagina.
According to the investigation of Elizabeth Beardsley Butler, in Pittsburgh,
in 1907-8, prolonged standing as customary in most departments of cracker factories, laundries, dyeing and cleaning establishments, metal works, lamp and
glass factories, mirror, broom, cork, paper-box, soap, and trunk factories, in
some pressrooms, and in most mercantile houses. This standing for long hours
may tend toward uterine misplacements, as indicated above. Then, too, the
fatigue of the nerves of the back bears directly upon the uterine nerve supply,
which is derived from the second, third, and fourth sacro-spinal nerves and
from branches of the hypogastric (sympathetic) plexus; this not only causes
local but reflex symptoms which impair the functions of other parts of the body.
The numerous occupations which, on the other hand, require the employee to
be seated for hours in one position have an especially deleterious effect upon a
woman's health by tending to overfull bladder, constipation, and pelvic congestion. The uterus is placed between the bladder and the lower end of the large

HOUBS OF LABOK TOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
intestine

by

23

which passes above and back of the uterus, and the straining caused

defecation produces at least 50 per cent of downward misplacement
of the uterus, with all its attendant discomfort, and the frequent necessity of
spending several weeks in a hospital. Constant overloading of the rectum causes
pressure on many of the 28 blood vessels in the pelvis and interferes with the
return of venous blood, thereby causing congestion and possible inflammation
of the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, uterus, and vagina, which means ofttimes invalidism, sterility, habitual miscarriages, or lifelong misery.
Dr. Ely Van der Warker has called attention to the fact that the shape of the
knee, the shallowness of the pelvis, and the delicate construction of the foot of
a woman render her inadequate for continuous standing for 8 or 10 hours. He
calls attention to the " smallness of the patella and the narrowness of the articular surfaces of the tibia and femur.
The lateral prominences of both bones are
more developed in man, and therefore his knee joint helps to form a more
perfect sustaining column. In a woman the muscles which keep the body fixed
upon the thighs in the erect position labor under the disadvantage Of shortness
of purchase owing to the short distance, compared to that of a man, between
the crest of the ilium and the greater trochanter of the femur, thus giving to
men a much larger purchase in the leverage existing between the trunk and the
extremities and, comparatively, the woman's foot is less able to sustain weight
than the man's, owing to its shortness and the more delicate formation of the
tarsal and metatarsal bones." It must, however, be borne in mind that this is
somewhat offset by the fact that the average weight of a woman's body is less
than the average weight of a man's, and that the feet of European and American
women have increased in size with their greater use.
One of the primary drawbacks for women in the industrial life of to-day is
that most factories are equipped for the convenience of men workers. Mrs.
Florence Kelly called my attention to the use in one instance of tables designed
for men to sit at them, and used by girls 14 years old, who are thus quite
needlessly obliged to stand.
Prolonged standing and excessive use of the legs, as in the manipulation of
the treadle machines, has an effect upon the bones of the pelvis, particularly in
poorly nourished women between the ages of 14 and 25, as the bones are then
not sufficiently hard to resist the mechanical effects of the extreme pressure.
The pelvis forms a bony girdle which supports the weight of the rest of the
body and is itself supported by the legs, the heads of the femurs fitting into the
acetabuli, the concave sockets on each side of the pelvis. Constant standing
causes this pressure to symmetrically narrow the pelvis. The incessant use of
one limb may cause a lateral deformity which will render difficult or impossible
an erect position of the body, upon which depends to a large extent the health
of every organ, because unless the lungs have sufficient room to expand they
can not aerate the blood, and therefore a large portion of the waste products
of the body is not eliminated, and oxygen is not supplied to the tissues of the
body. All occupations which cause the workers to become round-shouldered
are fundamentally injurious, because the space for each organ in the body is so
apportioned that the encroachment of one organ, or set of organs, upon others
(as from faulty position of the bony structure) interferes with the function of
the organ pressed upon. The especial menace of any pelvic deformity is in
Any narrowing of the pelvis interferes with develits relation to pregnancy.
opment of the child in utero and may necessitate an instrumental delivery, with
the attendant risk of serious injury to both mother and child.
The health and vitality of the child from the time of conception depend very
much upon the mother's physical condition; an unhealthy condition of her
tissues may prevent a proper development and implantation of the placenta.
A large number of miscarriages are due to this cause, and later, if she is overworked and poorly nourished, the nourishment of the child will be very much
interfered with during gestation and lactation.
In a symposium on sex problems in relation to the health of working women
it would not be right to omit mention of two very important factors which
greatly reduce their health ratio, although these diseases are not due to industrial strain, and indeed the women themeslves are often ignorant of having
acquired them. Their working efficiency is frequently reduced as a result of
their suffering from syphilis and gonorrhea, and the economic effect of this
The placenta, under ordinary circumstances, acts as a filter
is far-reaching.
and 'prevents the transmission of disease; for instance, a child of a tubercular
mother is not born with tuberculosis, but a child may inherit syphilis from its
'mother or father. Unfortunately, a large number of working women suffer
difficult

;

;

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

24

from syphilis and gonorrhea, of the presence of which they are ignorant, and
for which they therefore do not seek diagnosis and treatment.
women
In connection with the physical efficiency of women a study ot
athletes was made in 1884 by Dr. Sarah E. Post, and one recently made by
years
Dr. Anganette Parry is interesting. She found that a bareback rider, 65
times a.
old, who while performing jumps through a hoop at the rate of six
minute, in one pregnancy rode until the eighth month, and a normal child
weighing 9 pounds was born at term. In another pregnancy she also rode
until the eighth month, and began riding again four weeks after the birth of
this her fourth child. The woman is in perfect physical condition.
Another rider continued to ride until the eighth month and later nursed her
child.
These women, when asked whether they were exceptional cases, said
no one ever heard of anyone breaking down in the. business. Another, who

also the mother of a rider, had six children living. A trapeze performer,
25 years old, has regular menstruation and no pain. The flow stops while she
is performing.
A hippodrome acrobat; tumbler; hand balancer; 27 years old; began training at 5 years; trapeze and rings; first menstruation at 12; always regular;
5 days moderate flow no nausea or vomiting no cramps occasional headache flow does not stop while performing. Married at 20 first pregnancy
performed until fifth month; very easy labor 12 hours; second pregnancy,
very easy labor half an hour; after three months went back to the stage;
plenty of milk.
educated by misMrs. Hosfall
father an American, mother an Indian
sionaries in summer; the rest of the year followed the band of Indians; married at 20 trapped with husband poles, tracks boat, handles ax, builds cabin,
shoots, hunts, cooks; skillful in Indian woman's practical work, dressing animals, tanning, and so forth. Four healthy daughters in five years two youngest
each born on the bank of the river, with the temperature many degrees below
zero, where she was entirely alone and must keep fire and cook; passed suc-

was

;

;

;

;

;

—

;

—

;

;

;

;

;

cessfully through

it all.

Dr. Parry pointed out that these women wore no heavy skirts; that their
training began in childhood; and that they undoubtedly have unusually strong
uterine ligaments; they are very careful of personal hygiene and have plenty of
air, wholesome food, and work which they enjoy.
A young woman recently
swam across San Francisco Harbor, a distance of 8 miles, and on arrival was
not fatigued. The feat had been accomplished but twice before. These are
exceptional cases and not especially to be recommended, for in both men and
women an overtaxed dilated heart often results in fatty degeneration of the
heart and muscles and generally follows a discontinuance of vigorous athletics.
Moderate regular exercise is necessary for continued good health, and the normal woman can attend to her ordinary duties during her menstrual period without injury, although on account of the uterus being physiologically heavy at
that time, overexercise and vigorous exercise should be avoided the first three
days of the period.
Much has been said and written about nervous strain in women's work, and
there are some occupations, especially that of telephone operators (as pointed
out in the investigation of telephone companies, in Senate Document No. 380),
which call the special senses into play in a manner in which they are required
to act not only continually but concertedly. This feature calls for special consideration in estimating the strain to which telephone operators are subjected
by the nature of their work. As has been pointed out, connections on a switchboard are made by inserting a small plug in a small hole above which the number of the telephone requested appears. The eye is attracted in the first instance by the glowing of a light which announces the call.
It has then to
immediately find on the switchboard the hole in which it is necessary to insert
the plug to make the desired connection. Similarly in disconnecting, the eye
detects the extinction of the light, and then seeks on the switchboard the number with which the connection has been made. This means constant employment of the muscles of the eye in different directions and constant use of the
The ear, in receiving calls, is required to distinguish between a
optic nerve.
multitude of different voices to ascertain at once, in order to avoid repetition,
the number asked for, no matter how indistinctly or ill pronounced the number
may be. This necessitates constant alertness, of the auditory nerve, while the
vocal organs are scarcely less constantly in use in the answer of calls the
repetition of numbers, and the conduct of such conversations as may be necesThe sensations created by the operation of the several senses in this
sary.

HOUBS OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

25

manner transmit

their several messages to the brain, which, in turn, directs and
governs the actions they suggest.
These special senses are simultaneously called into play also in stenography,
typewriting, and telegraphy, but to a less extent than in telephone operating.
These forms of work are psychologically and physically well adapted to women,
but hours of employment should be shorter than in other forms of work
which are less expert and taxing to the nervous system. The report of the
Royal Commission of Canada 'on telephone companies presents a study of
special value.

The increase of nervous prostration among both men and women is perhaps
the most important effect of strain which we have to consider, for all muscular
and intellectual effort requires the expenditure of nervous energy, and overlong working hours wholly exhaust the sources of nerve endurance.
Nerve
cells are the producers of energy, and nerve fibers conduct this to the muscles.
Stimulation is wholesome; overstimulation produces accumulations of waste
products, which act as a definite poison, and demonstrable changes take place
in the cells of the brain and spinal cord.
Miss Josephine Goldmark has compiled much valuable data in her book on " Fatigue and Efficiency," which
forms an unanswerable argument for shorter hours of work for both women
and men.
The measure of pleasure one finds
strain, as is well illustrated by the

in work markedly affects the amount of
fact that work which well accomplishesits object is less fatiguing than the same amount of energy spent on work in
which one is not interested or which results in failure. The training of women
in salesmanship by Mrs. Lucinda W. Prince, in the Woman's Educational and
Industrial Union, in Boston, shows the value of so educating woman that her
brain and physical force may work together, giving her a sense of responsibility
in regarding her work as a vocation, with intelligent interest in system, attention
to details, increased knowledge of the goods to be sold, color, design, textiles,
Pupils sent from five well-known Boston department stores receive full
etc.
wages while taking the three months' course, which occupies them each
morning. The value of this as a business proposition, as well as an illustration of the increase in efficiency with the lessening of Strain, is shown by the
fact that their afternoon sales give them a weekly total as high as the employees who do not attend the school and who work all day.
In summarizing the direct effects of industrial strain on the working woman,
opinion, after consulting statistics compiled by many investigators,
it is
boards, institutions, companies, colleges, and others, and also after conferring
with a number of thoughtful people who have opportunities to observe women
who work under varied conditions, that, with properly regulated hours of work
and recreation, outside of the excessive physical labor to which I have referred
industry,
in this paper, women may work in practically any field of modern
and not only retain but increase their standard of health. But they must be
given hygienic and properly arranged buildings in which to work and they and
This educatheir employers taught the common sense of the laws of health.
For when legislatures and their constituents really
tion is the great need.
comprehend that the health of its citizens is the greatest asset of any nation,
this will occur when
thev must pass laws protecting the health of laborers, and
health of women of
a greater number of their constituents are interested in the
oil nil p c g £» g
good laws may be inactive. For instance, in six States-

my

Without education,
and New York-we
Massachusetts, Maryland, California, Wisconsin, Illinois,
which however,
have laws providing seats behind the counter for saleswomen
watchfulness of a floorthey are prevented from using by the disapproving
inefficiency.
walker who is ignorant of the relation of fatigue to
and conWhen individuals are educated to understand that their happinesstt«™
well[as'Industrial
tinued usefulness depend upon personal as
perfectly practical standaid tor the
be a fullness of jov in living which is a
working.
attainment of which the world's best citizens are

*W«£

w*

REFERENCES.
Butler

Elizabeth

B.-Women and

the Trades.

r

Jacob?

I™ (M DT-The

Women's Work. (Charities and the
Overwork of women and its effect on

physical Cost of

Commtns, 19OT, v. 17, pp.839-844.
their health.)

Pages 35&-36T: Health condi-

26

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Klink, Jane

S.—The Health

N. Y., vol.

2,

Massachusetts

No.

of

Women

(Academy of Political Science,
™_.
„ ,_ _
Labor.—Female Health, Special ^fleets

Workers.

pp. 35-40.)
Bureau of Statistics of
2,

.

.

Sixth annual report, 1875, 11, pp.
of Certain Forms of Employment Upon.
67-132. Published also by physician who made investigation Ames, A-zel, Jr.
Sex in Industry; a plea for the working girl. Boston, Osgood, 1875 ,158 pp.
United States Labor Bureau.— Report on Condition of Women and Child Wage
Earners in the United States, 1910-1912.
Fourth Annual Report of United States Commissioner of Labor, 1888.— Working
Women in Large Cities conditions of health.
Wright, Carroll D.— Effect of Work on Health. The working girls of Boston,
Mass., pp. 68-75. Fifteenth annual report of Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor, 1884.
Special report of the Census Office. Statistics of women at work.
American Labor Legislation Review. Industrial diseases.
Smart, Isabelle T. (M. D.).— The Question of Heavy Apparatus Work for
;

—
—

Women.

—

Health of Women Employees pp. 20, 76, 82, 105, 108, 109.
Publication 12 of the American Association for Labor Legislation. Occupational Diseases.
.Dana, Charles L. (M. D.). Occupational Neuroses, in Medical Record, March
Senate investigations of telephone companies. 1910.

—

;

—

1912.
Abbott, Edith.
9,

—Women

in Industry.

—

Kober, George II. (M. D.). Industrial and Personal Hygiene.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Legislation limiting hours
labor.

—

of

—The

Bulkely, L. Duncan (M. D.).
World, as Affecting Health.

page 342.
Kellor, Frances A.

—

Place of Women in the Modern Business
Bulletin of American Academy of Medicine,

Experimental Sociology, page 86 Occupations.
Goldniark, Josephine. Fatigue and Efficiency. Charities "Publishing Company,
N. Y., 1912, page 890. Physical effects of overstrain on women workers.
Hedger, Caroline (SI. D.). Relation of Infant Mortality to the Occupation
and Long Hours of Work of Women. Bulletin of the American Academy of
Medicine, Easton, Pa., 1910, v. 11, pp. 80-89.
Van Kleeck. Working Hours of Women in Factories (Charities, New York,
1906-7, v. 17, pp. 13-21). Result of long hours and overwork on physical
condition of working women.
Fourth Annual Report of United States Commissioner of Labor, 1888. Working
:

—

—

—

Women

—

in

Large

Cities.

—
—

Macy, Mnry Sutton (M. D.). The Industrial Occupations of Women in Relation
to Infant Morbidity and Mortality.
Smart, Isabelle T. (M. D.). Relation of Women in Industry to Child Welfare.
Woman's Medical Journal, March, 1911.

—

Saleeby, C. W. Woman and Womanhood.
The Sex Problem in Industrial Hygiene. American Journal
Kelley, Florence,
of Public Hygiene, Boston, June, 1910, v. 20, pp. 252-257.
Plea for legal
regulations for hours of labor for women.
Birmingham, England, health department. Industrial Employment of Married
Women and Infant Mortality.
Spencer, Anna Garlin. Social Use of the Postgraduate Mother. The Forum.
Launching of the Child. Outlook, 101 75-80.
Physiological Basis for Education. Nineteenth Century, 71; 945-65.
Infant Welfare. Am. Journal Soc.
Report of the United States Department of Labor on the condition of woman
and child wage earners, Vol. XIII.
Origin and Control of Mental Defectives. Pop. Sci. Mon., 80 87.
Woman and the Wage Question Rev. of Rev., 45 439-42. Same, 45 226-28.
Efficiency in Child Saving. Am. Acad, of Med., 41 69-70.
Conservation of Womanhood and Childhood. Outlook, 99 1013-9.
Woman in Industry. Atlan. Monthly, 110; 116-24.
Woman and Child Wage Earners in the United States. Am. Econ Rev
Scrub Woman of the Financial District. Survey, 28 414-6.
Revelations of Industrial Life. Liv. Age., 274; 138-47.
Legislative Gains for Woman. Survey, 28; 95-7.
Forsythe. Children in Health and Disease.

—

—

—

;

;
'

;

;

;

;

;

—

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

27

—
—

Sir John Gorst. The Children of the Nation.
Saleeby. Parenthood and Race Culture.
Thomas Oliver. Dangerous Trades.
Statistics of Women at Work.
Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C.
A. Mosso, professor of physiology, University of Turin. Fatigue.
Dr. A. Forel. Hygiene of the Nerves in Health and Disease.
Dr. Sarah E. Post. Exercise for Women as Illustrated in Circus Riders and
Gymnasts. Medical Record, May 17, 1884.
Parry, Angenette (M. D.). Relation of Athletics to the Reproductive Life of
Women. Am. Jour. Obstet, Sept., 1912.

—

—

—

—

—

STATEMENT OF MRS. GRACE C0UL0N, OF WASHINGTON,

D. C.

Mr. Peters. Mr. Chairman, I now desire to present to the committee Mrs. Grace Coulon, who was formerly and. for a long time a
laundry worker in this city and who will speak to the committee of
her experience as a laundry worker in the District of Columbia.
The Chairman. Will you please give your full name and address
to the stenographer.
Mrs. Coulon. Mrs. Grace Coulon, 618 Twenty-third Street.
The Chairman. State for the information of the committee your
experience in connection with laundry work, telling it in your own
way the number of hours you were required to work, what kind of
work you were required to do and the wages you received and the
wages your associates received for that work, and any information
of that kind that may occur to you state in your own way.
Mrs. Coulon. I went to work in the laundry here when I was 13
years of age, and I am 26 years old now, and I have worked continuously during that time in laundries up until about six weeks
ago, when I went to the Y. W. C. A. I worked as hard as anybody
The girls have to work from half past 7 until 6
in the laundry.
o'clock at night. They have awful hard work to do. They don't
stand in one place all the time. They move around from one machine
to another, except when they are working on towels or on the mangle.
Of course the salary of the girls is not very large, because some of
them work for $2 or $3 and some of them for $4 and $5.
;

Mr. Buchanan. A week?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes.' Of course they are not going to get this eighthour law to pass for laundries because they can not get it through,
and the laundries can not do the amount of work they have to do in
eight hours with the force that they have, and they won't get other
girls, because it costs them too much.
Mr. Peters. Are those the hours of labor for every day in the

week ?
Mrs. Coulon. Every day in the week; yes, sir.
The Chairman. About how high a temperature

is

there in the

which you work how warm is it ?
Mrs. Coulon. I have worked on the machines that we used to iron
on, and sometimes it was very hot more or less up to 100; it was

room

in

;

—

very hot.

Mr. Buchanan. Do I understand you to say that the wages of
laundry workers, the girls, do not average over $4 a week.
Mrs. Coulon. Some of them do not.
Mr. Buchanan. About what do you think would be the average ?
Mrs. Coulon. Well, a girl might get—I could get $10 a week if
they would pay it to me.

28

HOUKS OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Mr. Buchanan. I mean what is the average pay; what would be
about an average for the girls working there ?
Mrs. Coulon. In the different departments in the laundry?

Mr. Buchanan. Yes.
Mrs. Coulon. Well, some of them get seven, some of them six, some
four and a half, and some five. Of course, they do not pay them all
that much, because they could get other girls for less wages.
Mr. Buchanan. When you left the employment of the laundry,
what wages were you getting?
Mrs. Coulon. When I was working there I was getting seven and
a half.

Mr. Buchanan. In working there in the laundry, were you working alongside of men doing practically the same work?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes I was doing the same identical work that the
men were doing, and they were getting from fifteen to twenty dollars
a week.
Mr. Buchanan. And you were getting seven and a half?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir; I was doing exactly the same work they
;

were doing.
Mr. Buchanan. You think you earned at least $10?
Mrs. Coulon. I certainly could get it.
Mr. Buchanan. You could not get your employer to pay you that?
Mrs. Coulon. Xo; I could not.
Mr. Buchanan. Did I understand you to say that there were other
girls that were willing to work and who did work for less money
than you were getting?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir; that is so.
Mr. Buchanan. They could get other girls at a less rate than seven
and a half dollars a week?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. Because of that fact you told them that you were
earning $10 a week but only receiving seven and a half dollars a
week?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. And you had been there for 13 years?
Mrs. Coulon. Not in one laundry.
Mr. Buchanan. You had been engaged in laundry work for 13

years ?

Mrs. Coulon. Yes,

sir.

Mr. Buchanan. You knew the details of the work from the
beginning, from the taking in of the laundry to the taking
° out of the
laundry ?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir.
Mr Buchanan. You were only receiving seven dollars and a half
a week?
Mrs. Coulon. When I first started I only got one
dollar and a half

a week.

Mr. Buchanan. Do you work the same number of
hours on Monday as on other davs?
Mrs. Coulon. No sir; I went to work at 9
o'clock on Mondays.
Mr. Buchanan You continued until 6 o'clock
in the evening?
s
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. How long did you have for
lunch ?

HOUES OF LABOR FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

29

Mrs. Cotilon. Well, just according to how much work we had.
sometimes had three-quarters of an hour and sometimes it was
half an hour and sometimes an hour.
Mr. Buchanan. You had no definite time allowed for your noonday lunch it was according to the rush or work, the amount of time
that was allowed you for lunch ?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. Is that a common custom in the laundries in the
District of Columbia?
Mrs. Coulon. That was in this one; I do not know about the
others, but I believe so.
Mr. Buchanan. In all the places you have worked ?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. What is the percentage of girls employed in
laundries who are less than 18 years of age; young girls, 14 to 18
years of age ?
Mrs. Coulon. I do not think we had very many that were not of
age; only these young girls, young colored girls, who worked on the
mangle and shaking, and such as that.
Mr. Buchanan. There were not many, you say, who were under 18
years of age?
Mrs. Coulon. No, sir there were not.
Mr. Buchanan. They were mostly girls who had nearly reached
or who had reached maturity ?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. Were you required at any time to work overtime?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir; we were in the case of a breakdown or a
holiday we had to work overtime to make up for lost time.
Mr. Buchanan. You were required to work overtime because of
the rush of business ?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir; we were.
Mr. Buchanan. Were you paid extra wages when you were required to work overtime?
Mrs. Cotjlon. No, sir; we were not.
Mr. Buchanan. How much overtime is the greatest amount of
overtime you have ever worked ?
Mrs. Coulon. I have worked from 7.30 in the morning until 10

We

;

;

;

at night.

Mr. Buchanan. Has that been very frequent?
Mrs. Coulon. No; only when we have a holiday and- were not
open the next day we would have to work late to get the work out.
Mr. Buchanan. I believe you stated that when you started, at 13
years of age, you worked for $1.50 a week?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. What work did you do ?
Mrs. Coulon. I first learned to mop I knew nothing about the
laundry at all when I went in.
Mr. Buchanan. How long did you work for $1.50 a week?
Mrs. Coulon. I could not tell you.
Mr. Buchanan. About how long?
Mrs. Coulon. About a month or so; then I got the 50-cent raise,
and I was raised 50 cents every time I got a raise.
;

;

30

HOUES OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTBICT OF COLUMBIA.

The Chairman.
you quit?

How

long were you paid $7.50;

how long

before

Mrs. Cotilon. I was paid that two months before I left; and he
only paid it to me because I was going to leave, and he wanted me to
stay.

The Chairman.

How much

had you been paid before that?

Mrs. Cohlon. $6.50.

The Chairman. How long had you been paid $6.50 before that?
Mrs. Coulon. Oh, I guess about a year.
The Chairman. About a year?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes.
The Chairman. And you worked before that time for how much?
Mrs. Coulon. Five and one-half to six dollars.
The Chairman. Have you any people whom you have to assist in
supporting out, of the wages you earn ?
Mrs. Coulon. I have a little boy; I am a widow with a little boy.
The Chairman. Your little boy; any parents?
Mrs. Coulon, I help to take care of my mother.
The Chairman. You help to take care of your mother?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir. The only reason why I left the laundry
was because my nerves got all unstrung from the machines and the
wear of the work: the work was too much for one woman to do.
The Chairman. You felt the strain*was entirely too much on your
nerves
Mrs. Coulon. Yes. sir: I felt that, the strain was entirely too much
on my nerves.
The Chairman. About how long do people generally work in
laundries the idea I have is whether there are people of your
acquaintance in laundries who have worked in laundries longer than
you have ?
Mrs. CotLON. Yes, indeed; some of them; there are.

—

The Chairman. Many

of

them?

Mrs. Coitlon. Yes; quite a few of them.
The Chairman. Getting a higher rate of wages than you got?
Mrs. Coulon. Not that I know of.
The Chairman. Those are the highest wages you know of which a
woman gets in laundry work?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes. The only reason I got those low wages was
because they can bring the darkies in and and get them for two and
three dollars. They let them work one day and come when they
please and go when they please, and they will put up with it because
they pay them such small wages and they do not care.
The Chairman. You have that kind of competition to meet?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes. The white girls have to work all the time,
and the colored women work when they please; they take small
wages and you could not expect any more out of them.

STATEMENT OF MR. SAMUEL GOMPERS, PRESIDENT AMERICAN
FEDERATION OF LABOR.
Mr. Peters. Mr. Chairman, I now wish to present Mr. Samuel
Gompers.
The Chairman. Mr. Gompers, will you state your full name and
address?

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

31

Mr. Gompers. Samuel Gompers, Ouray Building, "Washington,
D. C.
The Chairman. It might be well to state whom you represent;
some of us might not know.
Mr. Gompers. I am president, of the American Federation of Labor.
The executive council of the American Federation of Labor, at its
recent meeting in Washington, had before it, among other matters,
the consideration of the bill H. It. 27281, and unanimously gave to
the bill and the principle involved in the bill its indorsement. The

1

i

1

5
1

1

executive council, in the interim of the conventions of the American
Federation of Labor, is intrusted with the authority and responsibility of initiating legislation in the interests of working people
and of assisting or cooperating in having legislation of that kind and
character enacted.
In addition to my own personal interests in legislation of this
character, so that it may be known to you that I speak in this matter
by the authority and in behalf of the American Federation of Labor,
I desire to state that- the bill under consideration has hearty support of the executive council of the American Federation of Labor.
It was a great pleasure for me to hear the splendid testimony given
before this committee this morning upon the subject of the physical
and mental and social and economic and political welfare of the
people of our country, and of the necessity for having legislation of
this character enacted by the Congress of the United States. It has
been a great struggle for the workers and the sympathizers with
labor to break through the crust of bigotry and prejudice and greed,
to let the world know of all that is implied and involved in the legislation and the movement for the reduction of the hours of labor. You
may know many of you do not know that I have appeared before
the committees of Congress not only for the purpose of advocating
a limitation of the hours of labor of men engaged in the overground
pursuits, men engaged in the factories, in the workshops, in the
mills, but I have pleaded for a limitation of the hours of labor of the
men who work underground, a limitation of the hours of labor of
Government employees for those who work for the Government because the Government is the employer, and the only reasonable way
we can reach the Government is through legislation. But in all other
belief
fields of industrial activity I have believed and advocated the
that the men who labor can best secure for themselves the regulait that.
tions of their hours of labor, and that they should insist upon
the hours should be limited. to a normal and a healthful workday.
House
It is not necessary before the Committee on Labor of the
of
of Eepresentatives to go far in argument to convince its members
the necessity of the limitation of the hours of labor, particularly of
which
the women workers. The International Congress of Hygiene,
Washington a few months ago, was probably
was held in the city of
without any equivocation or without any qualifications the most inin this or, pertensely interesting exhibition that has ever been held
other country, and a visit there vrould have demonhaps in any
of industry and the
strated even to the dullest the tremendous effect
modern industry upon human life. If ever any unevils attending
regard to the
questionable and unquestioned testimony was given
movement and the efficiency of its work, the necessity
organized labor
that exposition demonfor the success of its demands and efforts,

—

—

—

1

1

'

'

1

•

1

'

i

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:

32

.

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

It
it.
It justified every claim made by organized labor.
I use the
justified every demand made by organized labor.
term " organized labor " I use it advisedly, because the working peo-

strated

When

ple who are not members of organized labor have no opportunity of
speaking for themselves or .their fellows. The only source or power
or factor that speaks in the'interests of the workers is the organized
labor movement and those who are trying to aid the workers, yet who
may themselves not be wageworkers in the generally accepted sense
of that term.
However, the fact is that the District of Columbia is not an industrial center, and I think it is not misrepresenting the people generally, or those who speak in the name of the people, to say that there
Hence
is no desire to make of Washington an industrial center.
many of the evils attending modern industry do not prevail in the
District of Columbia but those who know, those who do go about,
those who try to learn the existing conditions, know that the hours
of labor are abnormally long right here in Washington. Girls who
fire in an}' way organized have some degree of protection, but yet
have not an 8-hour day. Irt many of the occupations and trades
and vocations the hours of labor are entirely subject to the control
and the whim or the fancy or the immediate interests of the employer. Just as you have heard the testimony of the lady who preceded me, when the employer, for his temporary advantage saw fit,
he required his employees in the laundry to work from 7 o'clock in
the morning until 10 o'clock at night.
He simply informed them
that they had to work. There was nothing between him and his
interests and the protection of the women in his employ. There was
no check. It is not a good thing where there is nothing standing
between man's cupidity and humanity.
We have met opposition to all our legislation that we have asked at
the hands of Congress and at the hands of legislatures when the
interests of the working people were affected.
I do hope that there
will be no opposition to this bill.
It is founded upon the highest
questions of right and justice, and our duty to ourselves and to our
women and to those who are to come after -them and us.
I desire to bring to your attention a letter which a large employer
of labor has written to the president of a great international union,
because it splendidly demonstrates the results of the movement to
shorten the working day. It is by William J. Crawford, president
of William J. Crawford & Co. (Inc.), one of the leading firms in the
granite industry.
It is addressed to Mr. James Duncan, international president of the Granite Cutters' International Association,
Quincy. Mass. It says [reading]
;

tWilliam

.T.

Crawford & Co.

(Inc.).

Monuments, mausoleums, statuary,

Buffalo, X.

Dux can,
International President the Granite Cutters'
International Association, Quincy. Mass.

T.,

in granite, etc.]

December

19, 1912.

Mr. James

Dear Sir For several months the writer has wished to write to you to explain some facts which we are sure will interest you and your fellow members.
There are few firms in the country who have kept a comprehensive cost
system extending over a period of more than 30 years. Just 32 years ago, in
January, 1SS0, we commenced to keep this record of the value of each man
and the exact cost of each piece of work, and we have kept this ever since.
In the part of this work which will interest you we have .i nasre for each
:

HOURS OF LABOE FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

33

granite cutter, and following each entry of the piece of work he takes up is
the day and hour commenced, the day and hour finished, the entire time consumed, the wages we have paid, the quarry bill, and a column for Joss and a
column for gain. In this way we are able to raise a man's wages from time to
time as he proves his worth. We do this without request from the men, and
in this way we obtain the highest efficiency, and we can not remember when a
man has asked us to raise his wages.
Now, about the fact that I think will be of particular interest to you. This
cost system extends back to the time when the day was 10 hours, and it shows
that the same man, under identically the same conditions, accomplished more
of exactly the same kind of work when he was working 9 hours than He did
when he was working 10 hours, and, again, when the hours were reduced to 8
hours this same man accomplished still more in an 8-hour day than he did in
n 9-hour day. or a considerable amount more than he did when the day was 10

hours long.
My observation of the conditions, and I am with our men from 8 a. m. until
5 p. m., is this, that as men work to-day at the granite-cutting trade an 8-hour
day is too long, and I believe that any good granite cutter (and I mean by this
a man who uses his brains as well as his muscles every minute) could do just
as much work in 7 or even 6 hours as he does in 8. This may sound radical,
but from close study I find that 16 hours for " rest and refreshment " to a
granite cutter is not sufficient to make him approach his work in the morning

_^

in a perfectly rested condition.

We

are glad to watch the efforts of a Matthewson, Johnson, Joe Wood, or any

of the other star pitchers, and we would think McGraw, Griffiths, or Stahl
beside themselves to put any one of these men in the box for two consecutive
days of about 2 hours each day. Now, what granite cutter does not put as
much of his brains and muscles into his work every day as these stars exercise?
The shrewd managers knows he can get the best results from a man whose
brain and body are not fatigued.
employers of granite cutters can learn a
Once in a while there is an Edison who can work long hours
lesson from them.
profitably, but they are conspicuous by their rarity.
The short life of the
granite cutters is due not to dust alone, but to the hard work incident to the
trade.
Again, what are the hours of the men whose salaries soar into the five-figure
mark? Few. if any, are at their offices more than 4 hours each day.
Let the union and the employers get together on this question. I am going to
try this experiment on one man in the near future.
I am going to tell him
that I have his record for the past year, we will say, at 8 hours, and I am going
to pay him the same wages for a month or six weeks, and wish him to commence at 8.30 instead of 8 and quit at 4.30 instead of 5, and I do not wish him
to exert himself one whit more than before, and I will give you the record of

We

the result.
granite cutter should receive the highest wage of any of the industrial
trades.
His work is hard and exacting, the danger from dust is great, and
your $4 minimum is none too high. I am with you in every effort to better the
condition of your members, whom I am glad to say represent a very high degree
of intelligence and are conservatively advised.
William J. Crawford,
Very truly, yours,
President William J. Crawford & Co. (Inc.).

A

Mr. Chairman, I read this letter in its entirety not because all ol
deals with the question under consideration but because I wanted
to maintain the letter in its entirety, that the letter should be perpetuated and its contents should be understood.
it

The letter demonstrates the fact that when the hours of labor are
reduced from an abnormally long work day to a normal work day
the efficiency, of the worker is increased and his productivity is increased. This applies not alone to the granite cutter, but it applies
It applies to the women and girls
to every field of human activity.
as much as it applies to the strongest men.
We are much interested in the conservation of wealth, the conservation of our natural resources, but we have looked upon the entire
question for too many years from a commercial viewpoint. But we
78634—13

3

34

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

are only in recent times coming to understand that the conservation
of the real resources man and woman is of a higher and a first
consideration.
The Chairman. In other words, I presume, if we had no men and
no women, no human beings, we would not care what became of our
other natural resources?
Mr. Gompeks. Long before America was discovered and given to
the world the resources were here.
Mr. Buchanan. I do not want to interrupt you, but do you not
believe there is coming to be a greater realization of the importance
of preserving and developing our physical, moral, and mental reI mean the physical, moral,
sources than there has been in the past?
and mental resources of human kind.
Mr. Gompees. Yes. It has taken years of sacrifice and hard work
to bring that realization to people, but it is coming, and much of it
is here now.
Mr. Buchanan. Largely due to the efforts of the organized labor

—

—

movement ?
Mr. Gompeks. Yes ; I think that is true. It is because I have been
early boyhood up
so closely identified with the movement from
to this present day that I sometimes hesitate to take credit for the

my

organized labor movement.

Mr. Buchanan. You are modest, and your modesty prevents you
from taking the credit.
Mr. Gompees. I prefer to have you rather than me say that, Mr.
Buchanan.
The Chairman. Mr. Gompers, the witnesses who preceded you
expressed a fear if the hours of labor were reduced for women, that
it would result in a corresponding reduction in the compensation.
In the years of experience that you have had in labor matters, have
you found that a reduction in the hours of labor in any kind of
industry resulted in a corresponding, or in any, reduction in the rate
of compensation ?
Mr. Gompees. Speaking generally, no; and yet definitely and
accurately, 35 years ago, a definite effort was started for the establishment of an 8-hour day in some industries in which we advocated
the acceptance of a slight reduction in wages to accompany the
reduction in hours of labor because we were not sufficiently strong
to enforce the shorter workday, and in order to overcome the shortsightedness and the opposition of the employers we offered the acceptance of the reduction of wages, corresponding with the reduction of the hours of labor, confident that the very near and almost
immediate result would be an increase in these wages.
Mr. Wilson. Have you found that to be the case ?
Mr. Gompers. It is a law as invariable as the law of gravitation,
that wherever the hours of labor are reduced wages are increased.
You can compare any one country with another country and vou
will find it to be an absolute fact, that where the hours of labor are
least there the wages are highest.
I do not want anyone in following out this view to fling at me the old worn-out jest, that following
that to its logical conclusion, that if you do not work at all then you
ought to have still higher wages. Even if that be hurled at us as
an objection, or to place us in a ridiculous light, I think we can truly

HOTJKS OF LABOR FOE

WOMEN

IN

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

35

say in answer that even if that is true, that you will find that those
who do the least work are those who -receive the highest incomes.
I am speaking of a normal workday.
You compare any two
States in our own -country and you will find that where the hours of
labor are long that wages are— I was going to say shortest— are
lowest.
Let us carry the illustration still further. In two industries in any one State you will find the same thing will obtain.
Compare any two factories in any one industry or any two occupations in any one locality and you will find that where the hours of
labor are longest, there the wages are lowest.
Mr. Lewis. Mr. Gompers, is that not likely to be due to the circumstance that the weakness of the employee makes the long day
and the low wages where he is strong he gets a fair day, where he
is strong in every case he gets a fair wage, where he is organized
he can get his rights in most respects, where he is unorganized he
has not force enough for either.
Mr. Gompers. That is very true. It is also true that where unorganized workers have had their hours of labor reduced, it has been
invariably followed by an increase of wages. For instance, in a
common industry, the needle (garment) industry, for years and
years they were trying- to enter upon some great revolt. They were
unorganized.
They had occasionally made tremendous sacrifices
revolting, and after a while the employers would concede the conditions.
Then when the revolt died the employers would go along
and as the opportunity was presented filch away these concessions
from the workers. Again the workers would toil long hours and
under low-wage conditions the sweatshop and the subcontractor
and all the evils of the system.
I say that was repeated every two or three years until about three
years ago. They were unorganized before these struggles, organized only for the struggle, and then when improvements came they
would disintegrate. Three years ago, with the inauguration of that
great strike, involving about 120,000 women and men, probably onefifth of whom were men, eveiy effort was made to prevent the usual
stampede, to prevent the disintegration of the organization that had
secured the changed conditions. They were not well organized, but
they did secure a shorter workday and an increase in wages. The
great strike that has been going on for the past four weeks in the
garment industry in some of the branches the hours of labor have
been reduced and wages have been increased. Before the strike they
were unorganized, during the strike they were organized; and if I
read accurately the incidents of our contemporaneous struggles the}r
are going to remain organized, and the old folly of disintegrating
and then returning to an increase of the hours of labor and the
resultant reduction of wages that era has passed, I think, in the
needle trade of New York, and it is going to pass in the other trades.
If I may be permitted to speak of another matter, although it
may be extraneous to this subject, the thought comes to me and
In the old time, when there appresses upon me for expression.
peared upon the distant industrial horizon any depressing influence,
the employers of labor resorted to a reduction in wages as their first
means to find a way out of the industrial depression. The organized
movement gave warning to the employers that that policy had to be
stopped, that the working people would resist a reduction in wages at

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36

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

all hazards, and even though we were defeated, we would
rather to paraphrase an old line we would rather fight and lose
than not fight at all, rather resist and lose than not resist at all and
we have not had since then any extended or concentrated effort on
the part of employers to attempt reductions in wages.
So, in this instance, the only application these facts have here is
that with this organized-labor movement encouraging and helping
the women and the men in the needle trade to learn the lesson of
associated effort, all the remaining evils, the sweat-shop conditions,
contractor and subcontractor, this home work that makes a sweatshop
of the bedroom, that almost defies humanity in trying to save the
children from disease, will be abolished. These have got to stop, and
I think they are going to stop.
Gentlemen of the committee, I urge that you report this bill to the
House with your favorable recommendations that it do pass. I am
not quite so sure that the parliamentary situation of the present
Congress, particularly in the House of Representatives, gives us
much hope for the enactment of this bill at the present session of
Congress; but let us have, if we can not get more, let us at least have
the recommendation of this Committee on Labor to the House and
to the country that a bill of this character should be enacted into
law.
With that prestige I think we shall have made considerable
progress.
I am not given to the flattery of men, but since perhaps this will
be the last time that I shall have the opportunity of appearing before the Committee on Labor of the House of Representatives of this
Congress, I ought not to close without expressing another thing in
connection with that fact. The Committee on Labor of the House of
Representatives has become one of the greatest committees in the constructive work of our Government, and if in the future Congresses the
committee is made up of brainy men, of men with hearts and consciences which beat in unison and are attuned to each other, the
Committee on Labor of the House will be the dominating factor in
the legislation of our country, for it is coming to be realized that the
day of merely or purely political statesmanship is at an end and that
the era has opened for industrial and human statesmanship. To the
Committee on Labor I want to say on my own behalf and I think
I am justified in saying for the men and women of labor whom I
have the honor to represent that they are grateful and appreciative
of the work and intelligence and faithfulness of the members of the
Committee on Labor of this House whom I have now the honor to
address.
Mr. Lewis. Before you leave, I notice this bill is restricted to
women workers. Are you informed as to whether there are any restrictions in regard to hours now for male workers in the District;

any and

—

—

;

—

—

if so

Mr. Gompers. Goverment employees and those who are working
who are doing work for the Government.
Mr. Lewis. I, of course, refer to private employment, as this bill

for contractors
does.

Mr. Gompers. There is no such law applying to the workers of the
Columbia who are employed by private employers.

District of

HOURS OF LABOE FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

37

The Chairman. But there are mutual contracts entered into between employers and their employees regulating the hours of labor,
are there not?

Mr. Gompers. Yes and the 8-hour day generally prevails.
Mr. Lewis. Coming directly to the point, is there a serious reason
why the bill should not be made to apply to male as well as to female
;

workers?

Mr. Gompers. I would not advocate it. I regard the women workand minors as particularly the concern of the Government. I
want the men to secure the 8-hour day by their own effort, by their
own individual and their associated effort. I do not think it is a good
thing to coddle our men too much.
Mr. Lewis. I think, in view of this possible condition, that if there
is no restriction upon the number of hours a male can work and there
is a restriction of 8 hours upon the female, the natural thing, where
both male and female workers can do the work, would be to discharge
the females and perhaps employ the men, who would be worked 16
ers

hours.
is likely to arise, because the men
16 hours. Consequently if the hours
of labor are reduced for the girls and the women, you will find that
they can and they will do better and more work. It is not increasing
expense of the business of an employer by reducing the hours of labor,
but, to the contrary, as I gave some illustration, or tried to illustrate,
by a few instances, of the result of a reduction in the hours of labor
and the^ comparative conditions between any establishment whose
hours of labor are long and those where they are short, I omitted to
mention or to use this as an illustration to state that where, as a
matter of fact, the hours of labor are generally short industry has
more largely developed. It seems there is a process of elimination
that industry can only be successfully conducted by large enterprises.
Whether that is good or bad is not the question but I do know that,
while I have not one thing to say commending the course pursued
by the large captains of industry, it is true that in most instances with
the employers of labor who employ very few people conditions gen-

Mr. Gompers. Nothing

in the year 1913 will not

like that

work

;

poor
Mr. Lewis. You think, then, there would be no possible danger of
eliminating the opportunity of employment for women because there
was no restriction on the hours as to the men ?
Mr. Gompers. I say that, for instance, in this species of legislation
in old England and in New England, to restrict the hours of labor,
there never has been any attempt made to secure a' limitation of the
hours of the male laborers of the textile industries.
It was always to limit the hours of labor of the women and chil" women and children " in recent
dren. I do not employ the terms
years, and I will try to avoid that, because I think that children ought
not to be permitted to work, and hence the question of the regulation
of the hours of labor of children ought to be discountenanced their
labor should be entirely prohibited, but they come under the classification of women and minors and who under law are permitted to
work. At a hearing before a committee of the Massachusetts Legislature some years ago, when we advocated the 54-hour week bill, a
representative of the Arkwright Club, an attorney for the New Engerally are

;

38

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

land textile manufacturers, made this statement " If you take the
women and children out of our mills you take the heart out of the
industry." The words seethed in my brain and in my heart, and I
have never forgotten them. That is, the thing he intended to say
was, " If you limit the hours of labor of women and children in the
mills we have got to close down the mills." In other words, he meant
that the mills would not be able to work when the Avomen's and children's time is up. When they are jointly employed in any establishment and you take the women and the minors out of the plant the
plant has got to close up, except the branches which are engaged-in
the preparation of the work.
Mr. Buchanan. Is it not your experience that where the shortest
hours and the most favorable conditions prevail for industry in this
country or, we will say, in the different parts of the country you
will find the greatest efficiency of the workers and the labor cost of
the product in that industry is the cheapest, as a rule ?
Mr. Gompers. Not cheapest lowest. The fact of the matter is,
the cost is less wherever the hours of labor are reduced and more
modern methods of production are introduced.
The Chairman. I would like to call the attention of the committee
to the fact that it is now 15 minutes after 12 o'clock, and I would like
to ask Mr. Peters, who has been in charge of the witnesses here,
whether it is his intention to present any more witnesses before the
committee and if he desires any further hearing?
Mr. Peters. No; Mr. Chairman. I think the committee has had
presented to it a very clear view of the situation, and we sincerely
appreciate the length of time the committee has given to thtf discussion of the matter and urgently ask for the committee's consideration
of the bill as speedily as possible, on account of the situation on the
calendar in the House.
Mr. Lewis. Is this restriction to women and minors a reaction
from your constitutional view of the subject?
Mr. Peters. No not at all.
Mr. Lewis. Is there any objection to inserting a restriction with
regard to men, so far as you are concerned?
Mr. Peters. I would not want that in there, because I think it
would very seriously jeopardize the passage of the bill.
Mr. Lewis. You mean weaken its political possibilities?
Mr. Peters. I think it would weaken its possibilities of getting
through the House and Senate, with the result of not getting any
:

—

—

—

;

on the subject through at all.
Mr. Lewis. You are like the German professor who said that

legislation
tics is

the science of possibilities.

Thereupon, at 12.20 o'clock

p. m., the

committee adjourned.

poli-

:

HOUES OF LABOR FOE

WOMEN

:

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

39

Committee on Labor,
House of Eepeesentatives,
Thursday, February

The committee was
B. Wilson

called to order at 10 o'clock
(chairman) presiding.

a.

m.,

6,

1913.

Hon. William

STATEMENT OF ME. E. P. ANDEEWS, ACTING PEESIDENT OF THE
EETAIL MEECHANTS' ASSOCIATION OF WASHINGTON.
Mr. Andrews. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I
appear before -you as the acting president of the Eetail Merchants'
Association of the city of Washington who have placed themselyes on
record as opposed to the passage of this eight-hour law in its present
shape.

The Chairman. Will you state, for the information of the comMr. Andrews, just what the Retail Merchants' Association is

mittee.

composed of?
Mr. Andrews. Just what the words imply the retail merchants of
the city of Washington.
The Chairman. Does it comprise all the retail merchants?
Mr. Andrews. Not all of them, but I presume a majority of the
larger retail merchants.
The Chairman. It does not take in the smaller retail merchants?
Mr. Andrews. Oh, yes. It is of very mixed character. One or
two of the largest are not in the association and some of the largest
are.
Some of the smaller ones are not in the association and some

—

are.

