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ROYAL M EEKER, Comm issioner

( WHOLE O i l






S E R IE S :











Chapter I.— Industrial and labor conditions...........................................................
Prevalence of seasonal industry.........................................................................
Extent of unem ployment....................................................................................
The floating laborer...............................................................................................
Conditions affecting safety...................................................................................
Labor camps............................................................................................................
Woman and child labor........................................................................................
Chapter II.— State activities regarding unemployment.......................................
Employment offices....................................................................... , .....................
Abuses b y private employment offices.....................................................
Legislation regarding employment offices................................................
Employment offices in Washington...................................................
Employment offices in Oregon...........................................................
Employment offices in California..................................... .................
Seasonal excess of workers to jo b s .....................................................................
Suggested remedies. The land question................................................
Chapter I I I .—The worker and his wages................................................................
Opportunity for fraud...........................................................................................
Protection of wages b y law ..................................................................................
Character of the wage payment laws............................. ...................................
Prompt payment at termination of em ploym ent...................................
Wages to be paid at fixed intervals...........................................................
Wages to be paid in lawful m oney............................................................
State supervision of wage payments in the case of Alaskan cannery
Chapter IY .—Woman labor........................................................................................
The industrial welfare commissions: Their importance and jurisdiction.
Existing restrictions upon the employment of women................................
Theory of the industrial welfare commission..................................................
Difficulties in the framing of standards............................................................
Effect of minimum wage determinations.........................................................
Work and procedure of the welfare commission.............................................
Work of the Washington Commission........................................................
Work of the Oregon Commission................................................................
Overtime w ork...............................................................................................
The apprenticeship question.......................................................................
Administration and enforcement of the woman labor laws..........................
Administration in Washington...................................................................
Administration in Oregon............................................................................
Administration in California........................................................................


7, 8
25, 26
26, 27
27, 28
28, 29
32, 33
38, 37
40, 41
42, 43
46, 47
51, 52
52, 53
53, 54



Chapter Y .— Child labor..............................................................................................
Compulsory education..........................................................................................
Authority of the industrial welfare commissions over child labor.............
Jurisdiction of the welfare commissions...................................................
56, 57
Legal restrictions upon child labor now in force............................................
Age of em ploym ent........................................................................... ..........
. Hours of labor....................................................................... .........................
58, 59
Minimum wages.............................................................................................
Administration and enforcement of the child labor laws.............................
60, 61
Administration in Washington...................................................................
Administration in Oregon............................................................................
61, 62
Administration in California.......................................................................
62, 63
Influence of minimum wage and compensation acts.....................................
63, 64
The Federal child labor law of 1916..................................................................
64, 65
Chapter V I.— Restrictions upon the hours of labor of m en ................................
Oregon 10-hour law ...............................................................................................
66, 67
Restrictions in special employments................................................................
Chapter V II.—Mediation in labor disputes............................................................
Chapter V III .— The safety of the worker................................................................
Review of safety legislation.................................................................................
Safety activities in Washington..........................................................................
Safety in factories and general work places.............................................
Safety standards and inspection work...............................................
73, 74
Safety campaign.....................................................................................
Safety in coal mines......................................................................................
75, 76
Safety activities in Oregon..................................................................................
Safety activities in California..............................................................................
Safety department.........................................................................................
Educational work............................................................................. .
Safety rules and standards...................................................................
Results of safety activities...................................................................................
A ccident reporting in Washington.............................................................
82, 83
Accident reporting in Oregon.....................................................................
83, 84
Accident reporting in California........................................... ....................
Chapter I X .— The health of the worker...................................................................
Health activities in Washington........................................................................
Health activities in Oregon.................................................................................
Health activities in California............................................................................
Labor camp sanitation in California.........................................................
Chapter X .—Accident compensation........................................................................ 96-139
Scope of compensation.......................................................................................... 98-102
Kinds of injuries compensated....................................................................
98, 99
Employments and employees covered...................................................... 99-102
Character and scale of compensation benefits................................................. 102-120
Medical benefits............................................................................................. 103-108
Money benefits...............................................................................................* 108-120
Fatal injury— Benefits and burial expenses..................................... 109-111
Comparison of death benefits in the three States................... 110, 111
Benefits allowed for total permanent disability..............................
Benefits allowed for temporary d isab ility....................................... 112-116
Waiting period............. , ................................................................ 113,114
Cash benefits................................................................................... 114,115
Comparison of benefits for temporary disability in the three
States............................................................................................. 115,116



Chapter X .— Accident compensation— Concluded.
Character and scale of compensation benefits— Concluded.
Money benefits— Concluded.
Benefits allowed for permanent partial disability.......................... 116-120
Comparisons of benefits for permanent partial disabilities
in the three States...................................................................... 119,120
Liability for compensation payments............................................................... 121-130
Washington State accident fu nd................................................................ 121-125
Oregon State accident fu n d ........................................................................ 125-128
Liability for compensation payments in California.............................. 128-130
State compensation insurance fu nd................................................... 129,130
Settlement of compensation cases...................................................................... 131-138
Settlement of claims in Washington....................................................... . 131-133
Appeals to court..................................................................................... 132,133
Lump-sum p a y m en t.............................................................................
Number of claims settled.....................................................................
Settlement of claims in Oregon.................................................................. 134-136
Appeals to court.................... %..............................................................
Lump-sum paym ent.............................................................................
Number of claims settled..................................................................... 135,136
Settlement of claims in California............................................................. 136-138
Rehearings and court review ..............................................................
Lump-sum paym ent............................................................................. 137,138
Compensation and safety..................................................................................... 138,139
Chapter X I .— Organization and resources of administrative agencies........... 140-150
Bureaus of labor.................................................................................................. . 142-144
Industrial-welfare commissions.......................................................................... 144-146
Compensation commissions................................................................................. 146,147
Washington coal-mine inspection department............................................... 147,148
Oregon board of inspectors of child labor........................................................
California immigration and housing commission...........................................
Comparison of appropriations b y States............................................................



w h o le no.



J a n u a r y , 1917.

BY H UG H S. H A N N A .


The industrial activities of the Pacific States possess certain char­
acteristics which have a determining influence upon the lives of the
workers and which must be taken into account in any consideration
of actual or possible legislation. The following brief survey of in­
dustrial and labor conditions emphasizes some of the more significant
of these characteristics.
This survey, as indeed most of this report, is primarily concerned
with the great body of unskilled labor, including therein the labor
of women and children. Workers in the skilled trades are strongly
organized in almost all parts of the Pacific coast, and through their
organizations are able to protect themselves against many of the
evils and difficulties confronting the unorganized, unskilled workers.

Three industries, or groups of industries, are of dominant impor­
tance as employers of labor—agriculture, lumber, and construction
work. Under agriculture is included not only the usual farm crops
but a very large amount of fruit growing—orchard fruits in all three
States and tropical fruits in California. All of these make an impor­
tant demand for labor during a rather brief season—the farmer for
the harvesting of his crops, the fruit grower for the picking and
packing of fruits and berries and nuts. For the most part this de­
mand is for a period of only a few weeks; at the most, for a few
The lumber industry covers the cutting and handling of the rough
logs, the sawing of these logs in mills, and the making of such finished




products as packing boxes. From the standpoint of labor, it may be
regarded as the basic industry of Washington, Oregon, and northern
California. According to the United States Census of 1910, of the
wage earners in manufactures no less than 63 per cent of those in
Washington and 52 per cent of those in Oregon were directly engaged
in the lumber industry.1 Even in California, the lumber industry
employed as many as 20 per cent of all wage^ earners in manufacture,
more than twice as many as in any other branch of manufacture.
The lumber industry is markedly seasonal, the winter months being
those of least activity.
Next in importance to agriculture and lumber as an employer of
labor is the group of employments commonly classed as construction
work. Under this term is included such work as arises in the con­
struction of railroads, highways, streets, sewers, bridges, and build­
ings. The employments differ as regards the character of product,
but are closely similar as regards the resulting labor conditions. The
work is practically all of the heavy outdoor type and most of it is
distinctly seasonal. The amount of labor engaged in the various
forms of construction work is impossible to estimate, but is propor­
tionately very high on the Pacific coast, because of the recent and
extremely rapid development of this section.
Manufacturing, other than of lumber, is as yet of relatively minor
importance. With one exception, such manufacturing as exists is
spread among a number of separate branches, no one of which em­
ploys a considerable number of wage earners or has any distinctive
influence upon labor conditions. The exception is the canning and
preserving industry. In each of the States all branches of this in­
dustry are represented in an important degree—vegetables, fruits,
and fish. In California, dried and canned fruits are the most im­
portant items, w^hile in Washington and Oregon fish canning predom­
inates. The whole industry is strikingly seasonal, the period of ex­
tensive employment being at best for only a few months.
The only other industry requiring notice is mining, which is of
considerable importance in Washington and California, but not in
Oregon, where the amount of mine labor is negligible. In Wash­
ington practically the only form of mining is that of coal, about
6,000 men being employed therein. This number has remained sta­
tionary for a number of years, the use of oil for fuel having hin­
dered the development of the extensive coal fields of the State. In
California the important branches of the industry are metal mining—
gold, silver, and copper—and petroleum and natural gas. There is
almost no coal mining in the State. The mining industry in all its
branches is comparatively free from seasonal fluctuations.
1 United States Census, 1910. Supplement for Washington, p. 654; Supplement for
Oregon, p. 652; and Supplement for California, p. 677.




As a result of the highly seasonal character of so many of the
important productive industries, the demand for labor is extremely
fluctuating. For a very large proportion of the workers periods of
unemployment are of regular recurrence. This is true even in times
of ordinary business conditions and entirely aside from fluctuations
in business prosperity.
There is no information of even approximate exactness regarding
the total amount of unemployment resulting from the conditions
mentioned. But that unemployment is of very wide extent is indi­
cated not only by the personal observation of those familiar with
local conditions, but also by the results of various official inquiries
bearing more or less directly upon the subject.
The most comprehensive of these inquiries is that of the Federal
census of manufactures of 1910.1 In the course of that census there
was obtained for each State the number of wage earners employed
in manufacturing establishments during each month of the year 1909.
The results show a greater fluctuation in employment for the Pacific
States than for any other geographic division, and also for each of
those States a greater fluctuation than for any other State in the
Union, with three exceptions. For Washington the number of wage
earners during the month of minimum employment was but 74 per
cent of those at work during the month of maximum employment.
For Oregon the corresponding percentage is 75; and for California,
71. As against these there may be placed in contrast percentages
of 89 for the country as a whole, 93 for the New England States, 88
for the Middle Atlantic States, and 88 for the South Atlantic States.
These percentages do not show the full extent of irregular employ­
ment, inasmuch as in any one month the dull season in one branch
of industry may be balanced by the busy season in another branch.
Moreover, they apply only to manufacturing industries, which may
be, and probably are, more stable than other industrial groups for
which there are no similar data. The figures as given, however, are
significant as indicating, as between the best and worst months on
the Pacific coast, a fluctuation in labor demand for manufacturing
establishments of no less than 25 per cent.
For the State of Washington results similar to those of the United
States census were arrived at by the State commissioner of labor
after an investigation of employment conditions in manufacturing
industries in 1914.2
The lack of staple industries in Washington operating day in and
day out the year round and the remarkable predominance of season­
able enterprises offering only intermittent employment, lie at the
iU . S. Census, 1910, Vol. VIII, p. 282.
2 Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-14, pp. 13—15.



heart of whatever labor problem there exists in this State. * * *
How great is this problem and how great is the fluctuation in the
labor market is best illustrated by the figures the bureau has gathered
in a survey of the logging camps, mills, workshops, and factories of
the State. * * * These figures show that in the many different
industries, canvassed, more than 23 per cent of the men were employed
only intermittently, or, to put it another way, while regular employ­
ment was offered 40,567 men in these businesses, their seasonable char­
acter demanded the employment of as many as 51,080 during certain
periods, meaning that 10,513 must find work elsewhere some of the
time, generally during the fall and winter. * * * What to do
with this 23 per cent of our workmen is our greatest present problem.
This statement is based solely upon conditions in the manufactur­
ing industries of Washington. In agriculture the conditions are
apparently worse, although no exact figures are available. The com­
missioner of labor, in discussing the possibility of exploitation aris­
ing from the fluctuation in the demand for labor, speaks as follows
of conditions in eastern Washington:1
This is particularly true in the improvement of vast tracts of or­
chard lands east of the Cascade Mountains, where the country is
sparsely settled and the rise and fall in the demand for labor is
widely divergent and extremely periodical, but it is also to be noted
in the wheat-raising districts of that part of the State, where steady
employment of labor exists to only a small degree, the demand rising
for a short time during the planting season, and is followed by a
period of idleness until harvest time comes around when need for
labor rises to its highest point and thousands of men are employed
between July and September. Practically the same conditions exist
also in the hop fields and the fruit districts, when the crops are ready
to be gathered. During these seasons there is an influx of laborers
into the communities that is marvelous, and invariably the supply is
greater than the demand * * *.
In the salmon canning industry of the Puget Sound district of
Washington is found a striking example of fluctuation in labor de­
mand. The industry at best is extremely seasonal, the busy period
lasting only during the fish-catching season of five or six summer
months. In addition the “ run ” of fish varies very greatly from year
to year. The b ig 44runs ” of sockeye salmon, which is regarded as most
desirable for canning purposes, occur in four-year cycles, but in no case
can the size of the run be forecast. As a result, the total fish pack
of the canneries in good years is from four to six times as great as
in bad years. The State labor commissioner, as a result of a special
investigation in 1915, estimates that the number of employees in the
fish canneries varies from about 2,000 in the winter months to about
18,000 in the busy packing season.2 Much of this labor is oriental.
1 Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-1914, pp. 28, 29.
2 Special Report on the Salmon Canning Industry in the State of Washington and the
Employment of Oriental Labor. State Bureau of Labor, 1915.



Formerly it was almost entirely Chinese, employed by Chinese padrones under a contract system that amounted virtually to chattel
slavery. At present Japanese predominate.
Employment conditions in Oregon need no special comment, indus­
trial conditions in that State being closely similar to those of Wash­
ington and labor conditions substantially the same. An investiga­
tion made in 1914 for the Oregon Committee on Seasonal Unemploy­
ment summarizes conditions in the State as follows:
Men are out of work in Oregon not because Oregon is overpopu­
lated. There are here millions of rich uncultivated acres and hun­
dreds of thousands of horsepower yet to be developed from water­
falls. There is still room for millions of men. Men are out of work
because of the irregular and uneven demand for labor. At certain
times the demand for laboris sufficient to clear the labor market. At
other times there are many thousands of men out of employment.1
In California the occasion for irregular employment is perhaps
even greater than in Washington and Oregon.
In the first place, the lumber industry as carried on in California
is even more fluctuating in its demands for labor than is the case
in Washington and Oregon. According to the Federal census of
1909 logging operations in California show a decrease in the num­
ber of wage earners from 9,855 in July to 2,251 in January, with
a markedly dull season of some five months. In the sawmills the
decrease is from 19,148 in August to 12,074 in February, with a
markedly dull season of at least three months. Thus, for the lumber
industry as a whole, the employment offered in winter is only about
one-half that offered in the busy summer season.2
But still more important than the lumber industry in contributing
to irregular employment in California are agriculture, including
fruit growing, and the canning and preserving of fruits and vegeta­
bles. The Commission of Immigration and Housing points out that
the recent development of the fruit-growing industry has, in itself,
been the cause of greater uncertainty of employment through
the breaking up of extensive grain ranches into small fruit farms,
which require large numbers of workers for but very short periods;3
In the orange industry, one of the most important in the State,
the growing of two varieties of oranges, ripening at different sea­
sons—Yalencias and navels—has stabilized to some extent the em­
ployment of labor as pickers and packers, but even then the work
offered covers only six or seven months.4
1 Unemployment in Oregon, by Frank O’Hara, Ph. D. A Report to the Oregon Com­
mittee on Seasonal Unemployment, 1914, p. 5.
2 U. S. Census, Supplement for California, p. 681.
3 Commission of Immigration and Housing of California. Report on Unemployment,
1914, p. 8.
* Idem, p. 43.



In berry and vegetable picking and in almost all forms of canning
the period of heavy employment is brief. An inquiry into cannery
employment in California was made by the commissioner of labor
in 1912.1 Reports were obtained from establishments employing
approximately 85 per cent of the cannery workers in the State.
These reports show that the number of employees ranged from
almost none in December, January, and February to approximately
13.000 in August. The very busy season, when the number of em­
ployees exceeded 10,000, lasted for only two months.