The Chairman. I

just

wanted

to get an idea of the composition of

the association.

Mr. Andrews. I would like to introduce some of our members
here and some of their employees if I may, so they can give their testimony, and I would like to ask Mr. King to speak a moment first.
Mr. Harry King. Mr. Chairman and gentleman, I would like to
make this statement before proceeding further, that the Chamber of
Commerce of the District of Columbia, through its board of directors,
representing over 700 men in mercantile and professional life, last
evening placed itself on record as opposing the passage of the Peters
bill.. I would like to introduce Mr. Thomas Grant, the secretary of
the Chamber of Commerce, who will read you the resolution.

STATEMENT OF ME. THOMAS GEANT, SECEETAEY OF THE
CHAMBEE OF COMMECE OF THE CITY OF WASHINGTON.
Mr. Grant. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, as Mr. King stated, the
board of directors last night, after a very lengthy discussion on the
Peters bill, which, it was understood, was identical with Senate bill
7723, passed the following resolution
Washington Chamber of Commerce,
February 5, 1913.
During the regular monthly meeting of the board of directors this date the
following, after a lengthy discussion, was adopted unanimously
"Resolved by the board of directors of the Washington Chamber of Commerce
(composed of over 700 business and professional men of the District of Columbia), That having carefully considered the provisions of S. 7723 and H. E.

40

HOUBS OF LABOE FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.

27281, being bills to regulate the hours of employment of women, etc., we are
unanimously opposed to their passage and recommend to the Senate and House
of Represent a fives that they be not enacted into law."
True copy.
Thomas Gbant, Secretary.

The secretary was directed to appear before the House committee having the
above measure under consideration and present the foregoing resolution.
Thomas Gbant, Secretary.

The Chairman. May I ask, Mr. Grant, how many of your members
were present when this matter was considered?
Mr. Grant. Simply the board of directors, sir. We had 90 per
cent of the board present last night.
The Chairman. An attendance of about 90 per cent ?
Mr. Grant. Yes, sir.
Mr. Eouse. How many members of the board ?
Mr. Grant. Thirty.
Mr. Eouse. And that was a unanimous resolution ?
Mr. Grant. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. I would like to inquire what the total membership of
the association

Mr.
Mr.
board
Mr.

is

?

Grant. Between 700 and

Howard. And

800.
this matter was not considered except

by

the

of directors?

Grant. Simply the board of directors of the Chamber of Com-

merce.

Mr. Howard. And they were not all there ?
Mr. Grant. About a 90 per cent attendance the regular monthly
meeting of the board.
Mr. Howard. I would like to inquire further: Was there any action taken by all the members to instruct the executive committee
in regard to this resolution, or was this resolution taken on the initiative of the board of directors only ?
Mr. Grant. On the initiative of the board of directors only, because we have had no meeting of our organization in time to handle

—

this matter.
The entire body of the organization does not meet
until the 11th of this month.
They undoubtedly will take the same
action.

STATEMENT OF MR. GEORGE A. HEBBARD,
WASHINGTON, D. C.

606

NINTH STREET,

Mr. Hebbard. Mr. Chairman, I represent the merchant tailors and
also secretary of the local exchange of merchant tailors.
As I
stated before the Senate committee, most of the work in the tailoring business is piecework and the help get paid accordingly. The
working hours are generally arranged to suit conditions and the
salary.
If they do not want to work overtime they do not have to.
It seems in the tailoring business the time is so short and experienced
help extremely hard to secure. I will not say anything further on
this line, but I will introduce a couple of the ladies who will speak
on the conditions of the labor.
The Chairman. Before introducing the witnesses, might I ask
whether it would not be physically just as hard upon a woman in the

am

—
HOURS OP LABOR TOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

41

work more than eight hours voluntarily as it
would be if it was not voluntary ?
Mr. Hebbard. Under this bill, as I read it, ladies are compelled to
work only eight hours and are not allowed any overtime. There is no
other trade, or anything in the men's line, in which they can work
overtime. I am simply speaking of the conditions of the business—
the seasons and the conditions during the seasons.
The Chairman. This bill, if I understand it correctly, is based
upon the principle that there is a physical necessity for limiting the
hours of women and female children. Now, my question is based
upon that presumption of the intent of the bill. Would it not be just
as hard physically, just as injurious physically, for a woman to work
more than eight hours, because of the inducement of being paid for
overtime, as it would be if she was required to work the eight hours
by virtue of your direction ?
Mr. Hebbard. I do not know. They can answer that question
themselves in regard to overtime. I have a lady here who has been
working for me for over 15 years, and I think she is better prepared
to answer that question than I am.
Mr. Buchanan. You know nothing about the physical endurance
of your employees ?
Mr. Hebbard. We have never asked a lady to work overtime if
tailoring business to

she did not feel disposed

The work

in the tailoring business is
not laborious work.
Mr. Buchanan. Have you considered that part of it the physical
endurance of employees in regard to the hours of labor?
Mr. Hebbard. Yes, sir; I have. I have had lots of experience.
Mr. Buchanan. But you never came to any conclusion about it
whether it was hard on them or not?
Mr. Hebbard. I never noticed it was hard on them. I never had
any complaints because they would simply starve to death if they
did not make extra time during the season when they had work to
do. The season in Washington is extremely short.
The Chairman. Do I understand from that statement that the
wages in this industry are so low that if women do not have an
opportunity to work overtime they would starve to death?
Mr. Hebbakd. The ladies can answer that wage question themselves.
The wages here are positively good, better than in any city
I know of in the East, and I say now there is a lot of Avork goes out
of Washington to nearby cities because we can not get sufficient help,
and we are willing to pay all kinds of prices to get good help.
Mr. Buchanan. What are some of the prices you pay?
Mr. Hebbard. About the lowest you can get a good girl to work
on piecework is $10 a week. It is very hard to get tailors to take
apprentice girls and teach them.
Mr. Buchanan. How long do thev have to work on piecework to
earn $10?
Mr. Hebbard. Nine hours a day.
Mr. Buchanan. In the form of work, how many pieces ?
to.

mostly sitting anyhow and

it is

We

—

Mr. Hebbard.
pay so much for a vest and so much for trousers.
girl can make two or three or four
Girls work on different' parts.
pay a foreman and he pays the help.
pairs of trousers a day.
Mr. Buchanan. Your foreman is the contractor who contracts to

A

We

do the work?

HOURS OF LABOE FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

42

Mr. Hebbard. We simply give them the work and they agree to
pay them so much according to the price they get for the garment.
Mr. Buchanan. You pay the foreman so much and he pays the
help so

much ?

Mr. Hebbard. Yes, sir; and the girls very often get the work up
and take work home and put buttonholes in at nights.
Mr. Buchanan. Some people imagine this is the basis of the
sweatshop operation.
Mr. Hebbard. I would like to know if there are any sweatshops
in Washington. I have been here 24 years and I have not seen any,
and I have been around to the different shops with a representative
from the Bureau of Labor to get statistics and go over the question
of wages with him, and the shops have been pretty thoroughly
investigated in Washington, and I do not know of any sweatshops
here.

Mr. Buchanan. Do they have to work at night in order to make
week?
Mr. Hebbard. No. sir. They get $10 a week for the nine hours,
and if they work overtime they get paid for it.
Mr. Buchanan. I understood you to say they worked piecework.
Mr. Hebbard. During the season.
Mr. Buchanan. Do they earn $10 a week whether they do a certain amount of work or not, but simply if they do a certain amount
that $10 a

of

work they earn $10?

Mr. Hebbard. It varies. Some work on piecework and some work
nine hours a day and then overtime.
Mr. Buchanan. Do you have a minimum basis of wages for them
no matter how many pieces they make?
Mr. Hebbard. ]STo we have not a minimum wage in regard to the
amount of work they do. I have a girl working in the store there
and some days we will not do anything, but I pay her just the same.
Mr. Buchanan. She is on the day-wage basis?
Mr. Hebbard. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. How about these tailoresses?
Mr. Hebbard. I have not had time to go into that in detail, but
from the talk of the girls, I know that girls who can do any kind of
sewing at all make about $10 a week. Some girls who simply do
apprentice work make less, but good girls get very good wages, and
they are hard to get.
Mr. Buchanan. And it would require a good girl an expert
worker to make $10 a week.
Mr. Hebbard. No. sir not an expert. The girl now who gets $10
used to get $5 a few years ago.
Mr. Buchanan. How much can an expert make?
Mr. Hebbard. We have girls who make $35 and $40 a week.
Mr. Buchanan. What part of the work do they follow ?
Mr. Hebbard. Vest making.
"Sir. Buchanan. A special kind of vest?
Mr. Hebbard. We pay more for n full vest than we do for a plain
;

—

;

vest.

Mr. Buchanan. About what proportion of the girls earn $30

or

Mr. Hebbard. Not very many; but they have earned as high

as

$35 a week?
that.

—
HOURS OF LABOR FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

43-

Mr. Buchanan. Is the work all done by the piece?
Mr. Hebbakd. Every time we have coats, vests, and trousers; they
are

by the

piece.

Mr. Buchanan. Does it make any difference to the merchants
whether they have long hours or short hours ?
Mr. Hebbard. It does not make any difference to me about the
If we can not get the Avork made up
hours, but it is the conditions.
they pack it up and send it out to outside cities, as far as Rochester,
in order to get it done.

The Chairman. Is that not true of every
some work that is always sent out

that there is

city in the country

to

some other place

to

have done?
Mr. Hebbard. Possibly so but I am not versed in regard to other
I was born and raised here.
cities; I am talking about Washington.
Mr. Smith. Is there any agreement between the merchants as to
the price they pay their help for making garments ?
Mr. Hebbard. Xo agreement at all no, sir. You can get a suit of
any price at all.
clothes for $10 or for $60
;

;

—

STATEMENT OF MISS ALICE

WOODRUFF,

C.

INGTON,

812

R STREET, WASH-

D. C.

The Chairman. What is your occupation?
Miss Woodruff. Tailoress.
The Chairman. Where are you employed. Miss Woodruff.
Miss Woodruff. Eighth and F Streets.

The Chairman.
Miss Woodruff.
The Chairman.
Miss Woodruff.
The Chairman.
Miss Woodruff.
The Chairman.
Miss Woodruff.
The Chairman.

What

firm?

Harrison

&

Bank.

For what number

of hours are you

now employed

?

Nine hours.
Nine hours ?
Yes,

sir.

Are you ever required
Well, no

Does

it

sir;

to

work more than

not required, unless

it is

9

hours ?

necessary.

ever become necessary for you to work

more than 9 hours?
Miss Woodruff. In seasons yes, sir.
The Chairman. How long are those seasons?
Miss Woodruff. Well, generally from Easter, I can say, until after
Decoration day.
The Chairman. That is one season. Are there any other seasons?
Miss Woodruff. The winter season yes, sir well, from about the
middle of October until Christmas.
The Chairman. So there are two busy seasons of the year?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. In these busy seasons what are the number ot hours
that you are expected to work, or required to work, or do work?
Miss Woodruff. Well, we are not required to work any special
number of hours, and we really do not have to do it unless we want
to we are not compelled to do it.
The Chairman. How many hours do you work?
Miss Woodruff. I generally average about, in the real busy season.
10 or 12 hours a week.
The Chairman. Ten or 12 hours a week overtime
;

;

;

;

i

—
HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

44

Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. That is in addition to 9 hours per day?
Miss Woodruff. Yes: sir. Of course, some work more than that.
The Chairman. There are some who work more than that?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir; and some less.
The Chairman. What is the greatest amount of overtime that you
know of being worked during that season?
Miss Woodruff. Well, I could not very well answer that. In our
room that is about as much as we do with the ladies.
The Chairman. Ten or 12 hours per week is the amount of overtime that you are in the habit of working ?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir; that I am in the habit of working.
The Chairman. That would make your day's work anywhere from
11 to 12 hours per day?

Miss Woodruff. Yes if I work overtime.
The Chairman. When you are working, that is extra time?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. How long have you been working at the tailoring
;

business ?

Miss Woodruff. Fifteen years.

The Chairman. What wages

are

you able

to earn

during the busy

season?

Do you mean the week's wages,
The Chairman. Week's wages.
Miss Woodruff.

or overtime?

Miss Woodruff. Twelve to fourteen dollars, not including overtime. That is regular wages all the time, the year round, if we work.
Of course, we only get paid for the time we work, not for the week.

The Chairman. Are you paid by the hour?
Miss Woodruff. Paid by the day.
The Chairman. Then you are not paid by the piece?
Miss Woodruff. No, sir I do not work by the piece.
The Chairman. Are your associates paid by the piece, or are they
paid by the day?
Miss Woodruff. We work by the day only.
The Chairman. How are you paid for overtime? Are you paid at
the same rate per hour for overtime?
Miss Woodruff. No more.
The Chairman. You are paid more per hour?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir.
;

;

The Chairman.
Miss Woodruff.

How much more?
We average 25 and

30 cents an hour.

The Chairman. Do you find a general objection to the 8-hour bill
the Peters 8-hour bill among those you are associated with in the

—

tailoring business

?

Miss Woodruff. Not among the employees no, sir.
The Chairman. They are not generally opposed to it ?
Miss Woodruff. Not that I know of no, sir.
The Chairman. They would rather have an 8-hour work dav than
a longer work day?
Miss Woodrcff. I think so.
The Chairman. Are there any men engaged in the establishment in
which you are employed?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir.
;

;

HOURS OF LABOE FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

45

The Chairman. Doing the same kind of work you are engaged in ?
Miss Woodruff. Well, the same kind of work but the men do not
do the same kind of work the ladies do.
The Chairman. Different parts?
Miss Woodruff. There are different parts we have to do.
The Chaieman. Are they paid a greater or less wage than you are
paid for the same number of hours ?
Miss Woodruff. The men are paid more.
The Chairman. And do they do any more skillful work than the
;*

women do?

A

Miss Woodruff. Well, I guess so.
lady can not do
does generally in the tailoring business.

what a man

The Chaieman. And do they turn out more work per day than the

women turn out per day ?
Miss Woodruff. Well, I do not know, sir. There seems to be a
part of the tailoring that the ladies do not do. There are parts of
the coat or garment that the man does that a lady does not generally do.

The Chairman. But there is not any rule in the trade that would
prevent a woman from doing that other kind of work ?
Miss Woodruff. No, sir ; I guess not.
The Chairman. It is a custom?
Miss Woodruff. But it is harder work.
The Chairman. In connection with the work is there a heavier
goose used by the men than the women use?
Miss Woodruff. No, sir; we do not use anything like that at all.
The ladies in our work do not use any irons or any gooses or
any boards; we simply do the finishing and the buttonholes. That
is generally a lady's work in our workrooms.
Of course, I suppose
in the sweatshops the ladies have that to do.
Mr. Hebbard. I would like to answer that question. In the tailoring business the ladies do not have any heavy work to do at all. The
men do the pressing entirely, attending to the irons, and the running
of the machines.
The Chairman. In this establishment?
Mr. Hebbard. In a majority of the establishments in Washington.
The Chairman. Is that general throughout the country, or just
specially in

Washington ?

Mr. Hebbard. I am not acquainted with the conditions in other
I would
places, but I know that is positively the rule in Washington.
like to ask Miss Woodruff this question: In regard to this overtime,
if this overtime was cut out, would it reduce the earnings a great deal ?
Miss Woodruff. Certainly it would yes, sir.
Mr. Hebbard. And in the summer time you would not make enough
to pay your board ?
Miss Woodruff. We would have to go off somewhere. Yes, the
overtime we make in this short season helps us through the dull season,
because we do not make enough in the dull season to get along on.
The Chairman. You would not expect the people to go without
clothes simply because of the fact that you were limited to the 8-hour
work day?
Miss Woodruff. No, sir.
The Chairman. Would it not naturally result, then, in that work
being done some other day rather than in the evening?
;

—
46

HOURS OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

The season would be so short we could
no.
work done.
The Chairman. That gets back to the whole proposition: If you
would not get the work done on the clothes, the people could noi
wear them ?
Miss Woodruff. They would go somewhere else. Then I suppose
somebody else would make them, and we would just simply lose the
work we would not have anything to do.
Mr. Buchanan. You stated that your salary was from $12 to $14

Mks Woodruff. Why,

not get that

;

a week.

Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir if we work all week.'
Mr. Buchanan. It is not by the week, then?
Miss Woodruff. No, sir; it is by the week or by the day; but if we
lose one day we only get paid for five. If we work four, we get paid
for four. So that reduces our week's wages. We only get paid for
the time we work.
Mr. Buchanan. Do you find that sufficient to live comfortably?
Miss Woodruff. Well, we have it to do. Then this overtime helps
lis on very much.
Mr. Buchanan. Do your employers inquire about your living
whether you are able to live in comfort?
Miss Woodruff. Well no, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. Whether your wages are sufficient?
Miss Woodruff. No, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. Do they offer to increase them?
[^° answer.]
It is not steady, then ?
Miss Woodruff. No; it is not steady. It is on season's work. In
dull seasons we have something to do, but not very much.
Mr. Buchanan. What, in your opinion, would be the average
weekly wages the year round ?
Miss Woodruff. On an average ? Well, I do not know, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. You do not have any idea of Avhat proportion of
lost time you have?
Miss Woodruff. We lose a great deal of time during July and
August there is scarcely anything to do at all.
Mr. Buchanan. Two months lost almost altogether?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir; and there is January and February.
February is generally lost, too.
Mr. Buchanan. That would be four months out of the year.
Miss Woodruff. It is practically lost; we do not count it at all.
The Chairman. But you get about an average of $12 a week for
;

;

;

eight months ?

Miss Woodruff. No, sir; we do not average that, because a good
of these days we lose half a day and a day a week.
Mr. Howard. How do you mean lose half a day ?
Miss Woodruff. There is not work.
Mr. Howard. Do you mean to say if you report for work at your
tailor shop you lose half a day ?
Miss Woodruff. If there is no work we go home.
Mr. Howard. And you work 3 or 4 hours ?
Miss Woodruff. We get paid for that.
Mr. How ard. And you only get paid for 3 or 4 hours ?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. Although you are there ready to work on that day?

many

t

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

47

Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir; if we work half a day and there is no
more we go home.
Mr. Lewis. Where is your product sold ? Chiefly in the city, or in
other cities?

Miss Woodruff. Chiefly in the city.
Mr. Howard. What is the average weekly wages of the employees
in your shop ?
Miss Woodruff. Of ladies?
Mr. Howard. Yes.
Miss Woodruff. From $10 to $12 a week.
Mr. Howard. That is the average during the year ?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. That includes the overtime?
Miss Woodruff. No, sir.
Mr. Howard. That includes the average daily work hours?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir 9 hours a day.
The Chairman. You mean that $12 per week would be the full
amount of wages that you would earn if you were working six 9-hour
;

days?
Miss Woodruff. Yes,

sir

;

9 hours a day.

The Chairman. And you would have deducted from your wages
any time that you worked less than that 9 hours per day? That
would be deducted from your $12 ?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. If you worked any more than 6 days at 9 hours
per day, you would have the additional amount added to your wages?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir so much an hour.
The Chairman. And you lose during the year, approximately,
;

4 months of time?

Miss Woodruff. Yes,

sir.

The Chairman. Now, what proportion

of that

is

made up

as the

working overtime?
Miss Woodrltf. Well, really I could not say;

result of

it just depends on
course, sometimes I work, may be, 5 hours a
week, or 6 or 7 it depends on the work in the room we have_to do.
•The Chairman. I thought you said during the busy season you
generally worked about 12 hours a week overtime ?
Miss Woodruff. No sir I do not work more but there are other
places where, perhaps, the girls do.

how much we

do.

Of

;

;

;

Mr. Howard. If you work overtime, how much per hour do you
get?

Miss Woodruff. Twenty-five cents.
Mr. Howard. Twenty-five cents an hour?
Miss Woodruff. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. Is that more than by your regular wages?
Miss Woodruff. At $12 a week, probably 2 cents and a half more.
Mr. Smith. What time are you expected to go to work in the
,

morning ?
Miss Woodruff. Eight o'clock.
Mr. Smith. And how long do you work then before you stop ?
Miss Woodruff. We work until 12, 1 hour for lunch, and then
work until 6.

—
HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

48

The Chairman. During the busy season, when you are working
more than 9 hours per day, do you feel the strain of the work upon
you ?
Miss Woodruff. Well, sometimes we do when we work more tnan
9 hours. Of course, we feel tired in the evenings when we go home,

down I have been prostrated, though.
The Chairman. Have you ever felt in the mornings that you were
tired and not really refreshed and ready to go to work ?
Miss Woodruff. Not specially. I have been working, now, for 15
years, and I have had, I think, one-half day that I left the workroom
sick and went home in those 15 years, as well as I can remember.
The Chairman. You are very healthy.
Mr. Howard. Are you a fair sample of all the ladies employed in
but I never broke

;

your shop?
Miss Woodruff. Well yes.
Mr. Buchanan. What age were you when you started to work?
Miss Woodruff. Well I do not know. I have been working 15

—
—

years

;

I think that

is sufficient.

STATEMENT OF MRS. LOVITZ, 108 FIFTEENTH STREET
WASHINGTON.

SE.,

The Chairman. Where are you employed?
I myself have a
Mrs. Lovitz. I make vests for Mr. Hebbarcl.
shop. I. employ girls and men to work for me, and work for different
t work for Mr. Hebbard also.
stores,
The Chairman. You supply vests for Mr. Hebbard?
Mrs. Lovitz. Yes,

sir.

The Chairman. And you employ people

to work for you?
Mrs. Lovitz. Three girls to work, besides myself and four men.
The Chairman. About what length of time?
Mrs. Lovitz. I would like to say that if my girls would not be
able to work overtime I would not be able to make a living. As you
know, vests are not worn in the summer men do not wear them, and
we have very little to do in the summer. Our season begins just a
Everybody wants a suit, and we are so busy
little before Easter.
that if my girls could not work overtime I could not get the work
out; and I do not compel them to work. They are perfectly satisfied
They said they loved to make overtime, because in the
to work.
summer they had plenty of rest. Mondays, if we do not have work
if the cutter does not send anything to do we do not have work.
Then we will start Tuesday morning and work until Saturday. In
the season we work all week. In the summer time there is hardly
;

all.
There are very few men who wear vests,
so if the girls will not be allowed to make overtime we could not
make a living and neither could they. As I say, there are not
enough vests worn to give us work the year round at the eight hours

anything to do at

and

I do not object to the eight hours, and I am not compelling
anyone to work overtime.
The, Chairman. Is it not a matter of fact that you are not particularly anxious to work more than eight hours?
It is simply a
question of getting the proper wages to live upon ?
Mrs. Lovitz. It is not possible for us to do that in the merchant
tailoring. I do not know how many vests I am going to get a week.
a day.

HOURS OP LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

49

may have so many in the summer, and in the seasons 10 times more.
If there are not vests to make I try to get them. Everybody who
has been working for me has been working for me for years, and I
have never been sick myself. I do not drive anyone. They simply
I

work and make as much as they can.
The Chairman. When did you say the spring season closes?
Mrs. Lovitz. The 30th of May. It is warm then, and very few
men are wearing vests.
The Chairman. When does the fall season begin?
Mrs. Lovitz. About the 15th of' September.
The Chairman. What do the girls do between the 30th of May
and the 15th of September?
Mrs. Lovitz. Why, they work during the week they work three or
four days during the week maybe only three.
The Chairman. And the balance of the time?
Mrs. Lovitz. I do not know what they do.
The Chairman. They are not engaged at other occupations?
Mrs. Lovitz. No; because if they would be engaged in occupations they could not attend to my place and the other ones also.
There is nothing else for them to get here to do, and it is very hard to
get experienced help in the tailoring business here. No one is driven.
You simply sit there and make as much as you can. That is all.
Mr. Howard. Do you confine your work entirely to making vests ?
Mrs. Lovitz. I do.
Mr. Hoavard. Could you not get coat work to do ?
Mrs. Lovitz. Men make that work. The men make the coats and
the trousers, and then they employ women to do the handwork.
Mr. Howard. Could you not shift your force from vests to
;

;

trousers ?
It is an impossisir; I never learned the trade.
If a storekeeper wired for an order consisting of
each learn
the pants and vest and coat, I could not fill the order.

Mrs. Lovitz. No,

ble thing to do.

We

our trade.
Mrs. Lovitz. Half of the vests are sent out of Washington in the
season. If they can not get the work done here they send it over to
Baltimore to have it done. If we would not be allowed to make a
what would my girls do ?
little overtime what would we do
Mr. Smith. Could you not provide in an emergency like that by
employing more help ?
Mrs. Lovitz. I have three girls working for me now. They have
not enough to do all week. If I would take 6 girls how would I come
out? I get paid for piecework. Each one of them gets something
out of that vest. But in the summer time my expense goes on just
the same, but I have no work. I could not hire 6 girls instead of 3
when I do not need them. It would cost me $30 a week more. I get
the work from the stores. My girls work from 8 to 6, and I never
hurry them.
Mr. Buchanan. Are you paid by the week?
Mrs. Lovitz. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. Do girls of tender age work at that trade?
Mrs. Lovitz. No most of them are widows very few single girls.

—

;

;

Mr. Buchanan.
78634—13

4

No young

girls

?

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

50

Mrs. Lovitz. I have one young girl she is 19 she is the youngest
The other one is married, and the other one is a widow.
Mr. Buchanan. Is that the reason they have to work at thai
work because they get married?
;

;

—

Mrs. Lovitz. It looks that way.

STATEMENT OF MR. WILIIAM J. EYNON, SECRETARY OF THI
BOARD OF TRADE, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. Eynon. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am
manager of the Adams Printing Office. I work 8 hours a day. Oui
regular hours are 8 hours. We are called upon frequently to tak(
care of emergency orders. It is not unusual for a Congressman tc
come in our office at 4 o'clock to have something printed and mailed
that night. If this bill is passed we will, of necessity, have to dishave about 18.
place all of our women with men.
The Chairman. 18 women?
Mr. Eynon. Yes, sir; from $8.50 to $22 a week.
The Chairman. What is the total number of your employees?
Mr. Eynon. About 60.
pay 50 per cent extra for overtime.
That is to say, if a girl works 2 hours a night she is paid for 3. We
can not anticipate rush orders; they are brought to us without notice,
and the nature of the business requires that the work be produced in
a rush.
would have to practically displace throughout the shop
the women with men if this bill is passed.
The Chaihman. How long do you generally keep your establish-

We

We

We

ment open now ?
Mr. Eynon. Our establishment closes at 5 o'clock.
The Chairman. Is that the general custom in printing

estab-

lishments?

Mr. Eynon.

It

is.

Eight hours

day prevails in 95 per cent

a

of

the shops in the town.

The Chairman. What happens

if a

man wants

a rush order after

5 o'clock?

Mr. Eynon. To-day, do you mean?

The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. Eynon. Unless I was fortunate enough

to be at the office and
willing to send out for help, he Avould have to go without.
The Chairman. He would have to wait until the next morning?
Mr. Eynon. Yes but we have sent out for help at night. had
the work produced after hours.
It depends upon the nature of the

—

;

work.

The Chairman.
Mr. Eynon. No,

you are concerned, really a
your competitors would have ;inv

Is it not, so far as

of whether or not
advantage over you or not ?

question

sir; absolutely.

We

have absolutely no regard

for the other shops in the town.
The Chairman. If your competitors are

you

are, at

upon the same

basis

as

what disadvantage would you be placed?

Mr. Eynon. None. I am not protesting against the bill, from tin
standpoint of disadvantage it is the question of service.
The Chairman. If you do not get the service you want vol
naturally feel you are at a disadvantage.
;

;

HOURS OP LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

51

Mr. Eynon. I would get the service I want by displacing the
women by men, most assuredly.
The Chairman. What is the difference in the wages paid to your
women compared to men?
Mr. Eynon. None. We have one proof reader, who is a woman,
who is paid more than a man doing similar work. In our office
we pay according to the value of the service rendered, and women

same as men.
Mr. Smith. Are they paid by the hour or piece ?
Mr. Eynon. They are paid by the day. We have no piecework.
Mr. Howard. I would like to ask a question. I believe you stated
you had 60 employees in your shop ?
Mr. Eynon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. Eighteen of those are females?
Mr. Eynon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. Now, I believe I understood you to say in the event
a Congressman or anybody else came down to your place at 4.30
o'clock with an order; that if this bill passed you would have to
discard those 18 women because of the fact that you could not fill
that order. Could you not call on your 42 men that night to do this
work ? Do these women do all the rush-order work ?
Mr. Eynon. Are you familiar with the printing business ?
Mr. Howard. Somewhat. I put an advertisement in a country
paper once.
Mr. Eynon. Then your knowledge is limited.
Mr. Howard. Somewhat.
Mr. Eynon. We have several departments. In one department
the type is set by hand; in another department the type is set by
are treated the

machinery.

Mr. Howard. Linotype?
Mr. Eynon. Yes, sir; and we have a pressroom where we print
the sheets, and we have the bindery where the sheets are put together
in book form.
Then, we have a proof room, where the proof is read
and we have women in the proof room and in the bindery, and, upon
rare occasions, women feeding a press. The rush orders that Congressmen may bring to us, 90 per cent of the time, may be used in
the bindery.

Mr. Howard. Eight in the bindery in your establishment, are
they all ladies?
Mr. Eynon. All ladies.

Mr. Howard. How many?
Mr. Eynon. We have eight.
Mr. Howard. Now, to go to the next department.

You have no

ladies operating linotypes?

Mr. Eynon. Let me explain to you. Your order may require 90
per cent of the time being done in the bindery.
Mr. Howard. Will you explain to me how it would be possible
that 90 per cent of the time of my order, or any order I could give
in the business, could be confined to the bindery ?
Mr. Eynon. I have an order of maps right now. The maps were
printed in 8 hours, about 10,000 copies, and it will take about 150 to
175 hours to fold them.
Mr. Howard. You do not confine it to an actual binding like a
book?

—
HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

52

Mr. Eynon. Not at all. We will take another order from you.
You are going to deliver a speech, and you are going to send out some

the United
additional copies to the Associated Press possibly, or
will contain, say, 50,000 words.
Press. You want 50 copies, and it
The bindery time on the job may amount to 1 hour; the prooi-room
time may amount to 30 hours. So it is not possible to use the ratio
there is
of 18 to 60 to let the 42 men do the work of the 18, because
are going to have 10 hours
no way of anticipating that your orders
or 100 hours, or only 1 hour, in the bindery, and the men who work
in the other departments are not experienced bindery hands. Conwould have people cutsequently we could not use them there.
ting off their fingers, and all that. Nor could we take a bindery hand
to work on a typesetting machine, because he does not know anything
It simply resolves itself down to the proposition that
about it.
women will have to be displaced by men if your law goes through.
Mr. Howard. If all the printing establishments are in exactly the
same position with regard to the employment of women, would that
not materially affect what would constitute rush orders, in regard
to the time delivery would be made ?
Mr. Eynon. No, sir; my competitor does not set the standard

We

m

my

office.

Mr. Howard. I think you would have difficulty in demonstrating
that your competitor in the printing business does not have something
to say about

it.

Mr. Eynon. I would

like to say in the

not think of our competitors.

conduct of our shop we do
egotistical, but it is

That may sound

true.

Mr. Howard. You do not have to meet competition ?
Mr. Eynon. We do 90 per cent of our work without estimates.
Mr. Howard. Would that not be simply on the same principle as
grocer, who is living alongside of another grocer, and who would
a
say, " I do not have to meet competition, because I do not ask for
bids"?
Mr. Eynon. No, sir. You can not find in the city of Washington
two printers who will take the same job and figure it and arrive
at the same conclusion.
Mr. Howard. I think that is true everywhere so far as printing is
concerned.

Mr. Eynon. I think you will find when they come to figuring and
making their estimates, even where they are making bids, that they
would arrive at different conclusions. But that does not in any
manner brush aside the fact that they are competitors with each
other.

Mr. Howard. You would be placed on the same basis as every
The law of competition would
other printer similarly situated.
equalize things, so that the rush order would, in some way, be taken
care of in the same hours. The purpose of my question was this:
man who conies with an order
Your closing hour is 5 o'clock.
after 5 o'clock now simply waits until the next day. and if you regulate the hours so as to make your closing time even earlier than that
make it that or earlier it simply means the man who comes to your
establishment can not go to the other fellow's establishment if you
are not able to fill the rush order. So you are exactly in the same
position from a competitive standpoint as now.

A

—

—
HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Mr. Eynon. Then by that you would mean the public would have

:«

to
,,

53

be educated to the point

of—

Mr. Howard (interposing). "Waiting for the next train.
Mr. Eynon. And not ahead of the next train. We can not do that.
Mr. Howard. For instance, some time ago it was the custom for
stores to be open until 7 and 8 and 9 o'clock in the evening nearly all
the nights in the week, and since that time the custom has changed
very generally, and now 5 and 6 is a common hour for closing retail
stores in the evening.
The public has accustomed themselves to
earlier closing, and my position is that, as all of your competitors
are in the same position, you would not be injured by the earlier closing required, but if there was any additional expense the community
would be required to bear it.
Mr. Eyxox. I simply want to bring to your attention the fact that
the women in our establishment would be displaced by men.
Mr. Howard. Your contention is the women would be injured
by it?
Mr. Eyxox. Most assuredly. Our business is of such a character
that we will be called upon, after your law is passed, to produce the
emergency work just the same. Our experience has been that the
lawyers, especially the busy ones in town, have the utmost difficulty
in getting their copy prepared in time for the proper filing of their
'

briefs.

Mr. Howard. So the committee is to understand your interest in
hearing at the present time is for the benefit of your employees ?
Mr. Eynon. Absolutely.
Mr. Lewis. Have you an idea of the proportion of women engaged

this

in the printing trade in this city

?

familiar with my own shop, and I would have to
make a guess I would say the proportion would be about one in five.
Mr. Lewis. Of the whole city?
Mr. Eynon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. You spoke of Congressmen coming with rush
orders.
What proportion of this rush business comes from Members
of Congress
Mr. Eynon. It is very material. Some weeks we do not receive an
order from a Congressman, and then again we are very busy with
work from Congressmen. Of course, in your short session you have
only three months.
Mr. Buchanan. I mean when they are in session, what proportion
of your rush work would be from Congressmen ?
Mr. Eynon. I have no idea.
Mr. Buchanan. Are your employees organized?
Mr. Eynon. In what Avay do you mean?
Mr. Buchanan. Do they belong to the union?

Mr. Eynon. I

am

;

Mr. Eynon. No, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. The reason I ask is that the eight-hour day, I
believe, is the day the organization has established ?
Mr. Eynon. We have an eight-hour day in our office.
Mr. Buchanan. And Congressmen, when they are seeking the
votes of the laboring people of the country, usually get their printing done from the union labor.
Mr. Eynon. May I say something on that point?

Mr. Buchanan. Oh,

yes.

-

54

HOUBS OF LABOE FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTBIOT OF COLUMBIA.

Mr. ErNON. I want to say that those Congressmen have been regarding the labor proposition through the wrong end of the opera
glass.
We operated a union shop some years ago, and the labor
unions attempted to dictate to us how we should operate our office,
and in three months it costs us $30,000 to get away from the labor
union. We operate to-day the same number of hours that the union
shop operates. We have many employees in our shop who receive
more than union wages, some as high as 50 per cent, and I would
say they are 25 per cent more efficient that is, the organization I
have to-day than I had 10 years ago.
The Chairman. Is it not true in union printing establishments

—

there are many men paid above the minimum wage scale of the
union ?
Mr. Eynon. Not in what you call the open shop.
The Chairman. And not as large a proportion?
Mr. Eynon. No, sir; because in the union shop the efficient man
receives the
is

same wage

thereby helping the

as the inefficient

man, and the

efficient

man

inefficient.

The Chairman. Is it not true in the union shops in printing estabThat there are some men paid much
lishments that the wages vary
higher wages than others are paid, but that none are paid below
the union scale?
Mr. Eynon. You are right. Our minimum wage in our office is
the same as the minimum wage in the union offices, but our maximum
wage is greater than in union offices in the city of Washington, and
the reason for that is apparent. We pay for efficiency.
Mr. Buchanan. The union does not object to paying more than
the scale of charges.
Mr. Eynon. But they object to having their men work in our
office, even though we pay them more.
Mr. Buchanan. I am talking about where they do work.
The Chairman. I judge the feeling is mutual, that they object
to their men working in your shop, and you object to having them
work in your shop.
Mr. Eynon. No; we have attempted to have them work in our
shops, but it is against their rules to permit them to work there. I
think they are narrowminded. I think the time will come when they
will work in our shop.
I think a man has a right to work for whom
he pleases and at the wages he pleases.
Mr. Buchanan. Or not to work?
'.

Mr. Eynon. Certainly.
Mr. Howard. Do you not think, Mr. Chairman, we are deviating
somewhat from this investigation.
The Chairman. Yes. I think the point is well taken. The subject matter under discussion is not pertinent to the bill before us.

STATEMENT OF ME. HARRY KING, KING'S PALACE DEPARTMENT
STORE, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. King. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, for me
to say that this is a bad and vicious measure would be as unjust as
for its advocates to insist that in its present form it is a fair and
equitable one.

HOURS OP LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

55

Speaking for myself, and I believe I voice the sentiment of the
majority of Washington merchants, I have no objection to legislation
that looks to the betterment of feminine labor conditions, and while
I realize that a change from the present conditions will necessitate
considerable expense and much work on our part, I, for one, am
willing to meet the proposition halfway.
But it does not seem to me wise, and it certainly is unjust, to try
and reach the millenium for one party with one fell swoop without
any consideration as to how such a changed condition will affect two
other parties, and even the party the legislation is trying to help, for
there are three parties vitally concerned in this matter. The first is
the women employees, the second is the merchant, and the third party
the public.
Instead of opposing this bill, I would suggest an amendment that
would limit the employment of women to not more than 54 hours per
week, an average of 9 hours per day. This would reduce the average present working day at least one hour. Congress is in session
every year, and a goodly part of each year. If the experiment proves
practicable and a further lessening of the working hour possible, we
will be better equipped one year from now to decide upon the wisdom or unwisdom of reducing the working hours of women in the
District to the minimum set by the United States Government.
Unless we are careful in regard to this legislation we are very likely
to injure those whom we would help, the women employees. It would
be an ideal condition if women did not have to labor for hire at all.
But in most cases necessity compels their seeking employment, and
the ever-increasing number of women entering the business world has
created a new condition of affairs in the country. So many lines of
endeavor are now open to women, and competition has increased their
wages until to-day they are paid all that the quality and the quantity
of their labor warrants. Already the number of women desiring
positions in department stores far exceeds the demand. Every day
we are compelled to turn down the applications of would-be sales-

is

ladies.

Now, then, gentlemen, I come to what seems to me the most serious
question that arises on account of this proposed legislation— -not from
the merchants' standpoint, but, from the standpoint of those whom
this bill is supposed to help.
I will begin by asking the question, " Who is going to pay for this
time if a drastic change is made? " For it must be plain to you,
gentlemen, that you can not produce the same amount of revenue in
an 8-hour working day that can be produced in 10 hours, as the condition now exists, nor even in 9 hours that I suggest as a minimum.
The merchant is not going to, because he can not. Ketail merchandising to-day is being done on a smaller margin of profit than ever
before in the history of the country— and this is particularly true of
the department store. With the cry of the high cost of living ringing
throughout the land—and with as much gusto in Washington, if not
more than in any other city in the Union the public will be unwill-

—

ing to shoulder this loss.
The people who will, in all probability, be most affected by this
intended
legislation, if it is made too drastic, will be the women it is
present services
to help for such a lessening of the extent of their
.

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

56

will undoubtedly, of a necessity, be met by a lessening of the daily
wage.
As to the effect of the present working hours on the morals of
women, this seems to me to be a mere sentimental argument. Eight
here I wish to insist that the present standard of morals among department-store employees is as high, or higher, than that of the
Government departments with their 8-hour regulations. It has been
our experience, and I think the experience of other Washington
merchants, that in cases where an early leave of absence is granted,
the result the next day is more apt to be a sleepy-eyed, yawning saleswoman than on days when the regular hours are maintained.
I think your committee will find that it is in private offices and
business offices of general character where the working- hours of
women employees are most excessive, and while it is a habit to make
such regulations as these to apply more particularly to establishments like department stores, where the effect is most spectacular, I
trust that whatever this committee sees fit to do will cover in every
way every business institution of any kind whatsoever in the District.
This bill is prepared by people who are entirely strangers to the
conditions that exist in Washington. You well know that Washare not the busy beehives
ington is not a manufacturing city.
you find in other cities. Washington is a residential city, and has
been so for years, and will be for years to come. In the departments
here are employed in the neighborhood of 40,000 or 45,000 people.
So you can see how largely Washington is dependent upon the department employees for its livelihood and for the maintenance of

We

its

establishments.

Another thing

to take into consideration is the character of our
population.
have about 350,000 people, 100,000 of whom are
negroes. As is a well-known fact, their work is not of the highest
character, and must necessarily be of long hours. There must be
some provision for them. These people must live, must shop, and
be maintained. This is the condition that confronts us. The same
conditions do not exist in other cities where they have manufacturing industries. You are trying to thrust a law upon Washington
drawn by our people who are strangers here an 8-hour law that
does not exist in any State east of Colorado.
have it in Colorado and in California, and the greatest industry in California,
which is the fruit-preserving industry, is exempt under this law.
Why make an exception? It depends entirely whose ox is being
gored. T will say right here that you will hurt the business industries of Washington, and not only that, you will hurt the very people
it is intended to help, by passing this "bill, because every merchant
and business man and every professional man and lawyer who employs women will have to displace them by employing men where it
can be done.
There is no limitation on any man's endeavors., You are going
further than the union labor Avould go in this matter. The union
labor provides for an 8-hour law, but they will allow the extra
time.
You are not even giving us half time. You would place us
to a great disadvantage. You ought to give us an hour after the department stores close. It takes that long for the clerks to wash and
get out. Under this bill if a woman is found in our place one minute after her time is up we are liable to arrest by a $1,200 inspector.

We

—

We

HOURS OF
The

LABOR.

FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

57

not fair, and it was so interpreted in the other part of
I am speaking of the department stores, and when I
speak of them, I speak of the other stores, and I also speak of the
small stores. The conditions surrounding the employment of people
in the department stores of Washington are not similar to
those
found in other cities— in the general manufacturing cities. I am
not saying this in a disparaging sort of way. But the conditions
that exist are as follows: Washington is a home city.
Most of the
people employed here have comfortable homes. They do not come
from the country to this city seeking boarding houses, and are not
compelled to maintain themselves. The employees here are in comfortable circumstances and have comfortable "homes.
That condition does not exist anywhere else in the country in a city of this size.
That is a condition to be dwelt upon considerably.
The Chairman. Just at that point Have you any statistics available, comparative statistics, showing the proportion of employees
of merchantile establishments living at home with their parents as
compared with that of other cities ?
Mr. King. I am 42 years old, sir. I was born and raised in Washington, and have been in business practically since my thirteenth
year.
My experience as a business man and having hired employees
by the thousands in that time, leads me to that conclusion, and also
from the different talks I have had with other merchants in regard
to this system in this city.
It is an absolute fact. That condition
exists and can not be controverted.
The Chairman. It would be rather interesting to the committee
if you could furnish us with any definite data.
That is an interesting phase of the question.
Mr. King. I think if this committee wants it they can get it. It
would entail quite a lot of work, but you can have that. That is the
bill is

this building.

:

condition in this city.

Miss Goldberg. We have here this morning the Government exwho has been making a study of the women employees here in
Washington, and might it not, perhaps, be in place to ask whether
she has any figures of the home conditions of women employees here ?
I think possibly she may have covered that phase of the subject.
The Chairman. I thank you for your suggestion. Later on I
would suggest that we hear from the Government expert upon this
particular phase of the subject, as suggested by Miss Goldberg.
Mr. Buchanan. You stated you would be liable to arrest if you
pert

law by a $1,200 inspector.
Mr. King. I withdraw the $1,200 part. What I meant was this:
That anyone, a $1,200 man or $5,000 man or $10,000 man, could
arrest us.
I take a man as I find him, irrespective of his earning
violated this

Does that suit better?
Mr. Buchanan. It is not a question of what

powers.

suits me.

You

are

making the statement.
Mr. King. I did not make it in any way against the man. A
man's business could be disturbed by an inspector coming there any
time.
If one of my ladies was waiting on you, and the closing time
comes, and she is in the midst of her selling, she would have to tell
you to get out, under this law. There is no remedy for it. I think
that is the condition, because this is an exact copy of the Peters bill,
or

La

Follette bill.

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

58

Mr. Buchanan. It is the Peters bill.
you are
Mr. King. The two bills are identical. Now, gentlemen,
Washington an 8-hour law that does not exist
endeavoring to put on
doors to more
in any city in the East. Why should we open our
10-hour law, and it would be the
competition? Baltimore has a
Baltimore
easiest thing in the world to drive our people over to
I understand you to say that in Baltimore,
hours
or in Maryland, that by law they have limited the number of
in these establishments to 10?
Mr. King. I have been so told.
The Chairman. Would not the same criticism apply at the end
of 10 hours relative to a clerk being in the midst of a sale, that you
suggest might apply at the end of 8 hours I
Mr. King. The condition would not exist, because we would not

The Chairman. Do

be liable to arrest. At the end of 10 hours we begin ringing our bell
10 minutes beforehand as a notification that we are closing. We do
that now to give the girls time to go to the cloakroom and get their
wraps and things and get out.
The Chairman. Why would that not apply under the 8-hour rule
just the same as under the 10?
Mr. Kino. Because the eight-hour rule is too short for us to do
our business. We can not do it in eight hours. It altogether depends
on the location. There are some stores that may be able to do that in

We

are so situated we are open on Saturday nights
a great portion of our business comes in between.
is as busy to us as a busy day during the week.
6 and 9.
trade with the popular class of people. But you take an exclusive
establishment. They may open at 10 and close at 2. But that is the
condition. But you can not make it work both ways, and you can not
make people pay higher prices for goods. The women would suffer
under this bill the very people you intend to help. It is not a
question, Mr. Chairman, of eight consecutive hours, as you may
think it is. It was not intended for eight hours continuous work.
can put a girl on from 9 to 12 and from 6 to 12, until midnight
of every night in the year. That is what we do not want to do.
are willing to help our labor in every way we can, but where is the
advantage to come to the girl if we have two shifts? There is nothing to prevent us from keeping open until 12 o'clock at night. That
would be defeating the very object we are striving for to give the
girls their evenings and afternoons
and I want to tell you that we
in our store, when we have our girls on during the summer season
we allow them half a day off one day in the week, and we close at 5
o'clock in the afternoons of the dull season, and we open at 8 or
8:30
I don't just remember and there are other days we work from
8.30 to 6, and in the busy season during the winter from 8 to 6, and
when they work on Saturday night they have a lunch hour and a
supper hour also, and they have their millinery rooms and cloak
rooms, and whenever they work overtime they are not only paid
extra, but they are allowed three hours' work, and it is practically
only from 7 to 9 and 6 to 7, and we furnish them with their supper.
You see the conditions are not warranted by this bill. The people
of Washington <io not want it. I know this Consumers' League has
made efforts to get the merchants to come here for this bill, but they

six hours.

between

li

and
and
That night
!.*,

We

—

We

We

—

—

—

—

HOUKS OP LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
did not come near.