From the above brief survey of employment conditions it is evi­
dent that a vast number of workers are confronted at frequent inter­
vals, and as an ordinary incident of their lives, with the necessity of
tiding themselves over a period of idleness or of drifting from place
to place. With the better-paid worker in certain employments the
tiding-over alternative is sometimes possible. In many sawmills,
for instance, the working force is a fairly stable one, and during the
dull winter months the better paid of those who are laid off may
afford to wait for the coming of spring activity.
But this is not the case with the great majority of unskilled work­
ers. The work offered is essentially temporary—a “ jo b ”—lasting
for but a little while and at a low wage. When it is finished other
wTork must be found,, perhaps in an entirely different industry. This
is the origin of the floating laborer—a drifter from job to job.
The amount of floating labor on the Pacific coast is very large. It
w^ould be large under any circumstances, being a product of the exist­
ing conditions of industry. But its size is greatly increased because
of the attraction of the coast, and especially of southern California,
for the floating labor of other States. Not only is there still a glamor
about the western coast, but the mildness of the climate is a very
real attraction. To the homeless and jobless it makes drifting a little
easier and poverty a little less severe.
.The Immigration and Housing Commission of California believes
that the problem of the migratory, casual worker is accentuated in
California more than in any other part of the United States. It
quotes one of its investigators to the effect that there are perhaps
20.000 men in California who have no fixed residences, but wander
from place to place seeking temporary jobs.2 And this estimate does
not cover many thousands of workers in labor camps who, while not
exactly floaters, are decidedly transient in their employment.
1 Bureau of Labor, California. Report on Labor Conditions in the Canning Industry,
2 Commission of Immigration and Housing of California. Report on Unemployment,
3,914, pp. 9 and 30.




In addition to their effect upon regularity of employment, many
of the important industries of the Pacific States are of a character
to influence in a distinctive way the conditions under which the
wage earner works and lives. In this connection two subjects are
of particular interest—working conditions as affecting safety and
living conditions in labor camps as affecting health.
As regards the subject of safety, it is to be noted that a very large
proportion of the employments offered is of a character involving a
relatively high degree of accident hazard. This is particularly true
of logging operations, sawmills, construction work, and of coal and
metal mining. It is also true of a considerable portion of agricul­
tural work. And it is to be noted that while these employments are
highly hazardous they are for the most part of a character that ren­
ders effective safety work peculiarly difficult. In logging operations,
for example, mechanical safeguarding is practicable only upon a
very limited scale, and the safety committee idea is much more diffi­
cult to apply than in indoor factory work with a stable force of
employees. In a general way this statement also applies to nearly
all outdoor employments.

The labor camp is one of the most important factors in the labor
life of the Pacific States. Such camps constitute an integral part
of most of the outdoor seasonal work. In logging operations, for
instance, the work is necessarily shifting, moving from place to
place as the timber is cut, and is almost always carried on in sec­
tions remote from settled communities. As a result the labor force
must be housed and fed in temporary quarters or camps. Some­
times a camp may be shifted several times a season; occasionally it
may remain in one place for several years. But in any case it is
essentially a transient affair, and the temptation is for the housing
and other provisions to be of the cheapest construction, with little
attention to matters of health and comfort. Primarily they are
for the accommodation of work-hardened, unattached men, whose
demands are rather limited. Some of these camps are reported as
being well maintained, clean, and sanitary, but it is generally recog­
nized that when left to themselves the normal tendency is for such
places to develop the most deplorable and demoralizing conditions.
Labor camps of the same general character as those in logging
operations are found in connection with many lumber mills, in
practically all construction work on highways, railroads, and irri­
gation projects, and in much agricultural work. In the picking of
crops, such as fruits, vegetables, berries, hops, as also in the can­
neries, the labor camp is not uncommon.
In this work resident
labor, especially that of women and children, is largely employed



in many places, but the importation of “ hands ” for the busy season
is of frequent occurrence. As the picking season is extremely short,
the housing accommodations offered in such cases are liable to be of
the flimsiest makeshift character. The riot among the hop pickers
of Yuba County, Cal., in 1913, known as the Wheatland case, called
attention to labor-camp conditions at their worst. A report of the
State immigration and housing commission describes the living con­
ditions at the camp where the riot occurred.1
When this motley horde (i. e., the 3,000 hop pickers) arrived at
the Durst ranch they found a desolate, sun-baked field, without
shelter from the burning California sun. There were a few tents
to be rented at 75 cents a week, but the majority had to construct
rude shelters of poles and gunny sacks, called “ bull pens,” while
many were compelled to sleep in the open on piles of vines or straw.
There was a great lack of toilets, and even those furnished were
but crude boxes set over shallow holes in the ground. Many of
them had no seats with holes, and a rough scantling nailed across
the box took the place of the usual arrangement. These toilets soon
became foul. They were also used as receptacles for the garbage
from the camp, as well as for the offal of slaughtered animals, and
swarmed with blue flies and were alive with maggots. These un­
speakable toilets were used indiscriminately by both sexes, and at
times women and children were forced to stand in line and await
their turn. There was some dysentery, or “ summer complaint,” and fre­
quently women and children were compelled to relieve nature among
the vines and in the fields, and often in plain view of rough men.
There was a scarcity of drinking water; some of the wells were
pumped dry, while others became infected from the surface water
that drained back from the stagnant pools, which formed in close
proximity to the toilets and garbage piles. Under such shocking
insanitary conditions sickness followed, as a matter of course. There
were cases of typhoid and malaria, caused probably by these germ­
laden waters.
The vicious conditions thus described represent, of course, an ex­
treme case and one that occurred before the State had undertaken
any active supervision of such camps. But, at the time at least, it
was by no means an isolated example. Thus the same commission
in 1914 reported that its investigations of 900 labor camps revealed
“ deplorable conditions.” 2 The commissioner of labor of Washing­
ton reports in 1914 that “ sanitary and housing conditions in some of
the highway and railroad construction camps are detestable; the man­
ner in which the workmen are handled is reprehensible and would
not be permitted if generally known and realized.” 8 And again, in
speaking of the hop pickers on a Yakima Valley ranch, he says:
“ The sanitary conditions under which they lived * * * were
unspeakable.” 4
1 Commission of Immigration and Housing of California. Annual Report, 1915, p. 18.
2 Idem. Report on Unemployment, 1914, p. 18.
8Report o f Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-14, p. 28.
4 Idem, p. 30.



All the circumstances under which labor camps exist favor unsat­
isfactory conditions of sanitation and general living—the isolation
of many camps with lack of water and sewage facilities, the sudden,
often undirected, coming together of large groups of persons hunt­
ing and needing work, the limited working season, which renders
good housing expensive, and the low living standards to which many
of the workers, especially those of the migratory class, are accus­
tomed. These same circumstances, it is also to be noted, render very
difficult the task of enforcing good standards of housing and sanita­
tion in such camps.
The number of workers in the labor camps of the Pacific coast is
extremely large. The California Commission of Immigration and
Housing, as a result of thorough investigation, estimates, in 1915,
that 75,000 persons, exclusive of farm laborers, were living in the
labor camps of that State.1 On this basis it would seem highly
conservative to estimate that at least 100,000 workers in the three
Pacific States pass the major portion of each year in labor camps of
various kinds.

With the exception of two groups of employments, the important
productive industries of the Pacific States give little opportunity
for woman and child labor. The exceptions are canning and pre­
serving and crop pieking.
Much of the work in fish canneries is done by oriental labor, but
a large number of women also are employed. In the canning and
preserving of vegetables and fruits the working force is chiefly
composed of women and young persons.
In the harvesting of oranges men are employed as pickers, but
women are employed as packers; and in the picking of most of the
other light crops-—fruits, berries, hops, etc.—able-bodied men are
not in demand, the work being regarded as essentially adapted to
women and children. As a rule the labor force in the picking fields
is composed of family groups, sometimes coming long distances; of
local help, mostly women and children; and of such floating laborers
as are unable to get more luorative work. In addition, according to
the California Commission of Immigration and Housing, arrange­
ments are sometimes made in parts of that State by which groups
of boys from welfare institutions and industrial homes are em­
ployed at this work. This arrangement is thus described by the
commission: 2
These picking groups, under the supervision of their own super­
intendent, take the contract for the picking season, camp out on
1 Commission o f Immigration and Housing of California,
2 Idem. Report on Unemployment, 1914, p. 59.

Annual Report, 1915, p. 25.



the place, and the whole crop is handled in this fashion by these
contract workers exclusively. In this case, too, there is no social
loss in the way of unemployment, as the vacation periods of the
institutions concerned are adjusted so that the boys make the picking
season their vacation. This plan is growing in favor in the Gold
Ridge berry district of Sonoma County.
In both canning and crop picking the season of extended employ­
ment is extremely limited. As the various crops ripen at different
times of the year, the wTork is spread over a period of several
months, from, approximately, March to November, but the really
busy midsummer season lasts for only a very few weeks, and during
three or four months of the year no work at all is offered.
There is no reliable information as to the total number of women
and children employed in the canneries and at crop picking. But
that there is a very considerable number so employed during the
busy season is indicated by the report of the California Bureau of
Labor upon conditions in the fruit and vegetable canneries of that
State in 1913.1 This report showed that during the week of maxi­
mum employment 8,270 women and 1,187 children were at work in
the canneries covered by the investigations, which, it is estimated,
included about 85 per cent of all the cannery workers in the State.
Woman and child labor in the canneries and at crop picking has
been discussed somewhat fully, as it constitutes the most characteris­
tic employment of women and children in the principal productive
industries of the Pacific States. In no branch of the lumber industry
are such persons employed to an important extent. In logging camps
boys may be, and are, used as signal boys for donkey engines, and
boys are also in some demand in box factories, but the total number
so employed is inconsiderable. The lumber industry is essentially a
strong man’s industry. This is also true of construction work in
all its branches. There has been as yet comparatively little develop­
ment of the lighter forms of manufacturing—such as textiles and
clothing—in which women and children are so extensively employed
in the Eastern States.
In the occupations offered by trade and commerce—stores, business
offices, hotels, restaurants, telephone offices, etc.—women and children
are employed in about the same proportion as in other States. The
recent development of the moving-picture business into one of the
large industries of southern California has offered a new field of
employment of very considerable importance, and has introduced in
some measure a new set of labor conditions. It is of particular
significance, in this connection, as making a considerable demand for
child actors.
1 Labor Conditions in the Canning Industry.
California, 1913, p. 15.

Special Report of Bureau of Labor,


Unemployment may result from many causes. Two are of especial
importance :
(1) Lack of connection between the worker and the job.
(2) The fact that there are more workers than there are jobs.
For the former evil the usual remedy offered is the employment
office, to bring together the workers who want jobs and the employers
who want help.
For the latter evil—a general excess of labor—no important reme­
dial measures have anywhere been undertaken in the United States.
California is one of the few States where the possibility of State
action in this matter is under serious consideration.

In no part of the United States perhaps is there so large a field
for employment offices as in the Pacific States. As has been noted5
industrial conditions there favor inconstancy of employment. Much
of the business activity is based upon the casual, short-time job.
This in itself means the frequent shifting of workers from place to
place. And the shifting is the more difficult, as much of the work
offered is in more or less remote districts of the country.
The worker is hired for the job. When it is finished he must
seek other work. Such work may exist abundantly, but he may
not know where. Or the report of work at some distant place may
attract many more workers than are needed.
Besides, the distances are great. Traveling, if paid for, is ex­
pensive, and if not paid for is extremely dangerous, “ jumping ”
freight trains being a frequent method of transportation on the part
of the migratory worker.

The necessity laid upon so many workers of constantly seeking
new jobs opens a peculiarly fertile field for their exploitation by
unscrupulous private employment agencies. There is much testi­
mony to the fact and frequency of such exploitation. The most
striking evidence of this is that in the State of Washington private
agencies made themselves so generally distrusted that in 1915 their
complete abolition was ordered by popular vote.
69861°— 17-------2




In California the private employment agencies as a class have
been severely criticized by the State bureau of labor and by the
immigration and housing commission.1 The latter commission says
that “ the untrustworthiness of private agencies is now a matter of
common knowledge.” More specifically, it reports: “ We have re­
cently made a careful investigation of 81 of the 247 licensed agencies
of the State. Of the 81 our investigators give it as their opinion that
52, or 64 per cent, are of doubtful honesty.” It was found that
the agencies guilty of the more serious abuses were for the most part
the smaller ones.

The three Pacific States have assumed very dissimilar attitudes
toward the subject of employment offices, both public and private.
Washington has abolished all private fee-charging agencies, but has
provided no substitute State system. In Oregon there are no State
employment offices and private agencies were unregulated until 1915.
California, alone of the three States, has established a system of
State employment offices. These are conducted in competition with
private agencies under State supervision.
Employment-office conditions in each of these States may be
briefly described.

Prior to 1914 there was practically no legislation, regarding private
employment agencies, and there had been no attempt at State super­
vision of their conduct. But distrust of such agencies was con­
stantly increasing and culminated in the year mentioned in the pas­
sage by popular initiative of an act aiming at the total suppression
of all private employment agencies of the commercial type.2 The
act provides that no person shall receive a fee from anyone for
securing employment. Inasmuch as most commercial agencies exist
upon fees collected from applicants for jobs and not from employers,
this provision is equivalent to the actual prohibition of such agencies.
It is reported that'there has been some attempt at evasion by con­
ducting offices in secret or by indirect methods of collecting fees.
But it is not believed that such evasions are important, especially
as the penalty for violation is high, including both fine and im­
Following the enactment of the law suppressing private agencies,
an effort was made at the legislature of 1915 to secure the establish­
ment of a system of State employment offices. The bill, however,
1 Reports of Bureau of Labor, California, 1911-12 and 1913-14. Report on Unem­
ployment by Immigration and Housing Commission of California, 1914, pp. 9, 10, 33-39.
2 Acts of 1915, Ch. 1.



failed of passage, and the employment field, aside from a few non­
commercial enterprises, was left to offices conducted by some of the
cities and by the Federal Department of Labor.
In Tacoma an arrangement was made between the city and the
Federal Department of Labor by which a joint Federal-municipal
office is maintained. In addition, municipal offices are in operation
in Seattle, Spokane, Bellingham, and Everett, and employment work
is done by the Federal offices in Seattle, Aberdeen, Bellingham,
Everett, North Yakima, Spokane, and Walla Walla.

Private employment agencies in Oregon were without State reg­
ulation until 1915. By an act of that year, all such agencies, except
those concerned solely with teachers, professional and clerical
workers, were put under the supervision of the commissioner of
labor, licenses required, and other conditions of conduct prescribed.1
The annual license charge and the amount of bond varies with the
size of the city. For cities of 150,000 or over the license fee is $50
and the bond, $1,000. Those amounts are scaled down to a $2.50
license fee and $100 bond for cities of less than 2,500. Portland is
the only city in the State with a populatiojn of over 150,000 and is
indeed the only large city, the next in size, Salem, having less than
20,000. As a result, Portland is the employment office center.
The maximum fees to be charged applicants are detailed in the
law. For females the maximum fee varies from 5 per cent of one
month’s wages, when such wages do not exceed $50, to $7.50 when
the wages are more than $100 per month. For males the variation
is from 5 per cent of one month’s wages when such wages do not
exceed $60 to not over $7.50 when the monthly wages exceed $100.
The license is issuable, at the discretion of the commissioner of
labor, for the period of one year and is revocable by him after in­
vestigation, subject to court appeal. Agencies are required to re­
turn fee and pay any transportation costs when an applicant does
not obtain the job to which he is sent or is not retained more than
two days. I f retained two days but not more than 6 days one-half
the fee is to be returned.
There are no State employment offices. In Portland there is a
free municipal office and also an office of the Federal Department
of Labor.