You

59

harming the very people you intend

are

to

protect.

Mr. Lewis.

Do

you mean to speak personally to us in this matter ?
" you " ?
Mr. King. That you gentlemen of the committee have this matter

What do you mean by saying
in

hand.
Mr. Lewis.

You do

not

mean

to say

we have made up our minds

about it?

Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.

King. Absolutely no.
Lewis. Try and select your language a little more skillfully.
King. If you recommend this bill. Is that better ?

Howard. That is better.
King. I hope you gentlemen

will not be technical. I do not
to object to anything here at all. I am merely defending my
rights, the same as you would if you were placed in a similar position.
I have my back against the wall. I have a family to support, myself,
and by giving employment to a lot of other people I support a lot
of people, and I think I am somewhat of a benefactor. I have a
right to say what I think is proper in my Washington, just as the
people in Colorado or California have.
Mr. Buchanan. Do you mean to say that because you give somebody employment you support their families ?
Mr. King. It is helping them. Yes; I think that is the law of
nature.
Mr. Buchanan. The people that do the work for you are giving
something for value received.
Mr. King.
pay people according to the value of the services
they render, and we are more than willing to pay them higher wages
than they are entitled to.
Mr. Buchanan. You pay them for what they do, and you are not
a benefactor in that sense.
are not in the Carnegie class yet.
Mr. King.

mean

We

We

.

.

Mr. Buchanan. What wages do you pay?
Mr. King. We pay our bundle wrappers from $3 to $4 little
girls.
Some are a little over 16. Other girls get from $4 to $5, and
from there up to $17 and $18 and $20 a week.
Mr. Buchanan. Can you tell us what per cent of these girls are
getting $4 or $5 a week ?
Mr. King. I can not tell you.
Mr. Buchanan. How many do you employ ?
Mr. King. We employ during the seasons 150 to as many as 300.
Mr. Buchanan. I do not agree with you that because you give
some one employment you are a benefactor.
Mr. King. I am not here to discuss the labor question but I am
as good a friend of labor as anyone. We have everything done by
union labor, no matter what it costs us. In Baltimore they have 10
hours a day; in New York, I think, they have 54 to 60 hours a week;
in Massachusetts, I think, they have more than 54 hours, and I am
opposed to this bill because of the fact that the merchants of Washington get a great deal of their trade from the department employees. The departments close at 4.30, and surely to help us you are
not going to change the working hours of the departments.
The Chairman. I supposed, from the statement you made a few
minutes ago in regard to the people of Colorado and California

—

;

60

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

having no interest in Washington, would exclude you from having
any desire for the business that is created as a result of the people or
California and Colorado and Massachusetts, and so on, having their
residence here; or, in other words, these departments are created,
not by Washington alone, but by the entire Government, including
California and Colorado. Apparently, from your statement now,
you are somewhat interested in what they are doing?
Mr. King. That is a very narrow line to draw; but at the same
time these people come here and live here, and they buy something
to eat. What I said about these people coming from California and
Colorado was that they come here without being familiar with the
conditions that exist in Washington. We have no sweatshops here,
and no manufacturing industries. This is a clean city, a good city
for anyone to work in. Why do they not try this law out in Baltimore, Pennsylvania, or New York ? I heard one man say before the
Senate committee that they want this as a model law to hold up
before the country, so that they can influence legislation in other
States, and say, Here we have a model 8-hour law in Washington, and
the other States must follow and do as Washington has done. That
was the argument.
Mr. Rouse. You were referring to those States because they have
an 8-hour law?
Mr. King. Yes, sir: without intending to be disrespectful to anyone. What I want to impress on you is this: That this law would
hurt the people it is intended to help. If this 8-hour law goes into
effect and the men are allowed to work, we certainly will displace
any woman we can, either by a boy or man, at the same or more salary than the girl -now gets.

STATEMENT OF MR.

C.

F.

SOWERS, WASHINGTON,

D. C.

Mr. Sowers. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I
simply wish to briefly voice my protest against the passage of this
8-hour bill, as proposed, namely, upon the ground that it would work
a hardship, first, on the employers of Washington; second, upon the
employees; and last and by no means least upon the public of
Washington.
Speaking from the standpoint of a laundryman, I would say that
in the event of the passage of this bill the very nature of our business would demand that we be excepted. In our business we have no
uniform amount of work to get out each day. Our conditions vary.
In the mercantile business they can have their uniform closing
hours, and the goods they do not sell to-day they can sell to-morrow.
But not so in our business. To-day's work must be done to-day and,
as we have no way of regulating or dictating to the customers when
and how they should send in their work, in order to meet competition

—

—

;

and

satisfy the public,

we must conform

to their habits.

There are

days when we work only 6 or 7 hours a day. On other days the
exigencies of our business require 8, 10, and 12 hours, and, in some
cases, possibly 14. There may be some breakdown or some unusual
occasion in Washington. But I can safely say that we do not average the year around 8 hours a day. Washington is an exceptional
city by reason of the seasons. We frequently close down our
estab-

,

HOUES OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

61

lishment at 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and at noontime on Saturdays many times, but our employees receive the same wages.
Mr. Buchanan. What are the wages of your employees?
Mr. Sowers. Before answering that question I would like to make

am going to place upon the stand, if you so desire,
a sample of our employees two ladies. You can understand that
the question of wages paid to these ladies is very embarrassing if
they are made a matter of public record, and I am going to make
this request: As this bill does not refer to wages, but simply to the
matter of hours and time, could not that feature of wages to employees be eliminated?
I will say, so far as I am concerned, I will
place a copy of our pay roll before you for your inspection.
The Chairman. So far as the chair is concerned, he looks upon the
matter as being correlated with the question of hours of labor, and
those who have opposed the passage of the measure, as well as those
who have favored it, have taken the ground that they are related,
and in opposition to the bill they have said that the reductiton in the
hours of labor set forth in the bill means a reduction in the daily
compensation they will receive, so that the two questions seem to be
so related to each other that you can scarcely get away from the two.
Mr. Sowers. Perhaps so, but the bill itself does not speak of wages,
and I think on that ground the question is irrelevant. Would it not,
then, be sufficient to give the average wage instead of making it personal ?
Mr. Buchanan. So far as I am concerned, I do not insist on the
question being asked.
Mr." Sowers. It is a delicate question it gets in the newspapers.
The Chairman. Then your question is withdrawn for the time
this request: I

—

;

being ?

Mr. Buchanan. Yes. I did not think there would be any objecwould not have asked it.
Mr. Sowers. Now, I was first stating that the restriction would
mean a great loss of business to us and a great deal of annoyance to
tion, or I

our patrons, because we would not be able to get out the work as is
demanded by our customers. We get work from hotels and cafes
after breakfast, and we are required to get it back by the lunch hour,
and again we gather it up after the lunch hour and must get it back
the work or
by the dinner hour, and if, by reason of extra increase
some delay in the machinery or by a decrease of the force, we can not
get that out for an hour longer, and we would have to.close our shops
down at a certain time, as set forth in this bill, we would have to
withhold the work from these hotels and cafes, and you will see what
a position that would put us in and the disadvantage that would

m

result to the public.

The Chairman.

I

to the fact that the

would

like to call the attention of the committee

time has arrived when

we must adjourn under

the rules, and I would like to ask Mr. Andrews whether he expects
to produce any additional witnesses ?
have a number of both merchants and employees
Mr. Andrews.
who have not yet been heard.
j.
,
,,
The Chairman. Then, if there is no objection on the part ot the
the
committee and it is satisfactory to those who desire to be heard,
until 10 o'clock to-morrow morning.
committee will adjourn

We

.

.

,

62

hours of labor for women in the district of columbia.
Committee on Labor,
House or Representatives,
Friday, February

7,

1913.

m., Hon. William B. Wilson

The committee met at 10 o'clock a.
(chairman) presiding.
The Chairman. Mr. Andrews, you may proceed.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to have Mr. Sowers finish his remarks.

STATEMENT OF MR.

C. F.

SOWERS— Continued.

Mr. Sowers. Mr. Chairman, I said yesterday that this bill affected
three classes, namely, the employer, the employee, and the general
public. As affecting the employers, the nature of our business makes
it a physical impossibility
the laundry business I refer to for us
to meet the demands of the public under the restrictions set out in
this bill. As an instance of the exigencies, I will cite the events taking place next month, the 4th of March, when thousands of visitors
invade our city, a time when every housekeeper in Washington
changes her linen, and some who do not particularly patronize these
laundries will want a lot of work done, and the volume of local
business is necessarily doubled, in addition to the transient business
brought here by visitors. I ask you, gentlemen, if there is any suggestions by which, even by additional expense, shifts, or otherwise,
the laundries can meet the demands of the public of Washington
under such exigencies as that?
The Chairman. Is your machinery so constructed that it can be
operated continuously 24 hours each day ?
Mr. Sowers. Yes. sir.
The Chairman. Do you ordinarily operate 24 hours ?

—

—

Mr. Sowers. No,

sir.

The Chairman. How long do you ordinarily operate?
Mr. Sowers. Ten hours are supposed to be our regular working
hours during the busy season, including the lunch hour. I will say
here that we find, upon investigation, that we do not average 10
hours the year around, taking the dull season and the busy season,
and taking into consideration the half-day loss on Mondays most
departments half a day Saturdays and holidays, for which we pay
our help. Under those conditions we are necessarily required to
operate our plants longer than if we could operate shorter hours by
putting on additional help. We can not secure expert operators at
such a time when they are in demand, and the only way we can increase our output is by additional hours. If we are compelled, in a
great rush like that, when we are piled up with goods from hotels
and institutions, to say nothing about private linens, to shut down
on the hours, keeping all this work in the laundry, the result is

—

—

obvious.

Mr. Howard. In connection with the half day loss on Monday, I
want to ask you a question. Have you got your patrons educated
to making deliveries to their laundrymen on Friday and Saturday,
as they do down in my town— Atlanta—to provide against the loss
of a half day on Monday?
Mr. Sowers. No, sir. Our experience in educating the public has
not been very encouraging so far.

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

63

Mr. Howard. I know the system adopted by the laundries in Atis to make their deliveries on Friday and Saturday.
Mr. Sowers. You refer to individual work ?
Mr. Howard. What is that?
Mr. Sowters. I say, do you refer to individual work?
Mr. Howard. I am referring now to a system adopted in a town
about half the size of this one the laundries in that city have adopted
a method of gathering their laundry up on Friday and Saturday, at
the same time they are making deliveries, to prepare themselves
against the loss of a half a day on Monday.
Mr. Sowers. As far as practicable in our business we have a number of branch stores through the city. We make a practice of encouraging the public, or instructing our clerks to instruct them to
that end, to bring their work in oh Friday, to give us a start, and we
instruct our drivers to get all they can on Friday and Saturday to
begin work on Monday, but that does not apply to hotels and cafes
and other institutions, who give us only a few hours to do the work
and return it. So I say I doubt if there is any such bill that could
overcome those conditions except by additional hours and thereby
increasing the expense and hardship upon the employers.
I say the employees are most of all affected by this bill, first, that
we would displace the females with men as far as practicable, as far
as possible, we might saj and in cases where we can meet the conditions by employing a double shift it would necessarily double our expenses; or if we double the force we have got to reduce the salary
of those people we employ commensurate to the conditions, or raise
a little of both, I imagine, would be the result;
the prices, or both
so it would necessarily throw a great many out of employment, and
As it is now, I said
those who are employed would not be as well off.
to the Senate committee yesterday, it is a give-and-take proposition.
When it is slack we let them go home and pay for the time just the
same, and when we are busy we require or expect them to stay as
long as necessary; but there have been no unreasonable hours practiced in Washington, so far as I am concerned, and there has been no

lanta

;

—

r

,

—

demand for shorter hours.
Mr. Buchanan. What do you consider reasonable hours

-

?

You

say there have been no unreasonable hours. What do you consider
reasonable hours for women to work?
Mr. Sowers. I consider 8 or 9 hours very reasonable, and I consider 10 or 12 hours, in extreme cases, reasonable. I have worked
18 to 20 hours many a time myself.
Mr. Buchanan, f am speaking of ladies just now.
Mr. Sowers. I found no general complaint among the females
where they are required to work 10 and 12 hours, especially when
they were paid for overtime.
The Chairman. Would not that lack of complaint be, in a measure,
accounted for by virtue of the fact that an employee hesitates about
complaining lest his job be endangered ?
Mr. Sowers. I think not, sir, for the reason that when we have
overtime work we leave it to the discretion, or as a matter of choice,
with the employees. As a rule, we do not want all of them we will
say, " Girls, who wants to make overtime to-night, and as a rule, they
;

1

'

are voluntary.

.

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

64

du
Mr. Buchanan. Is not that desire for overtime work largely
are giving— that
to being underpaid for their service which they
they are not receiving sufficient pay to make a comfortable living
Mr. Sowers. Not necessarily. I think it is a law of nature to ge
great struggl
all we can, especially in this community where it is a
everything.
to live on account of the high prices oi
Mr. Buchanan. You would not sacrifice their physical condition
Mr. Sowers. There has been no indication that any physical con
ditions have been jeopardized. I ask you who has complained of th

^

conditions in Washington in the laundries? You had here a witnes
ref
for the advocates of this bill, an ex-employee of the laundries,
erence to the complaints about the unfavorable conditions in laun
dries about which so much was said in the hearing before the Hous
committee, before we were advised of it. I want to cite you to th
testimony of that witness before the Senate committee. Just a fei
questions. In answer to a question of Senator Dillingham, on pag
51 of the record of the hearing before the Senate committee— th
question was:

m

Do you know anything personally of the conditions in the other laundrie
during the last 2 years?
Mrs. Cotjlon. No, sir I do not.
Senator Jones. What are the hours in this laundry that you have been worl
ing in during the last 2 years?
Mrs. Coulon. From half past 7 to 6 o'clock.
In case ive had a breakdown or rush work we would have to work extn
but we got our supper for it.
Senator Jokes. You got your supper for the extra work?
Mrs. Coiion. Yes, sir; the man furnished us our supper when we had
;

1

work overtime.
Senator Jonis. The rr-gular hours were from 7.30 o'clock until 6 o'clock

i

night.

Mrs. Coulon. From 7.30 until 6 o'clock; yes, sir.
o'cloci
Senator .Tonics. Did you frequently have to work until 8 o'clock,
or 10 o'clock?
Mrs. Coulon. No; we did not. Just once in a great while.
Senator Jones. If you did work until 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock, or 11 o'clock, yo
Just got your supper?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes; we got a very good supper.
The Chairman. Airs. Coulon, when you were a regular employee in
laundry a good many years ago, it seems what was your observation as
the health of the girls, and the effect of the employment on the health of tl
'.)

—

—

i

girls?

Miss Coulon.
looked healthy.

I

really do not think

it

hurt any of the

girls,

because they

a

The Chairman. Might I ask if you saw Mrs. Coulon when she ws
on the stand?
Mr. Sowers. I was not present, sir.
The Chairman. Do you know Mrs. Coulon?
Mr. Sowers. Yes. sir she is an ex-employee of my establishment.
The Chairman. Would you consider her a healthy looking woman
Mr. Sowers. Well, sir, maybe not healthy looking, she is thin, bi
she apparently enjoys good health.
Mr. Buchanan. Is it not a fact that she had to quit that woi
due to the strain on her nerves ?
Mr. Sowers. No, sir; she made no such claim when she quit oi
;

service.

Mr. Buchanan. She made a statement to that effect before th
committee here that the strain was too hard and that she cou

—

not stand

it.

—

:

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
Mr. Sowers. I did not hear any testimony to that

effect.

65

I heard

of it indirectly.

Mr. Buchanan. It is a matter of record in our hearings.
Mr. Sowers. I have not had access to those records. I read her testimony before the Senate committee.
Mr. Buchanan. Do you want to cite her as a witness for long
hours ? I am of the opinion that she is a poor witness for that posi'

tion.

Mr. Sowers. She is the advocate's witness. I have read her testimony before the Senate committee. She admits that the hours are
not incalculably long. If you will bear with me a moment
Mr. Howard. In connection with what you have been reading
about what Mrs. Coulon said, the chairman of the Senate committee
said
It was suggested to me by one lady that you would give us some rather
startling information along that line, that it had a very injurious effect.

Mrs. Coulox. No I do not think it has much effect, except the machines.
girls that work on the machines, it may effect them, but you know all the
girls do not work on machines.
;

The

i

In what, way does it affect these girls in working on these machines,
How many machines have you got and how many
if you know?
girls are working on machines?
Mr. Sowers. I will introduce, if you please, some witnesses who do
work on machines, to answer that question.
On page 52 the chairman said
:

What

about the shortest day?

Mrs. Cotilon. Summer months, the last laundry I worked at, we used to quit
Senator, I will tell you the people think
at 5 and sometimes at half-past 5.
that from half past 7 to 6 o'clock is long. You have to be there at half past 6,
but the time you pack and unpack your machine of a night, and then go there
So
in the morning, it is S or 9 o'clock in the morning before you get to work.
I really do not think the laundry girls have a hard time of it.

Is that consistent testimony from their only witness?
Mr. Buchanan. Is that testimony correct?
Mr. Sowers. It is a matter of record.
Mr. Buchanan. Is that correct?
Mr. Sowers. Our contention is that they do not have a hard time,
and we propose to show it.
The Chairman. What is your evidence in the matter, that you tesi

that this statement

tified

Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.

is

correct as to the actual facts

?

Sowers. In some points yes, sir.
Buchanan. I ask you if that statement is correct?
Sowers. I read you her opinion as expressed there.
Buchanan. You also read as to the time she went to work.
Sowers. That is rather meager I would not say it is correct in
;

;

detail.

Mr. Howard. What does the handling of a machine consist of;
what physical exercise %
Mr. Sowers. I could not tell you about that.
The Chairman. Do you have a method of covering up your mathe girls leave at night ?
place a loose covering over them, just as the merchant does over his counter of goods, which requires just a moment
of time to remove.
chines

when

Mr. Sowers.

We

78634—13

5

:

66

:

:

HOURS OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,

"
Mr. Howard. What is " packing " a machine and " unpacking
machine?
putting felts on rolls, which we do usually o
Mr. Sowers. That
Monday morning.
Mr. Howard. Does that require any physical exercise, any grea
i.s

physical exertion?

Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.

Sowers. No,

sir.

Howard. Are
Sowers. No,

those rolls taken out ?
this piece is put on the revolving rolls.
word should be " padding " instead of " paci

sir

Howard. The

;

ing"?
perhaps that is right.
to the testimony of Mrs. Coulon, I wouL
like to read for your information just what she said in that connectio:
before this committee [reading]
The Chairman. Have you any people whom you have to support out of ti

Mr. Sowers. Yes,

sir

;

The Chairman. Relative

:

wages you earn?
Mr. Coulon. I have a little boy I am a widow with a little boy.
The Chairman. Your little boy; any parents?
Mrs. Coulon. I help to take care of my mother.
The Chairman. You help to take care of your mother?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir. The only reason why I left the laundry was becaus
my nerves got all unstrung from the machines and the wear of the work; th
;

work was too much for one woman to do.
The Chairman. You felt the straiu was
Mrs. Coulon. Yes,

sir

;

I

felt that

entirely too much on your nerves?
was entirely too much on n>;

the strain

nerves.

Mr. Sowers. I thank you. sir. I wanted to remind you gentlemei
that that was the only complaining witness, and that her testimon;
was practically refuted. I mean to say her testimony was not con
sistent that she contradicts herself in some cases.
Mr. Howard. Do you think there is anything in this statement o]
page 52 of the Senate committee hearing
;

Senator Ken yon. Are you in favor of the proposed law?
Mrs. Coulon. Yes, sir. I am in favor of the law.
Senator Kenyon. Why?
Mrs. Coulon. Because I think just as much work can be done in 8 hours a
can be done in 9 or 10 hours, for the girls know they have got to do that wort
and they will go to work and do it, and not fool around like some of them do.

—

Mr. Sowers. I have of course, there are some girls who foo
around, if they are given that privilege, and I guess Mrs. Couloi
was speaking of that class when she said that.
Mr. Smith. Do you have this rule in your establishment: "Yoi
have to be there at half -past 6 ? "
Mr. Sowers. No, sir.
Mr. Smith. That is a part of her testimony
You have to be there at half-past 6, but the time you pack and unpack thei
machines of a night, and then go there in the morning, it is 8 or 9 o'clock in th'
morning before you get to work.

Mr. Sowers. We do not start our plant until half -past
I will read one more question from the Senate hearing

7.

Mr. Lowe. Ask her about the hours on Mondays and Saturdays.
The Chairman. If any person has a question to ask, let it be asked
the chairman, so as to prevent confusion.
What about the time on Mondays and Saturdays?

throug)

HOUBS OF LABOE FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTBIOT OF COLUMBIA.

67

A rS C ° UL0N 0n Mondays we went to work at 9 o'clock
on the markers, and
on i l
Saturdays we were through at 3 o'clock. If I am able I will
answer any
*
-

questions.

Mr. Lowe.

--

Ask her

if

she received

short days?

full

time during the summer and those

.

Mrs. Coulon. I certainly did get full time for the
winter.

summer as

well as the

So there, we have this witness admitting that she got her supper
when she worked overtime, and got full time during the dull season,
and that she did not think the girls had a hard time of it, and that
the girls were all healthy.
There is the witness, an ex-employee, and
I venture to say the laundrymen could bring hundreds of employees
to refute the testimony that the girls are only treated fairly well,
and
that the hours are unreasonably long, and on the average they
do not
work over eight hours, except that we have the privilege of distributing these hours according to the conditions of our business, which, if
restricted to eight or nineiiours in any one day, we could not
meet the demands of the public.

we are

The Chairman. If you work your plant overtime, do you pay your
force overtime

?

Mr. Sowers. If we work materially overtime, we do. In the case
of holidays, we work the day previous a few hours later and get

the work up, and we pay them for the entire holiday, so that the
holiday they are paid for is only partly made up in actual work.
The Chairman. What is your custom in regard to allowing for
overtime ? Do you allow for overtime, say, for a quarter of an hour
or a half an hour or an hour, or what is your rule ?
Mr. Sowers. Our custom is not to allow for overtime for a half
hour or an hour because of the fact that so many days we are an
hour short, or possibly two hours short, on the other side. As I said,
it is a give-and-take proposition
that is, to those who are fairminded and we give them the benefit of the short days and let

—

—

them go.
Mr. Buchanan. Do you know of any employer who admits that
he is not fair-minded ?
Mr. Sowers. No, sir I do not.
Mr. Stern. Is it not a fact that during the summer time the heat
is so terrific in your laundries that it is almost unbearable at times;
;

that not a fact ?
Mr. Sowers. It is undoubtedly so any hot machine is hotter when
the natural heat is greater, but no more so than in the Bureau of
Engraving and Printing, or where there are machines used.
Mr. Stern. Yes; but in the bureau, they do not work but 8 hours
there, and sometimes less.
Mr. Sowers. We state that we do not work more than 8 hours on
an average; some days only 5 or 6. The bureau keeps their employees there 8 hours every day.
The Chairman. About what is the temperature of your workroom, say, in January and in June time ?
Mr. Sowers. It varies. Our laundry establishments are all, to my
knowledge, well ventilated, and even during the hot summer; while,
of course, some of the machines themselves are warm, and if you
keep in contact with the machines you feel the heat, but there is
ventilation, and there is a draft, and often the doors and windows
are open, and it is not suffocating or a close atmosphere.
is

;

68

HOURS OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,

You state that your employees
What time are they required to be

Mr. Buchanan.
over 8 hours.

work

to

work

8

do not averag
at the place

c

hours?

Mr. Sowers. Half past 7 in the morning, except Mondays an
we may foresee things do not require.
Mr. Buchanan. Half past 7 until what time in the evening?
Mr. Sowees. Until 6 o'closk, if they do not get through sooner, c
until they get through.
Mr. Buchanan. That is about every day they are there ?
Mr. Sowers. In the busy season, Saturdays excepted.
Mr. Buchanan. You do not average 8 hours' work, when they ai
other days, as

work 10 or 12 hours.
when they are through they go home,
afternoon. My statement was that we do nc

required to be at their place of

Mr. Sowers. Not
it is

at all

3 o'clock in the

i

;

keep them on our premises more than 8 hours on an average, all th
year around. We do not care wh»t time they go home, if they ar
through with their work.
The Chairman. Do you keep a thermometer in your establismen
in any of the rooms, so that you get any idea of what the tempera
ture is in which the girls have to work?
Mr. Sowers. No, sir; we can generally judge that by our ow:
feelings.

The Chairman. So that you have no means of getting an accurat
record of what the temperature is?
Mr. Sowers. No, sir.
Mr. Smith. Are there any weeks in the year in which you averag
more than 8 hours a day?
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir: many of them.
Mr. Smith. How many weeks?
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir. In inauguration week.
Mr. Smith. That is an exceptional week.
Mr. Sowers. We average more than 8 hours a week during th
busy season, but it is offset
Mr. Buchanan. What do you call the busy season ?
Mr. Sowers. From January, I might say, until the 1st of June.
The Chairman. How many hours do you average during the bus
season; how many hours a week?
Mr. Sowers. We average possibly 9 hours I have not figured tha
•

;

out in that particular period.

Mr. Buchanan. It is a matter of mathematics, then ?
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. You do not know of vour own personal know!
edge?

Mr. Sowers. I do. I know in a general way.
Mr. Howard. Mr. Sowers, is it not a fact that during the month
of June, July, August, and September there are more white good
worn by men and women that are sent to the laundry than in an
other season of the year?
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir but they are not sent to* Washington laur
dries; they are sent to Atlantic City laundries and
laundries i
Other places. You gentlemen do not send us any of it during
Jul
;

and August.
Mr. Howard. I did last year; I expect I will this vear
Th
question I was trying to get at was simply for information'.
I wante

HOURS OP LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

69

know why during the months of June, July, August, and September there should be such a slump in the laundry business here. It
is our busy season in Georgia.
Mr. Sowers. Washington is an exception; it is merely a winter
resort; people are not here to send their goods to us. It has not been
shown that there is any demand on the part of the employees themto

any changed conditions.
Mr. Buchanan. You say there

selves for

of

is

not on the part of the employees

Washington ?

Mr. Sowers. No, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. It is possible there has been from the working
people throughout the United States.
Mr. Sowers. I expect so, because in other places their work is
harder.
There is no drudgery existing here; no manufacturing
district where they work long hours.
Mr. Buchaxax. I suppose you understand that the working people of this country, through organized labor, made great sacrifices
You are aware of that fact? They have
to secure an 8-hour day?
spent large sums of money and lost a great deal of time throughout
the country, and even some of them here in Washington seem to desire an 8-hour day, because they have made an effort to secure it
through us.
Mr. Sowers. A great many people desire not to work at all.
Mr. Buchaxax. That probably is the reason why a great many are
employers.

Mr. Sowers. My experience has been that the employers have a
hard time with the employees.
Mr. Buchaxax. Let them tell it, they usually do,
Mr. Sowers. In Massachusetts they have a 54-hour week, just
what we are asking for. We would be satisfied with a 54-hour
week. They say that there is no demand for the 8-hour day here no
need for it because the conditions here do not warrant it.
Mr. Buchaxax. " They say " who do you mean when you say
" They say " ?
Where does the report come from what source have
you got it from? Are your employees organized so that they may
speak for themselves as to the wrongs done them by their em;

;

;

ployers ?

Mr. Sowers. I have interviewed a great many employees.
Mr. Buchaxax. You have, yourself ?
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir. I have got expressions, directly and indirectly, and without exception they are satisfied and desire no
change in conditions, and it would work a hardship upon them.
Mr. Buchanan. Those who have worked know what this kind of
a statement means to the employer.
Mr. Sowers. We have had those who have worked to speak for
themselves.

Mr. Buchanan. At the suggestion of the employer, probably.
Mr. Sowers. Not in my case, sir.
Mr. Hebbard. Those two ladies we brought here yesterday did not
have any strings tied to them.
Mr. Howard. Mr. Sowers, you say that the commercial interests
Now,
of Washington would be satisfied with 54 hours per week.
information and the information of the comjust for my own
mittee

HOURS OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

70

Mr. Sowees. Excuse me. I am not speaking for the commerci
I am speaking for the laundry men they woul

interests at large.

be

;

satisfied.

Mr. Howard. Fifty-four hours per week?
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. Now, can you give an estimate, in your own estal
lishment, of the extra expense that would be incurred by your laui
dry in additional help to bring the hours down to 48 hours per week
Mr. Sowers. I would not like to do that offhand.
Mr. Howard. That is a mere arithmetical proposition, is it not?
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. You know how many you have employed in yor
laundry ?
Mr. Sowers. No. It depends on conditions how much overtiir
we have got to make and what department they are in, and how Ion
the people have got to make that overtime. We know we can nc
pick up an extra shift of girls.
Mr. Howard. I see. I did not mean change in the sense of ten
porary or extra employment. I meant regular employment.
Mr. Sowers. If we had regular hours and a uniform amount c
business we could meet those conditions much more convenientlj
but as I have stated before, our work is not uniform. There ai
extra orders to get out which we must complete, and we can not sto

—

until that

work

is

completed.

Mr. Buchanan. There

national association of laundrymen,

is a

:

there not ?

Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
in

my

Sowers. There has been, and

Buchanan.

A

national

is

to-day, a social

?

Sowers. Oh, yes, sir.
I think I had the pleasure of seeing some of

Buchanan.

thei

city.

Mr. Sowers. I thought you referred to the local situation.
Mr. Buchanan. Will you point out to us what conditions exist i
the laundries of Washington as to this emergency work that we spot
of that are different from tho^e of any other city of the United State
that you might mention?
Mr. Sowers. I might observe my judgment is that emergence
arise more or less in any city, but more so in Washington because c
its fluctuating population and its winter population being so muc
greater and the occasions and events that occur here.
Mr. Buchanan. Yon have more employees in the winter tha
you do in the summer ?
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir; necessarily, we increase our employees a<
cording to our volume of work.
Mr. Buchanan. You cut your pay roll to meet the volume of wor
that you get, do you not ?
Mr. Sowers. As far as practicable; but if we had to meet tr.
requirements of this bill and put on a double shift, that would mea
double expense, and the answer to that as it was made in the Senal
committee was to increase the prices, and the whole tendency of tr.
argument in response to our conditions was that the public pay tr
bill.
Gentlemen, we have not found that we can tell the public 'whi
they must do; we can not dictate to the public as to their sendin
their

work

to us.

We

must

realize that the public of Washino-toi

;

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

71

the general public, the citizens of Washington who reside here, have
their money invested here and raise their families here- should have
something to say, and it seems to me that this body of lawmakers
who reside with us, representing this great, glorious country of ours,

gentlemen who come here to make laws, to place restrictions upon us,
and holding us to burdens that they are not willing to bear should
consider what these people want.
I believe you want to consider
the interests of the people of Washington, the citizens here.
Of
course Members of Congress represent districts away from here, and
a good many of them have no interests in common with us in Washington in these matters, unfortunately.
Mr. Howard. Eight there, do you not think that a rather unfair
statement to make to this committee that Congress has not 'any
interests in common with you gentlemen here in the affairs of Washington, and that we are prejudging this case ?
Mr. Sowers. Not prejudging it. I did not state that you had no
interests with us, but that your entire interest is not equal to ours.
Your knowledge of conditions is not equal to ours, but I believe you
will do us justice and give us a chance to be heard, and to acquaint
yourselves with conditions before placing any burdens upon us.
Mr. Howard. Have you any complaint to make about a fair and
a full hearing that you are having now before this committee?
Mr. Sowers. Not at all. There is no need of this legislation, when
the citizens of Washington do not cry out for it, when there is no
demand for it from Washington here. And when the people here
do not ask it, for why should it be imposed upon us by people from
other States ?

Mr. Howard. I would like to ask you another question: Do you
think that there would ever be a cry for a change in any conditions
where a certain class of citizens were profiting or making a profit
from another class of citizens in the same community ? Where would
you think the wail would come from; from the class making the
profit?

Mr. Sowers.

From

the oppressed,

sir, if

they are oppressed.

shown that there is any oppression here.
The Chairman. Would not your position be the old
has long ago been declared to be untenable that we

It

has not been

brothers' keepers?

position that
are not our

—

Mr. Sowers. We are, and the law expressly provides that is
what we are arguing on now. that we interchange one with another
here an issue was taken with Mr. King that he was not a benefactor
of course not in the Carnegie sense, but I believe he is, and that
every merchant who turns his goods over is a benefactor.
The Chairman. When you gave as one of the reasons why this
legislation should not be enacted that it is being pressed, not by
people of the District of Columbia, but by people from other parts
of the country
Mr. Sowers (interposing). Exactly so, sir.
The Chairman (continuing). That would put you in the position
of assuming that they are not their brothers' keepers or we are not
;

our brothers' keepers?
at

Mr. Sowers. That
home."

is

a good old adage which says " Charity begins

72

COLUMBIA,
HOURS OF 'LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF

a matter whic
Mr. Buchanan. You raised a question there about
was mal
attention of the gentleman who
I probably brought to the
and 1 do not d<
ing a statement yesterday before this committee,
with anyone appearin
sire to put myself in the attitude of arguing
this to the attentio
here and making a statement. I only brought
find his position in regard to the propc
of Mr. King yesterday to
man who is wori
sition that the employer is the benefactor of the
to call your attention to the tact the
ing for him. I would like
Abraham Lincoln, when he was President of the United States, sai
if he had nc
that the worker was the creator of the wealth, and
employe
created any wealth there would have been no capital to be
first and be given first considerate
and therefore labor should come
bee
I would like to know, in the face of all those things that have
country, whether you still maintai
stated by the great men of the
that an employer, because he happens to be an employer of som
workingman, is therefore the benefactor and is contributing to th
life of that man and his family, or whether the employer himself
earning that money and probably much more than he is entitled t<
I do not want to unnecessarily interrupt anyone who is making
statement, and I am only making this statement to get the attitud
of you gentlemen who are employers of the workingmen in the cit
of Washington. I would like to know where we are drifting to.
Mr. Sowers. We do not presume to be on any higher plar
than the employees. The employees' interest would be in the intei
ests, necessarily, of the employer, and their mutual interests redounc
If there were not employers there would be n
to them mutually.
employment.
Mr. Buchanan. Is it not a fact that there was employment befoi
there were any employers? In the early days of this country the
found a way to get employment and employ themselves.
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir; but the wheels of commerce could not coi
tinue to revolve if there were not employers.
Mr. Buchanan. Probably watered stock and financial piratt
would not continue to control the country as they have in the past.
Mr. Sowers. Do not understand us as opposing the interes
of labor. That is the strongest argument that we are makinj
that this law is against the interests of the employees, and the
themselves do not desire it, and it is to our mutual interest to 1
unrestricted as to our conditions in Washington. We are all und<
more restrictions in this city than in any other that I have know
edge of. If there ever was a place in which it could be said thi
there was taxation without representation, that is Washington. "V5
have double and triple taxation on the same property here we hai
impossible laws imposed upon us, and we are made criminals t
those laws because it is impossible to obey them. There is not a da
that goes by that some of us are not violating the laws and compelh
to become criminals.
Washington is becoming a veritable Egyp
and owing to our peculiar complex political position, we are deni<
the right of the ballot and we can not rule ourselves, and we ask fi
a hearing that we may consider these important measures that affe
us and us only.
The Chairman. I hope in your comparison of Washington
Egypt that you do not mean to suggest that the workers have
make brick without straw ?
:

;

HOUES OF LABOE FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.

73

Mr. Sowers. "Very nearly so. The business man has to comply
is supposed to comply with a law which it is impossible to comply with, and which, if he does not comply with, he is

with the law, or

made a criminal.
Mr. Howard. Nearly all of these oppressive laws have been saddled on you during the last 16 years, have they not ?
Mr. Sowers. All during the Eepublican administration.
The Chairman. Do you think it is the desire of the best men in
this city to have the right of suffrage; do you think that is the
universal desire?

Mr. Sowers. The sentiment I have heard expressed is that way.
my desire to have some voice in saying what the laws governing

It is

the District shall be.

Mr. Buchanan. That is pretty general ?
Mr. Sowers. I think so yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. Just by way of encouragement, I would like to say
that we hope you gentlemen in Washington will cheer up we will
;

;

you better conditions.
Mr. Sowers. If we had a voice to say who should rule we would
soon determine whether the general masses of Washington people
try to give

desire these restrictions.

Mr. Howard. I am afraid if we do that you would raise the price
of our laundry bill in Atlanta, covering the difference in the prices
here and there. You charge about 30 per cent more for your work
here than we pay there.
Mr. Sowers. Possibly our laundry work is worth 30 per cent more.
Mr. Howard. I do not think it is. You tore up a brand-new shirt
in one washing for me.
Mr. Sowers. You are driving a great deal of our business to
Baltimore as it is. I dare say, Mr. Howard, that you gentlemen have
as much faith in Atlanta as in Washington. I was in
Mr. Buchanan (interposing). What sort of business is it that is
bejng driven to Baltimore that you speak of?
Mr. Sowers. There is some laundry work being sent to Baltimore
by the small concerns who have not plants of their own.
Mr. Buchanan. Is that due to restrictive laws restrictive laws
that they do not have in Maryland ?
Mr. Sowers. It must be due to the fact that the laundryman in
Baltimore can produce work cheaper than we can here.
Mr. Stern. Labor is cheaper?
Mr. Sowers. I presume so.
Mr. Buchanan. Is competition keen here in Washington?
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. Do the laundries of Baltimore have agents in

—

Washington

to solicit business

and

collect

work?

Mr. Sowers. They have had I do not know that they have now.
Mr. Buchanan. I would like to know. You say this business is
being driven to Baltimore. I would like to know what you think
is the reason for that, whether you think it is due to restrictive
measures here that they do not have in Maryland, and if so, what
;

•

they are ?

Mr. Hebbard. I can speak for the tailoring trade a great deal of
the work goes to Baltimore because it can be made from 25 to 50
;

per cent cheaper.

;

74

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.

Buchanan. Due

to

Hebbard. Because

any

it is

restrictive

measures?

cheaper.

Buchanan. Why?

Hebbard. Because the conditions for getting help are much

easier than here.

Mr. Buchanan. What I wanted to find out was whether it was
due to any laws that have been passed in the District and put into
effect that do not exist in Maryland.
Mr. Hebbard, I do not know that it is that.
Mr. Buchanan. Sometimes, I understand, some concerns will do
work cheaper than some other concerns in the same city. In Chicago we would consider Baltimore simply as a suburb of Chicago,
if it were situated in respect to Chicago as it is in respect to Washington, and if work was done cheaper in the suburb, we would simply consider it as being done cheaper in one part of thecity than in
another part. What I was trying to get at was this, is it due to the
laws being passed in the District that do not apply to Maryland,
or if it was due to other conditions over which the laws have no -control?

Mr. Hebbard. It is principally on account of the question of help
the help we get here, so far as the women are concerned, a great
many of their parents are connected with the departments, whereas
in Baltimore a great many of them are wage earners in factories, and
their children are raised differently and more apt to accept work in
tailoring establishments.

Mr. Buchanan. That is not due to the laws.
Mr. Hebbard. It is due to the supply and demand for help.
Mr. Howard. The question I started to propound to you a while
ago was this. Why is it that so many people of what we might call
a medium class in the possession of wealth go over to Baltimore to
trade how can they afford to do it ?
Mr. Sowers. Perhaps Mr. King or some other merchant, can answer
that question better than I can.
Mr. Howard. With your experience, your personal experience, is
it not a fact that it is known from one end of this country to an;

other that Washington is the highest priced city in this country; is
that not a fact?
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir; I think so.
Mr. Howard. For everything you buy?
Mr. Sowers. Yes, sir; except the price for laundry work.
Mr. King. I take exception to that statement; the facts do not
warrant it. The competition is very keen in Washington and goods
can be purchased as cheap in Washington as in any city in the East,
and 50 per cent cheaper than anywhere west of Chicago.
Mr. Howard. Then why is this condition true, and you know this
condition is true, that so many people go to Baltimore to trade?
Mr. King. So many people do not go to Baltimore to trade, and
I made that statement before the Senate committee.
Mr. Howard. What is the source of your information why is it
better than the information of any other merchant?
Mr. King. My information comes from actual experience. I do
not know where these other people get theirs from.
Mr. Howard. I suppose any other~merchant in the same line would
have the same experience you have.
;

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

75

Mr. King. The condition that von state possibly could have existed
during a period possibly 1-2 or 18 years ago, but'the standard of the
stores has increased materially, and thev compare favorably
with anv
similar institutions in the United States now.
The Chairman. Are there manv who come from Baltimore to
Washington to trade?
Mr. King. No, sir. But I think there are people— of course, it is
not the rule, it is merely the exception, the same as there are some
people who go to Baltimore to trade.
You know, Mr. Chairman, that
there are always some people who want to go out of their home city
to shop.
Some go to Philadelphia and seme to New York, but that
is

the exception.

Mr. Buchanan.

Do your

views agree with those of Mr. Sowers,

that certain business is being driven to Baltimore?

Mr. King. No nothing is being driven to Baltimore.
Mr. Buchanan (addressing Mr. Sowers). Is that vour statement?
Mr. Sowers. I do not mean to convey that idea, but that competition is stronger in our line, and some work was going there by reason
of competition, conditions being more economical over there; but
that if this measure passes it would be driven there.
The Chairman. It seems to me that we are killing a great deal of
time.
I suggest the witness who has been recalled to the stand proceed with his statement, with such interrogatories as are made, until
he concludes, and then if any other gentleman has any fact he wants
to present to the committee we will consider the question of his sub;

mitting a statement.

Mr. Sowers. I will conclude very briefly, then, and wish to subwhat I have said in relation to a desire upon the part of
the employees as to whether or not they are satisfied, and will introduce two ladies from my own establishment, one representing office
work and the other machine operators. I know your time rs limited,
and I suppose two are sufficient.
I might say in reference to this work, a feature of which we emphasize, we have branch stores all over the city, especially for taking
in quick work
taking in the work in the morning to be delivered the
same dajr and because of the fact that most of these people are in the
departments, we must necessarily keep open until 6 o'clock to meet
this demand: but the work is light, and the people in these branch
stores have an hour's intermission for lunch.
There is no complaint
on the part of those girls, and I will now introduce Miss Langdon,
who has charge of one of my offices.
Mr. Stern (addressing Mr. Sowers). You made the statement that
nobody had complained about your laundries; I say I am here to
complain about your laundry.
Mr. Sowers. In what way?
Mr. Stern. I expect to appear before the committee and make a
stantiate

—

;

statement.
Mr. Soavers. Naturally, the advocates of the bill in a general way
say they complain, but they have not given us any evidence as to
their information.
I want, now, to introduce Miss Langdon.
The Chairman. Miss Langdon, you may proceed.

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

76

STATEMENT OF MISS IOEETTA LANGDON, OF WASHINGTON,

D. C.

people want
Miss Langdon. As Mr. Sowers has just told you, the
open until 6 o clock; that
quick service, and it requires us to keep
means the office people who get out at 4.30 must have an hour and a
which
half to get their laundry. Our branch office opens at 8 o clock,
hour before the regular time of the department clerks going to
is an
back the same day,
office, and they leave the laundry, and it comes
did not keep open until 6 o'clock in the evening, if we
and if we
closed at 5.30, as we would have to do if this bill was passed, they
would not be able to get their laundry, and the quick service would be
until 5
useless for them, because the laundry does not get to the office
quarter after 5, and it really gives the people only about
o'clock or
three-quarters of an hour to get their laundry in the evening.
The Chairman. What do you mean by quick laundry service
Miss Langdon. The laundry that comes in in the morning to be
gotten back the same day.
The Chairman. People call for it at the office, and you are one of
*

the

office

force

?

,

Miss Langdon. Yes,

sir.

The Chairman. And it is your duty to take charge of the laundry
when it is brought in in the morning and deliver it when it is called
for at night ?

Miss Langdon. Yes,

sir.

duties require you to be there one hour before the laundry begins work in the morning and to be there for an
hour after the laundry quits at night ?
Miss Langdon. No; my hours are from 8 o'clock in the morning
until 6 o'clock in the evening, with an hour for lunch.
The Chairman. At what time does the laundry begin work ?

The Chairman. Your

Miss Langdon. The plant?

The Chairman. Yes.
Miss Langdon. Seven

The Chairman. You
opens ?
Miss Langdon. I
of the branches. I

thirty.

get there about half an hour after the plant

am not in
am in one

the same building.
of the branches my
;

My

one
not at the

office is in

office is

plant.

The Chairman. Your

office is

not at the plant?

Miss Langdon. No, sir.
The Chairman. In what way would it interfere with your business if you were not permitted 'to accept these packages for a longer
period than eight hours in any one day?
Miss Langdon. It would mean that Mr. Sowers would have to put
on two forces, which would reduce my salary and, possibly, would
put me out a great deal.
The Chairman. Then your judgment is that if Mr. Sowers was
required to put on two forces that would result in your wages being
reduced cut in half, say ?
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. That is, that you would get just half as much if
there were two employees as you are getting now!
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.

—

—
HOUES OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

77

The Chairman. That is the fear you have in connection with this
reduction to an eight-hour Avorkday ?
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. Did you state how long you had been employed in
laundry work?
Miss Langdon. A year and a half.
Mr. Buchanan. You say you are not working at laundry work

,

just office

work

in the

branch

office?

Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. Then vou are not working in connection with the
plant?

Miss Langdon. No, sir.
Mr. Sowers. You open your office at 8 o'clock in the morning.
Does not the bulk of your work come between the hours of 8 and 9
in the

morning?

Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Sowers. You have already stated that the bulk of that was
called for in the evening, between 5 and 6.
In the interim you have
very

little

to

do ?

Miss Langdon. Very little.
Mr. Sowers. You have an hour for lunch ?
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Sowers. You are not complaining of any hard work?
Miss Langdon. No, sir.
Mr. Sowers. Would you rather have your same hours and the same
pay than shorter hours and take a chance on reduced wages, which
you feel would necessarily come?
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. I would like to ask a question that has been sugWhen the people
gested by the questions already propounded.
put the laundry in in the morning that is called for on that same

marked " Special " ?
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. And you get more for that sort of laundry work than
you do for regular laundry work which takes the ordinary course and

evening, is

it

delivered in the ordinary way, in the ordinary time ?
Miss Langdon. In all the laundries, or in my office only?
Mr. Howard. In your office only.
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. Your laundry is the only laundry in Washington
that charges extra for special work ?
Miss Langdon. No.
Mr. Howard. Suppose I had a hotel and put in some laundry at
10 o'clock in the morning and asked for it at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, what would be the additional charge which you would make ?
Miss Langdon. We have a standard price, the same standard price
that the other laundries in the city have, and we give the benefit of reduced rates provided you leave the work from two to three days.
Mr, Howard. Now, these girls that are engaged in this rush-order
work; they have to work fast and dry quick and iron fast. Do they
get any extra compensation for this work?
Miss Langdon. The work of the plant is arranged so that the work
which has come in before is put back, so that they may just have this
is

special

work

to

work

on.

78

HOUKS OF LABOB FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTBICT OF COLUMBIA.

Mr. Howard. In other words, if I put my laundry in on Tuesday,
which I ought to have gotten back on Friday, if there is any rushorder work which comes in you displace my laundry and make me
wait and wear a dirty collar on Friday to get this extra compensation
for doing this work. Do your workers in the laundry get any extra
compensation for this special work? The public pays the extra price
that these laundries get and are inconvenienced by the delay in receiving their laundry. Will you explain that situation?
Mr. Sowers. May I be allowed to explain that ? This lady knows
nothing about the operation of the plant. She is off in another location.
She is one of our clerks, representing one of our branch stores,
whose business it is to receive the laundry and see that it is delivered
to the customers.
She has charge of that office. The feature of extra
compensation can be explained in this way We do not charge extra.
We do everything we can to discourage quick work, and to this very
end we have established this system of branch stores, and give a reduced rate below the standard rate if you bring your work and it is
called for and you pay cash for it, giving us three days or more to do
it we think you are entitled to a reduction
we think you would be
entitled to pay less than the man to whom we have to send a wagon
and who has not his laundry ready, very often, when it is called for,
and we often have to go back three or four times, with the same thing
happening in the case of delivery, and possibly having a charge account and some of the charge accounts not collected; we think the
customer who brings his work to us and gives us ample time to do it
:

;

;

entitled to a reduction over the man who brings his work to us and
it.
do all we can to discourage rush work, so that we
may better regulate conditions in the laundry.
Mr. Howard. Do I understand you to say you do not discourage
is

calls for

We

rush work?
Mr. Sowers.

We do as far as we can.
Mr. Howard, Do you mean to say that if I live on
Street and
your place is, say, on Seventh Street, and your wagon calls for my
laundry on Tuesday, to be delivered on Friday, that you charge me
more than yon do a man who lives three blocks away, if he leaves it
at your place and brings it back himself
Mr. Sowers. We do if your work goes through the delivery depart-

K

?

ment.

Mr. Howard. Would you mind putting in evidence for the information of this committee your price list for rush work and your price
list for call work and your price list for delivery Avork?
Mr. Sowers. We only have two prices; we have the standard
price, which applies to all except this work, and where they give us
sufficient time, we have given them a reduction to encourage them to
save our delivery teams and avoid rushing.
The Chairman. Again, it occurs to me that we are getting away
from the subject matter of this hearing. The Chair is unable to see
what the prices charged by laundries for rush work, or for work
that is not rush work, has to do with an eight-hour work day.
Mr. Howard. The relevancy of it is in this They say that these
people are adequately paid, and they say that thev want to work
longer hours, and that a majority of this work is' rush work, for
which they receive additional compensation. The question that
:

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

79

me is this If they receive this extra compensation for spework, and it is a great part of the work of the laundries, if these
girls are not benefited from that extra compensation that is received
by laundries, then they would not want to work over eight hours,
as they have testified they do.
The Chairman. If Mr. Sowers has no objection, he may file the
occurs to

:

cial

lists,

as stated.

Mr. Sowers. I will. The idea is not that extra, but we charge
Our prices are standard.
less if you comply with our conditions.

•

|Main
Branch

5.

Mr.

Mart-

Tohe
P

1

office

COLUMBIA LAUNDRY
G Street NW.

and work?, 623

CO.
Phone, Main 4687.

]

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

'80

COLUMBIA LAUNDRY
{Main

office

and

NW.

Street

plant, 623

G

NW.

Street
Branch No.
4, 612 Fifth Street

Mr.
Residence

2,

NW.

H

NW.

G

CO.

Street

NW.

Branch No.

5,

Branch No.

471

NW.

3,

620 Fourteenth

Pennsylvania Avenue

NW.

NW.

Branch No.
7, 3118 Fourteenth Street
Branch No. 10, 2007 Fourteenth Street NW.)

Branch No.

6, 330 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.
Branch No. 9, 23
Street
Street

Branch No.
8, 507

G

Branch No.

901

-

Mark DateTo be returned
-

Num-

Gentlemen's

ber.

Num-

list.

Shirts, plain
Shirts, open front
Shirts, plaited bosom
Shirts, with cuffs
Collars
Cuffs, per pair

10
12
15
15
2J
5
8

Drawers
Undershirts
Nightshirts
Socks, per pair

8

10 to 12
5

Handkerchiefs
Handkerchiefs,

3
5
5

silk

eekties
Coats, white
J

10 to 50
25 to 50
20 to 50

Pants, white
Vests

Bed and

lOup"

Spreads

25

z.

up
up

Sheets
Pillowcases
Bolster cases

4 up
4 up

Towels

3

6

up

Ms amounting to 25 cents and
over.

Napkins

1

Tablecloths
Towels, hand
Towels, roller
Towels, bath
Sheets
Pillowcases
Bolster i-ascs

Sup

Spreads

Price.

list.

5to20
3 up

Aprons
Collars,

cape or

emb

Caps, white

Chemise
Chemisettes
Cuffs, per pair
Corsets
Corset covers
Children's dresses

Drawers
Dresses
Dressing sacques

Handkerchiefs
Waists, ladies'
Waists, boys'
Hose, per pair

Lace collars
Night dresses

tabic linen.

I'apkins
Tablecloths

In

Ladies'

ber.

5 to 15
20 to $1

5tol0
5
15 to 25
5 to 10
15 to 75
10 to 25
35 to S5
10 to 35
3
20 up
12 up
5
15 to 35
15 to 50

50 up
15 to 50
5 up
Wrappers
25 to S2.50
Overall suits
25
Lace curtains, per pair
50 up
Sofa covers
25 up
Blankets, single
25
Blankets, double
50
Pillow shams
25 up
Splashers
5

Dress skirts
Underskirts
Undervests

Please report any error as soon

"10

Spreads, fringed
Scarfs, plain

as possible

A

with original list.

2
2
3

list of articles should
all work sent to the
laundry; in the absence of such
list our account must be taken as

2

correct

i

"

correct

accompany

3

25
2

Our motto: " Promptness and superior work."
We use filtered water. Our terms are cash. Drivers must return goods unless paid

for.

The Chairman.

I think I understood you to say that you fear
an 8 -hour workday was enforced in this District that
your wages might be cut down. Now, would you prefer
an 8-hour
workday to a 9 or 10-hour workday if the wages were the same?
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir; but the position that I am in
now does
n °t require any hard work, you might say; we do not object to if.
±ne Chairman. I suppose you are engaged in a line of
work where
you may rest occasionally during the day?
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.

that

it

The

Chairman. You are not required to stand up continuously
during the day; you can sit down and rest for
a long period, and^
consequently you do not feel that it is any
great strain upon you.
It an 8-hour day was required, do you
not think that vou could

HOUES OF LABOR FOE

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

81

deliver those packages just as conveniently between the hours of 4
and 5 o'clock as you now do between the hours of 5 and 6 o'clock ?

Miss Langdon. No,

L

sir.

The Chairman. What would prevent you from doing so?
Miss Langdon. Just the first statement; it would require two
girls.

I

5,

The Chairman. But if you were there between the hours of 4 and
as you now are between the hours of 5 and 6, could you not deliver

packages just as conveniently between those hours as between
hours of 5 and 6 ?
Miss Langdon. They do not come back on time.
Mr. Buchanan. I see Mr. Sowers telling her how to answer. You
may as well ask him the questions.
Mr. Sowers. She seemed a little confused. If you will permit
Mr. Gray. I would suggest that this witness is a child, and that we
should find out what she knows as a child.
The Chairman. Of course, I observed the fact that Mr. Sowers was
prompting the witness, and I prefer that Mr. Sowers should not attempt to prompt the witness. Mr. Sowers, the witness is on the
stand for the purpose of furnishing testimony for this committee,
and the committee would prefer that Mr. Sowers should not be her
mouthpiece in giving testimony.
What would be the reason that the laundry could not be delivered
Would that be due to the fact that the work of the laundry
in time ?
You
plant could not be gotten out in the length of time given?
start to work at 8 o'clock; you take these rush packages and send
them at regular intervals, possibly up until noon. Do the packages
that are delivered to you after, say 10 or 11 o'clock in the morningare they delivered back to your office for distribution that same night?
Miss Langdon. No, sir.
The Chairman. They must be there at what time?
Miss Langdon. Up until 9 o'clock.
The Chairman. All rush packages that are delivered to you before
9 o'clock may be delivered between 5 and 6 o'clock in the afternoon ?
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. And the reason, in your judgment, why these
packages could not be delivered between 4 and 5 o'clock is that they
could not do the work in the laundry in the brief time, or in the one
hour less time?
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. I supose you have never worked in a laundry?
Miss Langdon. No, sir.
The Chairman. You do not know the various processes of cleaning and drying and ironing ?
Miss Langdon. No, sir.
The Chairman. Then you would not know, of your own knowllength
edge, whether they would be able to get the work out in that
know that of your own knowledge?
You would not
of time?
Miss Langdon. No, sir.
Mr. Howard. Is it not a fact that most of that work, whether rusn
hours beorders or not, most of that regular work is called for in the
departments are out?
tween 5 and 6 o'clock, after the
Miss Langdon. Yes, sir.

the
the

*

78634—13

6

82

COLUMBIA.
HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OP

STATEMENT OF MRS. ELIZABETH HARRIS, OF WASHINGTON, D. C.
witness Mrs. Har-

Mr. Sowers. I wish now to introduce as the next
ris, who is a machine operator.
The Chairman. Mrs. Harris, are you an operator
Mrs. Harris. Yes,

m
.

a laundry

(

sir.

,
any manner
Mr. Buchanan. I am going to object to Mr. Sowers in
whatever suggesting answers to this witness.
Mr. Sowers. I will sit at the other end of the room to show that I
am not suggesting answers to her.
that,
Mr. Buchanan. It will please me very much to have you do
The Chairman. How long have you been a machine operator*
Mrs. Harris. Three years.
The Chairman. Do you find it a very difficult occupation to learn
to be a machine operator ?
Mrs. Harris. Well, some portions of it were very dimcult. U±
course, we have to be real particular to make the work a success, and

-

the girls I have seen could not learn very easily.
The Chairman. There are some parts of machine operating that
are rather difficult to learn?
Mrs. Harris. Yes, sir there are, to do the work properly.
The Chairman. You might describe, for the benefit of the committee, just what machine operating is in laundry work.
Mrs. Harris. Well, in my department, we work in the mangle
room. Of course, that work all has to be gotten out and put to the
feeders, and then it has to be fed down, and then it goes to the packer
and sorter, and then it has to be taken up and made ready to be sent
After it comes from the wash it takes some time to get it all
out.
through. I was a feeder myself.
The Chairman. What kind of a machine is a mangle? Is it a
;

system of rolls ?
Mrs. Harris. It

a large cylinder

is

The Chairman. And
Mrs. Harris. Yes,

the laundry

with the rolls over it.
to be put through those

is

rolls?

sir.

those rolls hot or kept warm ?
the cylinder that heats the rolls, and, to a certain
extent, it is the cylinder that affords the most heat.
The Chairman. The cylinder is kept warm; how large is the
cylinder ?
Mrs. Harris. It is the size of a good-sized mangle. I have never
taken the dimensions; I could not exactly say. It is a nice-proportioned mangle, though.
The Chairman. The cylinder is a cylinder, say. about 2 feet in
diameter; 1 or 2 feet through?
Mrs. Harris. Yes it is a good size of course it would have to be
to turn the linen out.
The Chairman. That cylinder is kept warm?
Mrs. Harris. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Are
Mrs. Harris. It

is

,

;

;

The Chairman.

How warm?

Mrs. Harris. It is heated by steam, and I have never taken the
temperature. It has to be hot enough to dry the linen as it passes

down.

The Chairman. This steam
Mrs. Harris. Yes, sir.

is

applied to the cylinder?

-

—
HOURS OF LABOK FOE

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

83

The Chairman. About how large is the room in which you work?'
is a large room and well ventilated.
The Chairman. Larger than this room?
Mrs. Harris. Oh, yes twice the length of this.
The Chairman. Wider than this room ?
Mrs. Harris. It

;

r

Mrs. Harris. Yes,

The Chairman.

Mrs. Harris. Sir

The Chairman.

sir.

How many

mangles are in that room?

?

How many

machines are in there ?
Mrs. Harris. There

is

mangles are

in that

room; how many

no machinery except back next to the enno machine near the

gine department is the washhouse, and there is
place where the mangle room is except mangles.

The Chairman. Just one mangle?
Mrs. Harris. Yes.

sir.

Then

the other machinery

is

on the

floor

above.
'

The Chairman. Does the heat from the mangle make the room

in

which you work warm at times?
Mrs. Harris. Of course, in the extreme hot weather, it is warmer
than it would be otherwise but the room is the best- ventilated mangle room I know of, because there is a large hole that lets the light
in, and there is a door and there is possibly a lot of windows on the
;

floor

above.

The Chairman. Do you mean by that ventilation or draft?
Mrs. Harris. There is plenty of fresh air.
The Chairman. There can be ventilation without draft, and ventilation

with draft.

Mrs. Harris. It never seemed to do any injury to anybody in any
way, and a draft generally makes people sick.
The Chairman. You say you have been employed at this work for
three years ?
Mrs. Harris. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. Were you employed at some other part of the
laundry work prior to that time ?
Mrs. Harris. No, sir.
The Chairman. So that all your work in laundry work has been
the length of time you have been at this particular work ?
Mrs. Harris. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. What are the hours of labor that you now work
the number of hours you are required to work ?
Mrs. Harris. I am supposed to be ready to go to work at half past
seven the machinery does not start up until that time, and it has to
a;et hot before you can operate it; and then we have a lunch hour,
and I do not think in the three years I have been there one evening
[ worked until 8 o'clock, and another evening until 9, and one. other
evening, and that is all the overtime I have worked since I have been
there. I can not complain of overwork.
The Chairman. So I understand that only on three occasions you
lave been required to work over the regular hours?
Mrs. Harris. That is the only time.
The Chairman. So that this extra demand for work during the
"ush period has not resulted in your having to do a great deal of
;

—

)vertime ?

84

COLUMBIA.
HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF

times— I do
do not think we worked except those
been any time, except those, when I have not been
not think there has
and when we
on the street going home when the 6 o'clock bell rang
served with a nice supper and paid for our time.
did work we were
has not
There has not been a day since last September when there
coffee made for the employees there, and 1 bet
been a large urn of
you will not find that in anv other place of employment that 1 know
Everybody had all the nice fresh coffee they wanted.
of.
The Chairman. That is during the lunch hour?
Mrs. Harris. That is the lunch hour. My employer may not want
me to tell you that, but I just wanted to tell you we are not ill used.
The Chairman. What are the wages that are paid in the laundries
on the different classes of work?
Mrs. Harris. Well, I understood my employer to say that that
question was not required to be answered by me.
The Chairman. I am not asking what your wages are.
Mrs. Harris. What the average wages are ?
The Chairman. Yes; what the general wage is.

Mrs Harris.

I

Mrs. Harris. It

is

fairly good, I often hear the girls

who work

in

the laundries say.

The Chairman. What would you

call a fairly good wage?
Mrs. Harris. Eight to ten something like that. Of course, it is
not any big amount of money, but still it is as much as you make in
anything you do in Washington.
The Chairman. Is it your judgment that the workers in the laundries do not need any legislation in regard to the number of hours
they should work?
Mrs. Harris. Well, of course, I can not answer for everyone. I am
satisfied myself, so far as my time goes, and I have not heard any
complaints from others. I have never been affected in any way;
my health is not affected I can not complain. It is nice, clean work,
the cleanest work there is or that anyone can do. Everything is
thoroughly washed before it comes to our hands.
The Chairman. Of course, that is not the case with those who first
receive the laundry.
Mrs. Harris. Those who first receive it are the markers, and they
have to mark it and make out the lists so that the things will not be
misplaced. Then it goes to the washhouse, and then it comes to the
shaking table, and after it goes to the shaking table it comes to us,
to the mangle.
You do not realize the processes which linen has to
through to get clean. It has to be handled by various people befo
ore we can get it, and it all takes time.
On Monday I know there is
not half an hour's work done in the forenoon. It is all sorted and
marked. There are so many processes it is impossible to get it out
early.
I speak from my own knowledge of it and knowing the time
it takes to get the work out.
While that eight-hour system is very
nice, I don't see where laundry work can be accomplished and gotten
out in time, that way, to save my life.
Mr. Buchanan. Did you not know that they are doing that work
successfully in some States where they have that law and doing it to
the great advantage of the employees ?
Mrs. Harris. Possibly so.
Mr. Buchanan. The States of California and Oregon, I believe.
;

;

HOUES OF LABOR FOR
Mrs. Harris. I
accomplish it.

•

to

j

i

f

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

—

know one thing

it

would

necessitate a great

85

change

Mr. Buchanan. Well, you know the world has undergone a great
change in recent years in regard to conditions of work, largely due
to the results of the efforts of organized labor.
To your knowledge,
has there been any effort of the employees of the laundry where you
work to organize, any time you were there ?
Mrs. Harris. No, sir; I never heard any complaint among them
at

I

WOMEN

all.

Mr. Buchanan. I

mean regardless of the complaint, have you any
information, or have you heard any talk about an organization ?
Mrs. Harris. No, sir.
Mr. Buchanan. But women even organize sometimes.
Mrs. Harris. Yes sometimes those that do not work organize.
have very peaceable women in my establishment.
Mr. Sowers.
Mr. King. May I ask one question?
;

We

The Chairman. No not

at this time.
this statement ?
The Chairman. Not at this time not until the witness is through.
Mr. Howard. What about section 2 ? Do you approve of this law
that lets girls under 18 years out of their places of employment at
6 o'clock in the evening, so that they may go home to their parents?
Mrs. Harris. Of course, everybody wants to be home; but I think
when they go and seek this employment and know the hours, know
the restrictions, and are contented and accept the work and salary,
^1 do not think they should get off sooner than their time requires
them to. There are two ways of looking at that. I go voluntarily
to take a place and am content with
salary and hours, and put in
;

Mr. King.

May

I

make

;

my

work and I am satisfied.
The Chairman. "As a matter of fact, though, Mrs. Harris, you
would not go seeking a place anywhere if it were not for the fact
that the physical and mental necessities require you to find employthat

?

ment?
Mrs. Harris. I do not

know

that

my

mental faculties are con-

cerned.

The Chairman. People seek employment because their needs, their
wants are such that they have to earn something.
Mrs. Harris. I have always worked; I always worked on the
farm, and I always worked when I was in my home.
The Chairman. So that people do not seek employment voluntarily they seek employment because their necessities impel them to
;

find it?

Mrs. Harris. I do not think anyone would go to

work who had

plenty to live on.
If you live in Washington City, or any other city,
you have got to pay so much to get on that if you have not got anything you have to work.
The Chairman. So that you have to work because the necessities
require you to seek employment?

at

Thereupon, at 11.55 o'clock a. m., the committee adjourned to meet
10 o'clock a. m. Saturday, February 8, 1913.

86

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
Committee on Labor,
House of Representatives,

Washington, February 8, 1913.
met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. William B. "Wilson
The committee
(chairman presiding).
There were present before the committee Mr. King, representing
King's Palace, 810-816 Seventh Street NW., Washington, D. C, and
Miss M. L. Obenauer, of the Bureau of Labor, Department of Commerce and Labor.
The Chairman. Are your witnesses here, Mr. King?
Mr. King. They are not here yet, Mr. Chairman, but I think they
will be in a very few minutes.
The Chairman. We have some important matters coming up on
the floor of the House at 10.30, and we ought to be there. There is
a representative of the Bureau of Labor here, from whom we would
In all of the statelike to get some definite statistics and figures.
ments that have been made we have had but generalizations, and we
would like to get some specific information if we can. Miss Obenauer, if you are ready to proceed, will you please give your full
name and official position.

STATEMENT OF MISS M. L. OBENAUER, WASHINGTON, D. C,
RESENTING THE BUREAU OF LABOR, DEPARTMENT OF
MERCE AND LABOR.

REPCOM-

Miss Obenauer. I live at the Westminster Apartment, Seventeenth
and Q NW., and I am connected with the Bureau of Labor.
The Chairman. Miss Obenauer, have you made any investigation
of the labor conditions and housing conditions in the District of
Columbia with regard to wageworkers ?
Miss Obenauer. We have made a study of the hours, the duration
of employment of women engaged in the manufacturing, mechanical,
and mercantile establishments in the city of Washington. We did
not go into the housing question. The only data of that kind which
we gathered had to do with the proportion of women living at home
or boarding and lodging or living independently without the backing of the home, where the home might be regarded as an asset.
When I say " living at home I am referring not to women who
were maintaining themselves in one or two rooms and spending the
day in either mercantile or manufacturing establishments. We did
not rate such a woman as living at home, even though she were doing
her own cooking. She was classed as living independently.
The Chairman. Will you state for the information of the committee what, in a concrete way, you found in connection with the
hours of labor and wages and the proportionate number of women
that lived at home or boarded ?
Miss Obenauer. May I state first, Mr. Chairman, that we called
upon 332 women employed in stores when I say " stores " I mean
the large department stores and the specialty stores and retail stores.
We compared our list as to occupations with the pay-roll data afterwards submitted by the employers in 11 different establishments, and
we found that the percentage of each occupation that is, for the girls
and saleswomen and the other occupations prevailing in stores was
"'

—

—

—

;

HOURS OF LABOK FOE

,

WOMEN

IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

87

substantially the same, so that we felt Ave had a fair list.
I am only
telling you this in order that you may know how much credence to
give to our figures.
found in the stores that approximately 78
per cent of the women, nearly four-fifths, lived at home.
That is,
22.3 per cent of the women were boarding and rooming or living independency, as I have described. In the mechanical and manufacturing industries we found that there were approximately 26 per

We

,

I

I

cent

who were boarding, rooming,

or living independently—that is,
were living at home.
Now, as to wages, Mr. Chairman, the material in this table was
given to the Senate committee and made a part of their record. Do
you wish me to leave it here to become a part of your record?
The Chairman. "We would like to have it included as a part of the
record, but you might state briefly the substance of it.
Miss Obenauer. I am going to give you what the individual schedules show, and then what the pay rolls show, because our method in
getting this information was to get the statement of both the employers and employees. I wish to say also that in all except a few
cases we met with no reluctance on the part of the employers. They
gave us the information freely, and as a result there was very little
difference in the figures shown by employees and employers. There
74 per cent

.

is

may point out later on. The general
women upon whom we called, including all

one exception that I

wage for the

average
occupa-

was $6.55. The pay roll data showed $6.75. 1 would call your
attention to the fact that the pay roll refers to rates of pay. The individual schedules were earnings for the year previous to December
I also wish to say that four-fifths of the women in the in1, 1912.
dividual schedules showed employment from 48 to 52 weeks. In the
manufacturing and mechanical industries, I think it was 59 per cent
that is, 59 per cent showed so long a duration compared with 80 per
I think that should be taken into consideration in
cent in the stores.
judging of the wage. That is the reason I am speaking of it here.
Now, if you wish the groups that were earning specified wages I
can give them to you briefly. Over two-thirds of the women emtions,

ployed are employed as saleswomen. For saleswomen, the individual
schedules showed an average wage of $6.36 the pay-roll data showed
an average of $6.55. Now do you wish those by groups, Mr. Chairman, those that were earning $10 and more, $8.99. etc. ?
The Chairman. Yes; we would like to have them that way.
Miss Obenauer. I will give you the pay-roll data, for the reason
that in a list of 300 or so the higher paid people rather thin out. The
pay rolls cover over 2,600 women. The individual schedules, while
they show what the earnings were for the rank and file compared with
the rates of pay; were not gathered in numbers large enough to include many representatives of the higher but less frequent wage
grades.
Of 1,760 saleswomen, averaging $6.55, according to the pay
there were
roll, there were 225, or 12.8 per cent earning $10 or more
226, or approximately 12.8 per cent, earning from $8 to $9.99 11 per
cent, composing some 195 women; were earning from $7 to $7.99.
There were 17 per cent, or 300 women, earning from $6 to $6.99.
There were 358, .or 20.4 per cent; earning from $5 to $5.99. There
were 361 women, or 20.5 per cent, earning from $4 to $4.99. There
were 95 women, or 5.4 per cent, earning from $3 to $3.99, and there
;

;

;

88

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

were none earning under $3 per week. These are the groupings for
the saleswomen only. I will say that our figures were substantially
the same, and when I say " our own figures " I mean the figures given
by individuals. I wish also to say that this $6.75 general average for
the 2,600 women includes all the buyers and assistant buyers, except
If you put in these buyers,
nine, who were receiving $4,200 a year.
who were receiving on the average $4,200 a year, the pay-roll data
Do you wish
will show an average of $7 per week instead of $6.75.
groupings for the other occupations?
The Chairman. No; I would suggest that it be put in the record,
Let it go in at this point.
as our time is very brief this morning.

The
^1

table referred to is as follows:

rerage weekly earnings of 252 department-store women individually scheduled,
compared with weelely rate of pay as given by 11 establishments.

.

—
HOURS OF LABOE FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

89

Miss Obenauer. Now, for the manufacturing establishments. I
however, as has been said here before, that there are not
many women, comparatively speaking, employed in the manufacturing and mercantile industries.
The census of 1910 gives an average
will say/first,

of 828 in the manufacturing establishments, exclusive of the steam
laundries.
Including steam laundries there are about 1,500.

We"

interviewed personally about 10 per cent of them— a fairly representative "though not very large list.
adopted the same policy
of calling upon the employers for information, in order that we
might compare that with the information which we had received
from the employees, and in all instances we received the hearty cooperation of the employers, except in the case of the laundries, and
there we encountered some reluctance.
In one case we had an absolute refusal; in others the information was given very reluctantly,
and I must say that in those cases we had some very serious discrepancies between the information given us by the employers and
that given us by the employees.
May I say that our policy in this
matter was this:
had 40 or 50 laundry girls and we grouped
them according to hours.
tabulated their hours and earnings,
and then we called upon their employers in order that Ave might have
their statement.
Now, I may ask, Mr. Chairman, that this reluctance ought not to be ascribed to the laundrymen as a whole. In
fact, I am sure since this report has been closed that there are quite
a number of laundrymen from whose establishments we did not
have individual schedules, that would take the view that no matter
what the conditions are, nothing could arouse more sinister suspicions than the refusal to give information when it is called for
from a responsible and impartial source.
I hope that this statement may be made a part of the record,
in order that this reluctance may not be charged against all the
laundrymen. In regard to the earnings I wish to say that the discrepancies between the statements of employees and employers that
I spoke of do not apply.
got from three of the laundrymen
proprietors of not very large laundries, for some of the most relucwe got from three
tant were proprietors of the largest laundries
laundries average earnings of $5.47, according to the pay-roll data
submitted, and our own schedules were approximately the same;
a little lower, but about the same.
In the matter of working hours I think I have not as yet submitted data before this committee. Do you want that?

We

We

We

We

—

The Chairman. Yes we would
Mis Obenatjer. I will give you

have it.
a summary of normal working hours in the laundries, reported by the individuals. We had_ 44
laundry girls who gave us definite information as to their working
hours. There were 22.7 per cent of those who reported from 48 to
54 normal working hours. Twenty-one of the 44 reported from 55
;

like to
first

to 59 hours.

Mr. Gray. Pardon me, Mr. Chairman, but it is evident that we
be able to hear of the statement of this witness, and I am
very anxious to get to the House. Could this be continued to some
other time?
I am willing to come back any number of times.
Mr. Chairman. I would suggest, Mr. Gray, that we get through
with this particular phase of it, and then we can consider the quesJion of whether we will go on.
will not

I

90

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Miss Obenauer. I will talk a little faster. There were 18 per
cent working 60 to 64 hours, and there were about 7 per cent working from 65 to 68 hours. That was for the normal working hours.
Now, for the summary of working hours on the maximum day—
want to say that the maximum day in the laundries should be taken
into consideration, so far as the working hours are concerned, with
the two short days that usually do occur in the laundries everywhere, Mondays and Saturdays. The individual reports that we
had do show some extreme maximum days, but in those laundries
I want to make very sure that those days will not be taken as prevailing, but as the maximum days that occur in the sporadic rushes
that come upon them when there is an extra convention or an extra
hotel order. This is a summary of the working hours of maximum
days during overtime weeks, as shown by the individual reports.
There were 5 per cent that worked less than 11 hours during the
entire overtime season.
There were 15 per cent that worked just an
even 11 hours. There were 44 per cent that worked 12 hours.
There were 34 per cent that worked 13 hours on maximum days.
The Chairman. Could you file those papers with the stenographer?
Miss Obenauer. Yes, sir. Do you wish me to go any further?
The Chairman. No I think at this point would probably be as
good a place as you could find. Will it be possible for you to be
present on Monday?
Miss Obenauer. Yes, sir.
Mr. King. I leave town to-morrow I do not know about Mr.
Andrews, but if the gentlemen will bear with me about three minutes I would like to read you a letter that will go in the record
The Chairman (interposing). I am afraid we will not have time
for that now, Mr. King.
Mr. Kixci. I will have it read Monday, then.
;

;

The Chairman. Very well. Otherwise you can insert it in the
The committee will stand adjourned until 10 o'clock Mon-

record.

dav morning.

Committee on Labor,
House of Representatives,
Monday, February 10, 1913.

The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. William B. Wilson
(chairman) presiding.
There were present before the committee Miss M. L. Obenauer, of
the Bureau of Labor, Department of Commerce and Labor;
F.
Sowers, E. B. Farren, and others.
The Chairman. The committee will be in order. You may proceed, Miss Obenauer.

C

STATEMENT OF MISS M.

L.

OBENAUER—Continued.

Miss Obenauer. Mr. Chairman, may I say, before I go on with my
statement I suppose it is not within the jurisdiction of the committee to see that the papers do justice, but I feel as though a gross
wrong has been done the laundrymen in the report that appeared in
the paper Saturday night, and I wanted to make very sure that the

—

HOURS OF LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

91

committee understood that what I said in the way of criticism of
what you might call the reluctance of certain laundrymen should
not be charged against all of the laundrymen. In the paper Saturday night the report appeared as a criticism of all the laundrymen
in the city, and the criticism was inclosed in quotation marks, as if
I want to state here again this
it was coming from me directly.
morning that we had from 40 to 50 laundry girls, and when we had
their hours and earnings classified Ave called upon the proprietors
of the establishments in which those girls were employed in order to
have their statement of the hours and the earnings. There were 7
laundries of the 17 listed in the census of 1910. That list included
some of the largest and some of the moderate laundries. One of those
laundrymen refused outright to give us any information three others
were more or less reluctant. The others gave us the information,
and I want to repeat that in those cases there were practically no
discrepancies between the statements from the -employees and the
employers as to working hours and earnings. In the other cases
there were some very serious discrepancies.
For example, one laundryman who stated the hours after having
refused to give any information said they never exceeded 54. We
had reports from 15 employees in his establishment reports taken
by five or six agents in different parts of the city at the same time.
These individual reports showed that the hours were in excess of
those reported by the employer, from 6 to about 18 in the week.
Inasmuch as the information was from individuals in different parts
of the city, and there was no chance for collusion, and inasmuch as
the laundryman was very reluctant and evasive in his answers, we felt
We have
that the information from the employees should stand.
recorded the information from the employer, but we have in the
report footnoted the fact that there were 15 people in the establishment who reported different hours. I want to say again, however,
It is
that this should not be charged against all of the laundrymen.
grossly unfair to do so.
The Chairman. I might say, Miss Obenauer, that your statement
is exactly as I understood it when you made it here on Saturday.
Miss Obenauer. I tried to make myself plain, and I was milch distressed to see that statement in the paper.
Mr. Buchanan. Is that your first experience of misrepresentation
;

—

—

paper ?
Miss Obenauer. I have not had

in the

much

experience in newspaper

representations before.
Mr. Buchanan. I have gotten to the point where I do not take
time to notice them.
Mr. Sowers. Might I at this point ask the witness a question?
Inasmuch as this conflicting information reflects upon the laundrymen who are in opposition to this bill, may I ask her if those cases
where she met with reluctance, and the one case where they met
with a flat refusal— if those laundrymen are the ones who have
3.DD63T*6Q Xl6rC

.

The Chairman. I hardly think that question would be a proper
individuals were
question, unless Miss Obenauer specifies who the
that this committee cares particuthat refused, and I do not know
the purpose to state
larly about that. For that reason, unless it was

92

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

specifically who the ones
question as presented.

were that refused, I would object

to the
,

Mr. Sowers. In the impressions made by the papers it would
look—especially the Saturday accounts—that the attack was particureluctant. May
larly on myself, as I was the laundryman who was
was interviewed or not ?
I ask whether, I
The Chairman. I would have the same objection to that question,
unless the whole matter is to be taken up and specific statements
made as to who were the ones that refused and the ones that were
reluctant.

.

Miss Obenauer. May I say there, as I understand it, 1 am under
oath to give no information as to individuals or firms. I think that

is

my

status.

I understood that to be the case, and tor that
reason I would not want to have enter into the record here any
statement that by the process of elimination would result in the
Hence my
discovery of that which you are sworn to conceal.

The Chairman.

objection.

Mr. E. B. Farren. The hours of the laundries, in the great mathem that I am interested in, are about 54 hours a week.
In my particular laundry we work on Mondays
The Chairman (interposing). I must also object to any interjecMiss Obenauer is on the stand
tion of this matter at this time.
now.
Miss Obenauer. I think on Saturday I stated the hours as given
by 44 women from 7 laundries of the city. I gave the hours by
the week and then I gave the maximum working day. I think
jority of

—

I should say that the hours that is, the daily hours— for 54 per cent
of these workers were 10. Now, when I say the " usual " day. I
mean that which occurred more than any other, according to their
I want to say also that this included a number of women
reports.
who were employed in establishments doing a great deal of hotel
The hours where the flat work prevailed seemed to be
flat work.
longer, and the employers themselves who gave us information
reported longer hours where the flat work was heavy than where
bundle work or specialty work prevailed.
Also, I want to call your attention to the fact that there are
usually 2 short days in the laundry. Monday work and Saturday
work, so that this " usual day " would apply to but 4 days. Now,
that is the information given us by the women themselves. We had
interviewed, as I said, seven laundrymen, and one man refused information altogether. From four of the other places the prevailing
hours for the normal season were from 48 to 59 hours; that is, two
of them gave from 48 to 54 and two gave from 55 to 59. When I
say " normal," perhaps I ought to explain to guard against confusion.
The laundrymen who have appeared before you have spoken
of their busy season.
have called that normal which occurs for
a half or more of the year; that is, that which was usual we have
called normal.
It appears from the testimony given by the laundrymen that they divide their seasons into busy and dull, and they have
nothing that we have called " normal," so if you will simply bear in
mind that when I say " normal " I mean that which we have regarded

We

.

HOUBS OF LABOR FOB

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

93

of their good business. Two of them gave from 48 to 54
and two others from 55 to 59.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I have taken this laundry matter out of the
general information concerning women in manufacturing and mercantile establishments, because there seemed to be some stressing of
laundry information. I wanted to call your attention to the fact
that some of the information before this committee made it plain that
the hours were very different for different occupations.
That is
as the level

;,,

entirely true.

For example, the markers, who handle soiled clothes, would have
hours from the ironers. Their work involved certain occupational demands, that are not made upon the ironors.
On the other
hand, the ironers have some physical strain that the people in the
offices and the markers do not have.
The Chairman. You stated, I believe, Miss Obenauer, that you
found the average wage in the laundry to be $5.47 per week ?
Miss Obenauer. There were three laundrymen who gave us their
f
pay rolls, and there were 67 in those laundries that averaged $5.47
For the 44 women individually scheduled I think the avera week.
age was a little bit less, but substantially the same.
The Chairman. What did you find to be the maximum wage and
what the minimum wage upon which that average is based ?
Miss Obenauer. We had two of them that got $10 or more. We
had none that were getting less than $4 on the pay roll. Now, I say
we had none getting under $4 we had none getting a rate of pay
under $4, but we had some whose average earnings for the period of
employment were something under $4 -$3.75, owing to lost time, but
the rate of pay would substantially agree with this statement here
from the pay rolls.
The Chairman. You found that practically the minimum rate of
pay was $4 per week and the maximum rate of pay was $10 per
week, with the exception of two individuals who were upward of $10
different

—

1

—

1

per
t

week ?

No this pay roll gives $10 or more. If you will
excuse me just a moment I can tell you whether we had any wage
over $10 a week [examining papers]
The Chairman. I understood you to say that there were two that
received $10 or more.
Miss Obenauer. The pay rool showed two that had $10 or more,
but I do not know without examining the records how much higher
than $10. Now was there anything further on the laundries that
Miss Obenauer.

;

you wanted ?

The Chairman. No; I think you have covered that very fully.
Miss Obenauer. I might say right here that the number of women
employed in steam laundries is about 700, between 600 and 700, and
that the number of people employed in manufacturing establishments,
such as paper boxes and we have included there tailoring and dressmaking were 828, acording to the 1910 census. So there are not
many altogether. We interviewed about 10 per cent of them, and we
grouped their hours altogether; that is, we treated them all as one
the stores as one group as I stated the
group, as we" treated all

—

—

m

other day.

—

94

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

The Chairman.

I

do not

recall that

you stated the whole number

in mercantile establishments.

Miss Obenauer. In the mercantile establishments there were on the
pay rolls submitted to us nearly 2,700. The census of manufactures
does not give the number of people employed in trade, because it is
The population division
a census of manufacturing, not of trade.
has issued a bulletin, and in there they have a .grouping of clerks
and of saleswomen. They have reported 1,440 saleswomen, and then
they have another grouping of some 5,000 clerks, and a footnote
saying, " This probably includes a great many people in the stores."
It is pretty hard to say how many people are included, but I would
think, judging from our pay rolls the firms included on these pay
rolls
that we probably had in our pay roll data two-thirds of the
women employed in the retail places of the city.
The Chairman. In the classification of clerks in which this 5,000

—

—

are included does that take in generally the clerks in offices?
Miss Obenauer. Outside the Government. In fact, I think the
purpose of the Population Division was to include in that only people
known as clerks in offices, stenographers: and so forth, because the
footnote would indicate that there had slipped in a good many that
were really salespeople, and for that reason, as I say. it is pretty hard
to state absolutely.

The Chairman. This information had not been properly obtained
by the enumerators.
Miss Obenauer. Yes. Now, then, taking all these women included
in the manufacturing and mechanical, which would include the laundries, the normal working hours for 55 per cent of them were from
48 to 54, the prevailing day being from 8 to 9. By " normal " I mean
the level of good business.
The Chairman. That did not make it very clear to me, and I do
not know that it does to the others, as to whether the normal period
as included in your reports is similar to the busy period as stated
here or to the dull period as stated here.
Miss Obenauer. It was the same as the busy period as stated here.
In the laundry business it covers about January 1 to July the usual
time that Congress is in session. Our purpose when we said " normal '" was to get that which prevailed during the greater part of the
year
Mr. Buchanan (interposing). If you speak of the time that Congress is in session, that is about all the time now.
Miss Obenauer. Now, of those that worked in the busy seasons
about 50 per cent worked overtime, and 60 per cent of those that were
working overtime worked from 2 to 10 weeks. That does not mean
every day in the week. I would call your attention to the fact that
this 60 per cent is something of a contrast with the number of women
in stores that worked overtime during the Christmas holidays.
Something like 90 per'cent of the women that were interviewed and
were in the stores at Christmas time worked overtime. On the
other hand, the women in the stores worked overtime for one week,
and very few of them were paid for it only about 8 per cent. In
the manufacturing and mechanical, 60 per cent worked from -2 to
10 weeks overtime. You see, overtime is not so sharp there:

—

—

—
•

HOUES OP LABOE FOE

WOMEN

IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

-

95

The Chairman. How much overtime did they work during that
two to six weeks ?
Miss Obenauee. I will come back .to that directly well, I have

period of

—

right here in this note. Twenty-eight per cent of the women that
were working overtime as compared with 65 per cent in the stores
worked from 70 to 79 hours. Let me state that again, Mr. Chairman,
Sixty-five per
because one condition somewhat offsets the other.
cent of the people were working overtime in the stores during the
Christmas holiday week and were working 70 to 79 hours. In the
manufacturing industries there were 28 per cent that worked the
hours I have named, 70 to 79 hours, but they worked a longer time
that is, from 2 to 10 weeks whereas the people in the stores worked
I week or at most 2 weeks.
There was no tendency in the manufacturing and mechanical
In the stores,
establishments to lengthen the hours on Saturday.
over half of them had a long Saturday. Over 62 per cent worked
II hours or over on Saturday in the normal season, and that occurs
throughout the year exclusive of the dull summer months, the dull
it

—

—

—

more than 11 or 12 weeks. In the manufacturing
and mechanical there is no tendency to lengthen the hours on Saturday during overtime seasons.
Mr. Buchanan. In the manufacturing did they pay for overtime?
Miss Obenauee. In the manufacturing and mechanical, yes; perhaps I had better single out the printing trades and the dressmaking
and tailoring. It is the usual custom to pay for overtime. I think

season lasting not

was no exception to that.
Mr. Buchanan. Did they pay anything more than the usual rate ?
Miss Obenauee. Time and a half seems to be the prevailing rate,
although we found instances of double time.
The Chaieman. I regret that we must cut off these hearings again
We will adjourn now until 9.30 to-morrow morning.
at this point.

there
'

,

•

-

Committee on Laboe,
House or Representatives,

Tuesday, February 11, 1913.
Hon. William B. Wilson
The committee met
committee:
(chairman) presiding. There were present before the
*
representing the Bureau of Labor
Miss M. L. Obenauer,
Laundry; K. V.
Sowers, 823 G Street NW, manager Columbia
George *.
Andrews, acting president, Retail Merchants Association;
Archibald McHebbard secretary, Merchant Tailors Exchange;
Farren, 1723
Sween, superintendent, National Publishing Co E
Avenue NW., representing the West End Laundry
Pennsylvania
A P. Avaleai, 2117
F. C. Chorley, 1018 Fourteenth Street
NW., representing the Elite Laundry Co.; John
Fourteenth Streeet
Massachusetts
C W^eman 914 F Street NW.; L* A. Sterne, 701 Federation of
vice president, Maryland State

;)'•

at 9.30 o'clock a. m.,

;

;

NW

!

r
I

.

U

K

;

Avenue NW, first
Street NW, representing
Llbor and D. F. Manning, 1521 Eighth
,,.
the Retail Clerks Union.
,
„
,„,
Obenauer
order. Miss nKori llpT
The Chaieman. The committee will be in
.

\

will proceed.

:

96

HOURS OP LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

STATEMENT OF MISS M. L. OBENAUEE, REPRESENTING THE
BUREAU OF LABOR, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND LABOR—
Continued.

Miss Obenauer. Mr. Chairman, I think I was specifying the industries that were paying overtime for work when the committee
had to adjourn yesterday. I have stated that it was the universal
custom to pay for overtime in the manufacturing and mechanical
industries.
found one exception to that and I have made sure
that I was right in what I am about to say, and that was that in the
laundry work we did not find any instances of payment for overtime. That was the only exception affecting the women individually
scheduled in the manufacturing and mechanical industries. I would
like to put into the record, Mr. Chairman, the pay-roll data that we
secured from the manufacturing and mechanical establishments,
covering the rate of pay for about 326 women; also what we got
from the women individually. I want to say before I put the tables
in that I think the figures secured from the women individually are
really fairer to the industries than the pay-roll data, for this reason:
The pay rolls represent the flat rates of pay for a normal day and
show an average for the 326 women of $5.74, while the individual
women that were scheduled reported pay for both normal and overtime hours and showed an average earning of $7.13. I think I said
before that in the case of the printing and the tailoring establishments, and also in the case of the laundries, the pay rolls and individual schedules showed a substantial agreement as to rates of
pay. The printing trade showed an average of $8.16 and the tailoring nearly $10 $9.86, the laundries $5.47. These figures are the
same as those submitted here to the committee by the representatives.
The table based upon individual schedules is arranged in wage
groups rather than by industries. The footnotes, however, throw
some light upon the wage by industries. The table referred to is

We

—

—

as follows
pay of in men employed in selected manufacturing and mechanical establishments in Washington, D. C, as shown by establishment pay

~Weelcly rates of
rolls.

HOUBS OF LABOK FOE

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

97

iverapc weekly earnings of tc.niai employed in manufacturing and mechanical
industries as shown by individual schedules.

Women

earnin g
specified weekly

Classified average

amounts.

weekly earnings.

52 to $2.99
53 to $3.99

14 to $4.99
$5 to $5.99
$6 to $6.99
$7 to $7.99
$8 to $8.99
$10 or more

i

Total

Average weekly earnings. $7.13.
1

5
"•

75 per cent were employed by laundries and drug companies.
55.9 per cent were employed by laundries.
37.5 per cent were employed by tailoring establishments.

There is one other thing I wanted to say in connection with these
Seven dollars and thirteen cents is about 35 cents higher
earnings.
than the average shown for the department and other retail stores.
think there should be taken into
faetfthat 80 per cent of the women
I

consideration with

that

the

employed in the department
stores snowed employment of from 48 to 52 weeks, whereas in the
mechanical and manufacturing only about 59 per cent showed so long
That is, I think, pertinent to the matter.
a duration of employment.
The Chairman. Do I understand from that that the manufacturing establishments showed so much more lost time ?
Miss OBENAtTER. Yes, there is much more lost time there. The effect
of the dull season in the manufacturing and mechanical industries in
ifashington is shown in the number of layoffs during the dull .season.
You find women
In the department stores that is not so noticeable.
employed much longer during the year in the stores, and of course
Now I think the hours
the earnings have a direct bearing on that.
for the manufacturing and mechanical have been covered.
In the matter of the hotels I should say that the distinguishing
Seventy per cent of the women that were interviewed were employed seven days of the week, though not always
They have short days, sometimes two short days in
the same hours.
had
the week, but the distinguishing feature was the fact that they
seven days in the week.
to be on duty
The Chairman. What did you find to be the average number ot
hours for hotel employees ?
secured
Miss Obenauer. I will give you first the information we
then what the employers themselves gave us.
from individuals, and
on the
Let me say here, inasmuch as I called attention to reluctance
there was no reluctance on the part ot
part of employers before, that
upon the part
the hotel or restaurant men, any more than there was
manufacturing establishments. Ur the
of the department stores or
hours
women that we individually scheduled, those working under 48
working 48 to o4 hours consticonstituted about 22 per cent; those
per cent. That is the
tuted about 20 per cent; from 55 to 59, 80
the year, and not tor any
These are hours throughout
largest group.
feature is 7-dav labor.

.

78634—13

7

.

HOUES OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

98

cent 65to 69
one season. Those working 60 to 64 constitute 16 per
TO to 72 hours,
hours 4 per cent, 70 hours and over— more definitely—
there was a larger
4 per cent. In the table giving maximum hours
reporting their
percentage working the longer periods, 10 per cent
Mr. Chairman, I will leave this
69.
maximum hours as from 65 to
.,..,,
table to be made part of the record if you so desire.
,.
The Chairman. Very well. Might I ask at this point it the difference in hours is due to the different kinds of work that women are
doing?
Miss Obex aver. It is due to the different occupations. Ihe glass
washers, for instance, have a different set of hours from the other
workers. The linen clerks are longer on duty than any of the others,
but the demands on them are not so great. The cleaning women are
on the shortest number of hours, but they have nightwork, beginning sometimes 2 vr 3 o'clock in the morning, and they are on duty
a longer time in the week
The Chairman. Hours that are inconvenient and unusual?
Miss Obenauer. Yes.
Mr. Rouse. Is that table for the record ?
Miss Obenauer. Yes.
Mr. Rouse. Let me see it. please.
Miss Obex auer (handing table to Mr. Rouse) These are from indiThis table is from the establishments; and I will say that
viduals.
inasmuch as we could not put in one table the hours for all the differ;

.