Private offices.—The attitude of the State toward private employ­
ment agencies has been one of increasing stringency. Beginning
with an act of 1903, providing certain moderate regulations for such

1 Acts of 1915, ch. 128.



agencies, succeeding amendments have more and more limited their
freedom of action. One of the most important of these amendments
was the doubling, in 1915, of the license fees charged. This was done
with the specific object of driving out of business the smaller, less
responsible agencies.
The license fees and bonds now required are as follows: In cities
of over 30,000 population, a license fee of $100 and a bond of $2,000;
in cities of 10,000 to 30,000, a license fee of $50 and a bond of $1,000;
in all other cities and towns, a license of $10 and a bond of $500.*
The great majority of agencies are in cities of over 30,000 and thus
pay the highest license fees.
It may be noted that the license fees and bonds in California are
about twice as high as those in Oregon. On the other hand, the
California law does not limit, as does the Oregon law, the size of the
fees which agencies may charge for securing jobs for applicants.
No fee is permitted simply for registration of an applicant, but if a
job is secured there is no legal restriction upon the amount of the
fee chargeable for this service. A provision covering this point was
under consideration in the legislature of 1915, but was discarded in
the belief that it would be unconstitutional.
Licenses are issuable by the commissioner of -labor for the period
of one year and are revocable by him at any time, subject to a limited
court appeal. Agencies are required to return the fee and any
other expenses incurred if the applicant sent out fails to secure
employment or the employment obtained lasts less than seven days,
the returned fee to be in full or in such part as the commissioner
considers fair.
According to the last available report, for the six months April
to October, 1914, the private agencies in California secured 126,586
positions for applicants and received $264,239 in fees, an average
fee of $2.09 per position secured.2 As these data cover only a sixmonth period the total fees collected for a full year would probably
exceed $500,000.
State employment offices.—Coincident with the increased restric­
tions placed upon private employment agencies in 1915, provision
was made for a system of State employment offices under the man­
agement of the State commissioner of labor.3 The law r'equired that
such offices be established in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland,
and Sacramento, and permits the commissioner to establish them in
such other places as he may consider desirable. For the support of
these offices, an appropriation of $50,000 was made for the two-year
period 1915 and 1916. This is an average of $25,000 per year for
* Acts of 1913, ch. 282 (as amended by Acts of 1915, ch. 551.)
2 Report of Bureau of Labor, California, 1913-1914, p. 19.
* Acts of 1915, ch. 302.



four offices. In comparison with this, it is of interest to place the
fact, noted above, that the fees collected by private agencies exceed
$500,000 per year.
In accordance with the requirements of the law, State employment
offices were established in 1916 in the four cities of Los Angeles, San
Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento. In Los Angeles arrangement
was made for the combination of the new State office with the ex­
isting municipal office which had been in successful operation for a
number of years. This is now conducted as a State-municipal office.
Municipal offices, supported by the local government, are in op­
eration in Sacramento and Berkeley, but in both cases the resources
are small and the work rather narrowly limited.
The offices of the Federal Department of Labor are doing active
employment work in San Francisco and San Diego. The depart­
ment also has offices in several other California cities, but in none of
them has the employment work been developed to an important

The function of the employment office is to bring together the
worker and the job. In so far as it is successful in this effort unem­
ployment is reduced. But such offices can not create work, and to
the extent that there are more workers than there are jobs the em­
ployment office is helpless. This is everywhere a most serious prob­
lem. It is accentuated on the Pacific coast for reasons that have
been emphasized above—the seasonal character of much of the indus­
trial activity and the fact that the dull seasons of so many indus­
tries occur at substantially the same period of the year.
Broadly speaking, in the summer and early autumn the demand
for labor everywhere on the coast is at its height—lumber, agricul­
ture, canning, etc. During the rest of the year the demand slackens,
and in the months of December, January, and February one-quarter
or more of the workers are necessarily unemployed. It is then that
the large cities of the coast are crowded with workers, mostly un­
skilled and poor, who are nowhere wanted.
In none of the Pacific States has there been any important attempt
to meet this recurring condition of unemployment by means of State
legislation, although in California the possibility of such legislation
is now under serious consideration. Such matters, in general, have
been regarded as entirely within the hands of the local authorities.
These authorities have followed no uniform plan. Some have done
little or nothing, the relief of the unemployed being left to private
charity. Others have established lodging houses and wood yards.
A few have carried out more or less comprehensive schemes of relief



by the creation of public work, such as the building of streets, roads,
and parks, and the cleaning of vacant lots.
With the matter entirely in the hands of the local authorities,
however, there is always the temptation for one community to seek
to relieve itself of responsibility by pushing the unemployed on to
other communities. This practice has been indulged in quite fre­
quently, and at times has been carried to the most vicious extremes,
crowds of homeless unemployed being driven from place to place
by the police and by mobs of private citizens.1
In the effort to avoid the recurrence of such practices in California,
the immigration and housing commission undertook to coordinate
the work of the various local authorities in caring for the unemployed
during the winter of 1914-15. Considerable success was met with,
although the commission had no special authority or equipment for
such work, and the attempt was repeated in the winter of 1915-16.2
The experiment is of particular significance as representing the
first important effort to deal with unemployment as a problem con­
cerning the entire State.


In addition to its efforts to coordinate local relief measures, as
noted above, the California Immigration and Housing Commission
has made certain recommendations for State legislation looking
toward the permanent reduction of unemployment. The recom­
mendations so far made are in large part no more than outline sug­
gestions to be worked out later in detail. But they are notable in
that they avoid merely superficial remedies and concern themselves
with fundamental matters. The more important of the points cov­
ered are briefly as follows: 3
1. Unemployment insurance.—Following this recommendation as
first made by the commission in 1914, the legislature of 1915 pro­
vided for a special commission to investigate the whole subject of
social insurance and to report thereon to the legislature of 1917.4
2. ’Better housing and living conditions.—It is pointed out that
sickness is a frequent cause of unemployment, and that much sickness
is attributable to unsanitary housing, overcrowding, etc.
. 3. Better educational facilities.—The commission urges the need
of teaching English to immigrants^ as ignorance of the language is
a serious hardship to persons seeking work and encourages their ex­
1 Immigration and Housing Commission of California. Report on Relief of Destitute
Unemployed, 1915.
2 Idem : (a) Report on Relief o f Destitute Unemployed, 1914; (b) Annual Report,
1916, pp. 327—350.
8 Idem : (a) Report on Unemployment, 1914, pp. 5 -2 3 ; (b) Annual Report, 1916,
pp. 320-32T.
4 Acts of 1915, ch. 275.



ploitation by unscrupulous persons. It also urges vocational educa­
tion for children as a means of reducing the number of ill-adapted
workers and unemployables.
4. Regularizing industry.—The proper State departments to study
the question and to advise with employers. The commission believes
that, with proper diversity of crops, employment in agriculture could
be stabilized to a very considerable extent.
5. Opening up the land.—The commission emphasizes the land
question as of fundamental importance to the whole problem of
unemployment. At the present time, it states, the speculative hold­
ings of land keep great tracts out of the market; that even when land
is offered for sale prices are so inflated that the small purchaser has
little chance to make a profit; and that, in addition, there has been
much misrepresentation and fraud in the sale of land to small in­
vestors. “ A frightfully large proportion of such investors have
come to grief, have been forced back to the cities, many of them as
unskilled laborers, to swell the ranks of the casual employed.” By
an act of 1915 fraudulent real estate advertising is made a mis­
The attitude of the commission toward the breaking up of the
large land holdings is indicated in the following excerpt, which also
contains some interesting data regarding the extent of such holdings i1
Those who have made particular study of the problems of unem­
ployment and immigration realize that one of the most natural out­
lets, and one of the most logical, is in the direction of releasing to
small owners the land now held in large parcels. A recent study of
California’s assessment rolls reveals the following striking examples
of existing conditions:
In Siskiyou County the Central Pacific Railroad Co. was assessed
for 664,830 acres of land, being approximately 36 per cent of all
land assessed in that county.
In San Bernardino County the Southern Pacific Land Co. was
assessed for 642,246 acres.
Kern County had, according to the California Blue Book, 2,793,605
acres with an assessed valuation. The assessment rolls showed that
nearly one-half of that vast acreage was assessed to four concerns,
namely, the Southern Pacific Land Co., the Kern County Land Co.,
R. F. Elliott (trustee, Tejon ranch), and Miller & Lux.
The total California holdings of Miller & Lux approximate
700,000 acres. In Merced County alone 245,000 acres were assessed
against this corporation.
There is no evidence to show that large land holdings are con­
fined wholly to California. Competent authorities have estimated
that the total gifts to the public, i. e., national land grants to rail­
ways, have aggregated more than 215,000,000 acres. There does seem
to be ample evidence, however, that to-day the large landholders
1 Commission of Immigration and Housing of California.
326, 327.

Annual Report, 1916, pp.



find it to their advantage “ to hold on ” to the vast acreage of unim­
proved lands in their possession.
That it would be to the great advantage of our State to break up
these large holdings, there can be no doubt. Just what are the best
methods to this end, the commission is in some doubt. Therefore, an
investigation of the land situation within this State is under way;
and it is the hope of the commission that it may be able to offer some
definite suggestions before many months have passed.
Possibly some legislation could be devised that would directly
break up the large holdings. There are those who contend that a
revision of our methods of taxation would serve that end. To trans­
form the latent resources of the State., they say, we must shift the
tax burden from improvements on land, such as houses, trees, etc.,
and from personal property, such as horses, cows, merchandise, and
other products of labor, to land values.
Those who look to taxation as the remedy point to the fact that
the California assessment rolls show that our tax laAvs enable the
owners of idle, unimproved land to escape with only a nominal,
and in many instances a positively ridiculous, low tax. For example,
22,061 acres of Central Pacific lands in Yuba County paid an aver­
age tax of 6 cents per acre; 69,008 acres assessed to the same concern
in Tehama County paid 7^ cents per acre; 16,000 acres owned by the
Agoure interests in Ventura County paid an average of 8^ cents per
acre; 13,732 acres assessed to the Southern Pacific Land Co. in Tulare
County paid an average of 4| cents per acre.
So, though good citizens may question the advisability of adopt­
ing radical means to pry the land monopolists loose from their
holdings, all must agree that the present method of taxation will not
do it. However, whether the remedy is in taxation or in some other
method, or in a combination of both, the commission is not yet pre­
pared to say.


The exploitation of labor through nonpayment of wages is a wide­
spread and serious evil. The evil is, of course, in no way limited to
the Pacific States, but conditions there are favorable to its existence—
the casual, seasonal character of many of the employments offered;
the existence of a large body of immigrant laborers, ignorant of their
rights and often fearful of the law; the location of much of the work
in isolated districts; the opportunity in certain lines of business, such
as small logging operations, for persons with little or no capital to
stake everything, including the wages of their employees, upon the
success of the one undertaking.
The full extent of the evil is not known. But that it is of a wide­
spread character is evident from the experience of the several State
labor bureaus in handling wage complaints. Thus, the California
Bureau of Labor, during the 3 years 1912-1914, received over 12,000
complaints against employers for nonpayment of wages and suc­
ceeded in making collections in some 8,000 cases, the total amount
collected amounting to no less than $171,000/ Again, the Washing­
ton bureau, during a period of 16 months, handled 623 wage com­
plaints and obtained settlement in 146 cases for the total sum of
almost $8,000.2 In each of these cases, it may be assumed that the
complaints settled by the bureau of labor represent only a fraction
of the legitimate complaints for the State as a whole, as in neither
case had the bureau of labor any specific jurisdiction, and but
comparatively little authority, in the matter of wage payments.
Also, as indicating the seriousness of the subject, is the agreement
in opinion of those familiar with conditions in these States. “ The
nonpayment of wages,” says the commissioner of labor of Wash­
ington, “ causes untold distress among the working people of this
State and exists to an extent that would surprise those unacquainted
with it.” And he states his conviction that “ the working people of
the State need help in this respect more than they do in any other,
for it appears they can take better care of themselves when it comes
to finding employment than they can in collecting wages after
they get a job.”3 The California labor commissioner is equally em­
1 Report of Bureau of Labor, California, 1913-14, p. 15.
2 Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-14, p. 195.
3 Idem, pp. 195-205.




phatic: “ The problem is fundamental. It strikes at the very root
of our economic, social, and political structure. The man or woman
who has honestly toiled and can not obtain the wages earned, loses
faith in humanity and the efficacy of our laws and courts; is often
turned out a beggar, vagrant, or criminal, or seeks redress by forcible
means.” 1
In the absence of special laws regarding wage payments the only
protection of the worker against fraud is his right to bring civil
suit against his employer for recovery of unpaid wages. But this
in itself is often insufficient to secure justice. Litigation is expen­
sive; frequently the worker is not only poor but is ignorant of his
rights, and very often the amount involved, while important to the
individual, is too small to warrant the expense of suit. In addition
the worker who seeks legal aid may easily fall into the hands of
unscrupulous lawyers or collection agencies. This is not only pos­
sible, experience has shown it to be highly probable.2
The so-called mechanics’ lien laws, by making wages a prior lien
upon the employer’s property, increase the security of the worker’s
claim in case his suit is successful. But they do not relieve him. of
any of the mentioned difficulties incident to his bringing suit and
have no important deterrent effect upon misconduct by the employer.
Moreover, the lien laws fix a time limit within which action must be
filed, and usually it is not difficult for the employer to persuade the
worker to postpone action until the time limit has expired. And
again in very many cases the employer has no property against
which a judgment can be secured. Even if the worker’s suit is fav­
orably decided he gets nothnig but a bill for his attorney’s fee.3

These are the conditions which have led to the enactment of
special wage-payment laws. The laws so far adopted in the Pacific
States are of varying degrees of effectiveness. By them some of the
abuses have been abolished and others have been modified. But,
broadly speaking, the basic cause of evil still exists, namely, that
a very large body of workers, unaided and inadvised, is unable to
avail itself of the benefits of legislation.
With very few exceptions, no special provision was made for
the enforcement of the wage laws. It was assumed that, in so far
as civil remedies were provided, the worker would take advantage
of them, and that when criminal offenses were involved prosecution
would be undertaken more or less automatically by the prosecuting
1 Report of Bureau of Labor, California, 1913-14, p. 15.
2 Commission of Immigration and Housing of California. Annual Report, 1916, p. 104.
8Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-14, p. 196.



authorities. In practice these assumptions proved true in only a
very limited degree.
To the extent that enforcement has been actively undertaken it
has been by an assumption of jurisdiction on the part of the State
bureau of labor. None of these bureaus is vested with definite
jurisdiction or authority in the matter of wage-paymeht laws, nor
with special equipment to handle wage complaints. But by each of
them considerable attention has been devoted of recent years to aid­
ing the worker who believes he has been defrauded of his wages. In
Washington and Oregon the amount of attention devoted to the
subject has been rather limited, other prescribed duties demanding
most of the resources of the bureau. In California, however, par­
ticular emphasis has been placed by the labor bureau upon the han­
dling of wage complaints, and a very large part of its time has been
devoted thereto.
The commissioner of labor of Washington, in urging the impera­
tive need of legislation to insure the worker’s getting his just wages
promptly and in full, suggests two possible remedial measures. One
is to require all employers of labor to furnish bond to insure the
payment of wages, just as contractors on public works are usually
required to do. The other is the establishment of small debtors’
courts under the jurisdiction of the justices of the peace, where
cases involving small debts could be disposed of rapidly, informally,
and cheaply.1

The requirements of the existing wage laws of these States may
be grouped into four classes: (1) The requirement of prompt pay­
ment of wages at termination of employment; (2) the requirement
that wages be paid at certain fixed intervals; (3) the prohibition
against payment of wages in anything but lawful money; and (4)
a provision, limited to California, for the State supervision of wage
payments in the case of Alaskan cannery labor.

The Washington law declares that all wages due a worker must be
paid immediately upon the termination of his service.2 This, how­
ever, is little more than a declaration of principle, inasmuch as it
neither penalizes the employer for failure to pay nor materially aids
the worker in recovering from the employer.
1 Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-14, p. 205.
2 R. and B. Codes and Stat., 1910, sec. 6560.



The Oregon law is somewhat more stringent. It makes wages
payable at termination of service and allows the court, in case of
suit by the worker, to add the attorney’s fee to the judgment granted.1
When this is done it relieves the worker of a burden which in cases
involving small amounts of money may be an item of much im­
portance to him.
The California law upon this subject is very much more forcible
than that of either Washington or Oregon, but a recent court deci­
sion renders the status of the law somewhat uncertain, The situa­
tion is this. The legislature of 1911 passed an act requiring pay­
ment of wages on termination of employment and made failure to
do so a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.2
Under this act the authority of the bureau to secure wage settlements
was greatly strengthened, and its activities along this line rapidly
The act remained in force for three years, when (1914) an appel­
late court of the State declared it to be unconstitutional, on the
ground that the penalty carried with it the possibility of imprison­
ment, and that inasmuch as the element of fraud was not involved
in the statute this would be equivalent to imprisonment for debt.3
In the effort to meet this objection the legislature of 1915 reenacted
the same law but with a different penalty clause.4 This new clause
provides that if an employer fails to pay wages when due the wages
shall be regarded as continuing until paid, but not to exceed a period
of 30 days. This is equivalent to a maximum penalty of 30 days’
additional wages for the benefit of the worker. Furthermore, it is
also provided that if failure to pay is due to willful refusal or with
intent to defraud the employer becomes guilty of a misdemeanor,
subject to prosecution by the State. The act as thus revised has not
yet been passed upon by the courts and is regarded as in effect.

In neither Washington nor Oregon is there any legal requirement
that wages be paid at fixed intervals. Under the California law,
however, it is required that wages be paid at least monthly in all
employments and semimonthly, on fixed days, in all cases where
more than six persons are employed, other than in farm and house
w^ork.5 Failure to observe this law, if due to willful refusal or with
intent to defraud or delay, is made a misdemeanor.

1 Lord’s Oregon laws, secs. 5067, 5(T68.
2 Acts of 1911, ch. 663.
3 Ex parte Crane, Cal. App. 145, Pac., 7334 Acts of 1915, ch. 143.
6 Acts of 1915, ch. 657.

ADMINISTRATION o f l a b o r l a w s i n

p a c ific




All three of the States forbid the payment of wages in store orders
or in any form of scrip or pay checks that are not redeemable in
lawful money on demand.1
The Washington law requires that all pay checks be redeemable
within the county, unless a point in another county be more conven­
ient, and Oregon has a similar provision. The Washington commis­
sioner of labor points out that, although pay checks must be redeem­
able within the county, the workers may still be subjected to consid­
erable hardship. He notes that men are often required to go 50 or
60 miles to the redemption office and believes that, at the least, checks
should be made redeemable at the nearest trading point.2
In Washington failure to redeem pay checks in full constitutes a
misdemeanor, and in addition, upon suit by the worker, the court
must add to the judgment the attorney’s fees of the worker and $25
damages for his personal benefit. The State supreme court has
upheld the constitutionality of this latter penalty.
The California law makes failure to redeem pay checks a misde­
meanor. The Oregon law does not make the offense a misdemeanor,
and the only penalty mentioned is that the court may add attorney’s
fees to the judgment.

In 1913 California passed an interesting act, the primary purpose
of which was to meet a peculiar labor condition in connection with
the Alaskan salmon canneries. It is the practice of these canneries
to hire labor in San Francisco for shipment to Alaska under a con­
tract calling for a season’s wTork and for payment of wages in full
on the return to San Francisco at the end of the season. The system
permits of many grave abuses. An official investigation by the
bureau of labor in 1912 showed that, as a result of the general help­
lessness of the laborers employed, wage deductions were made upon
such a scale that few of the men actually received at the end of
the season more than a pitiable fraction of the wages mentioned in
the contract.
In an attempt to avoid some at least of the abuses of the system
the act of 1918 provides that in all cases where persons are hired
and paid within the State but the work is performed outside the
State wages are to be paid in the presence of the commissioner of
1 Washington R. & B. Codes and Stat., 1910, secs. 6560, 6561, 6562. Oregon, Lord’s
Oregon Laws, sec. 50G6. California Acts of 1911, ch. 92 (as amended by Acts of 1915,
ch. 628).
2 Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-14, p. 200.



labor or of an examiner appointed by him upon application of
either the employer or the employee, and that, when this is done, the
findings of the commissioner or the examiner are to be conclusive as
to the amount of wages due.1
Under this law examiners of the bureau supervised the paying off
of much of this labor at the ends of the canning seasons of 1913
and 1914, with the result that the average payment increased from
$35 p,er man in 1912, before the law went into effect, to an average
of $110 in 1913 and an average of $120 in 1914.2
The effectiveness of this law, however, was dependent upon the
enforcing procedure prescribed in the wage-payment act of 1913,
which, as has been noted, was declared unconstitutional.
The importance of the subject of the contract-wage system in use
among Alaskan cannery labor is evident from the previously men­
tioned investigation of the labor bureau. The information then
brought out revealed some extremely vicious conditions affecting, it
is estimated, as many as 5,000 men. The following excerpt from the
report of that investigation indicates the condition of labor in a
field of employment about which there is comparatively little
knowledge: 3
The question of the payment of wages to the men employed in the
Alaska salmon canneries has been one of great annoyance to the
bureau during the past two seasons. These men are hired in San
Francisco during the months of March and April and are shipped
north to work in the salmon canneries located on the coast of Alaska.
They are returned during the months of August and September and
are p,aid off in San Francisco for the full season’s work. At the
time these men are paid off the real trouble begins. Innumerable
disputes arise on account of the deductions that are made for various
items, principally for gambling debts, liquor, and food.
In order to fully realize the situation it will be necessary to explain
the methods resorted to in the hiring of men to work in these can­
neries. As a rule, the company owning or operating the cannery
enters into a contract with a Chinese contractor, whereby the
Chinese contractor agrees to furnish all the help necessary to clean,
pack, cook, label, and box all the salmon delivered to him at a certain
cannery. The company agrees to pay the Chinese contractor a cer­
tain amount for each case of salmon packed and guarantees a min­
imum number of cases. I f no salmon is packed—by reason of the
failure to deliver the fish at the cannery, which may arise when the
salmon are not running—the Chinese contractor receives his contract
price. The Chinese contractor guarantees to deliver a certain number
of men necessary to operate the cannery, and is penalized in the sum
of $250 for each man he is short on the day of the sailing of the
company’s ships. As soon as the Chinese contractor signs up with
the company, he sublets his contract to several other subcontractors,
1 Acts of 1913, ch. 198.
2 Report of Bureau of Labor, California, 1913-14, p. 17.
3 Idem, 1912, pp. 51, 52.



consisting chiefly of Japanese, Filipinos, Porto Ricans, and Mexicans.
These subcontractors go among their own people and hire them for
the season at a fixed sum, usually from $160 to $180. This sum is,
as a rule, the full amount that the Chinese contractor has allowed the
subcontractor, but the subcontractor figures to make his money from
the privileges of running the u slop chest ”—which is the term applied
to the store—and from the gambling. In addition, the subcontractor
draws his wages, and it is the general practice for a subcontractor to
work along with his men at the ciannery. The Chinese contractor
advances $40 for each man to the subcontractor. The subcontractor
turns this amount over to his men, but not directly. Usually he per­
mits them to go to some store which he selects—where they can pur­
chase clothes—and he often pays their room and board up to the
time of sailing, for it must be understood that the hiring of men goes
on for months before the ship sails. When the men are on board the
ship whatever is left of the $40 advance money, after the above de­
ductions have been made, is paid to them.
A rather interesting deduction is the one of $2.50 to $5 per man for
services of detectives and watchmen, who are employed by the sub­
contractor to see that the men do not get away before the ship sails.
Here we have the unique position of a man being obliged to pay for
the privilege of being watched so that he can not run away. The
Chinese contractor furnishes the food on the voyage to and from
and during the time the men are at the cannery. This food consists
of the regular Chinese fare, namely, rice, kelp, tea, and, sometimes,
beans, except that at the cannery fish is often given to the men.
The food question causes considerable trouble, owing to the fact that
the men do not relish it and are compelled to buy American foods
from the “ slop chest” or from the Chinese stores. On the return
to San Francisco, the company pays the Chinese contractor the
total amount due him under the terms of the contract, and the Chinese
contractor, in turn, pays to the men the amount agreed upon, less the
charges that appear against them in an account rendered by the sub­
contractor. In past years the Chinese contractor would turn the
money over to the subcontractors for payment to the men, but it
became a general practice for the subcontractor to abscond with the
money and leave the men clamoring at the doors of the Chinese con­
tractor for their wages.
During the past few years the offices of this bureau have been
besieged by hundreds of these cannery hands upon their return from
Alaska. These men present a multitude of claims, which involve
questions of false or exorbitant deductions on their wages. Many of
these men are returned to San Francisco without a cent due them
after a season’s work, all of it having been charged against them for
food or gambling debts incurred at the gambling tables operated on
the ships by the subcontractors.


Of recent years all three of the, Pacific States have shown marked
activity in the enactment of laws for the protection of the woman
worker. Prior to 1913 these laws consisted of statutory restrictions
upon working hours and statutory requirements regarding health
conditions in work places. The requirements regarding health con­
ditions were few and of little effect. But restrictions upon hours of
labor were becoming more and more rigid. Starting, in 1901, with
a Washington law limiting the work of women to 10 hours, but per­
mitting a 7-day week, legal working hours for women had been
gradually shortened until an 8-hour day had been enacted in
Washington and California for many of the important industries,
and Oregon had adopted a 10-hour day, 60-hour week.

In 1913 an entirely different method of State control over woman
labor was inaugurated. There was created in each of the States a
special administrative body—known as the industrial welfare com­
mission—to which was given far-reaching authority to determine the
conditions of employment of women and children.1 Statutory re­
quirements already in force—such as those limiting hours of labor—
were not repealed. They remained in force as minimum restrictions
which the welfare commission might make more rigid but not less
rigid.2 Also, the .legislature, of course, did not divest itself of any
of its power to make such further statutory requirements as it might
Bee fit. But, broadly speaking, it was the intention of each of these
States that the welfare commission should take from the legislature
the responsibility of making detailed rules and regulations regarding
the employment of women.
This delegation of authority was a most important one. It makes
of the industrial welfare commission in each of the Pacific States, an
agency of dominant influence in determining the attitude of the
State toward the protection of woman labor and, to a less complete
extent, toward the protection of child labor.3
1 Acts of Washington, 1913, ch. 174. Acts of Oregon, 1913, ch. 62. Acts of Califor­
nia, 1913, ch. 324 (as amended by acts of 1915, ch. 571).
2 Except emergency overtime in Oregon. See later section of this chapter.
3 See Chapter V ..




The primary duty of the welfare commission is to determine, ac­
cording to prescribed procedure, what particular regulations are nec­
essary for the health and welfare of women and children in industry,,
and thereupon, to issue such regulations as obligatory orders. This
duty extends to all women and all minors under 18 years of age, em­
ployed as wage earners in any industry or occupation. The acts o f
all three States are identical in this respect.
The three acts, however, are not quite identical as regards the sub'
jects for which the commission is given authority to determine stand­
ards. In Oregon and California this authority covers the subjects o f
minimum wages, hours of labor, and conditions affecting physical
and moral welfare. In Washington the commission’s authority is
not so extensive. It covers minimum wages and conditions affecting
physical and moral welfare, but does not specifically cover the sub­
ject of hours of labor. In practice, however, the Washington com­
mission has placed certain restrictions upon the night work o f
children as detrimental to their general welfare, and it is possible
that the law might be similarly interpreted as regards the hours o f
labor of women.
All three acts contemplate that different standards may be de­
termined for different employments—that, for instance, a higher
minimum wage may be fixed for retail stores than for factories, on
the ground that saleswomen are under a greater expense for clothes*
Moreover, as the word “ occupation ” is used in the law, very small
groups of workers may be separately considered. In practice each o f
the commissions has adopted the industry as the basic unit in most
instances—stores, factories, hotels and restaurants, laundries, etc.—
and have fixed standards for the industrial group as a whole. In a
few cases, however, smaller occupational groups have been treated
In only one of the three States—Oregon—has any distinction been
made by locality. Here the law specifically permits different stand­
ards to be erected for the same employment in different parts of the
State, and the commission has used this permission to make separate
rulings for Portland City as distinguished from the State as a whole.
In Washington and California the law is silent upon this point, and
the respective commissions have assumed that standards must be uni­
form for the State and have so acted up to the present time.

The welfare commissions of all three States were created by legis­
lative acts of 1913 and were appointed and organized during the
course of that year. Their work is still in progress. The Oregon
commission has been the most active in framing standards and issu69861°— 17-------3



ing orders. Its orders have covered wages and working hours in
all industries. The Washington commission has also been active
in the framing of minimum-wage standards, most of the important
industries having been covered. The California commission thus far
has arrived at determinations for only one industry—fruit and v e g e ­
table canning.
As a result of the work of the welfare commissions, the existing
legal •restrictions upon the employment of women in the Pacific
States are a combination of commission orders and statutory
The following table gives for the three States the substance of
these restrictions as regards wages, hours of labor, and night work.
Statutory requirements are printed in italics. All other entries rep­
resent commission orders.
Because of the condensed character of the table, the classifications
are not entirely precise, but are sufficiently so for the purpose of
broad comparisons. And it is to be remembered that the wage rates
given are for experienced women and do not cover minors and ap­
T able


[Items in italics represent statutory laws. Other items represent orders of the industrial welfare com­
Minimum wage per week.

Maximum hours per day and
per week.

Prohibition of night work
(after specified hours).

Kind of estab­
lishment or
Cali­ Wash­
ton. Port­ Rest nia. ton.! Port­ Rest of fornia. ton. Port­ Rest
land. State.
land. State.
land. State. :

Mercantile___ $10.00 $9.25
Factories........ 8.90 8.64
Canneries. 8.90 8.64
Laundries...... 9,00 8.64
Telephone and
telegraph__ 79.00 8.64
Office work... 10.00 89.25
Hotels, restau­
rants, etc__ 99.00 ; 8.64
Other10.......... None. 8.64

$8.25 None.
8.25 , None.
8.25 None.

p. m.
D. Wk. Z>. Wk. D. Wk. D. Wk.
8 50 9 54 8 48 None. 26.00
8 56
8 JL8 None. 8.30
8 56 *9 54 39 54

None. HO 54 6 10 54 610 60 None.
9 54 9 54 8 48 None.
8 56

8.25 None. None. 9 54
8.25 None. None. 10 51
8.25 None. 8 56
8.25 None. None.

9 54
9 54


p. w.




9 54 8 48 None. None. None. None.
10 54 None. None. None. None.: None.
9 54 8 48 None. None. None. None.
9 54 None.11 None. None. None. None.

1 Law permits of 7-day week.
2 Except confectionery stores and cigar stands in hotels.
8 Except woolen mills, 10 hours per day allowed.
4 For time workers, 10 cents per hour; equivalent to $9.60 for a 60-hour week. For piece workers, see
&With overtime up to 60 hours per week permitted for not oveT 6 weeks in the year at 1| regular rate.
®With overtime permitted up to 72 hours per week at 1£ regular rate.
i For cities of over 3,000.
8 Order fixes $40 per month.
* Waitresses excepted.
10 Personal service establishments (manicuring, etc.) in Oregon.
11 Except that amusement places and express and transportation companies are covered by the 8-hour



Comparisons between States, as offered in this table, show dif­
ferences of much interest. The differences are of especial signifi­
cance because of the fact that industrial and living conditions are
fairly homogeneous for the three States and particularly so for the
States of Washington and Oregon.
The first part of the table shows the minimum wage rates as
established by the welfare commissions of Washington and Oregon.
The most striking point here is that the rates for Washington are
uniformly higher, and in several cases very much higher, than those
for Oregon. Thus, the Washington rate for mercantile establish­
ments is $10 per week as against $9.25 per week for Portland and
$8.25 for the rest of Oregon. Similar differences exist for the other
industrial groups listed. Also it may be noted that the variations
between industries in the two States are not according to the same
basic scale. Thus in Washington the rate for laundry work is higher
than for factory work, whereas in Oregon no distinction is made
between these two classes of employment.
In California the only minimum wage rates so far established by
the welfare commission are for fruit and vegetable canning. These
are in the form of piece rates for pieceworkers, who predominate
in the industry, and of hourly rates for time-workers. The mini­
mum time rate is 16 cents per hour for experienced workers. The
piece rates are by the pound or can. The actual earnings that the
piece rates will produce can only be determined after experience.
It was intended that they should permit of earnings of not less
than the 16 cents per hour minimum fixed for time-workers. An
hourly rate of 16 cents represents a weekly rate of $9.60 for a week
of 60 hours.1
The second part of the table gives the legal restrictions upon hours
of labor. Here again there are striking differences as between States
and as between industries in the same State. Washington fixes a
flat 8-hour day for a limited number of employments but permits
seven-day work therein and thus makes a 56-hour week legally
possible. In most employments, of course, a six-day week is cus­
1 The minitaum wage rates for fruit and vegetable canning as issued by the California
Industrial Welfare Commission (February, 1916) are in full as follows :
Minimum piece rate.
Cutting apricots----------------------------- $0,225 per 100 lbs. (or $0.09 per 40 lbs.)
.375 per 100 lbs. (or
.15 per 40 lbs.)
Cutting pears^------------------------------Cutting cling peaches-------------------.225 per 100 lbs. (or
.09 per 40 lbs.)
Cutting free peaches______________
.125 per 100 lbs. (or
.05 per 40 lbs.)
Cutting tomatoes--------------------------- .03 per 12 quarts
Canning all varieties of fruit, No. 2J cans-----------------$0,015 per doz. cans
Canning all varieties of fruit, No. 10 cans----------------.036 per doz. cans
Canning tomatoes, No. 2| cans______________________
.01 per doz. cans
Canning tomatoes, No. 10 cans______________________
.024 per doz. cans
Minimum time ra tes: Experienced hands, 16 cents per h ou r; inexperienced hands,
13 cents per hour. A person employed as much as three weeks in the industry is to be
regarded as an experienced hand.



tomary, aside from any law upon the subject, but there are certain
kinds of labor, such as hotel service, where seven-day work is not
The California law is more stringent in this respect. It estab­
lishes not only an 8-hour day but also a 48-hour week for a number
o f important industries. For the canning industry, however, the
welfare commission has fixed a normal 60-hour week and permits as
much as 72 hours per week, provided that overtime is paid for at
one and one-quarter the regular rates.
The Oregon restrictions upon working hours are of particular in­
terest as being wholly the result of commission determinations. The
original statutory law fixed a 10-hour day, 60-hour week, in most
employments of women. Commission orders have reduced these
maximums, but in no case have the reductions been to an 8-hour day,
as fixed in Washington and California for certain employments. On
the other hand, the Oregon restrictions are more comprehensive in
scope than those of either of the two other States, all employments
of women being covered.
The third part of the table shows a general lack of interest in the
subject of night work by women. In Washington and California
there are no restrictions at all upon such work. In Oregon orders
of the welfare commission forbid the employment of women after
certain hours in the evenings at certain kinds of work. The most
stringent of these prohibitions is that against the employment of
women in mercantile establishments after 6 p. m.