.

we made this table to show the longest set of hours
required for any single group of people. If that is not the largest
group, then there is set forth in the footnote the hours for the largest
group. What we wanted to do was to mark the limit of demand on
employees. I have the average weekly hours here throughout the
year as reported by employees. For the first establishment it is 63
and 78. The figure 1 refers to the footnote stating that the two
In the second establishment the
figures represent alternate weeks.
figures are 77 in the third. 69 and 71 in the fourth, 70 ; in the fifth,
70 in the sixth, 60 and 70 in the seventh, 60 arid 70 in the eighth,
70 in the ninth, 66£ in the tenth. 61 and 66 in the eleventh, 56 and
63 and in the twelfth, 30. The establishments represent about 382—
nearly 400 women altogether.
Mr. Rouse. Do you give the names of the establishments on that table ?
Miss Obenauer. No we tell what kind of establishments they are,
but we do not give any names.

ent occupations,

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

Mr. Rouse. Then we can not tell anything about this table.
Miss Obenauer. Those are only the individuals working in hotels
and restaurants, showing the average weekly hours of women at work
in restaurants, hotels, and miscellaneous places.
Mr. Rouse. Is that for the record ?
Miss Obenauer. I do not know whether we could put this in the
record or not.

The Chairman. Yes;

I think you can.
Miss Obenauer. I will say that for the 50 women that we had individually scheduled, in 64 per cent of the cases the women received
board and room in addition to the wage, and that should be carefully
noted, because the wage apparently is much lower. May I say also
that the hotels covered are the large down-town hotels ?
They do not
cover the apartment houses out in the resident districts. I think

HOTJES OF LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

99

perhaps I could save time if I just give you the main figures
and put
the record.
The Chairman. Yes; I think that would be preferable:
Miss Obenauer. Of these 50 women there are 33 getting
$3 to $3.99 a
week. Of the others there were two getting below that, and
the others
scattered along from $8 to $8.99 per week.
had none getting over
$10 a week 64 per cent of them got both board and room 0.2 per cent
additional had meals, but no room that is, practically 70
per cent of
them got either meals or room or both in addition to the wage.
The Chairman. Among those who had rooms and board or board
alone are there any of those that are included in the higher rates
in
your table ?
You have some there who are receiving nearly $10. Are
those that are receiving that higher rate also getting board and
room «
Miss OBENArER. Xo, sir; those that received $8 and $8.99 received
cash only.
That is true of those receiving $7.99 they received cash
only.
The table shows that. I think that is all I have to say.
The Chairman There is one other point that I would like" to °-et
information about, if you have it, and that is as to the temperatures
in the laundries and in the kitchens of the hotels.
Have you made
any investigations of that ?
Miss Obenatter. Not in the kitchens of the hotels.
this table in

!

i

We

;

;

;

;

.

women employed in selected hotels, restaurants, and at
service tcnrl; in miscellaneous establishments of Washington, D.
C, as re-

Working hours of

ported by employers.
[The longest hours

set of women is given.
Occasional overtime, occurring
sions, as banquets, bails, etc., is not included in the tabulations.]

worked by any

on special occa-

Regular working hours throughout the year.
Establish-

ment

Women
Character.

employed

No.

Hours

Hours

Hours

usual
day.

short
day.

long
day.

Hotel

101

.-..do

11
i
9

....do

<11

do

Average

weekly
hours.

Days Nights Maxiworked worked mum
per
per
weekly
week.
week
hours.

'63
178

None.
None.

l

>None.

Women
af-

fected.

22

77
69

=

7

56

171

None.
None.

70
70

7

10

None.

860
"70

86
87

•None.

2

10

None.

10

17

VNone.

60

None.
None.

10

7
7

None.
None.

46
6

10

'10

Restaurant

do
Transportation

do

10

Restaurant

91

<n

Hotel

4

10§

<5

do

<

Restaurant

12
5

H
8

9i
io;

^None.

12

None.

l

60
70
70
66.]

None.
None.

7

6

61

8

92

None.

•66
156

3

I

13

None.

1.

10

63

30

10

2
7

i

Alternate weeks.
24, the largest group of women employed, have an average week of 54 hours, with a maximum week of
hours occurring every sixth week.
3
27, the largest group of women employed, have an average week of 56 hours, with a maximum week of
hours occurring every fourth week.
1
Alternate days.
s
32, the largest group of women employed, have an average week of 60 hours, with a maximum week of
hours every fourth week.
'8, the largest group of women employed, have an average week of 66J hours, with a shorter week of 63
2

'i

Urs every fourth
1

1

1

>

week.

Every tenth week have a 6J-hour day,
Bave every tenth day off.
15,

or a 45J-hour week.

the largest group of women employed, have an average

week

with a

maximum week of

hours, with a

maximum week of

of 50J hours,

hours.
10,

the largest group of

hours.

women employed, have an average week of 53

100 HOUES OF LABOR FOE

Women
-

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA..

earning specified weekly amounts and number in each wage group
ceiving board or room or both, in addition to specified wage.

re-

HOURS OF LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

101

committee is this There is a great deal of difference in
temperature of the flat work ironers as shown by our records.
The annihilator, which the young woman who testified here was
evidently running, had a pretty high temperature record if, in the
establishment we visited, it was not properly equipped with an
"exhaust system.
We took our records between the 27th of March
and the 16th of April in the city of Milwaukee, Wis., where they
have some_31 laundries. The highest outdoor temperature at any
We never took any temperatures inside that,
time was 75 degrees.
we did not take them at the same time outside, in order to distinguish between conditions chargeable to the industry and those chargeWe did not wish to load all the sins of the
able to the weather.
weather man onto the laundryman. There were eight annihilators
'in the city of Milwaukee for which we had temperature records.
For those not equipped with an exhaust system the temperature
ranged from 69 to 94, the temperature outside at the same time
That was the highest temperature that we had outside.
being 75.
At the same time we took the temperatures about annihilators where
there was an exhaust system, and the highest record we had there
was 76.
The Chairman. With the same temperature outside?
Miss Obenauer. The temperature outside at that time was 46.
The exhaust system makes a good deal of difference, although we
have had cases where an exhaust system apparently failed. There
were two machines of great radiating power close together, the operator of one machine getting the heat of the other machine because
the exhaust system drew the heat away from one onto the operators
Consequently, although the rooms were adequately
of another.
equipped with exhaust systems, the machines were badly placed and
I
the operators were working in high degrees of temperature.
should say that these annihilators call for no occupational demand
It is a machine driven by steam.
in the way of physical exertion.
It is, however, a dangerous machine if not properly guarded, because
the hands of the operator may be caught in the rolls.
The Chairman. Have you found generally that they are properly
before this

:

the

*

made any investigation ?
OBENAr er. No, not here in the city but the accidents on these
annihilators are so serious when they do occur that it is in the inter-

guarded, or have you

Miss

;

of the employer to keep them pretty well guarded. Accidents
on flat-work ironers are generally very bad accidents. Do you have
the automatic stop guards on your machines, Mr. Sowers?
Mr. Sowers. Yes.
Miss Obenaler. What I mean by the automatic stop guard is a
device so placed that if the operator moves it toward the roller the
ests

machine automatically stops.
Mr. Sowers. I can say that that is universally used here.
Miss Obenauer. Do you have the doffer roll ?
Mr. Sowers. Yes.
Miss Obenatjer. The real strain in the laundry comes upon the
In testing these machines with
operators of foot-treadle machines.
our scale we found that they registered 100 pounds or oyer. That
was a frequent record on the cuff-press machine. This is a device
upon which the girl puts the cuff or the yoke of the shirt and then
brings

down

the upper press by foot pressure.

We

found that

in

102

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

most cases the girls adjusted the tension of the machine themselves,
and were under the impression that the tighter they made it the better finish they got on the garment and the less time it took. I
will say that the laundrymen in Milwaukee were very helpful
about this study, not only allowing us to make our investigations,
but helping us in it. They were very much surprised when we put
the scale to the machine to see how much pressure was being used in
the operation. After the study was over we went back and made
other tests, and the laundrymen themselves readjusted the machines
and found that 50 pounds on the whole was all that was needed, except for unusually thick material. The highest amount of pressure
that was needed was 72 pounds. You can realize what it means to
take off that much pressure for each operation in a 10-hour day,
with a machine calling for 16 operations per minute. It was not
only a saving of the energy of the operator, but it was likewise a
saving to the padding on the machine and the machine itself. After
we got these records completed we submitted them to a committee
of physicians.
stated exactly how many operations per minute
the foot-treadle machines required, taking the body ironers and cuffpress machines as examples and giving the prevailing temperatures
in which the girls worked.
Then we asked what would be the tendencies of such labor on a young woman of average health, 21 years
old and unmarried.
Our purpose was not to find out what it would do to the anemic
and run-down. It has been my observation that most people
employed in laundries were not exceptional one way or the other,
and the thing that would be important would be the tendency that
would be created in the average, because if it would have an injurious effect on the average young woman, it would certainly have a
worse effect on those that were below the average. Dr. Eavenel,
who is connected with the University of AVisconsin, was on this
committee, and his statement I will read, if you wish it, with that
of the other physicians.

We

The Chairman. Yes we would
Miss Obenauer (reading)
;

like to

have

it.

:

would expect such work to be detrimental to the health of a young woman.
would almost certainly produce some distortion of the spine with one-sided

I

It

development of the body.

The opinions of Dr. Copeland and of Dr. William Thorndike.
both of Milwaukee, were practically identical, viz: If long continued the operation of such machines would have a strong tendency
to create pelvic disorders.
We did not ask opinions of workers at
all, because we did not feel that they were
competent to judge
whether the work was harmful or not, because the pathological
results are slow and devious.
In justice to the laundry industry, I
should say that of the 552 women individually scheduled in Milwaukee only a few over a hundred were running the foot-treadle machine.
The others were running machines that made no excessive or exceptional demands at all, and should not be, and would
not be, rated as
doing excessive labor if the sanitary conditions are all right.
Everything depends, of course, on the efficiency of management,
and I
will say for the benefit of the laundrymen here, that
the foot-treadle
machines are probably responsible more than anything else for giv-

HOUKS OF LABOE FOR

WOMEN

1ST

THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

103

laundry industry the name of being an exceptionally hard
employment.
1
The Chairman. Are those facts which you have stated here the
ing the

of an investigation in the city of Milwaukee
Miss Obenatter. Yes.

result

?

The Chairman Have you made any investigation in the city
Washington?
Miss Obenatjer. Not of the character of machines. May I say
that we made a study of the question in Milwaukee, with the idea
of extracting from the local conditions those facts which are common to the industry all over the country. "We went from the laundries in Milwaukee to the foundries to see what kind of machines
are being made, and sent all over the country in order that we might
know what results would be likely to be produced anywhere in the
The results of the investigation of local conditions would
industry.
be of value in other parts of the country where similar conditions

'"

.

of

prevailed.

The Chairman. In making your investigation relative to temperdid you make investigation at different periods during the
day? For instance, during the time when they were utilizing natural light, and during the time they were utilizing artificial light, did
you note the effect that the artificial light had on the temperature ?
Miss Obenatjer. In Milwaukee they have a 55-hour law, and we
found practically no overtime there at all. We found some rather
poorly lighted establishments, particularly in the wash rooms, where
in some cases
the humidity was higher than in other work rooms
on a dark day they would need artificial light, but as the days on
which we were in such establishments were clear they were not using
the artificial light, so we have no record of the effect of such light
ature,

—

on the temperature.

Mr. Sowers. In comparing the statistics regarding the different
Washington did the bureau compare statistics covering domestics and employees of hospitals ?
Miss Obenatjer. No.
Mr. Sowers. In comparing these statistics, also, did you investigate
the temperature and conditions of Chinese laundries?
Miss Obenatjer. I should say that this information applies only
to steam laundries, and I believe that the foundry men sell no steam
laundry machinery to the Chinese laundries at all, do they?
Mr. Sowers. Yes they do.
Miss Obenatjer. We have no information about the Chinese laundries, nor hand laundries.
Mr. Sowers I asked that question in view of the fact that the
Chinese laundry is the hottest in the country, and they work the
institutions in

;

longest hours.
'
Miss Obenatjer. Our investigation has only to do with conditions
under which women labor.
Mr. Sowers. The Chinese laundries employ domestics to do a
They employ colored women.
certain part of their work.
Miss Obenatjer. They did not have them in the places that we

investigated.

Mr. Sowers. You will find it so in Washington.
Mr. Andrews. By request I wish to submit a petition handed me
by the president of the Ladies' Tailors and Dressmakers Associa-

104

HOURS OF LABOH FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

also a petition of the emThen
Tailors Association of Washington.
ployees of the Ladies'
I would like to introduce Mr. Archibald McSween.
tion of America,

Washington branch; and

Petition from the Ladies' Tailohs and Dressmakers Association.
I

'IL'Udnuarters the Ladies' Tailors and Dressmakers Association of America
Washington, D. C, 802 Fourteenth St. X.

WM

Branch No.

3,

To the Committee im Labor of the House of Representatives,
Washington, D.

C.

Ladies' Tailors and Dressmakers Association of Washington, D. C, wish to enter protest against the proposed law for the elimination
of female labor to eight hours per day, as it will ultimately work a hardship

Gentlemen: The

on both employers and employees.

The women employed in the ladies' tailoring and dressmaking industries are
largely dependent upon the money they earn from extra work they perform
during the busy season, as they are subject to very short seasons and long
enforced vacations, and to take a part of their means of livelihood from them
would be an injustice to them and to us. On the other hand, as we are very
often called upon to produce garments on very short notice and by the use of
skilled labor, which is not overly plentiful in this city, which makes it impossible to make other distribution of our employees or to introduce " shift
work."
In view of the above reasons

of the

ladies' tailoring

provi-

we recommend that the female employees
and dressmaking establishments be excepted from the

sions of the proposed law.

Respectfully submitted.

Robert Pluym,

William S. Schwartz, vice president;
Adolf Bode, financial secretary: E. W.
Zea, treasurer; Paul Leibel; K. Schwab; Henry Mtiller; A. W.
Lukei X. Del Grosso H. Pasternak.
president;

F. C. Chorley, secretary;
;

:

Petition from Employees of the Ladies' Tailoring and Dressmaking

Establishments.

To the Committee on Labor, House of Representatives:
We, the employees of the ladies' tailoring and dressmaking establishments
of the city of Washington, D. C, protest against the enactment of the Peters
bill now pending in Congress, into law, for the reason that we are largely
dependent on the money we earn from overtime work.
The seasons in our business are very short, and our vacations are correspondingly long, and as we have no other method of obtaining funds to carry us.
over the periods of unemployment we are desirous of accepting such extra
work as may come to us, which would be prohibited under such law.

Respectfully submitted.

M. R. Cinotti; M. G. Cattaliano; Lulu Reeves; A. Schmidt; Elsie
Blair; Ruth Colburn Bertha Dewdmy. 914 F Street; K. Schwab,
SOI Eleventh Street, 914 New York Avenue: Benjamin Shapiro;
H. Pasternak; M. Hayes; Mrs. Phillips; J. Jennie Friedner;
;

E. W. Zea, Myra Thompson, E. Rollins, 1017
Fifteenth Street H. Miiller, M. Moore, R. Heling, M. McMullen,
Elizabeth Werner, 1111 Seventeenth Street; G. M. Norton, 1216
Connecticut Avenue; V. Schutz. 1752
Street; Lukei, 1720 M
Street: S. L. Searight, Seventeenth Street; B. L. Godwin; A.
Roth, Miss Carper, Marie Smith, 1234 Fourteenth Street.

Fredy Fredmin;

;

M

STATEMENT OF .ARCHIBALD McSWEEN, SUPERINTENDENT
THE NATIONAL PUBLISHING CO., WASHINGTON, D. C.

OF

The Chairman. You may proceed, Mr. McSween.
Mr. McSween. Our office is a union office. We have always had
an 8-hour day, and we employ a good many women in our bindery,

HOURS OP LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

but our business is of such a nature that
8 hours.

we can not always

105

stop at

Mr. Buchanan. How many people do you employ?
Mr. McSween. Anywhere from 6 to 20. It is small in comparison
with the other industries, but our business is of such a character that
we could not employ women if we were not allowed to work more
than 8 hours. For instance, we are under contract to furnish programs for a theater. The copy is late, and we have got to get those
programs out for Monday night. Now, we could not do that if we
had a force that would have to stop after exactly 8 hours. We have
to have some elasticity so that if we are a little late we can work an
extra hour or an hour and a half overtime.
It is. the same way
with publications. We might be under a contract to put a publication out on a certain day, and we might have to work three or four
hours overtime, and such a law as this would result in the elimination
of women employees altogether.
We would have to have men and
boys only in our business. Our labor is skilled labor in a way, but
boys and men can easily be trained to do it. I think that is about
the main point that I wish to bring up, that we could not work with
a force of

that kind.

Mr. Buchanan. What percentage of your employees are ladies ?
Mr. McSween. I suppose not more than 10 per cent.
Mr. Andrews. Mr. Hebbard, representing the merchant tailors
of this city, will be our next speaker.
The Chairmak. Mr. Hebbard is recognized.

STATEMENT OF GEORGE E. HEBBARD, REPRESENTING .THE RE.
TAIL MERCHANTS' ASSOCIATION OF WASHINGTON, AND THE
MERCHANT TAILORS' EXCHANGE OF WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. Hebbard. Mr. Chairman, a great deal has been said as to what
considered sufficient pay, adequate pay, maximum and minimum
Also, the Labor
pay, for females in the District of Columbia.
Bureau has submitted several statements and records of their office
on the manufacturing and industrial industries in the District of
Columbia. Upon inquiry, I found that they have no record of the
largest plant, and the only place in the District of Columbia that in
any way resembles a factory, where they employ over 1,900 females,
one-half of which work at night from 3.30 to 11.30 p. m., and this
institution is in competition with other industries.
is

,

The Chairman. What institution is that?
Mr. Hebbard. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing. I have
here a statement from Mr. Kalph, Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which I will read [reading]
:

February

7,

1913.

Mr. Geobge E. Hebbard,

Washington, D.

C.

Sir: In reply to your letter of the 7th instant, requesting information relative
to female employees of this bureau, I desire to state that they work eight hours
a day, and the minimum and maximum wages of about 1,900 of them are $1.50
and $2.24 per day. There are a few, however, that are paid higher salaries,
from $2.31 a day to $2,100 per year. Whenever occasion demands, they willingly work overtime, the pay for overtime being one-eighth of a regular day's
pay for each hour of overtime worked. The employees at minimum wages
have asked to have their wages increased, and the Secretary of the Treasury

106

HOUBS OF LABOE FOB WOMEN

1ST

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

has recommended it to be increased to $1.75 per day, which is now being considered by the House committee having charge of the sundry civil appropriation act.
All employees of this bureau are granted, with pay, leave of absence for 30
days, all the legal holidays, and Saturday half-holidays in July, August, and

September.
J. E.

Respectfully,

Ralph,
Director.

Mr. Smith. Is that a national organization?
Mr. Hebbard. It is the only place in Washington resembling a
factory, having, as shown by the record, 1,900 females employed.
Mr. Kalph's report says they are allowed to work overtime, for
which they are paid one-eighth of a day's pay per hour. The contention we make is that they are allowed to work overtime.
Mr. Andrews. Is that a violation of the law ?
The Chairman. If it is an emergency it is not a violation of the
law.
The law provides for emergency conditions in which they may

work overtime.
Mr. Hebbard. That
gency conditions.

is

exactly the point.

We

are asking for emer-

The Chairman. The law relative to contract work provides for
emergencies and also provides that the President shall have the power
to declare what constitutes an emergency.
Would you like to have
a provision of that kind in this bill ?
Mr. Hebbard. Yes. Every time we have submitted that it has been
opposed by the trade secretaries. We offered that amendment in the
Senate, and just as soon as we offered it Miss Kelley knocked it out.
The Chairman. Did your amendment provide that the President
of the United States should decide when an emergency existed ?
Mr. Hebbard. How can the President provide for an emergency in
the tailoring business?

Whom do you want to determine what constian emergency?
Mr. Hebbard. I think this committee is able to frame this law
themselves. I think they are perfectly capable of doing that.
The Chairman. You are here, as I understand it, for the purpose
of advising the committee as to what is best to be done under the
circumstances; otherwise there would be no need for the hearings.
Whom, in your judgment, is the person who ought to be intrusted
with authority of determining when an emergency arises ?
Mr. Hebbard. I think the employer should have something to sav
about an emergency in regard to his own business. The Bureau of
Labor has shown that in the manufacturing industries just about
half the year we are busy. There is only 59 per cent of the year that
we are busy, and the other 41 per cent of the time is the off season
with us. Now, I would like to submit, as secretary of the Merchant
Tailors' Exchange, a list of prices in neighboring cities with which
the tailors in Washington have to compete.
I have some prices here
that I would like to put in the record. The proposition I make is
that if we get as strict a law in regard to overtime as this it will
result
detriment to the female emplovees in Washington and to
the employers also.
The Chairman. Does your table show that the rates of pay are
higher here than they are in competing towns?
Mr. Hebbard. Yes, sir.
The Chairman.

tutes

m

:

HOUKS OP LABOK FOR

WOMEN

IN

:

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

107

The Chairman. Do you want to put in the record that patrons of
your industry would be induced to go to other towns under these
conditions ?

Mr. Hebbard. They would go;
post and have
could here.
cels

it

made

The Chairman. If there
at this

The
to

yes.
I can take my stuff by parin other places to better advantage than I
is

no objection

it

can be put in the record

time.
tables referred to are as follows

In the merchant-tailoring trade in Washington, D.
the best of my knowledge, are as follows

C, prices for making

Coats, sack

only,
•

'

$5. 00-$8.

Overcoats

Cutaways
Double-breasted frock
Full dress
Waistcoats
Trousers

~~_~__1

00
7.00-14.00
6. 00-12. 00
g 00-14 00
12.' 00-15.'
00
1. 25- 2 50
!. oo_ 2 50
.

Above prices are subject

to extras.

[The Baltimore Cut, Trim & Make Co., 409 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore,
sive designers, trimmers, and makers for merchant tailors.]

Price List.

rf

Cutting, trimming, aiid malting.

Grade.

Md

Exclu-

:

108

HOUES OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
Extra charges on

vests.
$0. 25

Double-breasted vest
Full-dress or cossack clerical vests

50
1-00
.25
.25
50
25
.

Silk back in vest
Silk cord on vest

Patch pockets on vest
Panel vest
Try-on vest

.

.

Extra charges on trousers.
Belt of same material
Cuff bottom
Half-lined trousers (full lined, 50 cents)
Spring buckles, each
Riding trousers
Reenforeeil seat in trousers
Broad fall trousers (without fly bottom on side)
Braid on trousers (silk, $1.50), mohair

$0. 25

—

No charge.
.25
.10

4.00
.50
1.00
1.00

Extra charges on overcoats.
Double-breasted overcoats
$1.50
Double-breasted storm overcoats
2.00
Single-breasted automobile overcoat (double breasted, $2.50)
1.50
Single-breasted raglan, paddock, or paletot overcoats (double breasted,
$3.50)

2.

Overcoat (silk facing to edge, $3; full silk lined to facing, $5), full
lined and facing to edge
Silk or satin yoke in overcoat
Satin sleeve lining in overcoat
Velvet collar. " Best "
Convertible collar on overcoat
Try-on overcoat
Waterproofing (eravenette) suit or overcoat
Sponging overcoat, suit, or any part of suit

7.00
2.00
1.00

.

Making and trimming

50

silk

1.

00

2.00
.75

1.00
.10

only.

For making and trimming apply the prices for cutting, trimming, and makwe allow you for cutting as follows

ing, except

Coats and trousers

$0.40
.50

Suits

Coats
Vests
Trousers
Overcoats

.

.

.

_

Making
(It is understood that you furnish
be charged for.)

Grade.

all

25
io
15
50

only.

trimmings; any trimmings short

will

:

HOURS OF LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Extra charges on coats for making

109

only.

Single-breasted Prince Albert, clerical frocks
English walking coats or cutaway frocks

Tuxedo

50
2.00
1,50

Full dress

3.XX)

$1.

,

Double-breasted Prince Alberts

Z

Try on above styles
Norfolk coat
Skeleton coat, one-fourth lined
Patch pockets on coat
Cuff sleeves (special design, not our fashion, 25 cents)
Double-breasted sack coat
Try on sack coats

Extra charges on vests for making

1.00
1. 50
1. 00
50
charge
.50
.

No

.50
only.

Double-breasted
Full dress or cossack clerical
Patch pockets on vest
Panel vests
Try on vests

$0. 2.5

.

50
25
50
25

$0.

25

.

.

.

Extra charges on trousers for making

only.

Belt of same material
Cuff bottoms

No charge

Riding trousers
Reenforced seat
Broad fall trousers (without fly-button side)
Braid on trousers
Extra, charges on overcoats for

00

4.

25
1.00
.

50

.

making

only.

Double-breasted
Double-breasted storm overcoat
Single-breasted automobile (double-breasted, $1.50)
Single-breasted raglan, paddock, or paletot (double-breasted, $2.50)
Silk or satin yoke in overcoat
Convertible collar on overcoat
-

Velvet collar

Try on overcoat

$1.00
1.50
1.00
2.00
1. 00
2.00
50
.75
.

Proportional charges will be made for other extras not provided for in this
when additional material and labor is required.
Notice.
Clergymen's frocks, single and double breasted Prince Alberts, full
dress, tuxedos, English walking coats, cutaway frocks, and white vests are
list

not

—

made

Terms.

in

grade

1.

—All orders are C. O. D., unless accompanied by check,

as our services

consist principally of labor.

Dealers pay express on shipments to and from us.
Other Baltimore prices are
Trousers as low as___^
Waistcoats as low as
Coats as low as

$0.
1-

60 and
19 and
50

$0.
.

65
65

These prices, I have been told, have been paid by some of the tailor shops in
Washington that have their work manufactured in Baltimore.

OUR FACILITIES.

Our equipment for cut. trim, and make is the most complete and largest plant
of its kind in the Bast.
Our workmen are skilled at their work, which not only insures the best or
workmanship, but dispatches the work, which enables us to give extraordinary
quick deliveries.

110

I-10UBS OF

LABOR FOB

WOMEN

IN

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

APPLYING OUR SERVICES.

Our various grades of work enable the merchant tailor to apply the class
work on order that is required for an even balanced garment of material
and workmanship, which is to the best interest of each concerned.
Each grade is the best in every respect that can be produced at the price
named, and our system of working is constantly probed for lost motions to
protect our trade, that they get the best workmanship that can be produced in
of

—
—

Grade i. Made with imitation hand buttonholes and is carefully cut,
trimmed, and made in a substantial manner.
Carefully drafted, durable trimmings, and we furnish better
Oracle 2
workmanship than is customary at that price.
Grade 3.— This seems to be the most popular class, and each detail of order
is cared for in the strictest manner, and the improvements in workmanship
and trimming are, of course, in accordance with the difference in price.
Grade
The workmanship and trimming used on this class corresponds
with the merchant tailors' $30 to $45 suits.
Grade 5. This, the highest class, commands the best quality trimmings and
workmanship, and equals a merchant tailor's $50 to $65 suit. It is the favorite
c-lass for fine semidress and dress suits and fine overcoats.
We use the best linings for the given price, either serge, mohair, or Venetian.

—
—

.';.

Mr. Hebbaed. Now, Mr. Chairman, I will add to this report the
statement of Mr. Ralph to me, that 800 of these employees in
the Bureau of Engraving and Printing get only $1.50 per day, for
which an increase has been requested. In submitting this, I ask that
the merchants of Washington be given the same privileges as to
overtime as are pursued in the Government departments in emergencies, as this statement shows.
I will lay particular stress on the seasons in the merchant tailoring business here, as has been shown by the previous witnesses that
have appeared before you.
The question as to overcoming quick orders, as shown, necessitates
overtime in emergencies for the merchant tailor. His customers have
redress in a ready-made garment or from a tailor having his waistWashington has a number of such
coats, etc., made in a distant city.
This means a loss of trade to the Washington merchant and
tailors.
These garments the ready-made of
his employees less work.
course are made in a distant city; there is no ta ready-made factory

—

—

in this city.
As to the conditions in the ready-made shops, you know as well as
I do that time, etc., are generally regulated by unions. As said before, Washington is a peculiar city, and seasons are very short the
summer months extremely dull where in a manufacturing city the
summer months are the busy ones.
In concluding, Mr. Chairman, I will state that as far as I can see
there is no demand for such a strict law as the advocates would
make you believe and which they have not shown.
Mr. Chairman, now, as the burden of proof is upon them, ask that
they bring in some of these overworked females, as they assume to
speak for, and have advocated these changes, and prove the needs of
such a drastic measure and if there are such conditions, as the advocates would make you believe exists, remedy them, but do not put
the burden of a few on all the merchants and employees.
So far they
have only presented one witness.

—

;

—

;

:

HOURS OF LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Ill

The workshops, laundries, and stores are open to your inspection,
and your committee or the ladies advocating this measure are at
liberty to summon any employee they desire to, and I can assure you
this can be done without any fear of pensure from an employer,
This is a matter which concerns the wage earner more than the emRegulate the hours for a day's work and a week's work, but
ployer.
allow the privilege of overtime as now exercised by the male employees and in the Government departments where females are
employed.
Now, Mr. Chairman, as this is supposed to be a humanitarian
movement, why not include domestics, whose work is never done;
hospital nurses, who work from 12 to 18 hours female employees in
newspaper offices, of which there are a number in this city.
In concluding, Mr. Chairman, I wish to submit a few lists of prices
paid for tailoring, and ask that you give them careful consideration
and in framing this bill do not increase our burden and drive more
work out of the city, but allow us to meet competition fairly and give
the female employees a chance for overtime as asked for also reason;

;

able hours.

Mr. Andrews. Mr. Sowers would like to give some information to
committee in regard to laundry prices.
The Chairman. Mr. Sowers, I believe you have filed with us a
statement to go into the record?
Mr. Sowers. That was with regard to my own prices, but I wish
to give this information for the benefit of Mr. Howard, who made
the statement that prices are higher here than in Atlanta, his own
I have since received some information from one of the
town.
laundries in Atlanta, and I have price lists showing the prices that
they charge. This is the Capital City Laundry
Mr. Howard (interposing). That laundry does the club work out
there, at high prices. That is not a poor man's laundry. I know all
about that. That is one of those exclusive laundries.
Mr. Sowers. They have a great many exclusive laundries in Atlanta from what I understand. I have a letter here from this laundryman in answer to a telegram. The letter is addressed to Mr.

the

Killian

and

is

as follows [reading]

Capital Oity Laundry
Atlanta, Oa., February

Co.,
8,

ID1J.

Mr. F. V. Killian,

Franklin Laundry, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Killian Replying to your wire of this date, I am inclosing
you flat and starch work price list, which are in effect in Atlanta, and are the
same list as used by all other laundries in this city except two. We are pretty
well together on the house-hold flat work and starch work, as you can see,
but there is still quite a difference in prices of hotel work. I would say that
think
tne average rate for hotel work would be about 60 cents per hundred. I
run to
there are some that are down as low as 50 cents, and there are some that
probably 75 cents. However, there are only one or two of the latter, and they
are the smaller hotels.
Trusting that business is good with you, and that you are enjoying good
health, I am with kind regards,
Geo. H. Fauss,
Very truly, yours,

My Dear

:

.

.

,

HOURS OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

112

CAPITAL CITY LAUNDRY CO.
[128-130-132 Whitehall Slreel.

Marker,
Drivers are not allowed to extend credit.
Balance :
Amount ol this pkge,
.

Total

Pajamas
Night shirts
Drawers
Union suits
Handkerchiefs
Handkerchiefs,

Aprons

Collars
Cuffs, per pair

15c up
35-50C
25c up
15c up

Top skirts
Underskirts

Night gowns

15c
5c
silk

(waiters)

Vests
Shirtwaists

8c

Socks, per pair

"One-O-

5c
10c
5c
20c

Ties
Coats (waiters)

12$c
20c
10c
8c

Undershirts

1060.

.

12}e
Shirts, plain (without curls)
Shirts, plaited, cuffs attached, or

stiff-bosom open-front

Both phones

Geo. H. Fauss, president and manager.
Five-O."
Five-O.'

Corset covers
Ladies' belts
St oe kings

10c

up

Aprons, ladies'

3c
5c
2Jc
5c

10c

up

5c
5c

Not responsible for loss of goods by fire.
Send us your count. If you do not, our count must be accepted.
Three days' time required on all work, unless otherwise agreed upon. Goods left over 30 days will be
Bold for charges.
Claims for shortage must be made within 24 hours and accompanied by original list.
Not responsible for valuables of any kind left in garments, or loss of goods by fire.
i

Total

Bill rendered,

FLAT-WORK LIST CAPITAL CITY LAUNDRY
128-130-132 Whitehall Street.

Marker

Assortcr,

Amt.

Geo. H. Faus?, President
Fivc-O.']

Checker

of this pkge,
Balance
Drivers are not allowed to extend credit.

Customer's count.

Total

and Manager.

CO.

Both phones

1050.

'One-0

;

H0UBS OF LABOE FOB
Mr. Sowers. No,
Mr. Buchanan.

WOMEN

IN

THE

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

113

I think he means that the prices are uniform.
does he get them uniform without organiCan you explain that? The labor people have been trying
zation?
to get a uniform scale of wages for a good many years, and they
have always had to organize to get any success whatever.
The Chairman. Those are filed for the record?
Mr. Sowers. Yes those are not in the record before. I want to
state that the prices on this list for starched work are practically
sir;

How

;

the same in Washington, and the prices on flat work are a little
higher than the average prices for that class of work in Washington
and at the same time we are putting our prices aginst Atlanta prices,
down there in the South, where labor is almost 50 per cent cheaper
than it is here, where the employer must exclusively employ colored
women in the laundries. I know of my own personal experience,
as far as North Carolina is concerned, that the cost of production
of laundry work is much cheaper in the South than it is here.
Labor
down there is nearly 50 per cent cheaper than it is here, and even
with those conditions they do not give a better price, or as good a
price on the average, as we do.
Mr. Howard. I see some of your laundry work is 100 per cent
higher than in Atlanta.
You charge 3 cents for napkins, and they
charge 1 cent.
Mr. Sowers.
charge only half a cent for a great many of our
napkins.

We

Mr. Howard. I am only going by your list.
Mr. Sowers. That list has only individual prices, and this has
them in quantities. We make a much lower price in quantities.
I also have a price list from Pittsburgh.
FORT PITT HOTEL LAUNDRY

LIST.

-

114

HOTJES OF LABOK FOE

WOMEN

IN THE DISTBIOT OF COLUMBIA.

T don't know whether that is pertinent here, but we could introduce prices from all over the country and show that prices in Washington laundries are lower than they are in cities where conditions
would justify a lower price. We get 2£ cents for collars here, and in
Pittsburgh they get 3 cents. Where we get 12 cents for shirts they
get 15 cents and up to 25 cents, according to style, and so on down
their list.
Our conditions here are such that we pay more for the
production of our work and get less than the average city, and why
under these conditions should we be made the model city? In other
words, why should we be experimented with and made the goat here,
you might say, for the benefit of other cities and other States whose
conditions are more favorable than ours?
Mr. Howabd. Mr. Sowers, the only real difference between you and
Atlanta which I am able to see is on laundering plain shirts. You
charge 10 cents, and they charge 12| cents. The Capital City Laundry in Atlanta charges 12^ cents for shirts without cuffs. Now, you
make that up on the very next item and more than balance the difference in the prices between Atlanta and Washington by charging 15
cents for plaited-bosom shirts where they charge 12^ cents.
Mr. Soavees. That is about the average. There is a discrepancy
a little some of the items are a little lower than ours and some are
a little higher, but the average is about the same.
Mr. Howard. I get the general average, just taking the price list
and going up and down it on flat stuff, as you call it, and on white
goods what do you figure is the average difference between Washington and Atlanta on this laundry which I have just stated to you is a
first-class high-priced laundry?
Mr. Sowers. What is your question, Mr. Howard ?
Mr. Howard. What is the difference in the average prices?
Mr. Sowers. As I figure it, there is no material difference. That is
just the point I want to make.
Under these differences of operating,
where we are in competition with them, we are producing at as low,
if not lower prices, than they are.
Mr. Howard. I spoke the other day of the American Laundry Association or the National Laundry Association.
Do all laundries belong

—

to that association?

Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.

Sowers. No,

sir

;

not by any means.

Howard. The Capital City Laundry Co.

does, don't it?

Sowers. I don't know.

Howard. Do you know why your friend telegraphed

this

particular laundry?

Mr. Sowers. It was at my request. I knew no laundrv in Atlanta
personally, and I simply asked him to telegraph this one*
Mr. Howard. Do you know the Guthman Laundrv there ?

Mr. Sowers. No, sir.
Mr. Howard. Do you know the Troy Laundry people?
Mr. Sowers. I know of them, but I do not know them personally.
1 knew none personally.
Mr Howard. Were "you aware of the fact that the Guthman and
Iroy Laundries maintain prices exactly as yours on these
plain shirts?
Mr. Sowers. No, sir. If they do, I maintain that
our prices are
about the same, from Mr. Fauss's letter, because those
are average
prices.

°

H0UES OF LABOB FOE

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

115

I,

k

Mr Howard. You have the long end of the stick in prices on
laundering shirts, because this laundry in Atlanta
charges ISA cent«
lor a shirt that you charge 15 cents for.
Mr. Sowers. They charge 12± cents for a shirt that we only
charge
J

10 cents for.

b

Mr. .Howard .Then you charge 15 cents for plaited
shirts; and
anything that has any sort of a seam on it is generally
J termed

plaited, isn't it

?

Mr. Sowers. I will say that the majority of shirts are termed
plain
shirts, and they get 2A cents more than Ave
do for them.
Mr. Andrews. Mr. E. B. Farren is our next speaker.
The Chairman. Mr. Farren, you will state your residence and
business.

STATEMENT OF MR. E. B. FARREN, MANAGER OF WEST END
LAUNDRY, 1723 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE NW.
Mr. Farren. I would like to ask

a question

of the gentleman from

Atlanta, Ga.

The Chairman. The gentleman from Atlanta, Ga.,

is

not on the

stand.
to

Mr. Farren. Could I answer the question Mr. Sowers was unable
answer?
The Chairman. What concern do you represent ?
Mr. Farren. The West End Laundry, 1723 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Chairman. You may proceed.
Mr. Farren.

A

question has been asked about the national assolaundry in Atlanta is a member of it. I
presume the idea is involved that only the high-priced laundries are
members of the association. That is not true. I am a member, and
no price is established by the National Laundry Association.
It
makes no difference whether the prices are high or low, or whether
it is a good or bad laundry.
They do not ask any questions of the
ciation,

and

if a certain

You simply become a member and pay your dues, if you are
laundry business.
Now, the main thing that I wanted to speak about with reference
to this bill is the short Monday and Saturday.
You give us a bill
with a straight 8-hour day, and necessarily that will do away with
that short Monday and Saturday.
The girls want that short day,
the laundrymen want it, and the public want it.
Now, if you can
give us a bill providing for 54 hours a week and not more than 10
hours in any one day, then we will reach this man that works these
long hours and the laundries want to reach him just as much as this
committee and the people who are behind this bill. Fifty-four hours
a week and not more than 10 hours in any one day is what we want,
and it is pretty nearly along the lines on which this bill is drawn
now. Under such an arrangement, the employees would not work
until 8 or 9 or 10 o'clock at night; and the majority of laundries
do not do that now. That would give our girls a short Saturday
and a short Mondav. but under this bill you do away with that point.
Mr. Howard. Eight there I would like to ask a question. I asked
Have the laundries in
this question the other day of Mr. Sowers.
Washington tried to educate the people up to make deliveries to the
kind.

in the

;

HOUES OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

116

Do you instruct any of your
laundries on Friday at the latest?
drivers to that effect ?
instruct our drivers to do everything possible
Mr. Fabeen.
ask the people
and not to take up on Friday and Saturday.
do that in order to get out
not to make calls on those days.
early on Saturday, and anything that comes in after certain hours
we carry over to the following Monday.
Mr. Howard. The proposition I am driving at is this You complain of a short Monday— that you can not put in but half a day on
Monday and I presume that is occasioned by the fact that there is
nothing in the laundry to do.
Mr. Farren. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. And the question I am trying to get at is, have the
laundrymen made any effort to educate their customers up to the
point to tell them when the driver comes in to deliver a package of
clean laundry, to deliver the package of dirty laundry to him then?
Mr. Farren. The customer will rarely hand a package of dirty
laundry to the driver at the time they are receiving their clean
laundry, as probably some of it is in that bundle which they have
just received, unless they have lots of linen.
Mr. Howard. I understand, of course, but there are a great many
poor people in this country who only have one shirt. I am pretty
nearly in that class myself but I am talking about the people that

We

We

We

:

—

;

have more than one shirt.
Mr. F arrest. We can, of course, adjust our business in accordance
with this regulation. We can get enough work to start Monday
morning and work through until Saturday night under your bill,
but we want the girls to have this short day, and they want to have it.
Mr. Howard. Don't they have a short day on Saturday ?
Mr. Farren. They would not have it under this bill, because the
work that would come in on Saturday would have to be begun on
Saturday. Under the present method we tell our customers that the
work received on Saturday will be delivered the next week, and the
girls go home on Saturday.
That is the only thing the laundrymen
have against this bill not as to the hours, as to the way they are

—

divided.

Mr. Smith. Suppose it was arranged so that the laundrymen
could divide the time according to their own view and make it 48
hours a week, not exceeding 10 hours in any one day, as you say,

would you still have a short Saturday ?
Mr. Farren. Probably some of us would do that. Certainly we
do not want to work at night if we can get away from it. The difference between the laundrymen and the bill is very slight it is very
narrow. You want us to take 8 hours a day continuously every day
in the week, and we ask for 54 hours in a week, and not more than 10

—

hours in a day.
Under such a

bill, suppose a girl worked five days a week 10 hours
necessarily she can not work more than 4 hours on the sixth
That is all there is to it. You are disrupting the whole system and injuring the girls, I believe, more than anybody else, by
making them work Saturday afternoon. Of course, Monday morning is not as valuable to the girls as Saturday afternoon, because
Saturday afternoon is a day of recreation, especially in the hot

a day
day.

;

summer months.

—
HOITES OF LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

117

Mr. Howard. Under your present system you throw two days of
together a half day on Saturday, a whole day on Sunday, and
a half a day on Monday.
Mr. Farren. It is not quite a half a day it is a short day, but not
The average in the busy season, I should think, would
a half day.
Of course, the three short days do come together.
be about 7 hours.
Now, that is the only objection we have to this bill. It is not so
much the 8 hours as it is the peculiar arrangement of it; and no man,
no matter what his inclinations might be, could overwork his hands
on a 10-hour limitation. The majority of laundrymen do not want
to do it, and I know if there is such a man in the business we 'are
just as anxious to get at him as the sponsors of this bill are.
Mr. Rouse. I would like to ask Mr. Sowers a question. In your
statement a moment ago, you stated that your prices were less than
the Pittsburgh prices.
Mr. Sowers. The average prices.
Mr. Rouse. Is your average price less than the Pittsburgh aver-

—

rest

;

age price?

Mr. Sowers. Yes.
Mr. Rouse. Now.

if this bill would prevail and be enacted
you meet these prices that you have now in your
Could you still do work for the prices you now have, under

law, could

into
list?

this

bill?

Mr. Sowers. No,

sir;

not

unless

we should

cut

salaries

very

materially.

Mr. Bouse. If you do not cut the salaries, who would have to
pay for the increase in prices?
Mr. Sowers. The public, of course, in that event would have to
pay it. I might add to that that the public, generally, is the poor

—the

man

one-shirt man.

Mr. Rouse. In other words, you would be compelled to raise the
prices on your list?
Mr. Sowers. We would be compelled to raise the prices; yes.
The Chairman. So that the injury would not fall on the laundryman. The injury, if any, would fall on the public at large?
Mr. Sowers. And the injury would fall largely on the general
public, and the employees would be struck harder than anyone else
not only our own employees, but the employees of all the other establishments.
The prices would affect the people who have to watch
the dollars and cents just as much as they would the rich man.
The Chairman. Isn't it a fact that a great many of those that
work for wages do a great deal of their own work, and are not to
a great extent patrons of the steam laundries ?
Mr. Sowers. There are a very few who have not a certain class
of work in the laundry, such as starched collars and cuffs, and
shirts, which go altogether to steam laundries or Chinese laundries.
Mr. Howard. I can not comprehend your logic about one thing.
You just stated that most of this burden is going to fall on the one-

man.
Mr. Sowers. I say he will feel the burden more. The burden
will fall on all, but he will feel it more.
Mr. Howard. The man who has more shirts will suffer more by
this bill, won't he?
shirt

118

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Mr. Sowers. But he can stand it better, and our patronage in
Washington is composed largely of the poorer classes.
Now, what Mr. Farren said in reference to the short Saturday
and short Monday is very true, and we find that the girls would
very much prefer working these first five days and having their
Saturdays on, especially in the summer time, when they can go on
excursions, and for a large majority of them this is the only time
they have for shopping, and I know they would much prefer to have
^heir time all in one day.
Mr. BrcHAXAX. Don't you think it would be a good thing to have
an 8-hour clay and a half holiday on Saturday, like some other trades
have, that they have gotten through organized labor? Don't you
think that would be a very good thing for the girls?
Mr. Sowers. It would be very nice to have no work, if we could
live without it.
Mr. Buchanan. No; that would not be nice.
Mr. Sowers. Unless, labor increased in some way, I do not know
how this increased cost of living is going to be met.
Mr. Buchanan. I do not know where you get the idea that no
work would be a good thing. Nature intended that human land
should be active physically, and that is what work is for.
Mr. Sowers. Man must earn his bread by the sweat of his brow
;>nd the less he works the less he must eat; but there is a class of
people who are never satisfied and want to work as little as possible.
Mr. Buchanan. They are very much in the minority. A large
majority of those are the ones who are trying to make a certain part
work more than they ought to.
Mr. Sowees. That class we are just as willing to reach as you are.
We are perfectly agreeable to 54 hours a week, and we have no
sympathy with the brute that will work a girl 12 to 14 hours a day,
and we want legislation that will protect those girls; but we want
I notice that none of you gentlemen answered
to set our conditions.
me the other day when I referred to the inaugural occasion, when our
work is increased from 50 to 100 per cent how is it going to be met?
The Chairman. I want to call Mr. Sowers's attention to the fact
that the committee is not here for the purpose of answering any
interrogatories presented. We are here for the purpose of getting
any facts that may be presented and then using those facts in connection with such legislation as may be advisable.
Mr. Sowers. I asked for suggestions, and my natural conclusion is
that there can be no remedy when such conditions arise on such occasions.
If we didn't work overtime the result would be that a large
number of visitors would go away from Washington calling it "the
greatest hole on earth because they could not get their linen laundered,
Mr. Buchanan. We do not intend to let you make mouthpieces ol
the witnesses that you brought here.
Mr. Howard. I just want to ask you this question We are wanting information, as the chairman said, and that is all we do want
Every conceivable force in this town is doubled during inauguration
They double the police force and they probably doubl*
sis you know.
the fire-department force, and I do not know what all they do noi
double. Now, then, to meet this emergency, with women wanting
work, and there being nothing intricate about the laundry business
why couldn't you double your force to meet that emergency?
;

:

'

HOURS OF LABOR FOR

*

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

119

ft,;

Mr. Sowers. Because, sir, competent skilled labor is not available.
comes at a time when every laundry needs additional help and
it is impossible to get them.
Mr. Howard. Doesn't that bear me out in the suggestion that you
double your force ?
Other laundries are doing the same thing.
Mr. Sowers. I say it is impossible to double your force under those
conditions, and even if it were possible the equipment would not
be
available, unless we maintained a double equipment, and possibly
our
building would not accommodate that. I want to make one explanation here, in answer to Kepresentative Buchanan's statement about
making mouthpieces of witnesses
Mr. Buchanan (interposing). I think your position on that before
this committee should be construed as contempt.
The Chairman. I do not think the committee cares to hear any
further discussion upon that phase of the question.
Mr. Sowers. It was referred to, and that is the reason I wanted to
answer it.
Mr. Andrews. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Avalear has some information
on the question of these mangling machines, Avhich I thtink might of
interest to the committee.
The Chairman. We will hear Mr. Avalear.

f*
I

"

It

.