The plan of delegating to an administrative body the authority to
determine rules and standards for the protection of labor had its
first important development within the United States in the Wiscon­
sin industrial commission act of 1911. As originally conceived, the
plan was primarily concerned with the subject of safety standards,
but it was later extended to cover a much larger range of subjects.
The Pacific States were among the first to accept the plan thus de­
veloped. It constitutes the basic idea of the industrial welfare com­
mission acts of all three of these States, and, in addition, was incor­
porated in the workmen’s compensation act of California, in so far
as safety standards are concerned.
Inasmuch as the status of this plan, both as a matter of law and a
matter of practical effectiveness, is still in debate, the theory upon
which it is based becomes of very great interest. This theory, in its
application to the subject of woman labor, may be briefly outlined as



It is the policy of the State that women shall not be employed at
wages inadequate for decent living or under conditions harmful to
their health and welfare. To enact this policy into law requires the
fixing of minimum wages and standards of working conditions. But
the fixing of such standards to meet the many different circumstances
of employment and to keep pace with changing circumstances is a
matter which the legislature believes it is impracticable for it directly
to undertake. The legislature therefore delegates this work of fram­
ing detailed standards to an administrative commission. It declares
by statute that no experienced woman worker shall be employed at
a lower wage than permits of decent living or under conditions harm­
ful to her welfare and leaves it to the commission to determine in
particular cases what wTages and conditions are necessary to prevent
these evils.
It is of the essence of this theory that the determinations so arrived
at shall represent true findings of fact. To accomplish this, pro­
vision is made for investigation on the part of the commission
and for conferences and hearings at which employers, workers, and
the public shall be represented. It is assumed that determinations
so arrived at will be accurate and reasonable.
These determinations are to have the force of law, being the ex­
pression of legislative will. But it is not conceived that the com­
mission itself makes laws. It merely determines the facts and con­
ditions under which the law applies. Thus, in theory, if the commis­
sion, acting according to the procedure prescribed, finds that women
in mercantile establishments can not maintain a decent living on less
than $10 per week, then $10 a week automatically becomes the legal
minimum wage for such workers. Or if it finds that the health and
welfare of women in factories necessitates the provision of washing
facilities, then the requirement of wash rooms in factories auto­
matically becomes a law.
The constitutionality of this whole theory, and thus of all three
industrial-welfare commission acts, now awaits decision by the United
States Supreme Court in the case of Stettler v. O’Hara. This case
is an appeal from the Supreme Court of Oregon, which had upheld
the welfare-commission act of that State as in harmony with both
the State and Federal Constitutions.1
In California a constitutional amendment of 1914 gives the legis­
lature specific authority to enact minimum wage laws for women and
to delegate authority to an administrative commission to determine
wage standards.2 This validates the welfare commission act so far
as the State constitution is concerned.

1 139 Pac. Reporter, p. 743
2 See Acts of 1913, p. 1746.

(Mar. 17, 1914).




The welfare-commission act of each of the Pacific States is specific
in declaring that standards are to be based entirely upon the needs
of the women workers. This is in contrast with the minimum-wage
acts of such States as Massachusetts, Colorado, and Nebraska, where
the law is equally specific in declaring that in fixing minimum
wages the financial condition of the employers and of the industry
is to be considered. In the Pacific States the sole criterion in the eye
of the law is the health and welfare of the worker. The Oregon act,
for example, requires that women’s wages shall be sufficient “ to
supply them with the necessary cost of living and maintain them in
health,” and that they shall not work “ unreasonably long hours ”
or “ under surroundings or conditions detrimental to their health
or morals.”

This is a point of much importance, particularly in the case of
minimum-wage determinations. Under the law it is the duty of
the welfare commission in each of these States to determine for each
occupation or group of occupations the minimum wages impera­
tively demanded by the health and welfare of the women therein. In
practice this is a matter that presents many perplexing problems.
The financial condition of the industry constantly obtrudes itself.
Thus, the Oregon conference upon factories in Portland, in making
a recommendation of a minimum weekly wage of $8.64, which was
later accepted by the commission, remarks as follows:
In the establishment of such a minimum, general in its applica­
tion, consideration must also be given to industry as it exists, and
care must be taken that injustice is not inflicted in an effort to
remedy abuses that have long existed.1
But, entirely aside from the question of financial condition of in­
dustry, thejfixing of a minimum wage upon cost of living involves
numerous difficulties and in many cases can be of only approximate
accuracy. Such is necessarily the case when, as in Washington, the
standards are to be uniform for the State. Cost of living may differ
very considerably as between large cities and small towns, and it is
impossible to frame one minimum standard which will meet all of
the local differences.
Even for the same industry in one locality it is an extremely diffi­
cult matter to ascertain just what a correct minimum wage should
be— to determine what items in a woman’s living expenses are to
be regarded as necessary and what ones are to be excluded as not
necessary. In addition, there is the very practical difficulty that
when these standards are arrived at through conferences composed
1 Report of Industrial Welfare Commission, 1914, p. 7.



of more or less conflicting interests they are very likely to be the
result of compromised opinions.
As an example of the actual difficulties encountered by the com­
missions and conferences in their efforts to arrive at minimum-wage
standards a brief summary is given of the proceedings of one of the

There were present all nine of the appointed conference members—
three representatives each of the employers, the workers, and the
public—and all members of the commission. The chairman of the
commission acted as chairman of the conference.
The first part of the meeting was taken up in a general discussion
of women’s work and wages, and of the position of the apprentice
and learner. It was insisted upon by the commission and by several
conference members that the minimum wage decided upon should
be sufficient to support a self-supporting woman; that is to say,
should be sufficient to cover all necessary expenses of a woman with­
out other means of support. It was agreed that each of the expense
items—room, board, suits, shoes, etc.—should be considered sep­
arately, and that each member of the conference should make an
estimate of each item in a prepared form.
This was done. The totals varied greatly—from $671.75, which
would be about $13 a week, to $374.05, which would be about $7 a
week. The highest estimate was that of one of the employee’s
representatives; the second was the estimate of an employer. The
lowest two estimates were those of employers.
It was then decided that each item should be taken up in turn
and that the discussion be between the lowest on the employers’ side
and the highest on the employees’ side. Discussion then centered
around the need a woman has of certain things and of the prices
that should be paid. No vote was taken, however, and no precise
conclusion was reached as to a reasonable amount for each item.
Thereupon one of the employers suggested $8 and a second one
moved that $9 be decided upon as a minimum for women 18 years
of age and over. The latter was voted upon—three favoring, six
not in favor; the three favorable votes being those of an employer
and two representatives of the public. Following this one of the
employees moved that the minimum be placed at $10. The motion
was carried by 5 to 4, the five favorable votes being the three em­
ployees and two public representatives. It was felt, however, that
unanimity was desirable, so the motion was reconsidered and a
committee of three—one from each of the parties—was appointed to
confer on the matter. These came to no definite decision. The



discussion developed, however, that the employees could agree on
$9 and the employers on $8.50. After a recess one of the em­
ployers moved a compromise minimum of $8.75. This was voted
down, 6 to 3, the three favorable votes being those of the employers.
Finally, a compromise wras effected at $8.90, and the recommendation
was made unanimous.

The principle of State-established minimum wages for women is of
too recent adoption in this country to permit of definite conclusions
as to its practical effects. The Pacific States were among the first
to adopt the principle and, with the exception of Utah, which fixed a
minimum wage by statute, Oregon and Washington were the first
States to establish minimum wages upon a comprehensive scale.
The only independent study so far made of the effect of wage deter­
minations in the Pacific States is that contained in a report of the
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics upon the results of such
determinations in the retail stores of Portland, Oreg.1 This study
wTas made in 1914 and covered conditions in March and April of the
year 1913 and the same two months in the year 1914—periods ending
five months before and beginning five months after the date on which
the first wage determinations went into effect.
The study suffered under several important limitations. The pe­
riod following the adoption of the wage rulings was one of consider­
able depression in business. The study had to be limited to the one
industry of retail merchandizing in a few localities. Because of lack
of data and records, all of the stores could not be covered.
But, notwithstanding these and other difficulties, a number of in­
teresting conclusions were arrived at. These are summarized in the
published report as follows:
Girls under 18 years of age have increased, especially in the errand,
bundle-wrapper, and cashier occupations, but not in the more skilled
work of selling, sewing, or of the office. These first-named occupa­
tions tend to become the sphere for minors to the exclusion of adult
women with or without experience, a result, in all probability, of the
minimum-wage determinations.
The wage determinations have not put men in positions vacated by
Avomen. The causes operating to decrease the number of women also
operated to decrease the number of men,, though to a less degree, as
The rates of pay for women as a whole have increased. Wherever
the wage rates of old employees have been changed since the minimum-wage rulings, the employees were benefited. * * *. Among
the experienced women not only the proportion getting $9.25 (the
1 Bulletin U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, No. 176.



legal minimum), but also the proportion getting over $9.25 has in­
creased. The proportion of the force receiving over $12 has also
increased, although the actual number has decreased. Some experi­
enced women were receiving rates below the minimum to which the
determinations entitled them.
Employment was more regular in 1914 than in 1913. This was due
in part to the fact that under depressed business conditions fewer new
employees were taken on for short periods. The disparity between
rates and earnings was therefore less in 1914, but sufficiently large
in that year to call attention sharply to the importance of giving un­
employment consideration in making minimum-wage determinations*
The Oregon commission took no cognizance of unemployment, con­
fining its first attempts to determining the minimum amount below
which a self-supporting woman could not subsist in health and com­
fort, and to fixing this amount as the minimum rate of pay. * * *
A comparison of sales made by women raised to, receiving, or who
should have received the minimum with those of women receiving
above the minimum does not reveal differences that would indicate a
decrease in the efficiency of those affected by the wage determinations.
The numbers for whom comparable data on this subject could be
secured were too limited, however, to warrant conclusions.
All the changes arising from decreased business, reorganization of
departments, and increased rates of pay resulted in an increase in the
female labor cost and also in the total labor cost of 3 mills per dollar
of sales. This increased cost was not distributed equally among
stores or among departments in the same store. The changes in
female-labor cost varied from an 8-mill increase per dollar of sales
in Portland neighborhood stores to a 1.2-cent decrease in Salem stores*

As has been pointed out, it is an essential feature of the commis­
sion plan that all determinations are to be the result of thorough
investigation by the commission and of discussion in conference by
the parties interested. In Oregon and Washington, indeed, the com­
mission may not fix standards for women workers except upon the
recommendations of conferences composed of representatives of
employers, workers, and the public. But the authority of the com­
mission to veto conference findings, to appoint new conferences, and
to direct procedure gives it a very important influence in the framing
of all standards.
In California also the use of the conference (called wage board)
is contemplated by law, but its appointment is optional with, and
its findings are not binding upon, the commission. Before any
determinations may be issued as orders, however, the commission
must submit them for general discussion and criticism to a public
meeting announced for this purpose. In the work so far done by
the commission the conference idea has been made prominent.
The welfare commissions of all three of the Pacific States were
created by acts passed in the early part of 1913, and all three com­



missions were organized within four or five months of their creation.
The Oregon commission, organized in June, almost immediately
began preparations for conferences and hearings and issued it first
orders within two months. The Washington commission issued its
first orders in April, 1914, 10 months after organization. The Cali­
fornia commission was much more deliberate. It laid much emphasis
upon investigative work, and with a larger appropriation than that
of Washington or Oregon carried on extensive field studies. Its
first determinations were not arrived at until the early part of 1916—
two and a half years after organization. These were concerned
solely with the canning industry and are the only determinations
so far made by the California commission. Thus the following
account of the work and procedure of the welfare commissions will
be limited to those of Washington and Oregon.1

The first activity of the commission was to make a general investi­
gation of the wages, working conditions, and cost of living of women
workers in order to obtain the data necessary for its own information
and for the consideration of the conferences.
Arrangements were then made for a series of conferences for
several important industrial groups. Each conference consisted of
nine members—the employees, the workers, and the public each
having three representatives. The commission itself selected the
conference members. Considerable difficulty was experienced in ob­
taining representatives of the workers, because of their fear of being
later discriminated against by their employers. In one case where
an employee was discharged by her employer after serving on a con­
ference the commission successfully prosecuted the employer.
Members of the commission were present at each conference and
one of them acted as chairman, but such members did not participate
in the voting.
Thus far general orders have been issued for six industries—
mercantile, manufacturing, laundries and dye works, telephone and
telegraph offices, business offices, and hotels and restaurants (wait­
resses excepted). In the case of each of these a conference was held
prior to the issue of formal orders. In all but one case—laundries—
a single conference sufficed. The recommendations of the first laun­
dry conference were rejected by the commission on the ground that
the wage recommended ($8.50) was insufficient on the evidence of its
own investigations. A second conference was then called, with an
entirely new personnel, and its recommendation of a $9 minimum
wage was accepted by the commission.
1 For account of the early work of the welfare commissions of the three States, see
reports of industrial welfare commissions of the respective States for 1913-14.



The recommendations made by the several conferences were unani­
mous in all but one case, when there was one dissenting vote.
Under the Washington law approval by the commission of the
recommendations of a conference completes the necessary procedure
preliminary to the issue of obligatory orders. The orders issued go
into effect at the end of 60 days and have substantially the same
effect as statutory enactment. A limited appeal exists on questions
of law, but none at all on questions of fact.
The conferences described have been concerned solely with females
18 years of age and over. For minors under 18, as has been noted,
the commission is authorized to act, and has acted, without the
formality of a conference.
The table in an earlier part of this chapter gives the wage stand­
ards thus far established for experienced women workers—$10 per
week for mercantile establishments and offices, $8.90 per week for
factories, and $9 per week for laundries and dye works, telephone
and telegraph companies, and hotels and restaurants. These stand­
ards were fixed in a series of orders issued between April, 1914, and
June, 1915.
At the same time that the orders fixing wage standards for adult
women were issued, supplementary orders were issued for minors
under 18 years, both male and female. The minimum wage rate fixed
for all such persons was $6 per week, except in the case of office work,
where the minimum was raised to $7.50 per week for persons 16 to 18
years of age, and in the case of hotels and restaurants, where $7.50
was made the minimum weekly wage for all minors. These orders
also prohibited night work for minors in mercantile establishments,
factories, laundries, and dye works, and telephone and telegraph
offices, and absolutely prohibited the employment of female minors
at cigar stands and as 44shakers ” in laundries.
The subject of working conditions has been given comparatively
little consideration. In all orders issued there have been some re­
quirements regarding toilets, wash rooms, or other provisions for
health and comfort, but these requirements have not been worked
out with any thoroughness, and in almost no case are any fixed stand­
ards erected or suggested.
The method devised for handling the question of wage rates for
apprentices and learners is described in a later section.

As in Washington, the first step of the commission was to hold
informal hearings and gather data regarding the conditions of labor
and living of women workers. Much information of this character,
however, was already available through an earlier investigation made
before the passage of the welfare commission act.