'

STATEMENT OF MR. F. P. AVALEAR, 2117 FOURTEENTH STREET
NW., REPRESENTING THE ELITE LAUNDRY CO.
Mr. Avalear. I am not opposing this bill, with the exception of
per day clause. If you gentlemen see fit to give us 48
hours a week we will be perfectly satisfied with it. As Miss Obenauer
has stated the foot treadle machines that the girls have been working,
worked rather hard. That has been true of the machines that we
have at present in some of the laundries, but the manufacturers to^
day are manufacturing a machine operated by compressed air, so
that the girls do not have to use the foot-pressure treadle.
They
simply put their foot on the lever and the compressed air gives sufficient pressure to the rolls to iron the linen smooth. When these two
pressure rolls are heated they are opened up and the girl heretofore
has had to put a certain amount of weight on them, which of course
comes from her body, to iron the goods smooth. Now the compressed
air machine has taken the place of what has been known as the lever
machine. I might say that we have not any yet, but the next machine
we order will be a compressed air machine, and I can state, to you
that there are a good many laundries in Washington that have them.
The Yale laundry has some of these machines. Now, I want to say
that last week I made a record of the time, because the discussion had
been up over in the Senate. On Monday we worked 7 hours-; that is,
most of the employees did; on Saturday we worked from 2 to 3
hours; on Friday we worked 8 hours. We have about 100 employees
in our plant, and about 20 of them left the establishment last Saturday from about half past 2 to half past 3, and 17 of those 20 that
were left off at that hour did not return until between 11 and half
past 11 and 12 o'clock yesterday morning, andVthey will be paid a
full week s salary.
In the summer time we ghjg them more time
than that off, and I wish some one in this committee would investi\
gate mv statements and sec if they are not facts.
the 8-hour

120

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Mr. Andrews. We have Mr. Chorley, secretary of the Ladies
]
Tailors Association, from whom that 'petition Avas presented.
would like to hear from him.
The Chairman. Wc will hear Mr. Chorley.

STATEMENT OF S. C. CHORLEY, 1018 FOURTEENTH STREET
SECRETARY OF THE LADIES' TAILORS ASSOCIATION.

NW.,

The Chairman. What

is your business, Mr. Chorley?
Mr. Chorley. Ladies' tailoring. I have filed a brief here, I believe it was last Thursday morning, from the secretary of the Retail
Merchants' Association, and I think that practically embodies the

Our business is a peculiar line of
conies in seasons, practically from about the 15th of
September or a little later to a week prior to Christmas, and our
season is then closed for a period of practically four or five weeks,
and especially at this time of the year we have practically nothing
to do. The girls in our employ work mostly 9 hours a day. I believe that is the general rule in Washington, and other places, in
those three months, from the 15th of September or the 1st of October
until Christmas, and if they are desirous of working overtime we
allow them to do so; in fact, it is absolutely necessary at times to
produce our garments that they work overtime.
When a lady
comes in with a wedding order or a funeral order and they are always in a hurry sometimes they are leaving the city and want the
garment at once in order to leave on a certain train, and in such a
case h is necessary to work overtime.
If the garment is not completed it is left on our hands, and we can
scarcely afford to keep garments left in that way because our profits
are not large.
are not opposing the 8-hour law so long as we
have the privilege of allowing the girls to work overtime if they
desire to not that we force them to do it. There are occasions that
arise where they have to work long hours, and they work possibly 6
or 8 or 10 hours, and they need to work overtime in busy seasons in
order to tide them over the dull season. In the summer time there is
practically no work at all June, July, and August, and until the middle of September.
There is a long period of time that they have
nothing to do, and they are anxious to make overtime enough to carry
them through this dull season, but if you enact this bill into law, this
8 hours will deprive them of the overtime that they are desirous
sentiment of the ladies' tailors.

work which

—

—

We

—

—

of making.

The Chairman. Mr. Andrews presented a petition this morning
from some 28 or 30 employees of ladies' tailoring and dressmaking
establishments of the city. Are you interested in the circulation of
this petition

among the

Mr. Chorlev. Yes
tion of Washington.

;

different establishments of the city

I

am

?

secretary of the Ladies' Tailors Associa-

The Chairman. That
Mr. Chorley.

An

is an association of employers ?
association of employers yes.
;

The Chairman. Do you know whether or not those who signed this
petition knew what they were signing?
Mr. Chorley. Yes,

sir.

The Chairman. The reason I ask is that information has been conveyed to me by employees who have signed this petition, and who for

HOURS OF LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

121

obvious reasons do not desire their personality known,
that numbers
of those who signed this petition did not know what they
were signing, and that when some of them asked what they
were signing they
were told that it was nothing, to just go on and sign it. Do
you know
anything about anything of that kind?
Mr. Chorley. I do not know anything about that. I do
not kno^
who could have started such a story as that.
The Chairman. Do you know if all those whose names appear on
this petition signed it themselves ?
Mr. Chorley. Of all the employing tailors?
The Chairman. No, the employees.
Mr. Chorley. The employees—to the best of my belief, they
did.
Let me say, the handwriting is very poor in many cases, because
there are a great many foreigners that are able to write only
J a little
English.
The Chairman. Is there anything further ?
Mr. Howard. I would like to ask you one question. What per.
centage of employees in your business are from foreign countries ?
Mr. Chorley. I might say 70 per cent.
Mr. Buchanan. Can they all read and understand the English
language ?
Mr. Chorley. Most invariably, yes those who come here to Washington can speak English fairly well, and a great number write it tp
a small degree.
Our business is such that the American does not care
to learn it.
The hours are too long and the seasons are too short
and we have to depend entirely on the foreign population to produce
our garments.
Mr. Manning. This petition you refer to here as having been
presented to the merchants' association is it true, as has been stated,
that the merchants' association as a body has not indorsed the opposi;

—

tion to this bill

?

Mr. Chorley. Every one of them whose signatures are on the petition.

Mr. Manning. I am speaking of the merchants' association.
Mr. Chorley. You mean the Ketail Merchants' Association. I
have nothing to do with that. The petition is entirely from the
Ladies' Tailors Association.

Mr. Manning. I understood

it

was from the merchants'

associa-

tion.

Mr. Chorley. No; I came down here Thursday morning to be
heard and the session lasted two hours but I could not be heard. I
left on Thursday night for New York and just returned last night
and during the interim I handed the petition over to Mr. Ellery, of
the Retail Merchants' Association, for presentation to the committee,
if necessary, before I returned.
Mr. Manning. You do not know anything about the action of the
retail merchants' association?
Mr. Chorley. No, sir I do not know anything about that.
Mr. Howard. Did these employees sign this petition themselves ?
Mr. Chorley. They certainly did, to the best of my knowledge.
Mr. Howard. Now, following those two names at the top of that page
[indicating], I wish you would look at the four signatures following
them and see whether or not you think they signed them or one man
;

122

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

signed those four names. Start with the second name from the top
and look at the four signatures.
Mr. Chorley. Well, Mr. Chairman, I have to admit the handwriting somewhat resembles one another.
Mr. Howard. Now, look down further and see if you do not see
six more signatures in that same handwriting.
Mr. Chorley. No; I do not see any others that resemble that.
Mr. Howard. Well, the same man that wrote those, four names
Wrote these six [indicating].

Mr. Chorley. No that is from a different firm.
Mr. Howard. I know but who circulated the petition ?
Mr. Chorley. I sent it out by messenger boys, and of course I
could not swear who made the signatures. Of course, the circumstances have been explained to these people, and it seems to me from
;

;

what

I gather they are all in accord in signing their names for the
prevention of the execution of this law.
The Chairman. Have you anything further?

Mr. Chorley. No; nothing further.
Mr. Andrews. Mr. Wineman is our next witness. Before Mr.
Wineman goes on, Mr. Chairman, I wish to state regarding the question the gentleman asked the previous witness that I was acting
president of the retail merchants' association in the absence of the
president and vice president, and at the request of about a dozen
merchants I called a special meeting of the board of directors to act
in opposition to this bill.
I asked what had been done previously,
and I was informed by the secretary that at a previous meeting of
the association the association had gone on record as opposed to the
bill, and the president had appointed a committee of three or five,
I do not remember just which. That was my authority for stating,
as I did in my opening address, that as acting president of the association the representatives of the retail merchants had gone on record
as being opposed to this bill. I was not present at the meeting, and
I have no personal interest in it whatever.
The Chairman. You may proceed, Mr. Wineman.

STATEMENT OF MR. JOHN

C.

WINEMAN,

914 F

STREET NW.

The Chairman. What is your business, Mr. Wineman?
Mr. Wineman. Tailoring, to both men and women.
Mr. Chairman, I am not here to oppose the 8-hour law I am only
here to oppose the clause with reference to overtime. Our girls
work now 9 hours per day during the week, with the exception of
Saturday. During the winter months our shops close at 5 o'clock
;

on Saturday and pay off. In the summer months we try to get
through the day and get out by 1 o'clock, so they generally work the
entire 9 hours for the 6 days, but they do work overtime* There
are cases where it is practically impossible to get along without
overtime. We have emergencies' come along that we can not avoid,
and we must work overtime in order to get the work done. People
come in in a hurry—a Member of Congress, for instance, comes here
and leaves his full-dress suit at home, and he wants a dress suit in
a short time, and, in order to complete the vrork, we have to work
overtime. But if a girl works overtime we pay her for it. If she

IOUKS OP LABOE FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTBICT OF COLUMBIA.

123

so inclined and desires to remain off. the next day we let her do
For instance, if she works three
hat in pursuance to her overtime.
lours at night we furnish her with her supper, and the next morning she does not need to come back until 10 or 11 o'clock, depending
great
in the time that she worked overtime the night before.
nany prefer to work overtime they want "the additional money
pay about 20 per cent more for overtime than
hey make.
:egular time, and in addition to that we buy them their dinner or
Here in Washington we are in very close competition
supper.
with Baltimore.
3

A

;

We

Baltimore

is

the tailors' worst enemy, and

we

are within 40 min-

The
ride of them, and they have a 10-hour system over there.
cost of living is a great deal lower in Baltimore than it is over here.
Occasionally we go to Baltimore for help we pay men $22 a week
great deal of our
here that work in Baltimore for $18 a week.
help is foreign help, but of course we employ a great many American girls and we pay very fair wages, from $6 to $18 a week. I
have one girl who gets $18 a week for 10 months in the year. There
is a distinction in our business in that there are two months in the
year that we are closed up entirely. That is in July and August,
and they all get salaries sufficient to tide them over those two
months. In the dull season we close at 5 o'clock during the week
and at 1 o'clock on Saturdays. Now, we do have emergencies arise
utes'

;

A

where we have to work overtime, and we have a great many of them.
The inaugural ball is considered an emergency. Unfortunately we
The inaugural ball figured $1,200 to me
-will not have it this year.
Of course, I am very fortunate in having an emerfour years ago.
gency come in at this time—the suffragettes' parade. I am making
uniforms and riding suits for the suffragettes now. We worked
overtime last night and we expect to work overtime for the next
two weeks on suffragettes' clothing. I am willing to comply with
those
the 8-hour law provision if we can have an opportunity for

work overtime.
The Chairman. Do you invariably

girls to

dull season?

,

Mr. Wineman. Yes; we find

it

during the

close at 1 o'clock

time.

m
.

,

best to do that

,,

the

summer

.

.
do you take care of the person who comes
clothing that they want
in with a rush order in the summer time for
going to church on Sunday ?
to use in
Mr Wineman. In the summer time they are all sitting around
willing to do it
there so hungry for work that we are always

The Chairman.

immediately.

,

How

„

,

The Chairman. In other words, you have a

.

sufficient

,

»

amount ot

work out so that it is all through by 1 o clock.
frequently go up to
Mr. Wineman. In the summer time only. I
some of the tailors up
my workroom in the summer time and find
week smoking or playing
there who are getting from $18 to $25 a
hiding the
have seen them many times when I come up
cards.
I
them to make their full salary in
cards away. We do not expect
and we keep them durthe summer time, but they have got to live,
ing the summer season.
The Chairman. Is there anything further
force to get the

i

124

HOTJBS OF LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Mr. Andrews. I would like to ask Mr. McSween how the extra
time paid to their female help compares with the extra time paid in
the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, a Government institution.
They both work overtime, as has been stated by Mr. Ralph, and I
I want to bring out how
believe he states how much they are paid.
much the National Government pays for overtime.
Mr. McSween. The rate paid by us is time and a half. That is
the rate fixed by the union, but I do not know what the bureau rate
is

at

all.

The Chairman. You pay time and a half for overtime ?
Mr. McSween. Yes.
Mr. Andrews. I think Mr. Ralph stated in his letter

that it is
the same rate per day for overtime that they do not pay time and a
half or anything extra.
The Chairman. Is there anything further, Mr. Andrews?
have no other witnesses this morning.
Mr. Andrews.
;

We

STATEMENT OF L. A. STERNE, 701 MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE NE.,
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT OF THE MARYLAND STATE FEDERATION OF LABOR.
Mr. Sterne. I am first vice president of the Maryland State Federation of Labor, and I have been instructed to come here and favor
this bill.

The Chairman. What is the jurisdiction of the Maryland State
Federation of Labor ?
Mr. Sterne. They have 100,000 trade unionists in the State of
Maryland.

The Chairman. What

I

want

to get at is its jurisdiction.

Mr. Sterne. It covers the entire State of Maryland and the District of Columbia and is affiliated with the American Federation of
Labor. Since the District has no suffrage we are tacked onto
Maryland, and that is how we come to be a part of it. I am also representing the stenographers' union. There are others who will be
heard here who will no doubt vouch for what I say that I am
representing the stenographers' union, which is an organization
composed of women in the city of Washington, 100 women and
about 20 men and they are in favor of the 8-hour working day for
women. It has been suggested to me by the executive board of my
State that the law which requires that the employers shall post and

—

—

conspicuous place a statement that there are no
in their establishment under a certain age does
not work out, and we believe that in that section ought to be the
names of the employees and their ages.
believe that ought to
be in there, because then the general public going through the
stores and seeing, for instance, that Miss Doe is 18 years old, they
can see for themselves whether she is 18 or not, because we are taking
it for granted that there are some unscrupulous employees.
Now, I happen to have had some experience with the laundries in
Washington in the last four years.
attempted to organize the
laundry girls here and we got our charter, and the charter was
smothered by the employers. The organization was killed before
we could install it. I want to say to you gentlemen that I have no

keep posted in

a

women employed

We

We

HOURS OP LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.

125

personal fight with Mr. Sowers or any of the other laundrymen, but
I am willing to make oath to what I say, that these are truths.
Now,
take for instance in the summer time that is, through the months
of June, July, and Augusts have been into the laundries, and
I
can give you the names of them if you want them; and where the
mangles, these irons are heated, and while it may not be so bad in
the daytime, at night when they turn on the artificial light the heat
is something unbearable.

—

The Chairman. Have you made any records by thermometers of
the heat?

Mr. Sterne. I tried to. I made a couple of attempts, but the
employers watched me too close and I cpuld not do it; but the temperature in some of them runs up to 105 and 110. There are some
laundries here that are not so bad, but there are some others that
are not pleasure resorts to work in.
Now, 1 tell these laundrymen
that they can work under the 8-hour law.
I know something about
the employers' position on legislation, and of course they are going
to defend their side of the question.
I say that you can work your
laundry from half-past 8 to 5 in the evening and have your engineer
there in the morning to have your mangles heated and have your
work begin as soon as the girls come.
Now, if it is proven to the satisfaction of this committee that only
5 per cent of the girls are oppressed this bill ought to be passed if it
will help these unfortunates.
We have only 20 per cent of these
women in the District of Columbia and Maryland that are organized.
Tfo^ have told me that they do not dare to organize they have come
to my home and my office and have told me that they do not dare to
They have told me that they were
testify before this committee.
told if they came up here and testified the way their employers
wanted them to testify it would be all right. I know that that is
true because I know the girls and I know where they work.
Now,
Mr. Chairman, I am astounded at the position of the employers on
this bill.
This is a humane bill. It is asking only 8 hours' work for
the women of this city. I have never forgotten that my mother was
a woman and I would hate to think that my mother had to work
under some of the conditions that exist in Washington.
The Chairman. Suppose, Mr. Sterne, that you proceed to tell us
some of these conditions in order that the committee may be able to
judge of them.
Mr. Andrews. Might I ask Mr. Sterne to mention some of the
;

places ?

scarcely be permissible. I think
those representing
rates of particular
the employers deas to the wages of
apply in this inbecomes necessary the committee will ultimately go
stance.
If it
into that, but for the present they do not deem it necessary. But I
suggest to the witness that he give to the committee such facts as he
has in his possession so that we will be in a position to do what the

The Chahiman. No; that would

objection was raised some time ago on the part of
various employers relative to specifying the wage
individuals and the committee out of courtesy to
clined to interrogate as to the particular wages or
particular individuals and the same rule would

conditions

seem to warrant.

126

HOXJES OF LABOR FOE

WOMEN

IX

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Mr. Sterne. Now, Mr. Chairman, to get right down to the matter
plain, these girls have informed me that the work is injurious to
their health ; that the humidity and heat is very bad, especially in
these overtime laundries that work at night. Another evidence that
it is injurious is the fact that there is a continual change in the help.
Of course, there is some skilled help, but there is a continual change
going on all the time and the girls tell me that they have a good deal
of negro help that they pay from $3 to $3.50 a week. They work
two or three weeks and somebody else takes their place. That is the
information they give me. That is about all I have to say about the
laundries, but it is very evident to me from what they have told me
that this overtime work in the summer time is injurious.
Mr. Sowers. As Mr. Sterne is testifying as a laundry expert I
would like to ask if he has had any experience in the laundry business?

Mr. Sterne. I am testifying as a man who is charged to help the
condition of the working girls and has been prevented by the laundrymen in the city of Washington.
Mr. Sowers. You are testifying as an expert in this business.
Are you qualified to speak as an expert laundryman ?
The Chairman. I do not think the witness has attempted to
qualify as an expert laundryman.
As I understand it he is not
qualifying as an expert either as a laundryman or as to mercantile
establishments.
He is testifying as a representative of certain
organizations.
Mr. Andrews. May I ask him if he attempted to get any of those
girls to come here and tell this committee the conditions?
Mr. Sterne. Yes; and they refused to come because they said they
would lose their jobs if they came.
Mr. Sowers. Are you in a position to give the committee the
names of the employees that were told that they should not come
here and if they did so they would lose their positions ?
Mr. Sterne. I am not going to give their names.
Mr. Andrews. You stated that the employees said that they would
lose their positions if they came up here to testify.
Mr. Sterne. Yes; that was their statement.
Mr. Sowers. It has been stated here that there are some 700 or
800 females employed in the steam laundries in the city of Washington. Mav I ask vou how many cases of complaint you have from
those 700 or '800?
Mr. Sterne. I have had girls come from several different laundries
and they said that was the sentiment of the girls working in those
particular laundries.
Mr. Sowers. Do you know how many laundries there are in

Washington ?
Mr. Sterne. Off-hand, I should say 10 or
or 12 right

12.

I can give you 10

off.

Mr. Sowers. You have had several girls out of this 700 or 800
complain to you ?
Mr. Sterne. Yes.
Mr. Eotjse. How many?
Mr. Sterne. Thev have come to me several times.

?

HOTJBS OF LABOR FOR
,

I

IN THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.

Mr. Rouse. How many times?
Mr. Sterne. Several came to
several

f

WOMEN

came

my home

127

a couple of times, and

and others have seen me on the outside
Mr. Rouse. Have you their names?
Mr. Sterne. They refused to give me their names in
several
cases, because they thought if they came and
testified they would
lose their positions.
I can furnish the names if necessary
I am
very sure they would give them to me.
Mr. Roise. You could locate them, could you
to the office,

Mr. Sterne. Yes, sir.
Mr. Sowers. They are working now, are they ?
Mr. Sterne. Some of them have quit the laundry business
because,
you oppressed them—not you personally I won't 'say that—but
the
;

laundries.
One of them that I wanted to get here is working to-day
cleaning cars, and I could not get her, but I will get her if
these
hearings are continued indefinitely.

The Chairman. They are not likely to be continued indefinitely,
but there has been a great deal of irrelevant matter injected into the
hearings, and we would like to have definite facts.
Mr. Hebbard. Mr. Sterne said that he represented 20 males and
100 females in the stenographers' union.
Mr. Sterne. One hundred females and 20 males.
Mr. Hebbard. You do not get paid for that?
Mr. Sterne. No, sir.
Mr. Hebbard. You are paid by the American Federation of Labor,
are you not ?
Mr. Sterne. I do not know whether I ought to tell the history of

my

life to

these people.

The Chairman. I do not know what particular bearing that has
on this matter, whether he is being paid or whether he is a member
of these bodies.

Mr. Hebbard. These hearings are losing time. Every one that
we bring up here loses the time that he comes, and we are trying to
show what is behind it.
The Chairman. So far as this committee is concerned it has not
invited anyone to appear before it.
Anyone who comes here
comes of his own volition, and we are not asking the merchants to
lose time or the employees to lose time.
We are patiently listening
to what each of you have to say in order that we may get at the
facts.

Mr. Hebbard. It
rights,

is

simply a question that we have to defend our
in order that

and we just want to bring out some statements

we may do that.
Mr. Sterne. You understand I was not speaking about the tailors;
I am speaking about laundries.
I would like to put in here this
bill of mine, " 1 shirt, 1 collar, 18 cents," and see how it compares
with the other prices.

128

HOUKS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IX THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
F. V.

KILLIAN, FRANKLIN LAUNDRY.

[Phones Main 1342-1343.

504-508 Thirteenth Street, Washington, D.

C]

Mr. Sterne.

Mark, S212. Date, February 3,
Residence, Eighth and C NE.
M.— P. W.—T.

1913.

Collars (embroidered)
Collars
Cuffs, each
Shirts, plain
Shirts, open front
Shirts, plaited
Shirts, with cuffs (C.)
Shirts, with collars

5c

2 jc
2Jc

25c

Handkerchiefs
Handkerchiefs, silk

C

and up
3c
5c
5c
8c
8c

Socks, per pair

Undershirts

Drawers
Night shirts
Night

10.

10c
12c
15c
15c
18c

Ladies' waists

Union

and up

10c
16c
16c

suits
suits

Vests
Neckties
Coats

and up
and up
and up

25c
5c to 10c
10c and up

Aprons

5c

and up

N. B.— Not responsible lor loss or damage of linen in case of fire. All articles promptly called for an<
delivered. Losses must be reported in 24 hours with list or no allowance will he made. All colored goo*
laundered at owner's risk.

—

My purpose in that is that my position is I challenge the laundrj
people to prove to this committee that they are not making profit
enough to work under the 8-hour system. I challenge that statement. I would like to see a sworn statement that they can not work
at a profit at these prices under the 8-hour law.
Now, Mr. Chairman, unless there are any more questions on the laundry business I
will leave that.

The waitresses are very anxious for this legislation to go through.
There are waitresses in this town, Mr. Chairman, who are working
from 7 o'clock in the morning until 9 o'clock at night for $4 a week.
The waitress to-day in Washington who gets $5 a week is getting
big money. You can investigate that for yourself— take any of the
cafes in Washington employing female help, and you will find that
their hours are excessive and their wages are very low, and my organizations believe that this bill ought to be pased because of the
moral effect, the uplift it would bring to the homes of these women
after they are taken out of the shops and stores and go to their homes
at night.
We realize, Mr. Chairman, and I am instructed to say
that the morality of the women would be much better if the wages
were better and the hours were less. That can be supported, no
doubt, by statistics of the Department of Labor that the lower the
Wage the lower the morality. A girl can not live on $5 a week. It
is impossible.
Now, in support of the argument for the 8-hour law,
that they can work under the 8-hour law, I will call attention to the
coal yards of Washington, which close at 6 o'clock in the evening. I
have made an investigation of most of the coal yards in the city, and
I find that they close at 6 o'clock at night, and coal is more of a
necessity than anything you can buy in a department store or a
laundry

either.

giOUBS

Or LABOE FOE

WOMEN

IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

129

We

believe it is a matter of education, and if the people of the
of Columbia are given to understand that they can get their
[aundry only at a certain nour, that they can not get anything after
When the 8-hour
i certain hour, they will get it within that time.
labor law was before this Congress several years ago they said they
could not operate under it on account of the Christmas shopping.
The stores in Los Angeles, CaL, made the same howl, but my mother
tad worked in a department store in Los Angeles, and I know that
It
the law is operating in Los Angeles, Cal., to-day satisfactorily.
went into effect last January and is operating satisfactorily in Colorado and California, and it can operate here. The whole question
They do not
is, Mr. Chairman, that they do not want it to operate.
want to do anything that will assist the down-trodden women. They
will work them long hours and at low wages if you will let them.
A lot of these stores on Seventh Street would be working their emThere are some fair
ployees on Sunday if the law would let them.
employers in this town, but they are in the minority, and I want to
say that the main kick of these people is that they do not get paid
for overtime v They are fined 1 cent a minute for being late in the
morning, but they do not give them 1 cent more for overtime. They
fine every girl 1 cent a minute for being late, but last week when the
girls went back to take stock at night they did not get 1 cent for
At Christmas they give them a paltry 25-cent supper and
overtime.
work them until 10 or 11 o'clock at night; but when we want to
take the matter into our hands we are told that we are anarchists;
but I say that we are the only force in the District of Columbia today that is protecting these women against these employers. I want
to say, Mr. Chairman, that these employers have held the club over
these girls and said, " If this bill goes through, we will reduce your
salarv"; but I say they dare not reduce their salary any lower than
them
it is and expect the public of Washington to continue to uphold
in what they are doing, because the salaries that exist now are absoDistrict

lutely at

the

minimum.

Do you think that so far as the salaries are concerned they will be either higher or lower, just as supply and demand
regulates it?
Mr. Sterne. No, sir; I believe salaries will be just as low as the
employer can get the girls to work for them. That has been my
experience for 13 years.
The Chairman. That would be true under the 8-hour workday or
that they will employ the girls at the lowest
the 10-hour workday
The Chairman.

'

;

possible rate that

they can get them, will they not?

Sterne ~Y"gs sir.
The Chairman. If they could get girls for less than they are getbasis, or a
ting them now, whether on an 8-hour basis, a 10-hour
them?
basis, don't you think they would dare to employ
12-hour
them if they could get them
What would prevent them employing
Mr. Sterne. They would not dare to face public opinion by driving
down wages any lower, because they are down to the minimum now.
Of course they have some at $10 and $12 a week, but let us go down
week. I am going
to the bundle wrappers that are getting $3 or $4 a
that there is nothing in this bill, it it goes
to close now by saying
M^r

I

frrough, that will injure the employer.

78634—13

9

What

is

to prevent the

130

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,

employer from paying his help on Friday? What is going to prevent paying them on Friday, so that they can shop on Saturday
morning ? There is nothing in this Saturday-night business, anyhow.
Most of the people that go down town Saturday night do what the
shopgirls call " pilling," going from store to store and buying nothing.
I would like to have the members of this committee, if they could,
go through the stores of this town and see the conditions for themselves.
In closing I want to say that we hope this bill will be passed
at this session; and if not passed at this session, we at least hope it
will be reported favorably for the consideration of the next Congress.
Now, I trust you will give Mr. John B. Colpoys, secretary of the
Central Labor Union of Washington, a few minutes.
Mr. Howard. I would like to ask one question, inasmuch as you
have made an investigation of the conditions in Washington. What
percentage have you discovered of the girls and women in Washington receive as much as $10 a week for their services ? Have you any
figures on that?
Mr. Sterne. I haven't the figures, but I can get them. I have the
data on that, but I have been so busy that I have not had time to
compile it. I believe that is brought out in the testimony of the
ladies.
My idea is that there is a whole lot of them who are getting
way down low $1.50 and $1.75 and there are very few getting $10

—

—

or $11 or $12.

Mr. Howard. I would like to get an idea of what is the average
wage of these- girls in Washington and other cities.
Mr. Sterne. My idea is that the average wage is between $4 and
$5 a week. When a shopgirl gets $5 a week she thinks she is getting
pretty fair wages. I know about that, because my wife and my sisterin-law and my mother have been shopgirls, and I happen to come
from a family of shopgirls employed in other cities members of my
family and they tell me that if they are getting $5 a week they are
getting good wages. Of course they have to live at home on that

—

—

salary.

Mr. Andrews. Would you be in favor of the household employees—
the working girls, the domestics being included in this 8-hour bill?
Would you be in favor of including them also ?
Mr. Sterne. Absolutely, yes.
Mr. Andrews. Mr. Chairman, I wish to say for the benefit of the
committee that the coal companies some of them work all night
delivering coal to their customers.
Mr. Sterne. I am speaking of the retail trade now.
Mr. Hebbard. I would like to ask the gentleman if he will go on
record as opposed to overtime?
Mr. Sterne.
leave that to the judgment of the committee.
Mr. Hebbard.
would like to have the Federation of Labor go on
record as to overtime.
Mr. Sterne. May I answer the question?
The Chairman. That is what you are here for, I suppose.
Mr. Sterne.
are absolutely opposed to overtime except in
emergencies.
Mr. Hebbard. In my statement here I have absolutely proved that
all of my employees get paid for overtime, and I am willing
to have
anybody down here to testify to that fact. I would also like to go
on record as repeating the statement from the Department of Labor

—

'

—

We
We
We

—

;

DUES OF LABOB FOR
at the

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

131

—

average wage in the tailoring business is $9.88 practically
is more than they pay in the Bureau of Engraving and

—which

tinting.

The Chairman. Let me say that

this witness is on the stand. You
recognized for the purpose of asking the witness a question,
ou have asked the question, and if you have any further questions
ask the chair will be ready to recognize you for the asking of
Such statements as you have to make the chair
ose questions.
ill recognize you
for and they will go into the record in your
e

en time.
Are there

any further questions?

Mr. Hebbard. If it is necessary, we can get the positive testimony
iat the girls are paid overtime by the ladies' tailors in Washington
iat they are even paid time and a half on Sundays, and that the
rls are not opposed to that practice.
That is the reason we are
sirous to have prevail the rule of overtime not that we are op>sed to the 8-hour provision.
Mr. Sterne. There is a gentleman here that knows more about
iese questions, and he can give you full information.
In closing,
x. Chairman, I ask you in the interest of these women in Washingn, for the betterment of their health, that you please report this
11 to the House before the 4th of March.
Mr. Andrews. How many of the 100 members of the stenogtphers' union that you represent
how many reside in the city of
r
ashington ?
Mr. Sterne. Every one of them.
Mr. Sowers. I understood Mr. Sterne to say just a minute ago
iat he was in favor of protecting alike the domestic in the house-

—

—

the same as the girls that work in the stores.
The Chairman. How do you stand on that? Would you make
is bill apply to domestic service, or are you opposed to that?
Mr. Sterne. There is an old saying that " man works from sun to
in, but woman's work is never done."
Now, I know that you can
)t take that into the home and expect the housewife to work 8 hours
)ld

no more.
Mr. Andrews. I mean the domestics who work in the house.
Mr. Sterne. I have a domestic in my house, and she works 8 houts.
Mr. Andrews. Are you in favor of having this bill protect alike
e domestics who work in these, homes these long hours ?
Mr. Sterne. Yes, I am.
Mr. Andrews. Then you have asked the committee to act favor»ly on this bill.
Do we understand that you want to offer an
nendment to the bill to include domestics?
Mr. Sterne. I do not undertake to dictate to the committee.
Mr. Andrews. You seek to protect these domestics in the home,
id yet you let this bill go along without that provision in it?
The Chairman. Do you think that would be a good thing if we
d an 8-hour bill for domestic servants?
Mr. Sterne. Yes; for Congressmen, too.
The Chairman. You are not suggesting to this committee that they
id

ike that

amendment?

Mr. Sterne. No, sir; we are glad to have
ler that better than none.

a

half loaf.

We

con-

132

HOUKS OF LABOB FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Mr. Wiseman. Now, you go over here to Baltimore, and they have
District, how
JO hours over there. If we have 8 hours here in the
are we going to compete with them ?
Mr. Sterne. I want you to understand that Baltimore is the worst
organized city in the United States. We have been working for 15
years to get some regulation, and we have only been successful in the
last year in getting a 10-hour day for women, but we expect the next
legislature, in 1914, to pass an 8-hour law, the same as we are trying
I want to say that I do not believe that there are
to get it here.
very many people in Washington that will go to Baltimore to buy,
because I believe Washington has better skilled help than Baltimore,
and I do not believe the poor man who is getting $9 or $10 a week is
going to jump on the cars and go to Baltimore when he wants to
buy a pair of shoes. I want to say also that organized labor will
work with the merchants, but it will not work with them if they are
going to take the lives of the women and girls that work in the stores
and factories.
Mr. Andrews. There is just one question I would like to ask the
gentleman. What would be the effect, in your opinion, on the stenographers, the 100 stenographers that you represent, if this bill
became a law, and the men stenographers in the city of Washington could work as long as they always could and night work too,
wouldn't that result in the ladies not being able to get as much work
as they

now do?

Mr. Sterne. Seventy-five per cent of our girls work 7 hours a day
now.
Mr. Andrews. They could not work overtime, no matter how
badly they might be needed. Suppose a lawyer had an employee in
his office, a woman that had been there a long time, and he had an
important brief to get, up at night, which he could not intrust to
anyone else, under this law he would not be able to employ that
woman. He simply could not under this law. Now, under those
circumstances, wouldn't he feel like replacing her as soon as possible
with a man who was not affected by the law ?
Mr. Sterne. It is the same old story, double your shift; get two
stenographers instead of one.

The Chairman.
Mr. Sterne. No,

Is there anything further?
sir;

thank you.

STATEMENT OF D. F. MANNING, 1524 EIGHTH STREET, NW.,
REPRESENTING THE RETAIL CLERKS' UNION.
Mr. Manning. Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen of the committee,
was not the intention of the retail clerks' union, which I have the
honor to represent, to take up your time in presenting arguments or
reasons why such a just, worthy, and humane bill should be enacted
into law. We felt that the cause o,f the retail clerks of our city could
be well and ably taken care of by our good friends, the ladies comit

posing the consumers' league,

who

are responsible for the introduc-

and to whom should be given great credit for their
untiring efforts and zeal to promote the well-being, safeguard and
protect the health of the female employees of our city.
We realized that to enter into protracted hearings and discussions
®f this subject might be the earnest desire of the opponents of this

tion of this

bill,

I0URS OF LABOK FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

133

in the hope that by this method its favorable consideration,
indorsement, and passage would be prevented at this session of Coniill,

fess.

In view, however, of the reported statement of one of the worthy
rentlemen opposing this measure, who is also an employer of quite
number of females, to the effect " that not a single clerk or employee
n any retail, mercantile establishment in Washington was interested
n the bill, or desired its passage," we have felt compelled to present
iur views on this very important proposed legislation.
The members
if our association could not afford, and do not
propose that this
tatement be placed in the record unchallenged or undisputed.
concede the right of any employer, or body of employers, to
heir opinion or conviction on matters of this character, but we quesion their right to speak for the clerks or employees, or the correctless of their information when they state " that not a single clerk or
mployee in any retail mercantile establishment in Washington was
nterested in the bill or desired its passage." Permit me to say that
he union I represent, composed of nearly 400 employees in the retail
tores, selling clothing, shoes, dry goods, etc., have previously, at
heir regular meetings, unanimously indorsed this, as well as a com>anion bill introduced in the Senate by Senator La Follette.
The
central Labor Union of Washington, composed of representatives
if 70-odd
various industrial organizations, with a total memberhip of approximately 25,000, after due deliberation and consideraion, has also unanimously indorsed these bills, and in addition to
hese indorsements the executive council of the American Federation
f Labor, representing 2,000,000 organized wage earners of our counry, after careful and painstaking investigation, has likewise given
heir unanimous approval to these measures.
Lest there be any misunderstanding as to our right to speak in
ehalf of the employees of the retail mercantile establishments of our
ity, our union, composed of all nationalities, creeds, and opinions,
lakes the assertion that since its organization, more than 15 years
go, it has been responsible for the institution and successful estabtsbment of any and every general early closing or shorter-hour
eform which has been brought about in the retail trade. In years
one by, when it was a rule rather than the exception that retail
tores of Washington opened early in the morning and closed late
night, till midnight on Saturdays, with a half-day's work on Sunay in many instances, our union was the first to espouse the cause
In the early years of
f the underpaid and overworked retail clerk.
ur organization it was no uncommon custom for clerks to report at
o'clock in the morning, work daily until 7, 8, and half-past 8 in
le evening for the first 5 days of the week, and invariably midnight
n Saturdays.
In addition to this, we were also required in many
istances to' work one-half day on Sundays, and nearly all legal holiays.
Since that time, however, through the continued efforts of
ir union, we have been successful in reducing the hours of labor durtg the week days and on Saturdays, eliminating to the minimum
ork on Sundays and legal holidays.
It might be interesting to your committee to know that up until a
!W years back the' retail mercantile establishments of Washington,
icluding nearly all the large department stores, kept, open from 8
the morning until 11 and 11.30 on Saturday nights, and 6 o'clock
,

We

fc

.

134

HOUES OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Our union,
in most instances being the rule during the week days.
true to its concepts, and in accordance with its avowed purposes and
declaration of principles, inaugurated a campaign for the improvement of conditions of our salespeople, and it affords me much pleasure to say that after years of sacrifice and toil and the expenditure
of large sums of money we have been successful through the kind
and generous cooperation of the shopping public in reducing the
hours of labor, so that to-day few if any of the reputable establishments of our city employing any great number of women require
their employees to work later than 6 p. m. on week days and 9 p. m.
on Saturday nights. In addition to this, through our campaign of
agitation and education, it has been made possible for many of our
mercantile establishments during the winter months to open at 8.30
a. m. and close at, 5.30 in the evenings on week days, and in the sumto close at 5 p. m. on week days and 6 p. m. on Saturare, in addition, quite a number of uptown stores which
close at 1 o'clock Saturday during the summer months. While I am
no prophet, nor am I disclosing any confidences, I feel absolutely

mer months
days.

There

assured that our continued agitation and education, coupled with
the awakened public conscience, brought about through the consideration and discussion of this measure, will see in the very near future,
perhaps nearer than we realize, the closing of our department stores
at 6 o'clock during the entire year.
I can but very poorly express the feelings of the members of my
union as to the justice and importance of this humane legislation.
In my humble opinion there need be no stronger nor appropriate
reasons for its passage than the arguments of its opponents, who,
in their misguided zeal and biased opinion can see no good in the
legislation, which perchance might disarrange their present methods
of doing business. The apparent selfish, personal, and ulterior motives of this opposition is so plain that it needs no comment from
me. I believe your committee is fully capable, and has had sufficient
experience in matters of this kind, to differentiate between the
opposition to a method and the opposition to a principle. I have
no hesitancy in believing that the members of this committee, who
have patiently listened to the statements of the various individuals
appearing before you, are thoroughly conversant with the situation
of the mercantile establishments in Washington, and are fully competent and capable of passing judgment upon the statements made
that this proposed measure is a bad and vicious piece of legislation,
and should not be enacted into law. That it should be approved
is the almost universal opinion of those who have given it any
measure of consideration. If enacted into law it will not, unquestionably, as some of its opponents seem to think, drive the retail
merchants out of business; it will not be a burden upon the retail
salesladies it will not have the effect of reducing the earning power
of our retail clerks. True, it might prove a source of inconvenience
for a time, but in the end it will serve the purpose of affording the
greatest good to the greatest number, which is certainly in accord
with our American institutions and form of Government.
After all is said and done, in the final analysis of this proposition,
it is merely a question of arrangement between the merchant and his
employees. When our union took up the early-closing proposition
;

.

,

.

.

:

;

:

[OURS OP LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

135

was proclaimed that it was impossible to close their establishments
9 o'clock Saturday nights that it would be their ruination if they
losed at 5 o'clock during the week days; yet, notwithstanding
these
rotestations, the merchants in some sections of the city, whose
laces of business were kept open at late hours at night, on Sundays,
;

t

;

nd holidays are now closing at the early hours referred to above,
nd it has been our experience that these self-same merchants, notdthstanding their shorter hours and improved conditions, are
oing more business, are getting better results from a more satisfied
it of employees, and are more thoroughly satisfied themselves
than
nder the old regime so much so, in fact, that some of these self-same
lerchants have stated that under no circumstances would they return
As I say. it is all a matter of arrangement,
) the old conditions.
ad as a matter of further information to the committee I incorpoite herewith a copy of a letter which was addressed to our union
uring its campaign to close the mercantile establishments at an
irlier hour on Saturday nights
;

June
(Secretary Retail Clerks' Union,

31, 1900.

Washington.

Deab Sir: Your favor to hand, and has had our thoughtful consideration.
Tien we signed the agreement to close at 9 o'clock we stipulated in writing
jposite our signature " provided all other concerns do likewise," and we further
)ecified "in view of the fact that we are a department house, that clothing
ores, hatters, and furnishers were included."
We were the first to observe the understanding, and have acted in good faith,
id it is still our intention to do so, provided your organization keeps its agreeent with us, namely, to see to it that other concerns are placed on the same
lOting, as it is unfair and unjust to discriminate, which you know is being done,
competing houses on the Avenue are open and getting the benefit of our early
osing.
It is not an unusual sight to see certain stores
whose names it is needss for us to mention, as they are well known to you
crowded from 9 o'clock
itil midnight.
Do you call that keeping faith, and do you think it good form
call our attention to the violation of agreement?
We had concluded to call
tention to this matter and are therefore glad that you anticipated us, but if it
your impression that we are going to remain silent and look on while our
mpetitors keep their establishments open you are simply under a misappre!

—
—

snsion.

We

heartily favor the early closing and are perfectly willing to continue it,
the other stores and we refer principally to the Avenue have to do likeThe
ise, and if you fail in securing their cooperation you fail with the rest.
ajority of dealers are anxious to reopen on this account and are simply waitg for us to lead, which we have refused to do, but unless the matter receives
mr early attention you will discover a break in the ranks.
it

—

—

(Signed)

.

Merchant.
letter, which is self-explanatory, was received from one of
leading mercantile establishments. It is sufficient to say that this
me establishment is now closing promptly at 6 o'clock during the week
id at 9 oclock Saturday nights, and during the summer months (and
draw your attention to the fact that this complaint was lodged durg the summer months) this establishment closes at 5 o'clock on week
ys and 6 o'clock on Saturday nights. It is, to my mind at least,
jarly demonstrated that where there is a will there is a way, and the
;ter is incorporated herewith solely for the purpose of proving that

The above

ir

sertion.

a matter of further information for the committee, I desire to
id you an article from the Ketail Clerks' International Advocate,

As

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN

136
the

official

which

IN"

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

journal of the Retail Clerks' International Association, of

my

union is a part.
Now getting back to the proposed 8-hour work day for women in
our mercantile establishments, I can state positively from direct firsthand information, that the proprietors or managers of a majority of
our largest department stores absolutely are not opposed to this bill,
and I can further state from positive knowledge that the sales people
of these self-same large department storesj approximating 2,000 in
number, are desirous of having this legislation passed, feeling that it
would be a great help and benefit to them. In talking to the proprietors and managers of these department stores, not a single one
has expressed opposition to the bill, whereas one of the largest employers of our female sales people expressed the hope that it would
be adopted. To use the expression of these merchants, and I might
say in passing that these self-same merchants are members of the
Retail Merchants' Association, whom it has been stated are pledged
to oppose this bill, they propose to remain neutral; they state that
they will not oppose the adoption of this bill, nor will they constitute themselves a lobby, or adopt any other method to secure its defeat, although they frankly admit that they have been importuned
to appear in opposition to the measure, and some even have been
asked if they would donate funds to be used in defraying the necessary expenses of the campaign of opposition. These various department store proprietors and managers, without exception, are content
to leave the entire matter to the best judgment of this committee and
the Members of Congress. They say that if the bill is enacted and
becomes a law, they will govern themselves accordingly. The only
drawback or hardship which they anticipate, would be the disarrangement of their present method of doing business, and the consequent confusion in the establishment of a system which would meet
the requirements of this law and this is purely speculative.
Now, just a few words in connection with the wages paid salesladies in our department stores and retail establishments. If I
understood correctly, the representative from the Department of
Commerce and Labor gave the average earnings of saleswomen as
$6.36 per week, while the pay roll submitted to her would indicate
an average of $6.55 per week. I have no desire to controvert that
statement. Her sources of information may have enabled her to
secure correct data on this subject. Our union, however, not long
since, having this question under consideration and investigation, referred the matter to a special committee, who reported the average
wages paid retail salesladies as four dollars and seventy-odd cents,
as well as I can remember.
This, however, included salesladies only,
not heads of departments or buyers.
The sources of the information furnished the committee, I am
unable to vouch for. We have endeavored to secure correct information in this respect, even so far as adopting a law in our union,
which stipulated that members receiving less than a certain wage,
should pay a certain amount of dues per month; other members receiving over and above that stipulated wage should pay so much more
dues per month. To entitle a member to be classed in a lower rate of
dues, we required that such member must present a statement in
writing that they receive less than the stipulated salary. This
;

:OURS OP LABOE FOE

WOMEN

IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

137

was adopted for the twofold purpose of endeavoring to asamount of wages paid as well as to avoid making it burensome on our members who received a small salary. In endeavlethod
irtain

the

ring to follow out this law and secure the desired information, we
ere invariably met with the statement that such member or mem-

were prohibited from stating the salary received; that the
mount paid in salary was confidential between the employer and emloye, and under no circumstances could the amount of wage received
And in this connection permit me to say that it has
e divulged.
een my experience that very few of our sales people received
dequate wages for labor performed. In seeking work it is not a
uestion of how much can they get, but how little will they take,
aid in this connection it might be a matter of information to this
onunittee to know that under existing conditions in Washington tolay, no merchant will hire or employ a clerk who, at that time, is
mployed in another retail establishment; the statement of some
f the opponents to this bill to the contrary notwithstanding. There
" gentlemen's " agreement, which has been in existence
5 said to be a
or years, which makes it a rule prohibiting one employer from takng the services of an employe from another employer. The retail
lerk must be out of employment before their services will be acThe purpose of
:eptable to the merchant who desires such services.
uch a " gentlemen's " agreement is so apparent that I hardly believe
I am satisfied that
t requires any extended explanation on my part.
he intelligence of this committee is sufficient to fathom and analyze
ers

motive.

ts

Mr. Manning. Now, I had intended, Mr. Chairman, to include
more detailed statement as to wages, but I feel that the committee
las had sufficient enlightenment on that. As I stated in starting out,
So
t was our intention to leave the entire matter to the committee.
nany statements have been made that not a single representative of
it, that I wanted our
;he clerks was in favor of the bill or advocated
uiion to take a position and go on record that they were in favor of
t.
I want to file, Mr. Chairman, a little paper that I prepared,
showing the hours of employment in some of the large retail estab.

i

ishments.