As the Oregon law contemplated the possible need of different
standards for different localities as well as for different industries,
the grouping of women workers into industrial units offered a com­
plicated task. The commission, as a preliminary working basis, de­
cided to treat Portland city as a separate unit and to arrange sepa­
rate conferences for its important industries. It was contemplated
that, if necessary, other localities could later be taken up for separate
The conduct of the formal conferences was almost identical with
that of Washington as described. Each conference consisted of nine
members—employers, workers, and the public, each having three rep­
resentatives. The commission selected all of the conference members.
Difficulty was encountered at times in getting representatives of the
workers through fear of later discrimination on the part of their
employers. Members of the commission were present at all meet­
ings, took an active part in the deliberations, and usually one of
them acted as chairman, but in no case did they vote upon any of
the questions arising.
The recommendations of each conference have been adopted by
unanimous vote of its members and have met with the approval of
the commission. Thereupon, the proposed rulings have been sub­
mitted to a public hearing. Such a hearing is required under the
Oregon law, this constituting its only important point of difference
with the Washington law as regards methods of procedure. The
purpose of the public hearing is to give opportunity for general dis­
cussion and criticism. The commission is not bound by opinions
there expressed, but may be influenced thereby to a reconsideration
of the proposed rulings. This public hearing completes the pro­
cedure preliminary to the issue of definite orders by the commission.
All orders become effective 60 days after issue, and have, as in Wash­
ington, the same effect as statutory enactments, subject to limited ap­
peal on questions of law only.
The completed work of the commission is represented almost en­
tirely by two series of general orders. The first series, consisting of
five orders, wTas issued at various dates during the latter part of
1913. Taken together, these orders established wage and hour
standards for female workers, both adult and minor, in all industries.
They did not cover male minors, nor did they cover the subject of
working conditions.
The standards as fixed by these early orders were as follows: For
experienced women workers, a minimum rate of $8.25 per wTeek out­
side of Portland city, irrespective of occupation, and also within
Portland city, except in the case of three important industries for
which the minimum rates were somewhat higher—mercantile estab­
lishments, $9.25 per week; factories, $8.64 per week; and office work,



$40 per month. For inexperienced workers a minimum rate of $6
per week, and for girls between 16 and 18 years, a minimum rate of
$1 per day. The hours of labor were limited to 54 per week for all
adult women, except those in mercantile establishments and offices in
Portland, for whom the maximum hours were, respectively, 50 per
week (8J per day), and 51 per week. Night work was prohibited
for all women in stores, factories, and laundries, but not in other
occupations. For girls under 18 years of age, the hours of labor
Avere restricted to 8J per day and 50 per week, in a list of important
occupations, and night work was prohibited therein.
These orders remained in force with no important changes until
September 1, 1916, a period of almost three years. On that date
there became effective a new series of orders, which had been issued
in the preceding July as a result of continued investigation and ob­
servation by the commission and upon the recommendation of a con­
ference called for the purpose. This new series of orders revises
certain of the standards previously erected and makes a number of
important additions of subject matter.
The wage and hours’ standards for experienced women workers,
as in effect after the revision of September, 1916, are shown in the
table in the earlier part of this chapter. They are substantially the
same as those contained in the original orders of 1913. As regards
wages, the only important change is the raising of the minimum rate
for Portland city from $8.25 per week to $8.64 per week. As regards
hours of labor, the most important changes are the fixing of a 6-day
week in most industries and of a 9-hour day as the maximum for all
industries, except woolen mills and offices, in which the statutory day
of 10 hours still remains legal. The limitations upon weekly hours
remain as before as also those upon night work, but more effective
provision is made for proper rest periods during the working time
and between the working days.
For minors the new orders are much more comprehensive than the
old, males as well as females being covered. A minimum wage rate
of $6 per week is established for minors 16 to 18 years of age, and
the restrictions upon working hours for all minors are made more
rigid than by either the former orders or by the statutory law.1
Of the new subjects covered by the orders of 1916 the most signifi­
cant are (1) a method of applying minimum-wage rates to piece­
workers, (2) the issue of a sanitary code, (3) a provision for emer­
gency overtime, and (4) a plan for regulating the wages of ap­
prentices and learners.
The original wage orders made no distinction between time and
piece workers. The new plan provides that in factories and laun­

1 See Chapter on Child Labor.



dries—which are practically the only employments using the piece­
work system—at least 75 per cent of the piecework employees must
be in receipt of weekly earnings not less than the minimum-wage
rate as fixed for the particular employment, and, in addition, that
no female of at least three weeks’ experience shall be paid less than
$6 per week.
The sanitary code covers practically all of the matters affecting
the physical comfort of female employees in their work places—
cleanliness, drinking water, lighting, ventilation, toilet rooms, wash
rooms, dressing rooms, etc. The provisions, however, are brief and,
in many cases, do not erect any precise standards.1
The last two of the subjects mentioned—overtime and apprentice­
ship—may be discussed most conveniently for the three States

Inasmuch as the Washington commission was given no jurisdic­
tion in the matter of hours of labor it was not confronted with the
question of overtime work. In Oregon, however, this question be­
came an early issue, particularly in the case of the canning in­
dustry. The statutory law fixes a 10-hour day, 60-hour week for
females in the more important industries, including canning. The
commission had further reduced the maximum week to 54 hours.
The canneries appealed for the privilege of working overtime during
the busy seasons. Under the commission law in its original form no
reference was made to overtime, and it was doubted whether the
commission or the conferences had any authority to consider this
subject. A legislative act of 1915 covered this point by providing
that in cases of emergency, in the conduct of any industry, overtime
might be permitted under conditions and rules prescribed by the
Under the authority of this amendment the commission accepted
the plea of the canners as to the necessity of overtime work and
granted them the privilege, under certain conditions, of employing
adult women more than 54 hours a week. The conditions are, briefly:
A special permit required for each worker, overtime not to be
worked more than six calendar weeks from May 1 to December 1,
to be paid for at a rate of not less than 25 cents an hour, and in
no circumstances to exceed 10 hours a day or 60 hours a week.
Finally, in the orders issued in September, 1916, the commission
lays down the conditions under which emergency overtime by women
will be permitted in any industry. This permission covers only
adult women, not minors. It is to be granted only upon applica­
tion for and the issue of a special license covering the emergency,

1 See chapter on the Health of the Worker, p. 85.



and on condition that payment for all overtime is made at one and
one-half regular rates. In addition, the employer must later fur­
nish a statement showing the women who have worked overtime and
the wages paid therefor, to be verified by the persons affected.
In California the only industry thus far covered by orders of the
welfare commission—fruit and vegetable canning—is one in which
long hours of work during the rush seasons had been customary. The
commission accepted the practice as necessary to the industry and
after fixing a nominal 10-hour, 60-hour week, provides that 72 hours
a week may be worked on condition that all excess over 60 hours be
paid for at 1J the regular piece or time rates. There is no restric­
tion at all as to the number of occasions upon which such overtime
may be worked.

The requirement that minimum wage standards be based upon cost
of living has in mind that the women affected are experienced
workers—that is to say, are of sufficient experience in their employ­
ment to be of value to the employer. The preceding discussion has
been concerned chiefly with this, the most important, aspect of the
By all of the laws, women who are not experienced workers are
permitted to work at a wage less than the established minimum.
Such women are of two groups— (1) apprentices and learners, and
(2) physical or mental defectives. The latter group—the defectives—
is small in number and has been handled with little trouble by means
of special licenses.
The proper handling of the apprentice, however, constitutes a
problem in itself. It is agreed that apprentices, as beginners
learning a trade, should be permitted to work at reduced wage rates
during the periods of their apprenticeship. The difficulty is to so
arrange the wages of such persons and so control their employment
that the privilege will not be abused by employers. I f the system
is not properly devised and controlled the temptation exists for em­
ployers to make use of the apprentice as a means of obtaining cheap
labor and thus defeating the whole purpose of the law.
Washington and Oregon early adopted apprenticeship plans as a
necessary corollary to their wage determinations for experienced
workers. California has as yet put no apprenticeship plan into

W A S H IN G T O N .

The law vests the commission with very full authority in the mat­
ter of apprenticeship.1 It provides that the commission may issue

1 Acts of 1913, ch. 174, sec. 13.



special licenses permitting employment at less than the regular
minimum wage to apprentices at any line of work in which a period
of apprenticeship is customary. It also provides that the commis­
sion may fix the length of time for which such licenses are to be
in force.
Acting upon this authority, the commission attempted a regulation
of the whole subject of apprenticeship. The plan was briefly: (1)
To establish for each industry or occupation what seems to be a
reasonable period of apprenticeship—i. e., the period necessary for a
normal woman to learn her work sufficiently well to be regarded as
an experienced worker; (2) to fix a special apprentice wage, either
in the form of a flat wage for the whole apprenticeship period or in
the form of a graduated scale; (3) to control the number of ap­
prentices, by providing that their number shall not exceed a certain
percentage of the total force; and (4) to keep close supervision over
apprentice workers, by requiring that every person so working must
have a special license.1
The determination of reasonable apprenticeship periods for dif­
ferent industries and occupations was found to be a difficult problem.
In some industries, such as most mercantile employments, there is
considerable uniformity in the character and difficulty of the various
occupations. In factory work, at the other extreme, there are a mul­
titude of occupations quite different in character and requiring very
different degrees of application and time to become proficient.
In most cases the wage provided for apprentices is graduated, in­
creasing as the term of apprenticeship proceeds. In the mercantile
industry, $6 per week is paid for the first six months, then $7.50 for
six months, when the full minimum of $10 a week comes into effect.
In telephone and telegraph offices the nine months’ apprenticeship
period is divided into four wage periods; $6 per week for three
months; $6.60 for two months; $7.20 for two months, and $7.50 for
two months, when the full minimum of $9 per week becomes effective.
The object of the graduated increase is to compensate the appren­
tice for increasing efficiency and also to protect the worker from dis­
charge at the end of the apprenticeship period. There is less finan­
cial incentive for an employer to discharge a worker whose wage
gradually increases until it reaches the regular minimum than when
the wage jumps suddenly from a low apprentice wage to the full
Immediate control over apprentices is sought through the pro­
vision that the employment of an apprentice is to be considered illegal
unless such person has a license duly issued by the secretary of the
commission. The license is issued in duplicate—one for the em1 Report of Industrial Welfare Commission, 1913-14, pp. 61-68.



ployee, one for the employer—and a record is also kept in the secre­
tary’s office. The license states specifically the occupation, the period
for which the apprenticeship shall continue, and the precise wages

The law provides that in the making of wage 'determinations ap­
prentices may be permitted to work at less than the regular minimum
and that the period of apprenticeship may be prescribed by the com­
Among the first activities of the commission was the issue of a
special order upon apprenticeship. It applied to all industries and
provided that in no case should the wage rate of apprentices be less
than $6 per week and that the maximum term of apprenticeship at
reduced wages should not exceed one year. An exception was later
made, permitting a preapprenticeship period of one month at less
than $6 per week in the millinery and dressmaking trades. The per­
mission extended only to females who were absolutely without ex­
perience, and special licenses had to be obtained from the commission
in all such cases.
The plan of a flat $6 rate for apprentices was regarded as tenta­
tive and did not prove satisfactory. In the revised orders of Sep­
tember, 1916, it was superseded by a plan of graduated wage in­
crease similar to the system earlier adopted in Washington, except
that occupations are not treated separately. The maximum term of
apprenticeship is fixed at one year in all occupations. This term,
except for telephone establishments, is divided into three equal
periods of four months each. The minimum wage for the first period
is $6 per week; for the second, $7; and for the third, $8. Whereupon
the worker is regarded as an experienced worker entitled to the full
minimum for the occupation.
For telephone establishments the same general plan is followed,
except that the year is divided into four periods of three months
each, with graduated rates of $6 per week, $6.60, $7.20, and $7.80,
The above plan applies to time workers. For pieceworkers in
factories and laundries a beginner may be employed for three weeks
at the prevailing rates without regard to any minimum standard,
but thereafter must be paid at least $6 a week. And, as was noted
above, at least 75 per cent of all pieceworkers in an establishment
must receive weekly earnings equivalent to the minimum wage fixed
for the particular employment.
1 Acts of 1913, ch. 02, sec. 8.

69861°— 17-------4




Prior to the creation of the welfare commission the enforcement
of all laws regarding woman labor rested, in each of these States,
upon the bureau of labor. With the creation of these commissions
an element of uncertainty was introduced as to the location of en­
forcing responsibility. Each of the welfare-commission acts pro­
vides, or at least contemplates, that the commission is to enforce its
own orders, but none of them specifically relieves the bureau of labor
of such responsibility toward the employment of women as may be
imposed upon it by statute.
In practice the working principle adopted seems to be that the
bureau of labor is to enforce the statutory regulations and cooperate
with the welfare commission in enforcing the commission’s orders.
This cooperation is apparently contemplated in all of the commis­
sion acts, but, except in Washington, no provision is made for formal
association between the two agencies. In Washington the law makes
the commissioner of labor a member of the welfare commission.
This establishes a formal link between the two agencies and has
resulted in very close association of work.
Thus far the chief interest as regards commission orders has cen­
tered in the minimum-wage determinations of the Washington and
Oregon commissions. For the enforcement of these, principal de­
pendence is placed upon a provision contained in the commission
acts of each of these States which permits a woman worker receiv­
ing less than the legal minimum to recover by civil suit all arrears
of wages; that is to say, the difference between the wage actually
paid to her and the amount to which she was entitled as a legal
minimum. The employer in each case is also subject to a criminal
prosecution, as for all violations of the commission’s orders, but
the right of the employee to recover wage arrears is regarded as a
much more effective means of securing observance of the wage
In the case of ordinary criminal prosecution the penalty upon
the employer is usually not heavy and a worker who makes the com­
plaint upon which the prosecution is based jeopardizes her position
without any immediate gain. But wage arrears of the kind men­
tioned accumulate rapidly. To the employer this becomes a possible
penalty much more severe than the criminal penalty for the offense
itself, particularly so when a large number of women are affected;
and to the woman worker it may easily represent a sum sufficient to
justify her in making a complaint. In practice it is found that this
form of penalty is effective.




From the standpoint of enforcement, the important regulations re­
garding the employment of women are the statutory eight-hour law
for females and the minimum wage rulings of the industrial-welfare
The women’s eight-hour law is in many respects a very rigid meas­
ure. It applies to most of the important woman-employing indus­
tries. For these it fixes an eight-hour day and it has been held by
the court that the obligation is upon the employer to prevent work in
excess of the eight-hour limit. Not only must he not require women
to work longer hours; he must not permit them to do so.
On the negative side, the most striking features of the law are tKat
it places no restriction upon night work and permits a seven-day
week. Nor does it prohibit a woman from exceeding eight hours a
day by working for one employer in the day and for another in the eve­
ning, and the bureau reports that instances of this character are not
infrequent. If, however, collusion exists between the two employers,
the practice is illegal. A flagrant case of this kind was prosecuted
and conviction secured. The circumstances are of interest: 44The
foreman who had charge of the plant for his employer during the
day leased it from 5 o’clock on in the evening and reemployed the
same crew of girls to work through until 11 o’clock at night, though
they had worked eight hours during the day. He bought all of his
raw material from his employer and sold the completed product to
him, having a contract therefor, though he took care of his own pay
roll. Palpably it was simply a scheme to evade the law and a most
heinous one.” 1
The eight-hour law is enforceable by the bureau of labor. The
bureau is also the principal enforcing agency for the minimum-wage
rulings of the industrial-welfare commission, the commissioner of
labor being chairman of that commission and the administrative
work of the two bodies being closely identified. For the work of
supervision and inspection the welfare commission has only one
regular employee—a secretary, whose duties are numerous. The
bureau of labor has one woman deputy, whose sole duty is the super­
vision of the woman and child labor laws.
In the work of enforcement, chief reliance is placed upon com­
plaints from workers in establishments in which the laws are being
violated, as these are usually the only persons who, aside from the
employer, can be aware of such violations. The difficulty has been
that the women affected frequently will not make complaint, either
through fear of their positions or from the fact that they are receiv­
ing extra wages for the extra time worked. Still more frequently
1 Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-14, pp. 151, 152.



women employees are unwilling to testify in court against their em­
ployers. As has been noted, however, this hesitancy is very much
less in the case of minimum-wage rulings, where, if the complaint is
substantiated, the worker may recover all arrears of wages.
There is no requirement that the employer must post time sched­
ules showing the hours at which employees are to begin and stop
work. As a result of this, and of the fact that there is no restriction
upon night work, in order to establish a violation it is necessary for
the bureau to prove that in the particular case under review the
woman actually worked more than 8 hours out of the full 24 hours.
The obtaining of conclusive evidence under such circumstances is
almost always a matter of great difficulty.
As measured by penalties prescribed, violation of minimum wage
rulings is made a more serious offense than violation of the eighthour law. In the former case an employer is subject to a fine of
from $25 to $50, and, in addition, is civilly liable to the employee for
wage underpayment.
For violation of the eight-hour law the penalty is a fine of from
$10 to $100. Almost always only the minimum $10 fine is imposed,
and in one recent case the bureau reports that the court imposed a
fine of only $5, which is but one-half the statutory minimum.1

The orders of the welfare commission of Oregon have covered
working hours as well as wages in all industries. As a result, the
statutory 10-hour law for women has been superseded and all of the
important regulations regarding woman labor are now in the form
of commission orders. As such, they come under the immediate en­
forcing supervision of the welfare commission. Differing in this
respect from the acts of Washington and California, the commissioii
act of Oregon specifically directs that the welfare commission “ shall,
from time to time, investigate and ascertain whether or not em­
ployers * * * are observing and complying with its orders and
take such steps as may be necessary to have prosecuted such em­
ployers as are not observing or complying with its orders.” Under
an earlier statute, however, the responsibility still rests upon the
bureau of labor 64to cause to be enforced all laws regulating the em­
ployment of children, minors, and women.” 2
For inspection and supervisory work the welfare commission has
only one salaried employee—a secretary—upon whom falls many
other activities. The bureau of labor has no women inspectors. The
four male inspectors, in the course of their factory-inspection work,
1 Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913—14, p. 156.
2 Lord’s Oregon Laws, 1910, sec. 5010.



cover woman labor to some extent, but their attention is chiefly con­
cerned with other subjects.
For the enforcement of the commission’s rulings, therefore, prin­
cipal dependence is placed upon complaints from workers and upon
periodic inspection of pay rolls. Complaints, as in Washington, are
more readily made in case of wage underpayment than in the case of
illegal hours of labor.
Moreover, there is the difficulty of establishing the fact of violation
in the case of working hours similar to that noted for Washington.
There is no provision for the posting of fixed time schedules by em­
ployers, and while night work is prohibited in certain industries the
prohibitions are simply against employment after certain hours in
the evening, with no reference to the time of beginning work.
On the other hand, an order of the welfare commission flatly for­
bids female employees to exceed the legally established hours by work­
ing for different employers during the same day.
The minimum penalty for violating the rulings of the commission
is the same as in Washington, but the maximum is more severe, the
penalty being a fine of from $25 to $100, or imprisonment from 10
to 30 days, or both fine and imprisonment. In the case of wage viola­
tions, there is also the privilege of civil suit by the worker for the
recovery of unpaid wages. There has been a number of such suits
by employees.
By the statutory 10-hour law for women, now superseded by com­
mission orders upon the same subject, the penalty for violation was
$25 to. $100. Under this law, prosecutions by the bureau of labor
were fairly frequent and conviction was usually obtained, but as a rule
no more than the minimum fine was imposed and suspension of sen­
tence was frequent. Thus, for the two-year period ending September
30, 1914, 26 prosecutions under this law were brought to court. In
16 of these 26 cases fines of $25 were imposed; in 5 cases sentence was
suspended; 3 were found not guilty; and 2 cases were dismissed
without trial.1

As the rulings of the California welfare commission are few and
recent, the problem of enforcing regulations regarding woman labor
has been concerned almost entirely with the statutory woman’s
eight-hour law. This law fixes a flat eight-hour day, 48-hour week
for women in a number of important industries (canneries excluded),
and is enforceable by the bureau of labor.
The law is so drawn as to make it the duty of the employer actively
to prevent any work in excess of the hours fixed by law. But there
1 Report of Bureau of Labor, Oregon, 1913-14, pp, 15, 16.



is nothing in the law to prevent a woman from working more than
eight hours per day if the work is done in different establishments.
Moreover, there is no restriction upon night work and no provi­
sion for published time schedules for women workers, with the same
resulting difficulty in proving a case of violation as was noted to exist
in Washington and to a less degree in Oregon.
The penalty prescribed for violation of the welfare commission’s
orders is much higher than in either Washington or Oregon—a fine
of not less than $50, or imprisonment of not less than 30 days, or
both. In addition, as in the Qther two States, the woman worker
has the privilege of recovery by civil suit of all wage arrears due to
violation of the minimum-wage rulings.
For violation of the statutory eight-hour law the penalties are
progressive—a fine of $25 to $50 for the first offense and for the
second a fine of $100 to $250, or imprisonment of not less than 30
In enforcing the eight-hour law, as also all other labor laws under
its jurisdiction, it has been the policy of the bureau of labor to
subordinate routine inspection to the investigation of complaints.
The bringing of complaints to the bureau is encouraged and is
facilitated by the maintenance of offices in four cities.
For the year ending June 30,-1914, 682 complaints, alleging viola­
tion of the eight-hour law, were received by the bureau. Prosecu­
tion was undertaken in 37 cases, 26 resulting in conviction and 11
being dismissed.1
1 Report of Bureau of Labor, California, 1913-14, pp. 47, 48.


There exists in each of the Pacific States a considerable body of
legislation for the protection of children in industry. Part of this
is in the form of child-labor laws, directly prohibiting or regulating
the employment of children at certain kinds of work. Part is the
indirect result of compulsory schooling laws. The requirement that
children attend school necessarily forbids their working during a
considerable portion of the year.

The three States have assumed substantially the same attitude
toward compulsory education. Their laws are not identical, but all
have apparently the same ideal—school attendance by every child un­
til 15 years of age or until the completion of the grammar school
grades, and by every child of 15 years unless regularly employed.
These requirements are made, more or less completely, by each of
the States. The law of Oregon permits of no important exception.
Washington, however, allows any child to be excused from school for
reasons that seem sufficient to the school authorities—poverty being
one of the possible reasons—and California admits poverty as an ex­
cuse in the case of children of 14 years.
The compulsory education law in each of the States is enforceable
by the local school authorities. The effectiveness of such enforcement
depends primarily upon the existence of special attendance officers.
Provision has been made for such officers in all of the larger centers
of population, but there are a number of communities in which no
effective system has as yet been introduced to secure regular and com­
plete school attendance.

As regards child labor legislation proper—i. e. positive restrictions
upon the employment of children below certain ages, in excess of cer­
tain hours, etc.—the three States show no such uniformity as exists
in the case of compulsory schooling.
1 W ashington: R. and B. Codes and Stats., 1910, secs. 4714-4717. Oregon: Lord’s
Oregon Laws, 1910, sec. 5025. California : S. D. Codes, 1906. Gen. Laws, act No. 3574,
sec. 1 (as amended 1911, ch. 482). Acts of 1915, ch. 625, sec. 2.




They do agree, however, in one important particular. This is in
the policy of delegating to the industrial welfare commission the
authority to make rules upon certain important subjects affecting the
employment of children.1
In the preceding chapter the functions and activities of the wel­
fare commissions of the three States were described 9,t some length,
with particular reference to woman labor. Briefly stated, these com­
missions were created for the purpose of taking over from the legis­
lature the responsibility of making detailed rules regarding such sub­
jects as minimum wages and working conditions for women and chil­
dren. The legislature lays down the general principle that wages
must be reasonable, that working conditions must not be harmful,
etc., and leaves it to the commission to determine what particular
rules and standards are necessary to insure the carrying out of this
principle. Statutory requirements already in force are not neces­
sarily repealed. They remain in force as minimum restrictions which
the commission may make more rigid but not less rigid.
Under the welfare commission act of California the determination
of standards of employment for children must follow the same pro­
cedure as provided in the case of women. But under the acts of
Washington and Oregon the authority of the welfare commissions
is somewhat more complete as regards child labor than as regards
woman labor. In the case of women, determinations arrived at must
follow the recommendations of conferences composed of representa­
tives of the employers, the workers, and the public. But in the case
of children the conference procedure is not necessary. The com­
mission has an entirely free hand to make rules for child employment
upon all such subjects as come within its jurisdiction.

By each of the acts the welfare commission is given jurisdiction
over minimum wages and general working conditions. In Oregon
and in California the commission is also given specific authority to
fix the hours of labor of children, limited only by the maximum
working hours already fixed by statute. In Washington no authority
regarding working hours is specifically granted the commission, but
it has gone so far as to forbid night work for children in certain
occupations, doing this under its general power to forbid conditions
of employment in any way harmful to children.
In none of the States is the welfare commission specifically author­
ized to change the statutory laws regarding age of employment; but
in each of them the commission would seem to have indirect authority
1 Acts of Washington, 1913, ch. 174. Acts of Oregon, 1913, ch. 62.
1913, ch. 324 (as amended by Acts of 1915, ch. 571).

Acts of California,



to prohibit the employment of children at any occupations it con­
siders physically or morally harmful, and the exercise of this author­
ity is equivalent to the raising of the age limit in so far as these par­
ticular employments are concerned.1
The industrial welfare commission thus becomes of dominant im­
portance in determining the attitude of the State toward child labor,
just as it was seen to be in the case of woman labor. With the pos­
sible exceptions of the subject of legal age of employment in all three
States and that of hours of labor in Washington, the commissions
have authority virtually to rewrite the child-labor laws.
The welfare commissions are all of comparatively recent date, and
their attention thus far has been largely monopolized by the ques­
tion of minimum wages for women. But already their rulings re­
garding the employment of children have been of much importance.

Restrictions upon the employment of children are of several kinds.
Three of these are of particular importance—those, namely, (1) upon
age of employment, (2) upon hours of labor, and (3) upon minimurti
wages. Requirements regarding working conditions, all of which are
as yet of relatively minor significance, are noted in a later chapter.

Limitations upon the age of employment are contained in the
statutory laws of all three States. The laws of Washington are in
this respect the least restrictive and those of California the most
The law of Washington, indeed, fixes no absolute age limit. It
directs that no boy under 14 or girl under 16 shall be employed
without a “ labor permit” from the judge of the superior court of
the county.2 But it establishes no formal requirements or conditions
for the issue of such permits, leaving this to the discretion of the
individual judge. The enforcement of the law rests upon the State
bureau of labor.
The Oregon law is more precise.3 It fixes 14 years as the minimum
age below which children may not be employed during the school term
in a number of important employments', including factories and
stores. It also directs that no child between 14 and 16 shall be so
1 Thus, orders issued by the industrial welfare commission of Washington forbid the
employment of females under 18 as “ shakers ” in laundries and at cigar stands in
hotels and restaurants.
2 R. and B. Codes and Stat., 1910, sec. 2447 (enacted 1909, p. 947). Also note sec.
3 Acts of 1911, ch. 138.



employed without a work permit to be issued only upon prescribed
evidence of age, schooling, and physical condition. But a general
exception to all of these provisions is made for the summer school
vacation, the age limit then being reduced to 12 years. The issue of
all work permits is by a special board of child-labor inspectors. This
board has general supervision over the whole child-labor law and,
together with the bureau of labor, is to enforce its observance.
The California law is still more rigid.1 It establishes 14 years as
the absolute minimum age in all employments during school session,
and requires of all children 14 to 16 years (except in farm and house­
work) work permits issued upon age evidence, etc. Poverty, how­
ever, is recognized as an excuse for the issue of a permit to a child of
14, and during the summer-school vacation as also on regular weekly
holidays the age limit for all work is lowered to 12 years, as in
Oregon. The issue of all work permits is in the hands of the local
school authorities, except those for theatrical performances, which
are issuable only by the State bureau of labor. The enforcement of
the child-labor law is charged to this bureau.

The legal restrictions upon the working hours of children are, in
Washington and Oregon, a combination of statutory law and orders
of the welfare commissions. The Washington commission, as has
been noted, is not vested with specific authority upon this subject,
but has assumed it to the extent of prohibiting night work in certain
employments. In Oregon, the authority to shorten hours is specifi­
cally granted the commission and has been used by it to reduce the
working day of all children under 16 from 10 hours, as provided by
statute, to a maximum of 8 hours. The California commission has
similar authority over working hours, but so far has made no use of
it, and the occasion for its use is less than in the other States, as the
statutory law already fixes a flat 8-hour day for children and pro­
hibits their working at night.
The following gives, in very condensed form, the limitations upon
the working hours of children now in force in the three States. The
items in italics represent orders issued by the welfare commissions.
All other items represent requirements of statutory law.
W ashington (acts 1911, ch. 87, and commission orders) :
For boys, no lim it at all on the number o f working hours legally permitted.
For all females, a maximum 8-hour day, but with a 7-day week permissible,
and with canneries specifically excluded.
Night w ork prohibited in several im portant industries.

1 Acts of 1915, ch. 625.



Oregon (acts 1911, ch. 138, and commission orders) :
In all employments, canneries included,
F or children under 16, an 8-hour day and a 6-day meek.
F or girls 16 to 18, a 9-hour day and a 50-hour, 6-day w eek.
F o r hoys 16 to 18, a 10-hour day and a 6-day w eek.
Night w ork prohibited after 6 p. m. for boys under 16 and girls
u n d er 18.

California (acts 1913, ch. 214) :
F or all children under 18 in all employments, canneries included, an 8-hour
day and a 48-hour week.
Night w ork prohibited after 10 p. m. in all employments.

Because of the importance of the canning industry as an employer
of children, it is of interest to note that restrictions upon working
hours do not apply to cannery children in Washington, but do apply
in Oregon and California.

The authority of the welfare commission to fix minimum-wage
rates for minors under 18, as well as for adult women, has been
availed of by the commissions of Washington and Oregon. In the
fixing of such rates it was not contemplated by law that the basis
should be cost of living. The provision in the law of each of these
States is simply that the wages of minors shall be u suitable ” for
such persons. The rates established are as follows:
Washington.—A rate of $6 per week is fixed as the minimum wage
of minors under 18 years in factories, stores, laundries, and tele­
phone and telegraph offices. For office and clerical work the $6 min­
imum is raised to $7.50 for minors between 16 and 18 years, and in
hotel and restaurant work the minimum of all minors under 18 is
placed at $7.50 (without board or room). In comparison with these
figures, it may be noted that the lowest of the minimum wage rates
for adult women in any industry so far covered by commission orders
is $8.90 per week.
Oregon.—A flat minimum wage of $6 per week is fixed for all
minors 16 to 18 years of age. The lowest of the minimum wage rates
so far established for adult women is $8.64 per week.
In California no general minimum wage rates for minors have been
fixed. For the only industry as yet covered by commission rulings—•
fruit and vegetable canning—wage restrictions are entirely in the
form of piece rates or hourly rates, and apply to minor children as
well as to adult women. (See p. 35.)

The three Pacific States have adopted quite different policies in
the matter of administering and enforcing the child-labor laws, and
particularly so as regards the issue of work permits.




The distinctive feature of the Washington child-labor laws is
the grant of authority to the judge of the superior court of each
county to issue “ labor permits” for boys under 14 years and for
girls under 16 years. There is apparently no limitation upon the
discretion of the judge in issuing such permits. A provision of
law, which is probably no longer in force, directs that the judge is
not to issue a permit unless satisfied that the work to be done is not
harmful and that the working of the child is necessary for the
support of itself or family.1 But, in any case, there are no require­
ments prescribed as to proof of age, schooling, or physical capacity,
and none as to uniformity in the character or form of the permits
issued in the several counties. It is left to each judge to fix his
own rules and regulations.
This system is generally regarded as easily susceptible of abuse.
Aside from any question as to the good intention of the individual
judge, it is pointed out that usually he is not in a position, nor has
he the equipment, to make proper investigation of applicants for
permits. In King County, in which is located the city of Seattle,
and in a few other counties, local arrangement outside of the law,
has been made by which the labor permits are now issued by the
local school authorities. This arrangement centralizes the issue of
all work permits for children—the labor permits provided for by the
child-labor law and the school-leaving certificates provided for by
the compulsory education law.
It is the duty of the bureau of labor to enforce the child-labor
laws. Such enforcement consists almost entirely in seeing that chil­
dren are not employed without the labor permits described. In
practice, this enforcement is left largely to the local attendance
officers. The bureau exercises general supervision and its inspec­
tors attempt to cover the employment of children on their inspection
visits. But the number of work places covered by the active jurisdic­
tion of the bureau is limited to those using machinery, and the atten­
tion of the inspectors is primarily devoted to matters of safety.
In the summer of 1913, an extensive investigation of child labor in
the fish canneries was made by the bureau of labor in conjunction
with the industrial-welfare commission. Numerous cases were found
of the employment of children without labor permits. Prosecution
was undertaken in 105 cases, 65 resulting in conviction.2 The usual
penalty imposed was the minimum one of $10 and costs.
A recent investigation of school-leaving children in Seattle, made
by the school board of that city, discovered frequent cases of illegal
*R. and B. Codes and Statutes, 1910, sec. 6570. Probably superseded by Acts o f
1909, ch. 249, sec. 195. (See Bulletin of U. S. Bureau of Labor, No. 85, p. 800.)
2Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-14, pp. 171-176.



child employment—i. e., without the required labor permits, in viola­
tion of the minimum-wage rulings, etc.1

The distinctive administrative feature of the Oregon child-labor
law is the centralizing of permit issue in a single State agency—a
special board known as the board of inspectors of child labor. All
work permits for the whole State must be issued through this board,
which also has general supervision over the enforcement of all of
the requirements regarding child labor. This centralization of au­
thority is in complete variance with the practice of Washington,
where permits are issued by the local county courts, and with that
of California, where permits are issued by the local school author­
The board of child labor inspectors was created in 1903. It con­
sists of five members, nonsalaried except one member who serves as
secretary. The duties of the board are the issue of work permits
to children and, in conjunction with the bureau of labor, the general
supervision of child labor in the State. But it has no such authority
as that given the welfare commission to make rules and regulations
regarding the employment of children.
The routine part of the board’s work is performed by the secretary.
This consists of the issue of work permits for Portland city in per­
son, the supervision of their issue for the rest of the State, investi­
gation of complaints, and, to a limited extent, inspection of work
places where children are employed.
Three kinds of work permits are issued—the regular age and
schooling certificate for children 14 to 16 years; vacation permits
for children 12 to 14 during summer school vacation; and special
permits for children of 15 for work outside of school hours and on
The age and school certificate, permitting employment through­
out the year, is the most important of these three forms. It is issued
only upon documentary proof of age, and after the issuer is satis­
fied that the child has had the required. amount of schooling and
is physically able. The law does not require medical examination,
but in cases of doubt it is the practice of the secretary to require the
approval of a physician.
No work permits may be issued except by the secretary of the
board or by persons authorized by the secretary in writing. For
the city of Portland and immediate vicinity the work of issue is
handled entirely by the secretary in person at the board’s office. For
1 Vocational Guidance Report, 1013-14, by Anna Y. Reed, Ph. D. Published by the
Board of School Directors, Seattle, Wash., 1916, pp. 38-41. This report contains much
interesting data relative to school training and industry.



other parts of the State it has been necessary for the secretary to
delegate authority to local residents. Sometimes these are school of­
ficials, sometimes private citizens, the stated purpose being to secure
the services of persons in full sympathy with the child-labor law. In
the more remote sections of the State permits are occasionally issued
by mail after age affidavit has been made before a local notary and
sent to the secretary’s office.
For the enforcement of the child-labor law dependence is placed
upon the activities of the secretary of the board in cooperation with
the inspectors of the bureau of labor and upon the local attendance
officers. The secretary devotes a portion of her time to investigation
and inspection, but is not able to carry on routine inspection of work
places where children are, or might be, employed. The factory in­
spectors of the bureau of labor are directed, as part of their regular
inspection work, to note violations of the child-labor law. But such
inspectors, as a rule, cover only work places where machinery is used
and devote their attention chiefly to matters of safety.
No prosecutions have ever been undertaken by the board for vio­
lations of the child-labor laws. The board believes that the laws
have been better enforced and that, in general, better results are
obtainable without prosecution.