.

The Chaibman. From what source is the table drawn
Mr. Manning. Both from employees and employers. We attemptwould give it I used it.
id to get it from employers, and where they
employers I took the word ot
Where I could not get it from the
(

the

employees.

.

The Chaieman. Does the

table itself

,

show the address o± employees

which the table is based and the address of the establishments
ipon which it is based?
It
Mr Manning No; it just enumerates the establishments. the
mmes them individually, taking them as the representatives,
I do not suppose that these establishments
largest establishments.
it there
have any objection to having this published. And
would
eliminated.
could be
Is anv objection the names
Chaieman. Without objection it will be included in the recmi

,

The
>rd, and the committee
the

use of the

name

will determine later

whether

of the particular establishments.

it

will permit

138

HOURS OP LABOR FOR
Week

•a

WOMENMN THE

Hours per day,

Saturday.

days.

13

a

£^-°

•I

3

3
—

33

S~.

c!

O

O

o
Palais Royal:
Winter season
Summer season
Busy season

DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.

9
5
91

8.30
8.00
8.00

6.00
5.00
0.00

8.30
8.00
8.00

6.00
1.00
6.00

8.30
8.00
8.00

5.30
5.00
0.00

8.30
8.00
8.00

5.30
1.00
6.00

8i
5
91

8.30
8.00
8.00

6.00
5.00
6.00

8.30
8.00
8.00

9.00
0.00
9.00

111

54}
501
57}

8.30
8.00
s.oo

5.30
5.00

9.00
6.00
9.00

1.00

I

......

i

8.30
8.00
S.OO

i

I

COO

10}
91
111

57}

8.00
8.00
8.00

0.00
5.30
6.00

1.00
1.00
1.00

8.00
8.00
8.00

6.00
12.00
6.00

1.00

8.30
8.00
8.00

6.00
5.00
6.00

8.30
8.00
8.00

9.00
6.00
9.00

11

8.00
8.00
8.00

6.00
5.00
6.00

1.00
1.00
1.00

.00

9.00 or 9. 30
9.00 or 9. 30
9.00 or 9. 30

111-12
111-12
111-12

8.30
8.00
8.00

0.00
5.00
6.00

3
i
i

9.00
6.00
9.00

11

8.00
8.00

6.00
5.00

8.00
8.00

6.00
5.00

8.00
8.00

6.00
5.00

S.OO
8.00

6.00
5.00

8.00
8.00

6.00
5.00

8i

54

«i
57

Woodward & Lothrop:
Winter season

Summer season
Busy
S.

season

Kann Sons &

Winter season

Summer

41}
551

Co.:

season

Busy season
Lansburgh & Bro.:
Winter season

Summer season
Busy season

11

95

i

Garftnkle:

Winter season

Summer season
Busy season
Hecht & Co.:
Winter season

Summer season
Busy season
Kings Palace:
Winter season

Summer season
Busy season
Goldenberg's:
Winter season
Summer season
Busy season
Hahn's shoe store:
Winter season
Summer season
Berberioh's Shoe Store.
Winter season
Summer season

Family Shoe Store:
Winter season

Summer

season

Saks & Co.:
Winter season

Summer season
Parker, Bridgett & Co.
Winter season
Summer season

;:00

.00

54
46*
54'

i.'oo

91
11*

50*
58"

56H7
511-62
56J-57

Hi

501
57}

10.00
10.00

12}
12}

59
54

1.00
1.00

10.00
10.00

12j

52i

i

10.00
10.00

121

58}

9.00
6.00

121

9.00
6.00

11
9

i

1.00
1.00

91

571

43}

91

50J
56
49

Miss Obenauer. Mr. Chairman, there were some slight errors in
quoting some figures that I gave to the committee, but I am sure
that they are right in the record, and if you are willing I will take
up the time of the committee to make the correction now.
Mr. Andrews. I do not quite understand the reference the gentleman made there to the fund. Did I understand him to say that there
had been a fund that had been raised by the Retail Merchants' Association, or attempted to be raised, to oppose this bill ?

Mr. Manning. No, sir.
Mr. Andrews. It sounded very much like that.
Mr. Manning. What I did say was that some of them informed me
that they had been asked if they would subscribe funds for a campaign of opposition.
Mr. Andrews. I want to state, as acting president of the Retail
Merchants' Association, that my interest in this matter is nothing
personal at all, and, to the best of my knowledge, such a question has
not entered the mind of anyone who had anything to do with these
hearings or this

bill.

,

HOURS OF LABOR FOB

WOMEN

»

.

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

139

^V™ wk

* am simp y giv ?^ that as a statement that was
I
made to me by the manager of one of our largest
retail establishments
wuiiwimenra.
Mr. Andrews. Could you give me his name
Mr. Manning. I would not like to give the name
The Chairman. You can give Mr. Andrews the
name if J ou
V
;are to.

Mr. Manning. Later on, if necessary, I can produce
the name.
Mr. Sowers. These various labor organizations to
which vou refer
is having gone on record indorsing this bill,
were they comprised of
r
men or women ?
Manning. Both.
Mr.
Mr. Sowers. Largely of men, were they not?
A N
times
have been
„¥m Clerks,°[G because ofthere fact that 1,100 women in the
^
Retail
but
the
the wages they received
vrere so small— I refer to the retail and department
stores— they were
compelled to drop their membership.
Mr. Sowers. What percentage is that of the total number?
Mr. Manning. You mean the employees in the retail stores
Mr. Sowers. The total number of members of your union— what
percentage of your membership is female?
Mr. Manning. I would be unable to state that offhand.
Mr. Sowers. The larger percentage are males, are they not ?
Mr. Manning. I would not say that they were.
Mr. Sowers. Your union recognizes the fact that they are in competition with the female classes, does it not?
Mr. Manning. Yes.
Mr. Sowers. And they recognize that by reason of the enactment
)f this law they would be put in a fairer competition with the females.
Four unions demand an 8-hour day, and therefore, if this regulation
,vere enacted forbidding females to work longer than 8 hours, they
would be on a fairer basis of competition?
Mr. Manning. Our union demands an 8-hour law for male clerks.
want to answer your question, but I do not know that I get it right.
Mr. Sowers. It is a fact that ycur unions demand an 8-hour day
n most lines, do they not ?
Mr. Manning. In many industries they do In the retail trade, we
idvocate an 8-hour law, but by agreement we, at certain times of the
rear, allowed longer hours.
We are now working 8 hours.
Mr. Sowers. Ycu recognize that competition would be less sharp
f the females were put on the same basis and required to work only
hours, that that would give more places to the males?
Mr. Manning. I am, of course, speaking of the retail trade. It is
fact that, if all things were equal, I believe the majority of em>loyees in retail establishments would be men.
The Chairman. By saying, " If all things were equal," you include
Both of those are
that the number of hours and wages paid?
ticluded?
Suppose they were equal, the tendency would be to emJoy males instead of females ?
Mr. Manning. What I had in mind was the fact that it is inariably the case that women are employed in some departments and
wne industries because they will work for less money than men will,
hir union requires equal work requirements for both sexes.
Mr. Buchanan. There is no competition in the union, is there?
Mr. Manning. Oh, no.

™

-

¥

?

f

!

i

tt

140

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Mr. Buchanan. Your union invites membership of women, do
They have lady members, do they not?
Mr. Manning. We do more than that. We go out and beg them
to come in.
Mr. Buchanan. So far as your organization is concerned, it is not
competition, the organization is for the purpose of improving the
they not?

condition of the lady clerks as well as the men ?
Mr. Manning. Yes because the conditions apply equally to both.
The competition I referred to was between the cost of selling goods*
between the male and female help.
Mr. Buchanan. Mr. Sowers asked you if you were in competition
there, and I thought you said you were.
;

Mr. Manning. Oh, no.
Mr. Sowers. I think the witness understood that I referred to the
condition in the mercantile world in which the men are forbidden to
work longer than 8 hours by their unions, and the females, not being
under that restriction, have an advantage in securing positions over
the males. You understood I said that, did you not?
Mr. Manning. Yes.
The Chairman. In taking a stand for an 8-hour work day for
women, have you at any time taken that position because it might
result in the employment of a larger number of men ?
Mr. Manning. We have considered that and have arrived at the
conclusion that the less number of hours we work the more employment it gives to people who seek it.
Mr. Buchanan. You think the same number of hours for women
that you do for men ?
Mr. Manning. Yes; and the cash girls and cash boys; in fact, all
the employees, down to the fireman and engineer. I might say that
our agreement between the merchants and the union regulates the
conditions of employees in their establishment.
Mr. Buchanan. In other words, you have the same agreement for
lady members that you do for men?
Mr. Manning. Yes. I might say, also, that in our new agreement
we have provided an 8-hour day covering certain periods of the year.
I might say, further, that in this table it shows that in many of the
very large mercantile establishments they are working less than 8
hours per day and they are managing to do their business all right.
Mr. Buchanan. I took it from Mr. Sowers's question that his position is that through your organization you are trying to make it a
disadvantage for the ladies to work in competition with the men?

—

Mr. Manning. No; it was Mr. Sowers he might have meant to
make such a statement as that.
Mr. Sowers. But you believe that by reason of this enactment a
great many females will be replaced by men?
Mr. Manning. No; I do not believe there would be a single one.
It has been my experience in handling these matters that the adoption of the 5 o'clock closing during the summer months, and during
the entire months, that the shorter hours instead of proving a detriment; instead of displacing female clerks it has had the tendency to
put more to work, to make employment for a greater number of both
men and women, in order to handle the increased volume of business.
Mr. Sowers. I understand that if male and female alike were
forbidden alike to work longer than 8 hours that would be the

SOUKS OF LABOR FOE

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

141

but if the men are allowed to work as long as they please
the females are forbidden to work longer than 8 hours,
don't
rou believe that in man}' cases where there was an extra hour and
i half required that men would be found more available,
and would
3e retained under those conditions ?
Mr. Manning. I would like to say to Mr. Sowers that in our
unions we do not permit people to work as long as they please.
Mr. Sowers. If you do, do you not fine them for working overresult,

md

time

?

Mr. Manning.

We

prohibit them by agreement with the employ-

jrs.

Mr. Sowers. In cases where they desire to work overtime, you
them, and impose a fine if they violate that prohibition,

prohibit
lon't

you ?

Mr. Manning. We have never had occasion to go that far. What
night occur, of course, I can not answer.
Mr. Howard. Do you know of any dry goods or grocerv stores
that are kept open here on Sunday ?
Mr. Manning. Yes.
Mr. Howard. Is that the practice in some sections of the city?
Mr. Manning. Absolutely; not only in the morning, but also at
light.
Any time of day you can get any kind of an article you
wish.

Mr. Howard. Do you know of industries that work their men on
Sunday?
Mr. Manning. Leaving out the retail trade, of course. The Govirnment institutions sometimes, I believe, work men on Sundays,
mt, generally speaking, I do not believe they do.
Mr. Howard. I am talking about institutions outside of Governnent work.
Mr. Manning. They were working on the Kiggs Building last
Sunday.

Mr. Buchanan. That is a case where they had a permit for workng on Sunday. That is a special case.
Mr. Howard. They do work on Sunday sometimes?
Mr. Manning. Yes, sir.
Mr. Howard. Do you know of any law in the District prohibiting
hat ?

Mr. Manning. No, sir. We have been endeavoring for 10 years
adoption of such a law.
Mr. Howard. I introduced one a year and a half ago, but it never
pt anywhere.
Mr. Buchanan. I would like to say, in regard to overtime on
•uilding construction work, that they generally pay double time
or Sunday. work and holiday work, and that, in ^tself is an evitence of emergency existing, because it costs so much more to do
he work.
Mr. Manning. While we are on this question, we have Capt. Estes
ere, representing the District government as an inspector of childibor conditions, and he is better able to give you specific informaon on this than anyone else in the District.
The Chairman. The committee will have to adjourn. There are a
umber of others here, I understand, who want to be heard by the
Mnmittee, but we will be unable to hear Capt. Estes this morning.
o secure the

,

:

142

:

HOURS OP LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

If there are no objections,

we

will adjourn until 9.30

to-morrow

morning.
Bight-Hour Law for

Women

in California.

seventy-five ter cent of the employers are in favor of the reduction of
the hours of labor for women as aiding in their efficiency great benefit to workers.
for women is a boon not only to all women employed, but
employers of women.
This is the gist of a report on labor conditions in California prepared by the
hureau of labor statistics for Gov. Hiram W. Johnson, so that he may have
accurate information with which to meet the tremendous influence that will
be brought to bear to have the law repealed at the next session of the legisla-

The S-hour law

to the

ture.

The report, more than 4,000 words long, was drafted from figures furnished
by 18 competent investigators, and deals with the period of six months ending
January 1, 1912.
During the investigations the men visited hundreds of places where women
are employed all over the State, and talked to thousands of employed women.
In addition to obtaining information on the 8-hour law for women they investigated conditions affected by every State law on labor, and obtained much
information that will aid in the passing of laws dealing with phases of the
labor situation not yet legislated for.
Some of the most specific findings are
Less than a dozen women have been discharged as a result of the enforcement of the law.
There has been practically no reduction of wages following the shortening
of hours.
Women do as much now in 8 hours as they formerly did in 8J or 9.
Seventy-five per cent of the employers of women do not object to the law.
Of the remainder, 20 per cent object to the 8-hour a day provision, but not
to the 48-hour a week clause.
Less than 5 per cent of the employers of women are lined up strongly against
the law.
The operation of the law has increased, rather than diminished, the opportunity for women to obtain employment.
Opposition to the law was founded for the most part on preconceived erroneous ideas as to its effect.
"A great deal of comment," reads the report in part, " was made by both
prominent persons and the press as to the effect of the 8-hour law upon the
economic conditions of the women themselves and upon business in general,
In order to ascertain whether there was any merit in these contentions, our
special agents were instructed to ask the following questions from each estab-

lishment employing
"First.

women

Have any women been discharged as a result
Have the wages of women been reduced?

of the S-hour law?

" Second.

Third. Statements of views of the employer on the 8-hour law.
Fourth. Statement of views of the women on the 8-hour law.
While our work along this line is not yet complete, the answers obtained
in over 2,000 establishments employing women up to January 1 show that less
than a dozen women have been actually discharged on account of the 8-hour
law. Further, that there has been practically no reduction of wages even in
We were informed that these women
the case of women doing piecework.
accomplished as much in 8 hours as they did formerly in 8$ and 9 hours. The
majority of employers informed us that they accomplish more' in a shorter
period of time.
"Over 75 per cent of the employers of women stated that they had no objection to offer against the law, while about 20 per cent stated that they had no
objection to the 48-hour a week law, but were opposed to a strict S-hour a day
law. This objection was based principally upon the inconvenience caused in
Less than 5 per cent voiced
office departments around the first of the month.
any opposition to the 8-hour law. Numerous statements appeared that women
were being displaced by men. In our investigation we have run across only
two or three instances of this kind.
"While, as stated before, our work is not yet complete, I believe that our
investigation will show that the 8-hour law has not driven women out of in"

"

"

HOURS OP LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.

143

ranks, but, on the contrary, that it has furnished
employment for a
greater number of women."
.
substance on the finding on holiday trade conditions is: "The law
The
was
an inconvenience during the season of 1911 because it necessitated a radical
change from the method of handling the Christmas trade heretofore. In almost
all cases conditions were met successfully.
Though a general increase, in gross
cost of selling, of from 2$ to 10 per cent, was experienced, it was compensated
for in a large measure by an increase of from 15 to 20 per cent in the volume
flustrial

of trade.

"If the women shoppers, who should be in sympathy with the law, will attempt to do their shopping at hours convenient to the storekeepers, no difficulty
will be experienced during the rush season to come.
"The bitter minority," said Henry H. Lyon, assistant deputy labor commissioner, "is preparing to make a desperate fight to have the law repealed at
the next session of the legislature, and this is onr answer to them."

Committee on Labor,
House of Representatives,
Wednesday, February 12, 1913.
The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. William B. Wilson
(chairman) presiding.

We

The Chairman.
will hear from Mr. Roberts this morning.
Mr. Roberts, give us your name and address.

STATEMENT OF MR. W.

F.

ROBERTS, PRESIDENT OF THE W.

ROBERTS

F.

CO.

Mr. Roberts. Mr. Chairman, I am W. F. Roberts, president of the
W. F. Roberts Co., in the printing and engraving business at 1413
New York Avenue. I have in my employ 27 women. I will state
first that the requirements of my business often call for extra work.
There are a great many occasions when work is not coming into our
office until 4 or 5 o'clock in the day.
Five o'clock is our quitting
time.
It is work of the utmost importance, and it requires that we
keep some of the help to finish it up that night.
We very frequently have papers concerning decisions, mandamus proceedings,,
md briefs that come along, and the work has to be done during the
light.
Our regular hours of work are eight, and the girls who work
m this work receive a 50 per cent increase for the overtime that they
ivork.

The Chairman. That
Mr. Roberts. Yes,

is,

they are paid a time and a half ?

sir.

The Chairman. For overtime ?
Mr. Roberts. Yes, sir. I have consulted a number of girls in my
)ffice about how they felt about this 8-hour law, and I find that they
Frequently we call
ire really very anxious to get the extra money.
that is, we only require four or five—
or a number of girls to work
ind there are always more volunteers than are required to do the
fork.
I find that out of the 27 girls in my employ one-third of them
re in families where there is neither father, brother, nor husband.
One woman works in the bind?hey are really in menless families.
ry at a dollar and a half a day, supporting her mother, sister, and
ister's child.
That woman has been in my employ for quite a numer of years.
She is not an expert workwoman by any means, and
i a case of that kind it would be a great hardship for the reason
!

—

—
144

HOURS OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

that on account of the
have to dispense with
deal of competition in
to let the other man
adjunct.

exigencies of the business that I am in I would
that woman's labor. You see, there is a great
this city, and a man in business can not afford
beat him out on anything where time is an

The Chairman. What is the difference in the rate of pay that you
pay to men as compared with women in your line of business ?
Mr. Roberts. Well, in my office merit counts, and there is very litI have men working for me who are getting
tle difference in pay.
$12 to $35 a week. I have women working who are getting from $6
to $28.80 a week.

The Chairman. In the bindery
Mr. Eoberts (interposing). No,
The Chairman (continuing).

sir.

Is

the

work

entirely

day work

there?

Mr. Roberts. The bindery is really the place where we require the
extra help more than we do in the other departments, for the reason
that after the compositors and pressmen have finished up their work
the finishing touches are put on in the bindery.

The Chairman. That is all day work ?
Mr. Roberts. No, sir it is not. That is where we require the
;

over-

time.

The Chairman. You pay

so

much per day

instead of so

much

per

piece ?

Mr. Roberts. Yes,

The Chairman.

Is

sir.
it

principally

bindery ?
Mr. Roberts. Yes; I have several
cutting and lifting.

The Chairman. What

are the

Mr. Roberts. $3 a day.

women who
men

are employed in the

there to do the heavy

work

men paid ?

They are

helpers.

One

gets $12 a week.

The Chairman. What are the women paid ?
Mr. Roberts. The women are paid from $6

to $12.
Pardon me, I
should have said from $7.50 a day in the bindery to $12. Of course,
I was thinking of the bundle wrappers who are working in the stores

at $6.

The Chairman. Do you think that the difference in the hours of
labor that would be necessitated by this bill for the women would
overcome the difference in the wages that you would have to pay for
men, as compared with the women ?
Mr. Roberts. I would not put high-priced men at the work that the
women are doing now. I would train in boys to do that. On account of the competition we could not afford to put in men to do that
work.

The Chairman. Does not it require considerable skill in the
bindery ?
Mr. Roberts. No not so much skill as deftness of hand, and I want
to say that the women are usually more deft.
The Chairman. And that requires the training of the fingers as
well as the brain to do that work?
Mr. Roberts. Yes, sir. I have no machine folder in my office and
if I did not have the girls, I would have to put in a folder because one
folder would do the work of a number of girls.
;

POUKS OF LABOE FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

141

The Chairman. Is there any further statement that you desire t<
make?
Mr. Roberts. No, sir; except that I just wish to impress upon yoi
that on account of the exigencies of the business I would possibl;
have to dispense with a good deal of the woman labor that I have
which I would very much regret to do on account of the statemen
that I have just made that they are the sole support of their families
They have no men to appeal to.
The Chairman. That is, one-third of them?
Mr. Roberts. One-third of them in my office. I asked the girls ti
appoint one or two of their number to come up here and appear be
fore you but they were reluctant and timid and asked me to come.
Mr. Rouse. You are opposed to this bill in its present form?
Mr. Roberts. In its present form, for this reason: That there ar
no exceptions. In California, I think, there is an 8-hour law fo
women but there are exceptions for businesses where emergency worl
is

done.

Mr. Rouse. Suppose this bill could be amended to provide for
hours in 10 or in 20?
Mr. Roberts. Well, let me see now. Eight hours in 10. No, sir
that would hardly fill the bill, sir, because frequently we have to worl
until 12 or 1 o'clock at night.
Well, not frequently but often. Yot
know that sometimes work comes into a printing office that require:
work straight through.
Mr. Rouse. How many hours are they employed ?
Mr. Roberts. Oh, sometimes they work 10 or 12 hours.
Mr. Rouse. Out of the 24?
Mr. Roberts. Out of the 24.
Mr. Rouse. What time do they begin work in the morning?
Mr. Roberts. 8.30.
Mr. Rouse. What time do they usually stop work ?
Mr. Roberts. 12.30.
Mr. Rouse. When they work overtime it is until 12 and 1 o'clocl
I

at night ?

Mr. Roberts. That does not happen very often.
Mr. Rouse. If that were so. they would work 15 or 16 hours.
Mr. Roberts. Well, as I stated, the final touches to the work an
put on in the bindery, and the girls are kept there rather than b
They can lie down, take a nap, and read. We jus
sent home.
want to be able to call on them.
Mr. Rouse. You would object to any limit on the number o
hours? You want the right to employ them at any hour that the;

would be willing to work ?
Mr. Roberts. Well, I think

a fair limit

would be 12

o clock a

night.

Mr. Rouse. Twelve o'clock at night ?
TVTt*

"Rorfrts

Y"gs sir.

The Chairman. That is, to begin at 8 o'clock, or whatever th
clocl
time was for starting in the morning, and continue until 12 o
at night

?

because

we

lay

78634r—13

them
30

off

and

let

them take

a nap.

-,

m my ottice.

Mr. Roberts. Well, not on a continuous stretch— not

146

HOURS OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

The Chairman. Speaking of a legal limitation as to when the
work should cease, you want the privilege of beginning your work
in your establishment at 8.30 and continuing through, if your busi»
ness required it, until 12 o'clock at night?
Mr. Roberts. That is difficult for me to answer. I can easily see
that if the law was so worded it might be abused by some persons.
Mr. Rouse. You have that right now ?

Mr. Roberts. Yes, sir.
Mr. Rouse. Provided the employees are willing?
Mr. Roberts. Yes, sir; we have that right now, but I am speaking
of the limitations of the bill. I will admit that some persons will
abuse the law because in that event they might feel they could keep
the girls at work all the time, but now that they are perfectly free
they are more liberal with their employees.
The Chairman. Do you think that you could regulate your establishment so that no rush work could be hurried through ?
Mr. Roberts. A customer is the buyer and a mighty hard man to
control.

The Chairman. And your
best trade at the best prices

business with the customer

is

to get the

you can ?

Mr. Roberts. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. If your competitor is in the same position in
which you are and the customer is not able to get any better terms
from your competitor, then he is just as likely to deal with you.
What objection would you have to the limitation of this bill?
Mr. Roberts. There would be no objection except that I would
try to beat out the other fellow by getting all men. and I think the
most of them would try the same thing if I retained the women.
The Chairman. You have your theory, and that is that it will
lead to the dismissal of the women that are employed and the employment of men in their stead?
Mr. Roberts. That is the only reason I am here now.
The Chairman. You do not think the increased cost of securing
men would offset that?
Mr. Roberts. Xo, sir I would offset that by putting in machinery
to do the folding.
The Chairman. Some of your competitors use machinery for
doing the folding now.
Mr. Roberts. Yes, sir; but they do a little different work from
what I do now. I run an office where there are not many big runs,
over 25,000 copies or something like that. I really make little or no
attempt to get that kind of work.
The Chairman. So that vour folding work is principally done by
hand?
Mr. Roberts. It is all done by hand.
The Chairman. That is not a very usual condition in the printing
establishments in the city of Washington, is it?
Mr. Roberts. No, sir; it is not. I think only about three offices in
this city have folding machines; a large majority of them are folded
by hand, because folding work is not steady work in a printing
office.
There are a great many girls in the other offices who respond
to calls from other offices.
I mean girls who work in two or three
;

printing

offices.

HOUES OF LABOB FOB

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

147

The Chairman. That is, you have folding to do now
and you employ those girls and you get them to do your work,
and immediately
thereafter some other printing establishment has
some

folding work
do and they employ the same girls, and immediately
aftei-wards
pother establishment has some folding work to do and
they get in
their folding work by the same girls?
Mr. Roberts. That is it.
The Chairman. Any other questions?
Mr. Stern. You say you will educate boys to do
the work. What
to

ages?

Mr. Roberts The ages provided by the laws of the
country
Mr. Stern. May I ask you if you have members of
organized labor
employed in your establishment?
Mr. Roberts. I have not. Mr. Chairman, now that
that question
has been asked. I will state that for 30 years I employed
organized
labor, and in 1906 they walked out of mv office
in a body* and I
immediately provided other forces and haA re so carried on
the office
Some of those men who walked out of mv office had been emploved
"
by me for 15 or 16 years.
Mr. Sowers. I would like to ask Mr. Roberts a question. These
conditions of which you speak, where you worked possibly
as late
as 12 or 1 o'clock at night, do not occur very often ?
Mr. Roberts. Very seldom.
Mr. Sowers. Possibly not more than once a week ?
Mr. Roberts. Oh, no once or twice a month.
Mr. Sowers. Then, would you not be agreeable to an amendment
providing 54 or 60 hours a week? Would not that permit you to
work a long or a short day ?
Mr. Roberts. That would restrict the labor to 9 hours a day.
Mr. Sowers. If it was 60 hours a week it would be 10 hours a day.
Mr. Roberts. Xo. For regular work I do not believe in it. I
believe in 8 hours a day.
But I am speaking only for urgent work
that is required without notice.
The Chairman. You think that in emergencies you ought to be
.permitted to work overtime?
Mr. Roberts. I do, sir.
The Chairman. You or the manager of the establishment having
the right to determine what constitutes an emergency ?
Mr. Roberts. No; the emergency is created by the customer, Mr.
Chairman, and I try to comply with his wants.
The Chairman. But finally the question of whether it constitutes
an emergency or does not constitute an emergency would be in the
judgment of the manager. Your customer could not compel you to
run your establishment if you did not want to run your establishment.
So that the final determination of whether or not an emergency existed would, in your judgment, remain with the manager?
Mr. Roberts. Yes; it would. But if I applied it to a customer
he would never come back.
The Chairman. Your fear of losing the customer would be one of
the inducements to cause you to decide that it was an emergency ?
Mr. Roberts. I think it would.
The Chairman. But vcju would be the party to decide?
Mr. Roberts. Yes, sir.
;

x

HOURS OP LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

148

Mr. Fakren. Is not there considerable of your work now going to
Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York?
Mr. Roberts. What do you mean by my work ?
Mr. Farren. Printing work— bank checks and things of that kind?
Mr. Roberts. No, sir I take no orders whatever except what I can
;

fill

in

my

office.

Mr. Farren. No I do not mean that you send it there, but I mean,
does not the customer in Washington have considerable printing
work in New York or Philadelphia?
Mr. Roberts. Oh, yes; I can speak on that.
Mr. Farren. You are in competition with New York?
Mr. Roberts. With New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Waynesboro and several other outlying towns. Several years ago I was
on a committee of a board of trade to look into that matter and it
was really ascertained that nearly 50 per cent of the printing is done
on the outside.
The Chairman. Does not Washington also do some printing for
;

outside cities?

Mr. Roberts. To what extent I do not know, but in my office
I do a very small amount of
I have had printing for outside cities.
They are principally persons
it for New York and some for Boston.
who have resided in this city and have transferred their residence
In my engraving department I think I have sent
to other places.
work into every State in the United States nearly every month in the
year.
Mr. Farren. I have had quotations from Niagara Falls for printing, 35 cents as against 50 cents in Washington. I just happen to have
a bill on my desk now from a Washington printer for 75 cents as
against 38 at Niagara Falls, although
printing is all done in
Washington by union labor, but those are the prices that have been
quoted at Niagara Falls and Conshohocken, Pa., and bank checks have

my

mark " New York Printing office.
The Chairman. Anything further?

the

Mr. Roberts. No,

sir.

'"

Mr. Chairman, I

am

very

much

obliged

to you.

STATEMENT OF CAPT. CHARLES C. ESTES, METROPOLITAN POLICE
DEPARTMENT, INSPECTOR OF CHILD LABOR IN THE DISTRICT
OF COLUMBIA.

The Chairman. Captain,

give us your

name and address and your

position.

Capt. Estes. Charles C. Estes, 1339 Irving Street NW., WashingD. C., member of the Metropolitan police department, detailed as
inspector of child labor in the District of Columbia.
The Chairman. Captain, the bill we have pending before us now,
the Peters 8-hour bill, makes a provision excluding the employment
of females under 18 years of age, I believe, before the hour of 7
o'clock in the morning and after the hour of 6 o'clock in the evening.
In your work in connection with the enforcement of the child-labor
law, will you tell the committee what in your judgment the effect of
that provision would be?
Capt. Estes. Mr. Chairman, my work has been limited to the minor
under 16 years of age, both male and female, but while doing that
ton,

HOUBS OF LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN

THE

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

149

work I have had access to all of the stores of the District of Columbia,
workshops, factories, laundries, and so forth, where child labor has
been used and is being used. The law, as you know, sir, is that no
minor under 16 years of age can be employed without first having
obtained a permit either from the superintendent of the public
schools or an authorized deputy or a judge of the juvenile court.
That is, between 14 and 16 from the superintendent of public schools
and between 1'2 and 14 from the judge of the juvenile court. That
is in cases where it is absolutely necessary for the child to work for
its own maintenance in part or in whole or for its mother, who may
As I said, that law has been in
be a widow, or an invalid father.
force now since 1898; as I recall it, and I have been on that work since
the passage of that bill, and it has worked and is being worked now
The
very successfully with, practically speaking, no opposition.
merchants are in favor of it, and I think that every father and mother
who is worthy of being called such is in favor of that law.
I know a great many of the lady clerks in the large stores and I
have yet to hear, since this bill has been spoken of, a single one desirThe larger stores in the District
ing to work longer than 8 hours.
of Columbia are coming to the point where they would like to see
the public educated up to the point of doing their shopping before
Some of our very best stores close at the very latest at
6 o'clock.
half-past 5, opening at half-past 8, and give their clerks from threequarters of an hour to an hour for lunch, which makes it. practically
Mr. Garfinkle closes all the year around
speaking, 8 hours a day.
at 6 o'clock except through the summer, when he closes at 1 o'clock on
Saturday. It has been customary heretofore for the other stores t©
keep open as late as 8 or 9 o'clock on Saturdays at night except during the holidavs, and then they kept open until 9 or 10 or 11, or as
Last year there were only a very
late- as thev thought necessary.
the 'better class of stores that kept open late. Woodward &
few of
Lothrop kept open 2 nights during the holidays, but, as I said before,
Mr. Garfinkle did not keep open at all. I was in Mr. Kann's, that is,
Kann & Sons, Eighth and Pennsylvania Avenue, Lansburghs, the
told me
Palais Koyal, and the Boston House, and those gentlemen
open after
that the business they did during the holidays by keeping
public is becoming
6 o'clock did not pay their expenses, because the
the
educated up to the point where it prefers doing its shopping in
while I know but little about, the work
daytime. So that I say that
with the employment
of those over 16. 1 consider that I am conversant
there are 600 girls and boys employed
I believe
of minors under 16.
of age. I should say
in the District of Columbia under 16 years
girls, and they are being used
about one-third of that number are
like in the departas bundle wrappers and floor messengers and such
of course, use all boys.
ment stores. The messenger companies,
from a
The Chairman. Would you consider it wise, Captain,
where those girls under
standpoint of morality to have a condition
the nighttime*
16 years of age could be employed in the evenings,
Do you think that is a wise thing from the standpoint of morality {
girls under 16 years
Capt. Estes. Xo, sir; I do not. I think that
My experience in the police department
of age should be at home.
two exceptions that I went to Cuba tor
for 20-odd years, with the
went to the 1 hilipabout a vear as captain of volunteers and later

m

l 50
r

HOUES OF LABOB FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

—

my experience with
going to and from their places of business,
is that it leads to loitering around the streets with their companions,
and their parents are under the impression that they are at work. I
could name several cases where girls have been led astray. I mentioned in mj' report recently, when I was called upon during the agitation of the curfew law. four different girls, to my personal knowledge, from having been allowed to loiter around the streets, who are
now leading lives that are anything but projier.
Mr. House. Captain, did I understand you a moment ago to say
that the girls that you have talked to regarding this bill were unanimously in favor of it, or did you say that they were in favor of the
pines and stayed there 2 yeans as a lieutenant

girls

working

at night,

8 -hour principle?

Capt. Estes. In favor of the 8-hour proposition.
Mr. Rouse. Have you talked with many about this bill ?
Capt. Estes. Yes, sir frequently. I am in the stores every day.
Mr. Rouse. Have you visited any of these tailor shops where they
have lady employees'?
Capt. Estes. I have not recently. Of course, I have another man
with me.
Mr. Rouse. I have reference to the time since the introduction of
;

this bill?

Capt. Estes. No, sir.
Mr. Rouse. Have you questioned any of the employees of the
laundries as to their opinion in regard to the bill ?
Capt. Estes. I have talked with a few. One or two of the Franklin people, the Manhattan, and the Elite.
Mr.' Rotjse. Do they object to working overtime?
Capt. Estes. I can not say that I spoke of that point, but 1 confined my conversation to the number of hours that they would like
to have, and without exception they were all in favor of the 8-hour
law.

Mr. Rouse. But are they opposed to working overtime if they are
paid for it?
Capt. Estes. No, sir; the question of overtime was not spoken of.
In my experience with laundries eight hours is rather a long day in
the average laundry in the summer time, because it is intensely hot
and in many cases ventilation is very poor.
Mr. Rouse. Have you talked to any female employees in the printing establishments ?
Capt. Estes. No, sir I have not.
Mr. Rouse. The reason I asked you about those particular places
is that we have had representatives of those classes of business before
the committee.
Capt. Estes. I can not recall having spoken to any female employees engaged in any of the printing establishments. We have one
or two printing establishments here that employ boys.
Mr. Rouse. Well, that does not have anything to do with this bill.
Capt. Estes. No, sir.
Mr. Rouse. The ones that you have talked to are employed in the
;

department stores ?
Capt. Estes. Principally.

Mr. Rouse. Have you talked to any of the restaurant people?

"

HOURS OF LABOR FOR

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

151

Capt Estes. Yes, sir; yesterday I spoke to a maid who
waited on
in the Crown Restaurant and she was in favor
of the bill
I was
the restaurant business myself once.
in
Mr. Rouse. Was she in favor of the strict 8-hour proposition?
Capt. Estes. She said, "Eight hours is long enough
for me to
work. 1 do not care to work any longer than that."
Mr. Rouse. As to the question put to these ladies, is it -just
"Are
you in favor ot 8 hours? "
'
Capt, Estes. No, sir; I frequently go in the Crown Restaurant,
and 1 spoke to the young lady who waited on me about the bill beintr
before the committee now, and said, "What are you in favor of
8
hours, or would you like to work as you are now ? " She said " Eight
hours is long enough for me to work."
Mr. Rouse. It is long enough for most people to work. That has
been the trend of the conversation "Are you in favor of 8 hours ?
A.nd the answer has been universally, " I am " ?

me

:

Capt. Estes. Yes, sir.
Mr. Rouse. You would not expect anything else ?
Capt. Estes. Yes, sir.
Mr. Rouse. If you would ask them if they were in favor of 6
hours, they would say the same thing ?
Capt. Estes. I would not answer that. I know of some people
here who are willing to give value received for their wages.
Mr. Rouse. Captain, on your rounds from now on after you have
asked the first question and the second question, "Are you in favor of
the 8-hour bill?" and then, "If you work overtime, a reasonable
length of time, and are paid for that time "
ask them if they would
be in favor of 54 or 60 hours a week, provided they would be paid
for the extra time over 48.
Capt. Estes. I will do that, sir.
Mr. Manning. After this law became effective, the 8-hour law
governing the employment of children or those under 16 years of
age, what was the usual method or custom governing their employment in the department stores?
Capt. Estes. Well, as to time ?
Mr. Manning. As to the method or arrangement governing their

—

—

8-hour employment?
Capt. Estes. Well, they would regulate their time something like
this: Some of the bundle wrappers would come on at 8 o'clock and
others at half past 8, and they would give them a little longer time
for lunch and allow them to quit earlier.
The Chairman. That is, thev had some of the wrappers come on
at 8 o'clock?
Capt. Estes. Yes, sir. That is, during the season they opened at 8.
The Chairman. And others would come at 8.30. and they would
both have a workday of 8 hours ?
Capt. Estes. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. So that the ones that came at 8.30 would stay a

hour longer ?
Capt. Estes. Yes,

half

sir.

The Chairman. But both would work

8 hours

?

Capt. Estes. Yes, sir. The merchants here are not so rushed at
that early hour as they are later on in the day, but it would about

152

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

equal up itself, and also just before closing, probably, the rush is
not quite so heavv. They try to have the larger force on during the
In fact, I know that Mr. Garfinkle has
busiest hours of 'the day.
absolutely nothing to do up until about 10 o'clock in the morning. I
know that some of his girls do not get there until 9 o'clock, although
they are required to get there at 8. My personal knowledge is that
some of his girls do not get there until 9, and they frequently go off—
probably get excused— a half hour earlier. That is, in a very few
cases.
I know that two of his girls did live in Baltimore, and he
allowed them to come at 9 o'clock in the morning, and they never did

work more than 8 hours a day.
Mr. Manning. With the idea

of showing, if this bill is favorably
reported and becomes a law. that there would be no hardship, I would
like to ask the Captain if in the enforcement of the 8-hour law for
children he has met with any difficulty from the employers, and I
refer especially to the department stores?

Capt. Estes! No, sir. The only complaint is as to the arrangement
that I had spoken of, the arrangement of the hours, and some of
the clerks did not like the idea because they were giving the advantage to the minors under 16; that is, some of the bundle wrappers
over 16 entered a mild protest against it.
Mr. Manning. There has been practically no opposition?
Capt. Estes. No, sir; I have met with practically no opposition
in enforcing the child-labor law. The merchants seem to be in favor
of it, as a rule.
Mr. Hebbard. You laid particular stress upon Mr. Garfinkle and
Woodward & Lothrop closing at 6 o'clock. Has Mr. Garfinkle ever
paid any attention to the manufacturing department alterations on
millinery? I know of some cases where they have worked as late
as 11 or 12 o'clock.
Capt. Estes. Mr. Garfinkle has an alteration department. They sell
a good many ladies' suits and in most cases they have to be altered,
so I would judge he has paid attention to that particular part of the

—

business.

Mr. Hebbard. I asked you whether they ever worked overtime?
Capt. Estes. T have never known of it; I do not say that they
have never worked overtime, but I say that his closing time is half
past 5 and they never work after 6 o'clock. I have frequently called
up there at a later hour for Mr. Johnson, who is the manager, and no
one is there but the janitor.
Mr. Hebbard. Do you know anything about the tailoring business, about the seasons; about working overtime?
Capt. Estes. Well, probably as every other man does, I know
that there are busy seasons and dull seasons for every branch of
business and I presume they have theirs.
Mr. Hebbard. That is the only branch I am interested in myself,
the tailoring and the overtime. I said yesterday that if they decide
on an 8-hour law I "would rather have a 9-hour law, and I would
rather have the privilege of overtime work to meet the extra rush
work. I would like to have some investigation of the tailoring establishments here.
The stores can easily overcome the rush, but we
would like to have the privilege of meeting this rush in the same
manner.
Capt. Estes. T might do that, Mr. Chairman.

HOUES OF LABOR FOE

The Chairman.

I

and

possible

as

ask

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

153

We

are anxious to conclude these hearings
as soon
so far as the committee is concerned
we shall

not

it.

Mr Hebbard As

secretary of the exchange I offer mv
services to
the tailoring shops,
any way.
Capt. Estes. Of course, it is outside of my business,
Mr Chairman, but 1 could do it every day. I drop into tailoring
shops to see
whether they have persons under 16 vears of age there

|

m

'investigate

if

especially

an anonymous communication saving that
thev have
we do not do that very frequently. Recently I
had a

I receive

Of course,

communication of that land and I investigated it and
found that
one of the boys in a messenger service was working from
half past
He was awfully behind in his studies and
5 to 8 o'clock at night.
his teacher complained of it and a few days afterwards
I received
the anonymous complaint that he was working for a messenger
company and I investigated it and found that it was true.
Mr. Stern. Did you have occasion to go into the steam laundries,
after sundown in the summer time ?
Capt. Estes. Yes, sir.
Mr. Stern. Do you think, Captain, during the heated season that
it is injurious to the workers to work after sundown
in the laundry?
Capt. Estes. I could not give expert testimony, but from my view
I should not care to do it.
In fact, I would not care to work in a

any time.
Might I answer that question ?
The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. Farren. The laundries will admit that it is injurious in the
summer time, but where is the steam laundry that' works after sundown in summer time? The bill that we have asked for prohibits
We have never worked after sundown in summer time. It is a
very hot place in a laundry and we do not want to work after sunlaundry at

Mr. Farren.

it.

down.

Mr. Sowers. I would like to ask a question.

The Chairman. All right.
Mr. Sowers. You stated that you considered 8 hours a long period
of work in the busy season.
I want to ask whether, in your observation, you have not ascertained that the laundries, as a rule, do not
work as long as 8 hours. Is it not a fact that they do not work 8.
hours in the heated season ?
Capt. Estes. In my statement I said I considered 8 hours rather
long for the laundries I visited.

Mr. Sowers. In your conversation with laundry employees,, did
you learn that it is customary for laundrymen to omit as much work
as possible during the extreme hot days, possibly only working 4 or
5

hours and

adjust their

making it up on cooler days? In other words, they
work as much as possible to suit the weather and take

advantage of conditions, having the privilege of working long hours
some days and making it up on hot days out of compassion for their
employees, allowing them to go home earlier on the hot days.
Capt. Estes. I can not say that I have observed that condition.
[ can only say that my experience with laundries is that they are
mxious to get their work out of the way as quickly as they can.
will get it
(Then I want my laundry in a hurry they tell me,
I do not know anything about the time
rat just as soon as possible."

"We

154

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

that they work, how long they work, or anything of that kind. My
business is simply this: If they employ a minor under 16 years of
age I go to the manager and say, t: You have a boy or a girl employed here and the law says that you can not work them more than
8 hours a day and if you do we will have to proceed against you,"
and I will see that they do not work a minor under 16 years of age
more than 8 hours a day.
Mr. Sowers. Actually, you know very little about the length of

hours?
Capt. Estes. I know absolutely nothing about them, except as to
minors. They may work 20 hours as far as I know. I am only concerned with the minors. I simply said that I considered 8 hours a
long day.
Mr. Sowers. In your duties and official capacity or otherwise, have
you been in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on summer nights
and observed the conditions there?
Capt. Estes. Yes; I have been there, but they have no minors
under 16 years of age there. But I have been in the bureau at night.
Mr. Sowers. You know that they work a double shift, even including the hot weather ?
Capt. Estes. Yes; I know that they work three shifts of 8 hours

sometimes.
Mr. Sowers. You
building down there
Capt. Estes. Yes.

know from

observation that that

is

a very hot

?

sir.

may say for the information of the gentlemen
present and for the record that there are some of the members of
the committee that know of those things also, and are perfectly willing to add to the record that it is one of the worst sweatshops that
If it is of any benefit to the gentleexists anywhere in the world.
men who have been asking that line of questions, I will make that
statement for the record. Anything further?
Capt. Estes. No, sir. Thank you.
Mr. Howard. It might be well to let it go- in the record in connection with what you stated, that the Government is spending quite
a large sum of money on a building to relieve the conditions down
The Chairman.

I

there.

The Chairman. That is true. They are building a new building,
trying to get away from the sweatshop conditions that exist in the
present Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

STATEMENT OF ME. JOHN B. C0LP0YS, SECRETARY OF THE WASHINGTON CENTRAL LABOR UNION, 604 FIFTH STREET, NW.,
WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. Colpoys. Mr. Chairman, in appearing here to-day and advocating the passage of this bill I appear for the Washington Central
Labor Union, as secretary of the union and also as a member of the
legislative committee.
The legislative committee first considered
the La Follette bill, which is the same bill as the Peters bill, on
which hearings are now being held, and the legislative committee
reported to the Central Labor Union that the Central Labor Union
should indorse and instruct the legislative committee to work for
the passage of this particular bill, which seeks to give to the women

HOURS OF LABOB FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

155

I was somewhat interested
-workers of the District an 8-hour law.
in the hearings that were held before the Senate District Committee,
and some of the arguments that were advanced there and also some
of the arguments that have been advanced here against the passage
They are nothing new. They are the same old arguof the bill.
ments that have been advanced in every State in the Union, especially before committees that have similar bills under consideration.
The employer can not conform his business to meet the requirements
of an 8-hour law, but it is strange that the employer can conform
his business to meet the requirements that come up in every oth'-;;
line of his business with the exception of the labor end.
In almost
every business of late there have been increases in the cost of material, yet the employer can meet those increases and carry on his
business, but as he treats labor as a commodity, he can not conform
his business to what the labor movement considers a sufficient length
of time for anybodj7 to work.
It has been the aim of the labor movement to establish a universal
8-hour law. because we believe that better results will come to both
Some years
the employer and employee from an 8-hour work day.
ago, when it was usual for men and women both to work a 10-hour
day, through organization that is, through organized labor we
established first a 9-hour day.
At that time the employers made
the same statements that were made here to-day, that it would be
impossible to do the work on a 9-hour basis, and yet they found
that the men do as much work and in most cases better work in a
9-hour day than in a 10-hour day. It has been demonstrated in
the building trade especially that the men employed under an 8-hour
day have done better and more work under the 8-hour day than
they did under the P-hour day or the 10-hour day, and some
years back, before my time, under the 12-hour day. So that if
this 'bill was passed I fail to see how it can work a hardship on
anybody. I believe that since we are situated in Washington as we
are, deprived of the right that is given to every other citizen in
every other section of the country, the right to participate in his
own government, since Congress is responsible for the passage of
laws affecting the interests of the citizens of this District, I believe
that it is their dutv to enact what some of the people who opposed
They all admit, even in their oppothis bill called a " model " bill.
sition, that it is a model bill, and they do not want to be made the
goat.
In other words, they realize that the bill will bring about
model conditions, and they oppose it. Now, if the bill should bring
about model conditions, it is the duty of Congress to enact it. It

—

—

with regard
is not only the effect that it will have upon the women
to the District, but throughout the country, having this very question
under consideration, and if Congress enacts such a law, it will be a
model for other States to follow, and the effect that it will have
will not be only

world.

on the other States, but

it

will affect the

whole

„

boast that we are a great, free, untrammeled country, one or
comthe richest in the world, and we ought also to have conditions
mensurate with those boasts. I have been very much interested in
attention
the people who have opposed this bill. I might call the
of labor
of the committee to the fact that the largest employers
workers—have not appeared either before
in the District— women

We

156

HOURS OP LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.

committee or the Senate committee in opposition to this bill.
Those that employ practically 75 per cent of the women in the
District have not appeared in opposition to the bill because they
would be only too pleased to know that such a bill if passed would
place their competitors on the same footing as themselves. We know
that those of us in the District who have fought for what is known
as the early-closing period, especially during the summer months,
did not get it without somewhat of a struggle. We had to fight for
it, and yet one of the employers, from one of the smaller department
stores, who appeared in opposition to the bill, was very emphatic
in his statements before the Senate committee as to the conditions
of the employees in his establishment, and he is one of those who
this

has been a thorn in the side of the early-closing stores. I refer to
the department store of Mr. King, known as the " King's Palace."
He keeps a department store on Seventh Street, right next to another
establishment. The other one, during the summer months, closes
at 6 o'clock.
Mr. King could not see the necessity for early closing
during the summer months, and he keeps open until 9 o'clock, just
the same as he does during the balance of the year, although his
testimony before the Senate committee and his actions toward his
help are diametrically opposite the one to the other.
The Chairman. What time does King's establishment open?
Mr. Colpoys. Eight o'clock.
The Chairman. The same time as the other?
Mr. Colpys. Yes; I may say this: All of the department stores in
the District of Columbia open at 8 o'clock nine months in the year.
Perhaps three months in the } ear they open at 8.30, owing to the fact
that they work their employees 70 or 72 hours during the holidays,
and they give them that half hour off because of the vast amount of
hours that they work during the rush season.
Mr. Howard. Do you know whether they receive any extra compensation during the Christmas rush?
Mr. Colpoys. I have never heard of their receiving any extra compensation. In fact, from investigations that I have made, personally, I do not think they do.
r

The Chairman. That

is, in his department store ?
Mr. Colpoys. No T sir they are never paid for extra time. I have
never known of any department store where they received extra pay
for anything, but on the other hand, they are docked for being under
;

time.

Mr. Howard. They have the time-clock system in the department
where every clerk has to ring the clock ?
Mr. Colpoys. Why, I think, they have got perhaps a stricter system than a time-clock system.
Mr. Howard. But they have got a system?
Mr. Colpoys. Oh, yes; they have what they call a time clerk, who
They go by numbers.
sits at a desk and as they come in they report.
Mr. Howard. Now, what penalty is attached to failure to be
promptly on time in the majority of the stores?
Mr. Colpoys. There are different penalties, as I understand.
Mr. Howard. But is the general system of docking in vogue in the
stores

District?

Mr. Colpoys. Yes.
Mr. Howard. For failure to report?

—
HOUBS OF LABOR FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

157

Mr. Colpys. Yes; I know in one store they allow for five
minutes
and they dock for over five minutes. If they were to come
m X minutes late they would be docked six minutes.
ifr
r
Mr. Howard. You know the great railroad systems allow five minutes for variation of watches for waiting time for
trains moving in

,-teeway,

opposite directions?

Mr. Colpoys. Yes, sir; I have had some experience myself in department-store work. I worked in a department store for about
lour months. I took charge of a department in a department store,
and I may say that my sympathies at that time were awakened more
strongly to the conditions under which these poor girls had to
work
than at any time before, because it came under my observation.
If you gentlemen of the committee only had the time to make
a
round of the various stores and just look at the help, and if you find
in any of the stores even 20 per cent of what I might call healthy
and robust employees, it will be a surprise to me. Most of the girls
working in the department stores you will find to be, at least in most
cases, emaciated looking.
But my experience has been this I have
known several of them who have worked in department stores and
just as soon as they reach what I consider to be the height of the
ambition of every young lady that is, to enter the matrimonial
state
after they had entered it for about six months, I think, they
commence to fill out and look healthy and robust. That is true not
only of this city, but perhaps of every city. The close confinement
that they have to put up with naturally affects their health.
Now,
"

:

—

—

department store in which I worked
(interposing). Does that mean simply an effect
upon the complexion because of being away from the sunlight, or an
effect upon their muscular
it affects their physical condition genin the

The Chairman

—

erally ?

Mr. Colpoys. Oh, it affects their physical condition, generally.
Mr. Howard. What do you attribute that to ?
Mr. Colpoys. To the confinement for one thing, to the air that they
breathe and the conditions under which they must work.
Mr. Howard. Assuming a standing position all day ?
Mr. Colpoys. Yes on their feet all day. In the department store
in which I worked I really do not know how the girls lived that
worked on the first floor, because on the first floor the only possible
way of any fresh air coming in was through some transoms that were
over the windows, the east windows, and the front door. In the back
of the establishment they had a shoe department that extended across
the whole back of the store, and at the other end of the room they had
a small balcony built where they had their grocery department, right
up next the windows, so that there was no possible chance for the air
to circulate as much as it ought to, to provide people with' pure air.
Mr. Howard. How many department stores in Washington have
what they call the basement
their goods and wares in the basement
;

—

below the sidewalk ?
Mr. Colpoys. Why, almost all of them. There may be some few
that have not, but most of them have some rooms in the basement.
There is no opposition from those people to this particular bill,
because they realize it is a just bill, and because they could not come
before this committee and offer any argument .as to why the bill
should not be enacted. They are all increasing the capacity of their

158

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

to them, so they are prospering— they
they could not build those additions, and consequently
they ought to be willing to share some of their prosperity with their
employees. Now, I was interested somewhat in a statement made
by one of the gentlemen who addressed you this morning, Mr. Roberts.
He said that sometimes when they need extra help if he needed
four girls perhaps 20 would apply for the places.
The Chairman. He was referring to overtime. He said that frequently they would require a small number to work overtime and a
great many more would volunteer for that work than they needed.
That was the statement of Mr. Roberts, as I understood it. I want
to have that statement appear in the record so that your statement
might be based upon facts.
Mr. Colpoys. Well, of course I realize, as everybody who makes
a superficial study of labor conditions must, that wages are regulated
through supply and demand. I know that the supply in the District of
Columbia far exceeds at the present time the demand, so that if the
hours of the labor of these women employees were to be reduced one
hour per day it would mean, in order for them to do the same amount
of business as is being done to-day, provided it is necessary to work
them 9 hours, it would mean that more of the people would have
And that is something that should be taken
an. opportunity to work.
into consideration, because I believe that society owes to those who
need work that they should furnish it.
The Chairman. Your position is that the reduction of the number
of hours, say, from 10 to 8, would mean an increase of 20 per cent in
the number that would be employed, and that in itself would reduce
the comparative supply of women workers, instead of acting as re-

stores

must

by making additions

be—or

ducing force in their
their wages?

wages

it

would act

as an

advancing force

in

Mr. Colpoys. We have found it to be a fact in the labor movement that wherever the hours of labor have been reduced a corresponding increase in wages has been obtained, but I do not believe
there would be 20 per cent more placed at work because of the reduction from 10 to 8 hours, but I think they would perhaps need 10 per
I think at times they do not really need all that they
cent more.
employ, but they have to keep them for the protection of their
business.

The Chairman. You do not think they would be able to perform
just the amount per hour in 8 hours as they would in 10?
You
believe they would be able to perform more work per hour in 8
hours than they would in 10?
Mi-. Colpoys. Yes; thev would give better service in 8 hours than
in 10.
Hebbard. He has been
admit that there has been
opposition of the department
the manufacturing industries
thing on that. I would like
time, privileges.
That is all
these hearings, and we might
Mi-.

We

talking about the department stores.
quite a little evidence in regard to the
stores, but

here,

and

I

most of it has been from
would like to have some-

know if he will not agree to overwe have asked practically, in all of
just as well get down to 'the facts of

to

this.

Mr. Howard.

I

would

part of section 3 of this

like to ask there in
bill,

what

is

regard to the
your opinion as to the

latter
effect

HOUES OF LABOE FOE

WOMEN

IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

159

all stores who have a majority of female
Department stores that have 20 per cent of women
Would this, in your opinion, force the stores, and all

upon the closing time of
help

employed ?

employed.
stores in the city, to close at 6 o'clock afall seasons of the year?
Mr. Colpots. No I do not think so.
Mr. Howakd. I just wanted to get your opinion as to the effect of
It^has been urged here, I understand.
it.
Mr. Colpots. I think that if the bill were to be enacted the
department stores in complying with it would close their places of
business at 6 o'clock, in conformity to this particular section of the
bill, but if they wanted to keep open, as they do now, until 9 o'clock,
they could regulate that, because the female would be employed towork 8 hours only. The only thing would be that they could not
employ any under 18 years of age over that time, but in so far as the
time of opening and closing is concerned, 1 might answer that in
this way: My wife used to go down town Saturday night and do
some shopping, and it was forcibly called to my attention when I
had to work in the department store for three months that the
extra three hours Saturday night was worse than almost the balance
From working those three hours additional there at
of the week.
that time, I decided that I would talk with her and convince her
Naturally
that she should not do any shopping on Saturday night.
a woman thinks she ought to have the prerogative to do as she likes,,
and I let her do it, but I convinced her that it was wrong to go
down there Saturday night. I said to her, " Why don't you go
down on Sunday ? " '" Why." she says, " the stores are closed on
Sunday." "Then," I saicl, "if the stores closed at 6 o'clock, you
"
would arrange to do your shopping before 6 o'clock, wouldn't you?
"Yes," she said. And so would everybody else.
Another argument I heard as to the reason why they have got. to
work these long hours in Washington is to accommodate the Government employees. Now. think of it. If that would be one of
the reasons why they have to work these hours, I would be one of
the ones to come up and teach the Government employees a lesson
by asking that a bill be introduced that takes away their 30 days
annual leave, a privilege they have, which is not enjoyed by any
In every other
other class of people that has to work for a living.
city in the country very few people that work get 30 days annual
leave, and allowed to take it as they will, scatter it through the
year, and I do not believe that argument should be held as a forcible argument as to why this bill should not be passed.
The Chairman. In the great bulk of the cities of the United Statesthe employees are not Government employees; they are employees
of private establishments; they usually work anywhere from 8 to10 hours per day, and many of them work the 10 hours, and the
shopping establishments close at approximately the same hours asfor the
they close in. this city. Would it not be just as difficult
family of a man who is working 10 hours in those cities to do their
working
shopping as it would be for the families of those who are
stores were permitted to
8 hours to do their shopping here, if the
;

keep open only 8 hours?
Mr Colpots. I think perhaps it would be more difficult because,
District of Columbia are Govas I say, most of the employees in the
employees. They comprise the great bulk of the people
ernment

160

HOURS OF LABOR FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

here outside of the employees of these shops. They have 30 days'
leave on their hands that they can use a day or half a day, or an hour,
or even half an hour, so that without any loss of wages they could do
their shopping, and the poor people that work in these stores if they
want to do their shopping they have to lose half a day's pay. The
Government employee is paid by the Government while going to do
his shopping, providing he wants to use his leave in that way.
Now, Mr. Hebbard speaks about the tailoring business. Of course
I know that there are certain businesses that have certain seasons
and I know that it requires in these businesses overtime work. I
am not prepared to saw how it should be regulated to conform to
the needs of this particular business, but I do know from my experience in the business world that during the year there are some
businesses, as I said, that require overtime work. As far as the
laundries are concerned I fail to see where at any time during the
year an emergency arises whereby they should be allowed to work
their employees more than 8 hours a day. I believe they can so
conform their business that it would not be necessary for them to
have to work their employees more than 8 hours a day. I know
from my experience in the labor movement, having had reports from
the international office of the laundry workers' union out through
the West, where they had established an 8-hour day, and the wages
paid by the employers in the various laundries throughout the West
is almost double what it is in the District of Columbia.
They have more men employed at short hours than they do here,
and the prices are practically the same as they are in the District
of Columbia. But the great trouble one of the troubles in the
District of Columbia, so far as business is concerned, is this: That
there are too many in business trying to make a living off the sweat
and blood of their employees, so that if this law was to work a hardship by putting any of them out of business perhaps it might be a
benefit to those who are in business with sufficient and legitimate
capital that they should receive a return from that capital to enable
them to exist. As I say, however, there are some of the various
manufacturing concerns in the District that really at times need to
work overtime in order for them to get out their work. I know
that they do in the tailoring industry especially, where they have
but two seasons they have a spring and a fall season in their business, and there are some businesses in which those that work have
but one season that is considered a good season; so that I am not
prepared to say as to how the bill should be amended to conform to
the needs of their particular business. I do not know that there is
anything more that I can add, only, I might say, from 'no other
reason than from a humanitarian point of view, this bill should be
passed to protect the women who are to become, as I have said, in
their proper sphere, the mothers of the future citizens of our
country.
Mr. Smith. Would you have the law apply to domestics?
Mr. Colpoys. Would I have it apply to domestics?
Mr. Smith. Yes.
Mr. Colpoys. Yes; I would have it apply to domestics.
The Chairman. You just testified that you found in the District
of Columbia some trades in which the emergencies of the work would

—

;

HOUBS
.require
I
:

OS-

.LAUOB FOB

WOMEN

IN

THE

DISTBICT OF COLUMBIA.

employment of people for overtime.

Would you

161

consider

the emergencies existing in domestic service necessary for the

employment of overtime?
Mr. Colpoys. Oh, there are times, I presume, that there would be
necessity for them to work overtime.
For instance, by domestic
service I believe you mean the female employed in family service?

The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. Colpoys. Yes: I believe there would be times that would require overtime on the part of those employees, perhaps in the case
of receptions and things of that kind, but they do not give those
every day, and it is only once in awhile that that occasion would arise.
I should consider, however, that there are cases.
I think that the
domestic is just as much entitled to the consideration of the laws
governing their employment as anybody else that works for a living.
The Chairman.
would you arrange it jn the family that
needs the help of only one domestic and is not in a position to afford
more than one.
would you arrange to limit the hours of that
one domestic to 8 ?
Mr. Colpoys. There are too many families that are not able to have
more than one domestic that I would say that the family that is able
to employ only one domestic should do part of the work just like
those that are not able to employ any.
Mr. Sowers. You stated that you saw no reason at any season in
the year why the laundries should desire to work over 8 hours a day.
May T ask if you ever engaged in the laundry business?

How

How

Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.

Colpoys. No never.
Sowers. Did you ever work in a laundry ?
Colpoys. No; never.
Sowers. Naturally you would see no reason for working
:

overtime ?
Mr. Colpoys. Not naturally. As I say, I have read the reports
coming from the organization which has investigated the working
conditions of the people employed in this business.
Mr. Sowers. I want to ask one more question. You made a statement a little while ago that the employers, the largest establishments,
were not represented here, in fact, that only a few of the smaller ones
were represented here opposed to this bill. I want to state in answer
to that that the employers were here, with very few exceptions, of
some of the largest establishments. Some of them did not have a
chance to be heard, and it was understood that the evidence coming
from all of them would be too voluminous and take up too much of
the time of the committee, and in lieu of that, the civic bodies of the
That
city have unanimously gone on record as opposing this bill.
includes the proprietors of the largest establishments in the city.
Mr. Colpoys. That is nothing new.
Mr Sowers. You stated that they had not come before the committee in opposition to this bill.
Mr. Colpoys. They have not. I don't believe there has been a
representative of Woodward & Lothrop's here. I do not believe there
has been a representative of the Palais Royal here. I do not believe
there has been a representative of S. Kann's Sons here.
Mr. Sowers. Yes Kann's are represented here, and Goldenberg's
are here, and I can say that the other department stores you mention
;

78634—13

11

162

HOUES OF LABOB FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

were present at a meeting of the Ketail Merchants' Association at
which time this resolution was adopted.
Mr. Colpoys. From what I understand, from a gentleman who
made an investigation of it, most of the department stores did not
oppose this bill. This man made an investigation for himself by
calling up the firms. He made inquiry from them as to the hours of
labor that they worked at the present time, and he did not come
across one that told him they were opposed to this bill.
Mr. Sowers. Notwithstanding the fact that they have come here
in person and stated that they were opposed to it ?
Mr. Colpoys. Perhaps there may have been some that came here
without authority from the heads of their concerns.

The Chairman. I think that line of discussion is absolutely unnecessary, because the records themselves will show who appeared
here and who did not appear here and whom they represented.
Mr. Farren. The laundry workers come to work on Monday morning at 10 o'clock, or 10.30,' and work until 6 on Monday, and then
for four days in the week they work 10 hours a day; they are dismissed, we will assume, at 2 o'clock on Saturdays. That applies to
In the warm summer months, of course,
the busiest season only.
Assuming that that
there would be comparatively fewer hours.
is so, under this bill they would come to work at 8 o'clock Monday
morning and work eight hours a day until 5 o'clock Saturday night.
Which would you consider preferable, from the standpoint of the
every day, or that they
girls, that they should work from 8 to
should work a little longer on four days and have that extra time off?
Mr. Colpoys. From 8 to 5.
.">

Mr. Farren. Each day?
Mr. Colpoys. Yes. That has been proven to be the best arrangement, not only from my standpoint, but from the medical standpoint.
Mr. Farren. You understand that they are paid full time for this
short term?
Mr. Colpoys. Yes; I understand that. You do not pay them any
more than what they themselves could demand. You are not in
business from philanthropic motives.
Mr. Farren. Competition among laundries for help in the city is
pretty keen, and if we have a girl that is really a good girl, some
of my competitors will offer her a dollar or a dollar and 50 cents
more, and we will have to give her more to keep her. This does not
apply, of course, to the operators of the mangles, as they are comparatively plentiful.

The Chairman. It does not seem very evident, based upon the evidence rendered to this committee, that there have been a great many
bids of a dollar or a dollar and a half to get help from your establishment, because it is shown here that the wages range from $3 to
$10 per week. There could not be very many bids of $2 on that
basis.

Mr: Farren. The wages range from $4 to
I think,

$10.

The average wage.

is $5150.

Mr. Colpoys. Is it hot a fact that in most laundries those that
are employed, after they go home they have to work after they get

home?
Mr. Farren. I do not know. I have some girls that stay home
day Mondays to do their home work. They always have Satur-

all

HOUBS OP

J.ABOB

WOMEN

POR

IN THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.

163

day afternoon all the year around, and in the
summer time, the hot
months, we call them off anywhere frpm 4 to 5
o'clock
Mr. Colpoys. If you had an 8-hour day you
would be in the same
position as your competitor; he would
have nothing on vou in that
&
regard.

Mr. Fareen The 8-hour day might be all right,
but not the 48hour week. TV e do not have any work from Saturday
to Monday
morning, and they are naturally idle for that particular
time, and
we must complete our work within the week. Every
housewife
demands that, and with 48 hours a week you could
not do it.
*iity-iour hours a week and not more than 10 hours
in any one

dav

provides for all overtime.
Mr Colpoys. You might just as well not have the bill as to have
that, because the bill, as I understand it, is to help
the physical condition of the female employee, and if they are allowed
to work 54
hours and work 15 hours a day it is not going to help them at all.
Mr. Fabben. I said not more than 10 hours in any one clay— not
15 hours a day.
Mr. Colpoys. Eight hours per day would be better for all hands
concerned; better for the laundries and certainly better for the
employees.
Mr. Faeren. It may work out that way I hope it will.
;

STATEMENT OF GEORGE

F. PAGE, REPRESENTING PAGE'S LAUNDRY, 620 E STREET NW.

Mr. Page.

May

The Chairman.

I say a few words, Mr.

A

very few words.

Chairman?

We

are anxious to get these

hearings closed.

Mr. Page.

My name

is George F. Page, and I am one of the proLaundry, 620 E Street NW. Now, Mr. Chairman
and gentlemen of the committee, the Constitution of the United
States provides that there can be no law abridging the right of the
people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for a

prietors of Page's

redress of grievances.
At whose instance was the bill now being considered by this honorable committee drawn; was it drawn after the receipt of personal
request or petitions from those whom the bill is supposed to benefit?
If such requests haAe been made or petitions filed, then we who
stand for a betterment of the conditions of the women wage earners
employed by the business men and women of the District of Columbia have never been so informed.
I have heard the arguments of the advocates of this and a similar
bill before the honorable Senate Committee of the District of Columbia, and with two or three exceptions such advocates are not residents
of this city but are from cities far from ours, and they can not be
closely in touch with conditions here.

In Washington we have what you might call a busy and slack
season, the busy season commencing early in October and continuing
usually until June or until the adjournment of Congress. Then
with the exit of the Members of the House and .Senate and their'
employees, the 30 days' annual leave of the Government department
employees^ and the migration of the wealthy class, business of a
necessity drops to a low ebb then the hours of labor in stores, shops,
;

;

HOUBS OF LABOR FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

164
and

factories can well be cut

the dull period.

down

an 8-hour basis or lower for

to

*

From October l.to, say, May 31 the laundry business, in which I
am a proprietor, could not without a large outlay for additional
machinery or by the working of additional help turn out the work
With the
in less than what we now have, i. e., a 10-hour day.
pending bill a law, a hardship would be imposed upon these women,
as we certainly could not pay the same wages for an 8-hour day as
we do for a 10-hour day.
Our help have never complained of present conditions as to hours
or wages. We employ in our establishment 62 women, white and
colored.
The wages paid runs from $4.50 for inexperienced help,
such as shakers, to $20 per week for office force.
Mr. Page. Now, I do not believe that I have heard a single argument here in favor of the passage of this bill except from people
who are paid ostensibly by some organization well clothed and are
growing fat off the earnings of the poor working people. And they
say they want this law passed as an example, so that they may have
such laws in the States, but why should they try to make the business
men of Washington the goats in this case ?
The Chairman. Do I understand, Mr. Page, from the preliminary
statement, that you question the rights of Members of Congress to
introduce legislation unless they have been personally importuned
to do so?

—

well, I will give you that
to the Constitution of the United

Mr. Page. No; I only say they are
again.

It is the first

amendment

States.

The Chairman.

It is

your language following the quotation from
to, the language immediately

the Constitution that I had reference

following that.
Mr. Page. I say, at whose instance was the bill now being considered by this honorable committee drawn?
Was it drawn after
he receipt of personal request or petitions from those whom the bill
Is that what you referred to ?
is supposed to help ?
The Chairman. That is the language; and I wanted to know
whether you questioned the right of Members of Congress to pass
such a law?
Mr. Page. No not at all.
The Chairman. To introduce legislation, even though there may
be no petition from anyone for it?
Mr. Page. No; I do not question the right; I only asked the question.
I have never heard it said that there were any petitions for
this legislation, and I suppose that our help do not ask for it.
No
I was not questioning the right certainly not.
Mr. Howard. You do not question, Mr. Page, the right of Congress
to make extravagant appropriations to help you all here in the building up of your city, do you ?
Mr. Page. Not for a moment.
The Chairman. They invariably petition us— at least they have
practically the unanimous consent of the people of the District of
Columbia to proceed with those appropriations.
Mr. Page. The point I wanted to bring out was that there has
been no movement from our working women in Washington that I
have heard of for the passage of this law. I realize that sometimes
i

;

;

—

:

HOUBS OF LABOR FOB WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

165

are introduced and passed without action taken on the part of
the people to be benefited, but why this bill has been advocated and
pushed forward here by outsiders I can not understand.
Mr. Smith. Are there no representatives of labor up here discussing this bill in their interests ?
Mr. Page. For those that this bill is intended to cover ?

bills

Mr. Smith. In whose interest do you think the bill is introduced?
Mr. Page. The bill is introduced in the interest of working women,
but it is advocated by outsiders and they admit, themselves, that if
they can get a model law here it will help them to get such a law
;

outside in the States.

The Chairman. I think the records show, Mr. Page, that both peofrom abroad and people from the city representing the wage earn-

ple
ers

have appeared in behalf of this

opposition to

bill.

Others have appeared in

it.

Brief of Joseph

I.

Weller. Attorney at Law.
"Washington, D. C, February

*

6,

WIS.

To the Committee on Labor,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. G.
Gentlemen I wish to express my appreciation

to the committee for the
privilege afforded me of filing with you a short brief on House bill No. 27281.
In doing so I feel I am not only representing the local merchants, but am also
benefiting their female employees.
I have looked into the question with considerable care and am confident that
the female employees of offices and retail stores are not asking for a limitation
of eight hours.
They are content with their present length of service. Their
duties are not arduous or continuous, and I respectfully submit that all the
employments enumerated in the bill should not be grouped so that the limitation
of eight hours applies to all.
female employee working in an office or a
store should not be placed in the^ame category as one working in a laundry
or manufacturing establishment; their work is dissimilar and their hours of
labor should be different. The amendment I desire to suggest for your kind consideration is the fol:

A

lowing

:

bill and substitute in place thereof
That no female shall be employed or permitted to work in any mill, factory, manufacturing or mechanical establishment, including among others any
laundry, bakery, printing establishment, hotel, restaurant, or any express or
transportation company, or in the transmission or distribution of telegraph or
telephone messages more than eight hours in any one day or more than six
days or more than forty-eight hours in any one week, and that no female shall
be employed or permitted to work in any clothing, dressmaking, or millinery
establishment, store, office, or where goods are sold or distributed more than
ten hours in any one day or more than six days or more than sixty hours in any

Strike out article 1 of the
"

one week."
Also to amend the various sections of the bill where it conflicts with the suggestions above.
I would also suggest that there should be an addition to the bill to the effect
" That this act shall take effect and be in force three months after its passage."
(

1

)

FEMALE EMPLOYEES IN

OFFICES.

Many female clerks and stenographers working for real estate agents, lawyers,
physicians, or other offices, will be deprived of their positions if the eight hour
limitation applies to them, as it would in numerous cases compel the employer tc
either dispense with the services of his female employees and employ a maie
clerk or stenographer, or at least the employer would be obliged to so arrange
office
his affairs and office work so that his stenographer or clerk could leave the
mornat either 4 or 5 o'clock, depending on the time the clerk came in the
as a result of such an arrangement it would become necessary in many

ing,

and

166

IIOUBS OF LABOB FOB

WOMEN

IN

THE DISTEICT OF COLUMBIA.

cases for Uijii to employ an additional clerk or stenographer to complete the work
after the eight-hour limitation, as in many instances the employer would.be
busy during the day and unable to attend to his correspondence or dictation
until after tic hour of 5 o'clock.
Then, again, at the expiration of the 8
hours the clerk or stenographer leaving and the additional employee taking her
place, would often cause a loss of business by reason of the absent employee
being familiar with matter that the additional employee would not be acquainted
with. The employer could ill afford to pay two salaries where now one is paid
and there can be little doubt that by the limitation of 8 hours' employment,
the compensation of the employee would be decreased in accordance therewith.
I'he average female clerk or stenographer in an office is not worked constantly
like the employee in a manufacturnig plant or workshop, but at certain hours in
the day, often after 5 o'clock, her services are required and while during the day
she may have many hours of rest, yet it is absolutely necessary for her to be on
hand to attend to matters as they arise even though such time should be beyond
the 8-hour period. Very often female stenographers in offices are employed
to take dictation at so much a folio, if this bill with its 8-hour limitation
applies to her, it would not permit her to work beyond the limitation of 8
hours if she desired to do so. It certainly would prevent her from competing
\vith male stenographers who would be permitted to work as long as they please.
(2)

EMPLOYMENT IN RETAIL

STOKES.

Concerning employment of females in retail stores or establishments^ if this
8-hour measure becomes a law it will be necessary for the employer either
to open his store at 8 o'clock and close at 4, or open at 9 and close at 5, either
of which would be a great loss to him in business and in profit, or to employ
two shifts of employees and certainly this would result in a decrease in salary
to his employees, as the employee performing the work for the few hours additional would not be satisfied to only make a salary for these few hours, and the
merchant would not permit her to be employed in a similar establishment for
obvious reasons, therefore he would be obliged to adjust the matter so as to
have half of his female force work, we will say, from 8 to 4, and the other half
work from 4 to 6, and then at the end of the week, or the following week, reverse
the order, so it will be observed that the clerk now earning a full day's salary
would by this arrangement, which would be necessary to enable the merchant to
keep open 10 hours, result in the clerk receiving but half the amount she now
When you consider the present high cost of living it will be observed
receives.
how disastrous this would be for the female employee and it would also be
harmful to the merchant if he would be obliged to pay the two employees that
would be required to perform the work now being performed by one twice the
amount of salary he is now paying and it would lessen his profit and compel
him to increase his prices, the latter would only result in a higher cost of living
and he would soon lose his patronage by reason thereof. There is no necessity
for an 8-hour law as applied to stores. Ten hours' service is not unreasonable, the employee has ample time for lunch and when not engaged is permitted
and it certainly seems
to rest chairs or stools being provided for this purpose
a fair proposition to ask that stores be exempt from the operation of an Shour limitation when the merchants are willing to comply with a 10-hour limi-

—

—

tation.

The committee. I feel sure, will look at this question not from a theoretical
standpoint of enthusiasts who are not familiar with local or mercantile conditions, but will consider the question from the viewpoint of the merchant and
his employee, neither of whom desire an s-hour limitation.
If the local merchant, and more especially the small merchant employing but a few female
employees, is required by law to limit the service of his female employee to S
hours, it will unquestionably force many of them out of business »r into insolvency, as the small profit now made by these smaller stores will not admit
of any additional expense, and they can not raise the prices of merchandise, for
they are in competition with the larger stores.
Considering the question from the viewpoint of the public there is a necessity
for at least a 10-hour opening of retail stores and establishments in this city
which does not prevail in other cities. The manufacturing departments of the
Government, located here, such as the navy yard. Printing Office, and Bureau
of Engraving and Printing, require their employees to report at an earlier hour,
and many of the Government departments close at 4.30. You will observe that
this would give the clerks very little shopping time if the stores, to observe the

—
HOURS OF LABOE FOR WOMEX IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

167

8-hour law, would close at 5 o'clock, and would entirely cut them off from
shopping if the stores opened at S o'clock and closed at 4. The local merchants depend very largely upon the patronage of Government employees, and
to limit the time to such a short space would result in great loss to the merchant. There can be no question that the 8-hour limitation would seriously
affect the stores of Washington
the large stores as well as the smaller stores
buf would more materially affect the smaller merchant, and it hardly seems fair
that we should have such a law here when no State in the Union has an 8-hour
limitation applying to offices and stores.
Wages, or compensation for services,
are governed by the law of supply and demand, and the laws of Congress should
protect the female clerk so as to permit her to successfully compete with the
male clerk. It was many years before women could occupy positions in mercantile establishments theretofore occupied by men. and now when they are
employed in such positions the 8-hour limitation, if enacted under the law.
would relegate them to the position of being worth less to their employer by
reason of not being able to serve as long as the male clerk. The merchant is
willing and anxious to employ female help, but he can only afford to do so if
he can obtain from them services as satisfactory as he can obtain from his
male employee, and it can not be disputed that if you reduce the hours of
employment of a female clerk you certainly reduce her earning capacity,
whether the merchant closes his store at the expiration of the 8-hour limitation
or he employs additional clerks to enable him to keep open until 6 o'clock, as
he desires to do, and it is absolutely necessary that he do so lo enable him to
This especially applies to a merchant doing
sell his merchandise and exist.

—

a

moderate business.
It is respectfully

submitted that the amendment presented

is

reasonable and

fully protects the female employee, while to include such a female
employee in the 8-hour limitation would result to her financial loss.
Yery respectfully.
fair

and

Joseph

I.

Weller.

Department of Commerce and Labor.
Bureau of the Census,
Washington, January

27, 1913.

Hon. William B. Wilson,
of Representatives, Washington, D. G.
Mr. Wilson In reply to your letter of January 24, I send you herewith a copy of the press notice recently issued by this bureau on the occupations
of the gainfully employed females 16 years of age and over in the District of
Columbia, 1910.
E. Dana Duband, Director.
Yery respectfully,

House

My Deak

:

Occupations of the Gainfully Employed Females 10 Years of Age and Over
in the District of Columbia, 1910.
preliminary thirteenth census statistics issued by the census bureau.

—

1912.
Washington, D. C, December
April 15, 1910, there were in the District of Columbia 52,488 women 16
On
years of age and over who were gainfully employed. These figures are contained in a statement issued to-day by Director Durand, of the Bureau of the
Census, Department of Commerce and Labor. The statistics were prepared
under the direction of Willian C. Hunt, chief statistician for population in
the Bureau of the Census, and are subject to revision. While the figures are
preliminary, it is believed that there will be no important changes in them.
will differ
It is probable, however, that the form in which they are here given
slightly from that in which they will be presented in the forthcoming report
on occupations.
The figures given in this preliminary statement refer only to the gainfully
employed women 16 years of age and over but provisional figures tabulated by
the Bureau of the Census show that there were also 7 girls 6 to 9 years of age
and 432 girls 10 to 15 Years of age, making a total of 52,927 females gainfully
,

.

;

—

:
:

—

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

168

This is 30.6 per cent
in the District of Columbia on April 15, 1910.
females 10
of all the females of the District on that date, or 36 per cent of the
years of age and over.
Of the gainfully employed women 16 years of age and over, 13. per cent
were from 16 to 20 years of age, 64.9 per cent were from 21 to 44 years of age,
and 21.4 per cent were 45 years of age and over. The table shows that but
few of the women were engaged in agricultural pursuits, and that outside of
the needle trades— dressmakers, milliners, seamstresses, and tailoresses—no
manufacturing pursuit gave employment to a large number of them. The only
pursuits in transportation in which women were numerically important were
telegraph operators and telephone operators. In trade, clerks in stores, saleswomen, and wholesale and retail dealers constituted more than nine-tenths of
Only a small number of women were
all the women workers in that group.
engaged in the occupations classified under public service, the clerks in the
Government departments being classified elsewhere. Outside of the artists,
the musicians, the teachers, and the trained nurses, no occupation in professional service was represented by a large number of women. Here, however,
the occupations assume importance because of the iutelluctual attainments of
the persons pursuing them rather than because of the number of these persons.
It is significant that women were so well represented in so many of the leading
But it is in the pursuits grouped under domestic and personal
professions.
This is due
service that we find more than one-half of all the women workers.
largely to the fact that fully half of the gainfully employed women of the District of Columbia were colored, and that five out of six of these colored women
were engaged in the pursuits here classified under domestic and personal service.
Strictly clerical occupations gave employment to 8,328 women to almost one
woman worker in six including the more than 5.000 women clerks and stenographers in the Government departments.

employed

<

—

—

Occupations of the gainfully employed females. 16 years of age and over in the
District of Columbia, 1910.

Age periods
16 years and over
16-20 years, inclusive
21-44 years, inclusive
45 years and over..Occupations
Agricultural pursuits
1. Farmers and dairy farmers
2. Farm and dairy farm laborers

52,488
7,177
34,064
11,247

12
12

Gardeners
Garden and greenhouse laborers
Manufacturing and mechanical pursuits
5. Apprentices
6. Bakers
3.

8

4.

10

108
19

Builders and building contractors
J
Clothing cutters
9 Compositors, linotypers, printers, and typesetters

7.

.

5

8.

9
162
3, 251
8
35
64
216
15
29
522
63
936
1,209
87
4
15
262

10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.

Dressmakers
Engravers
Foremen and overseers
Inspectors

Laborers (not otherwise reported)
Managers and superintendents
Manufacturers and officials
Milliners

Pressmen (printing)
Seamstresses (not in factories)
Semiskilled occupations (not otherwise reported)
Sewers and sewing-machine operators (factory)
Shoemakers and cobblers (not in factory)
Skilled occupations (not otherwise reported)
Tailoresses..
Upholsterers
'

3

—

— —
—

HOUBS OP LABOE FOE WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OP COLUMBIA.

169

—

Occupations Continued.
Transportation
26.
27.
28.
29.

Foremen and overseers

30.
31.
32.
33.

Owners and proprietors

6
51
3
3

-

Laborers

Managers and superintendents
Postmasters

9

Telegraph operators
Telephone operators
Other occupations

TO

436
22

,

Trade
34.

35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.
48.

Brokers and money lenders
Bundle and cash girls

4

Clerks in stores

*

Demonstrators
Employment-office keepers
Floorwalkers, foremen, and overseers
Insurance agents
Laborers in trade
Officials and superintendents of other trade companies
Real estate officials and agents
Sales agents and commercial travelers

Saleswomen

39
1,029
25
4
16
10
34

1.

Undertakers
Wholesale and retail dealers
Other occupations (semiskilled)

5

610
8

Public service
49. Appraisers, inspectors, gaugers, and weighers
50. City and county officials
51. Federal officials

-

52.
53.
54.

3
17
15
440

59
11

6
170

Laborers (public service)
Probation officers, guards, and watchmen
Other occupations (semiskilled)

10
31

Professional service
55.

Actors and showmen

56. Architects, designers, and draftsmen
57. Artists, sculptors, and teachers of art
58. Authors, editors, and journalists
59. Chemists, assayers, and metallurgists
60. Clergymen
61. College presidents and professors
62. Dentists
63. Lawyers
64. Librarians
65. Musicians and teachers of music
66. Photographers
67. Physicians and surgeons
68. Reporters
69. Secretaries of schools and colleges
70. Teachers

34
60
189
88
S

T

*

50
1-

,

21

,

Trained nurses.!
Other literary persons
73. Other scientific persons
Semiprofessional pursuits—
71.
72.

74. Abstractors and notaries public
75. Fortune tellers, hypnotists, spiritualists, etc
surgeons)
76. Healers (other than physicians and
77. Officials of lodges, societies, etc
78. Religious and charity workers
Attendants and helpers in professional service—
attendants
79. Doctors' and dentists' assistants and
80.'

Librarians' assistants

81.

Laborers connected with professional service

*

Some

of the

women

returned as " clerks " probably are saleswomen.

24
44i

25
77
28
13
2 239
>

*->2

39
24

12
17
4S
26
8S
2M
10S
_•*

—
170

—

—
—

—

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

—

Occupations Continued.
Domestic and personal service
82. Barbers and hairdressers
S3. Boarding and lodging housekeepers
84. Cleaners and renovators (carpets, clothing, etc.)
so. Cooks
86. Hotel keepers and managers
87. Housekeepers and stewards
ss. Janitors and sextons
89. Laborers connected with domestic and personal service
90. Laundresses (not in laundries)
91.

Messengers, errand, and

!)3.

33
925
23
636
314
12
7,909
712
43
33
946
358
22
3,

Midwives

94.

&*

Laundry operatives

!)2.

f^l

Nurses (not trained)

office girls

Restaurant, cafe, and lunch-room keepers
Saloon keepers and bartenders
Servants and waiters
95.
96.

1)7.

OS.
99.

Chambermaids
Charwomen, cleaners, and sweepers

Personal servants, ladies' maids, nurse girls, etc
Other servants
101. Waiters
Other pursuits in domestic and personal service
102. Bathouse keepers and attendants
103. Guides
104. Keepers of benevolent, charitable, and penal institutions
1()0.

;

504
721
234
10,452
674
15
10
19
59
10

105. Manicurists
106. Other and not specified

Clerical occupations not peculiar to any industry or service
107. Accountants and auditors
108. Agents, canvassers, and collectors
109. Bookkeepers, cashiers, and ticket agents
110. Clerks
111.

group

Stenographers and typewriters

-

73
33
1,155
5, 031
2,036

LEUPP, lSlo SIXTEENTH STREET, WASHINGTON, D. C,
STATEMENT OF CONSTANCE
VICE PRESIDENT OF THE CONSUMERS' LEAGUE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
I).

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Committee
Many times in the course of these hearings allusion has been made to the
fact that people have come here from California and New York to speak in
favor of this bill, and the implication has been made that the people of the
District of Columbia do not want it passed.
To correct this impression I wish to state that the Consumers' League of the
District of Columbia stands solidly behind this bill, and I beg to call attention
to the indorsement given to it by the District Commissioners on pages 6 and 7
of the testimony before the Senate committee; also to my own testimony on
pages 73 and 74 listing the indorsements given by disinterested local organi:

zations.

Again and again we have been asked why the wonjen who would be affected
by this bill, should it become law, have not appeared here in favor of it. A
minute's thought on this matter will surely convince any fair-minded person
that should women appear here in favor of a bill which their employers oppose
it would almost inevitably result in the loss of their positions; nor could they
The women themselves appreciate this fact I
find it easy to get new ones.
am authorized by Senator La Follette, who introduced the bill into the Senate,
to say that he has received many letters from, and even had interviews with,
women workers who declared that great numbers of them were in favor of the
bill, but did not dare appear publicly in its behalf for fear of losing their posiThe backers of the bill are satisfied from the conversations they have
tions.
had with the women, yes, and even with the men in department stores that there
is a strong sentiment among them in favor of the bill.
They are watching
these hearings through the newspapers with the greatest interest.
1
2

Other than proprietary, supervisory, and
Except clerks in stores.

clerical persons.

:

HOURS OF LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
As

171

testimony given before this committee by the residents of New
I beg to state that when the advocates of this bill met to
consider who should be asked to come here and speak, it seemed a reasonable
procedure to enlist the services of those people who were familiar with the
results of parallel legislation in other communities.
Those of us who have testified either for or against the bill merely from a
familiarity, however thorough, with conditions in the District are, at the best,
only guessing as to the results of this law if it is enacted.
Therefore it seemed to us. the advocates, that the intelligent course to pursue
was to have presented before you the testimony of those who really know how
such lgislation has worked elsewhere.
Miss Younger, in her statement the first day here and later in the Senate,
answered many objections which have been raised since by those who evidently
did not hear her as to the actual working out of the law in California (pp.
12-16 of the Senate hearings). Her statement was corroborated by Senator
Works ,of California (p. 56), and on page 24 by Miss von der Meinburg, of the
Bureau of Labor; on page 30 Mr. McCall states that in Massachusetts the same
results have been observed, namely, that a reduction of the working hours of
women has not resulted in the displacement of Women by men, nor does it seem
The operation of the law has. contrary to the expectato have reduced wages.
tions of many, left both employer and employee satisfied.
From Mrs. Kelley and Miss Goldmark, both of whom have spent many years
i:i the study of the effects of such restrictive legislation both in this country
and in Europe, we have a similar opinion.
Please remember, gentlemen, that every one of the above-mentioned persons
is totally disinterested in this matter; and that fact, in the eyes of those of
ns of Washington who are anxious to see this bill become law. gives their
to the

York and California,

opinions particular weight.
For, let me explain right here, in regard to Mrs. Kelley and Miss Goldmark,
that it is not the function of the Consumers' League to urge arbitrary laws in
favor of worsen. Our object, both in the local and the national league, is to
determine what number of hours, in various industries, is a reasonable one for
women workers if both their health and their efficiency is to be considered.
This bill represents an attempt to enact into law for the District of Columbia
standards which have proved successful elsewhere in the industries which it
covers.

opponents of this bill are basing their opposition on a miswhich is perhaps not unnatural to persons who have not
made a close study of the workings of such a law. We base our advocacy of
this measure on two things:
(1) Primarily, on the benefit we believe will be derived by the women

We

feel that the

understanding

—one

employed in the industries covered.
(2) On the belief that the employer can not lose by this legislation.
The three classes of industry from which protests against this bill as drafted
bave been loudest are
(1) The department stores.
(2)
(3)

The
The

laundries.
tailors.

For the department stores, is it not conceivable that they can continue to
maintain their hours of S to G by having the saleswomen who come at 8 leave
give a full compleat 5 and those who stav until 6 come at 9? This would
impossible
ment of clerks throughout the busy hours of the day. If it proves
night openings a week before
to cam- on a successful business without the
of shifts
Christmas and the late hours on Saturdays, can not a similar series
Kp used. ^
We believe firmly—and we base our belief on theincumulative evidence of
a staff of saleswomen
other communities— that such a system would result
mistakes than now during the
so much more alert and so much less prone to
law cost him some trouble,
rush season that the manager would find that the
expense.
perhaps, to make the rearrangement, but little or no
enough for a woman to wo k at
If we are satisfied that 8 hours are long
constantly on her teel. constantly on
the exacting task of waiting on people,
the nervous strain of remaining
the qui viv! not to miss a sale, and under
abusive customers may be. if we
pleasant tempered, however unreasonable and
prove that stores can not run on an
are convinced of this, and if it should
is it not fair that the burden of
8-honr basis «'ith a reasonable profit, then

172

HOUKS OP LABOR FOR WOMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

maintaining proper standards should be shifted to the shoulders of the consuming public through .increased prices? While the increasing cost of living
is not a very popular phenomenon with the American public, we still maintain
that the average American citizen does not want bargains at the expense of
the happiness and health of the young working women of the nation.
Exactly the same rule applies to the tailors' establishments and the laundries.
Both these industries, we have been told by these gentlemen, are characterized
by alternate busy and slack seasons. This question of seasonal work has long
been recognized by those who have given any thought to the subject as one of
the very worst features of our present industrial system.
When you trace this demon of rush season and its natural concomitant
of "lay-off and no pay" back to its original source, you will find that it
nearly always comes back to the carelessness of the purchasing public. Why
should any woman order a suit three days before Easter and expect to wear
it on Easter?
She is not conscious of what this- sort of order means in
the workroom, and while it is the object of the Consumers' League to make
her aware of it, no amount of conscience arousing on the part of a philanthopic
organization can ever change human nature in bulk. Just so long as the tailor
will smilingly fill rush orders, just so long will he receive them.
The same applies to the laundries, and the same applies to the printers.
The customer has to be disciplined by finding that his rush order can nol be
filled.
And inasmuch as it would be unpleasant, not to say disastrous, for the
tailor or laundiyman or printer to discipline his own customers in a world full
of competition, we have come to the rescue of the humane, the conscientious
business man, the man who really wants to do the fair thing by his employees,

.with out 8-hour

bill.

Believe me, gentlemen [to merchants, tailors, etc.]. should your customers
learn that no one would guarantee to deliver those inexcusable hurry orders,
they would be annoyed, but, inasmuch as people must have suits to wear, must
have clean linen, must have stationery and printing, you would not lose those
orders, and the next order you would have in time.
The tailors' busy season would soon extend over more months, bringing equitable work and wages to employees over longer periods of time.
Even business,
men would learn to order a fresh supply of letterheads before they had used up
the last sheets in their desks. Hotel managers would learn the wisdom of owning two sets of linen, and the commercial traveler, making his one-night stand
at a Washington hotel, would be driven, perhaps, to the cruel necessity of owning nine instead of six collars. Please believe, gentlemen, that while the public
may learn consideration through the enactment of an 8-hour law, business would
really not be paralyzed by it.
.

The Chairman. Tf

stand adjourned.

X

there

is

nothing further the committee

will,

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