The child-labor law of California is very comprehensive and with
relatively high standards. But in its present shape it is the product
of numerous additions and amendments without complete correla­
tion and, as a result, is not only not entirely clear upon certain points
but presents certain anomalies.1 Thus, in its provisions regarding the
issue of work permits for children 14 to 16 years of age higher require­
ments are demanded of older than younger children. This is indi­
cated in the following brief descriptions of the various kinds of work
permits recognized in practice:
Age and schooling certificate.—This is issuable only to children
of 15 years. The conditions of issue are very strict—completion
of grammar school or attendance at night school and presentation of
school record, documentary evidence of birth, written promise of
employment, and physician’s certificate of physical fitness.
Permit to work—graduate.—This is issuable only to children of 14.
It gives the same full permission to work as does the age and school­
ing certificate granted to children of 15, but the conditions of issue
are much less strict—merely completion of grammar school, written
promise of employment, and issuer’s opinion as to physical fitness.

1 Acts of 1915, ch. 625.



Permit to work—temporary.—This is issuable to children of 14
whose poverty, in the opinion of the issuing official, makes it necessary
for them to work. The permit may be issued for only a limited period,
but this period may be as long as six months.
Vacation permit.—This is issuable to children 12 to 15 for use dur­
ing the regular summer school vacation, and also upon the regular
weekly school holidays.
The issue of work permits is entirely decentralized, with the excep­
tion of those for theatrical performances, which are issuable only by
the commissioner of labor. All other permits are issuable by the
various local school authorities. The forms to be used are prepared
and distributed by the bureau of labor, which seeks to obtain uni­
formity in issue but has no direct authority upon this point. In
many of the larger cities the issue of work permits has been put in
charge of the school-attendance officers, thus combining the related
functions of permit issue and compulsory school attendance.
The enforcement of the child-labor law—that is, the duty of seeing
that it is observed by employers—rests upon the bureau of labor.
Dependence is also placed upon the local attendance officers. The
bureau of labor in its work of enforcement relies primarily upon
the method of investigation upon complaints and does comparatively
little routine inspection.
For the year ending June 30, 1914, 173 complaints of violation of
the child-labor law were made to the bureau.1 From these there
resulted 21 prosecutions, conviction being secured in 18 cases and 3
cases being dismissed by the court.

In the past chief dependence for the enforcement of the child-labor
laws has been placed upon direct penalties for violation. Recently,
however, new forms of pressure tending toward the reduction of
child labor have been introduced through the passage of minimumwage acts and of compensation acts. The fixing of a minimum wage
for young persons—of $6 per week in Washington, for example—
renders the labor of children financially unprofitable in many cases
where at a lower wage such labor might be profitable. Similarly
compensation acts usually withdraw certain important benefits in the
cases of injury to minors illegally employed, and this tends toward
greater hesitancy in the employment of all young persons.
These two forms of legislation are too recent to have developed
their full effect in the direction noted. It is believed, however, that
their combined effect in eliminating the child from certain branches
1 Report of Bureau of Labor, California, 1913-14, pp. 47, 48.



of industry has already been important and will be of increasing im­
portance in the future, particularly so as the penalties attached to
their violation are much heavier and surer than the direct penalties
01 the child-labor laws.

The preceding description of child-labor legislation in the Pacific
States did not take into account the Federal child-labor act of 1916,
inasmuch as that act does not go into effect until September 1, 1917.1
The Federal statute, however, may have an important bearing upon
the child-labor legislation of those States, and its contents, therefore,
become a matter of immediate interest.
The Federal child-labor law fixes certain standards of employment
for children which must be observed by every mine, quarry, mill,
cannery, workshop, factory, or manufacturing establishment in the
United States whose products enter into interstate shipment. The
limitation of the law to establishments engaged in interstate com­
merce is not important, as practically all of the establishments cov­
ered are so engaged to some extent. O f greater significance is its
limitation to the list of work places mentioned. Thus a large number
of employments, such as crop picking, which is an important em­
ployer of labor in the coast States, are not covered at all. On the
other hand, it is to be noted that canneries, another large employer
o f labor in all the Pacific States, are specifically included.
The employment standards fixed by the law are brief. For mines
and quarries a flat minimum age limit of 16 years is established.
For mills, canneries, workshops, factories, and manufacturing estab­
lishments in general the minimum age limit is placed at 14 years,
with the further provision that no child between 14 and 16 years
is to be employed more than eight hours a day or six days a week
nor between the hours of 7 p. m. and 6 a. m. The administration
of the provisions of the act is charged to a board composed of the
Attorney General, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary
of Labor.
The standards thus erected for factory work are more rigid upon
one or more points than those of any of the three Pacific States.
First, as regards the age of employment, fixed by the Federal act
at an absolute minimum of 14 years. The present Washington law,
as noted, has no absolute minimum age limit, and both Oregon and
California permit the employment of children under 14 under cer­
tain conditions, as during the summer school vacation. These ex­
ceptions are not permissible under the Federal law.
Again, as regards the eight-hour day, six-day week, as fixed by the
Federal act for children of 14 to 16 years in all factory work. This

1 Public Laws, No. 249, 64th Congress.



is a much more rigid requirement than the one now in force in
Washington, although no more rigid and not so comprehensive as
the requirements of Oregon and California.
Finally, as regards the prohibition of night work between 7 p. m.
and 6 a. m. for children between 14 and 16 years of age in fac­
tories. This is somewhat more stringent than the Washington and
California restrictions now in force, and it is more precise, though
not as comprehensive as the Oregon requirement.
It was not the purpose of the Federal child-labor law to supplant
State activity. That law lays down a few simple, basic standards
for the employment of children in all of the States. In so far as
the existing standards of any State may be lower than those of
the Federal statute the State standards are superseded, but the
Federal law in no way interferes with State legislation which pro­
vides more rigid standards and was intended to encourage, not to
discourage, the extension of State activity for the protection of
69861°— 17-------5


The State of Oregon in 1913 enacted a law limiting to 10 per day
the working hours of all persons employed in factories of any kind.1
This law is of unusual importance as being one of the very few
attempts to restrict by law the hours of labor of men in general
industry. Previous restrictions upon the length of the working day
for men had been limited to employments in which long hours in­
volved definite, immediate hazard to the worker, as in underground
mining, or in which, as in railroad work, the safety of the public was
The present law bases itself upon a somewhat different line of
reasoning from that advanced in defense of the earlier laws. It
urges that an unduly long workday in itself may be injurious to the
health of the worker, aside from any precise and immediate hazard
of his employment; and that, in addition, the practice may be in­
jurious to the State by preventing the worker u from acquiring that
degree of intelligence that is necessary to make him a useful and
desirable citizen.” Upon these grounds it declares that the employ­
ment of any person in factory labor for more than 10 hours a day is
harmful to the worker and the State, and is therefore forbidden.
The actual requirements of the law are not very stringent. A
nominal 10-hour day is established as a maximum, but, in addition
to emergency overtime, regular overtime is permitted for three hours
a day provided payment is made therefor at time and one-half the
regular wage. The great majority of manufacturing establishments
are probably not affected, at least not seriously affected, by the law.
In any case it has as yet received very little attention in practice, its
constitutionality being contested and still in doubt.
The law was sustained by the Oregon Supreme Court in 1914 in
the case of State v. Bunting and is now before the United States
Supreme Court on appeal.2 The State court held that the limitation
of the working hours of men in factory employment was within the
power of the legislature, and also held that the overtime permission
1 Acts of 1913, ch. 102. The only other law of such broad scope is a Mississippi law
of 1912 (ch. 157), quite similar in content to the Oregon law, except that overtime
is not permitted. The Mississippi law was held to be constitutional by the Supreme
Court of that State. 59 So., 923.
2 139 Pac. Reporter, p. 731. (Mar. 17, 1914.)




did not invalidate the law. The attitude of the court upon these two
points, as indicated in the following quotation from its opinion, is of
much interest:
By the adoption of the fourteenth amendment it was not designed
nor intended to curtail or limit the right of the State under its police
power to prescribe such reasonable regulations as might be essential
to the promotion of the peace, welfare, morals, education, or good
order of the people.
In order to warrant declaring the act violative of the fundamental
law it should be shown that in the light of the world’s experience and
common knowledge the act under consideration is palpably and be­
yond reasonable doubt one that will not tend to protect or conserve
the public peace, health, or welfare in its enforcement. It is by
no means clear beyond a reasonable doubt that the law will not pro­
mote the peace, health, and general welfare of citizens of the State,
or that longer hours of labor in factories would not be injurious to
the health as declared by the act, or that the act is repugnant to the
Constitution. The presumption, therefore, is in favor of the wisdom
and the correctness of the legislative finding and determination that
the law is a necessity for the protection of the health, well-being, and
general welfare of the public; that the regulation prescribed by the
enactment will tend to correct the evil at which it is aimed. The
courts can not set aside the legislative decree without intrenching
upon the prerogatives of a coordinate branch of the State govern­
ment and usurping the powers of the legislature.
* * It is contended by counsel for defendant that the pro­
vision for employees to work overtime not to exceed 3 hours in any
one day, conditioned that payment be made for said overtime at
the rate of time and one-half the regular wage, renders the whole
act void. It is clear that the intent of the law is to make 10 hours a
regular day’s labor in the occupations to which reference is made.
Apparently the provisions permitting labor for the overtime on ex­
press conditions were made in order to facilitate the enforcement of
the law, and in the nature of a mild penalty for employing one not
more than 3 hours’ overtime. It might be regarded as more difficult
to detect violations of the law by an employment for a shorter time
than for a longer time. This penalty also goes to the employee in
case the employer avails himself of the overtime clause. Reasonable
modes of enforcing a statute should be upheld.

Other legislation upon the working hours of adult males is con­
cerned, as has been noted, with particular employments involving
some immediate danger to the worker himself or to the public.

An 8-hour law for all, or for certain forms of, underground
mining has been adopted in all three Pacific States.1 In Wash­
ington the 8-hour limitation applies only to coal mining, but
1 W ashington: Codes and statutes, 1910, secs. 6583-6586.
Laws, 1910, secs. 5058, 5059. California : Acts of 1913, ch. 186.

O regon: Lord’s Oregon



as there is little deep metal mining in the State the number of
miners not covered by the law is not large. This is also true of
Oregon, where the law applies only to deep metal mining and where
coal mining is unimportant. The California law applies to all forms
of underground mining—which in practice is almost entirely metal
mining—and also applies to all smelters for the reduction and refining
of ores and metals.

The hours of labor of railroad employees engaged in interstate
commerce are subject solely to the control of the Federal Government.
The existing Federal law fixes a maximum workday of 16 hours for
all persons engaged in the movement of trains in interstate com­
merce.1 For telegraph and telephone dispatchers there is a further
limitation to nine hours per day if the work of their office is con­
tinuous and to 13 hours per day if the office is operated only in the
daytime, with overtime of 4 hours; in 24 permitted for 3 days in
the week in case of grave emergency.
As most railroad operations are interstate in character, the above
law constitutes the sole legal restriction upon the working hours of
the great majority, of railroad workers in the Pacific States as in all
other States. There remains in each State, however, a certain amount
of strictly intrastate railroading. For the protection of the employ­
ees of such roads, Washington and California have laws quite similar
in character to the Federal 16-hour law. The State of Oregon has
gone further. For intrastate railroad employees it has fixed a 14hour limit, and for dispatchers and operators a 9-hour maximum,
with emergency overtime of 4 hours per day for 3 days in the
In the case of street railways Washington limits the working time
of motormen and conductors to 10 hours in 24.3 Oregon has no law
upon the subject, and an old 12-hour law of California enacted in
1887 is regarded as obsolete.4

A California statute prohibits the employment of drug clerks for
more than “ an average of 10 hours a day, or 60 hours a week, or
6 consecutive calendar days.” 5 This law was enacted for the protec­
tion of the public health and not as a labor measure.
1 Hours o f Service act, approved Mar. 4, 1910.
2 Washington R. and B. codes and statutes, 1910, secs. 6581, 6582. Acts o f Oregon,
1911, ch. 137. Acts of California, 1911, ch. 484.
3 Washington, codes and statutes, 1910, ch. 6578 (enacted 1895), p. 192.
4 California, S. D. codes, 1906. Political codes, sec. 3250 (1887, p. i0 1 ).
5 Idem. General Laws, Act No. 2665 (as amended, 1907, ch. 224).

Mediation in labor disputes is made a duty of the State labor com­
missioner in Washington. An old law of California, enacted in
1891, provides for a State board of arbitration and conciliation but
the law is regarded as unworkable and no such board has been ap­
pointed for a number of years at least.1 Oregon has no legislation
upon this subject.
W a s h i n g t o n . — The Washington law provides simply for volun­
tary mediation or arbitration.2 It makes it the duty of the commis­
sioner of labor, on request of either party to a labor dispute, to offer
his services as a mediator. I f his personal mediation fails he is di­
rected to urge the two parties concerned to submit their differences
to a board of three arbitrators, one to be chosen by the employer, one
by the employees, and these two to choose the third. In case this is
not agreed to the commissioner is directed to request a sworn state­
ment from each side as to the causes of dispute and the reasons for
refusal to submit the matter to arbitration, such statements there­
upon to be made public.
The commissioner of labor is frequently called upon to act as
mediator in labor troubles and devotes a considerable portion of his
time to this work. He has no original jurisdiction in such matters,
and no authority of any kind. He urges the enactment of a law re­
quiring both parties to a dispute, immediately upon its commence­
ment, to file with the bureau sworn statements as to the causes of
the dispute and the reasons for whatever action was taken.3 The
present law, as noted above, authorizes the commissioner to request,
but not to require, such statements.
1 Stats. 1891, p. 49 (Codes 1906, General Laws, act No. 219).
2 R. and B. codes and statutes, 1910, secs. 6599-6604.
s Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1914, p. 143.


The field for possible safety activity in the Pacific States is sug­
gested by the figures of the following table, giving the number of
accidents reported to the compensation commissions of each of the
States for the period of a year.
T a bl e


[Sources: Washington Industrial Insurance Commission Report, 1915, p. 87; Oregon Industrial Accident
Commission Report, 1915, pp. 25-27; California Industrial Accident Commission Report, 1915, p. 48.]
Nature of injury.





Permanent injuries........................................................
Temporary disabilities...................................................










The above figures do not represent the total number of accidents
occurring, reports being recognized as incomplete for accidents not
under compensation. They are sufficient, however, to indicate the
enormous amount of physical suffering and economic loss resulting
from industrial accidents. Thus, the 949 fatal accidents meant not
only the premature death of so many workers but the leaving dependent of hundreds of widows and young children.
The effort to relieve this human suffering by means of compensa­
tion laws is described in a later chapter. The present chapter is
concerned with the effort to prevent the occurrence of the suffering.

Of the safety legislation now in force in the Pacific States, that of
California is by far the most significant. The laws of Washington
and Oregon are of much earlier date, but their scope is much nar­
rower and the authority and equipment of their administrative
agencies are much less extensive.
The first safety law of importance on the Pacific coast was the
coal-mine safety act of Washington, adopted in 1887-88.1 By it
there were provided a set of regulations for the protection of coal
miners and an inspection system to secure the observance of such
1 Territorial acts, 1887-88, ch. 21.




regulations. This act, with amendments, constitutes the present min­
ing code of the State, its administration being by a special coal-mine
inspection department.
Washington was also the first of these States to enact safety legis­
lation for the benefit of the factory worker. This was in 1903, the
safety requirements being part of a general factory-inspection act,
the enforcement of which was charged to the State bureau of labor.
This act also covered the subjects of sanitation and ventilation, but
the principal emphasis was placed upon safety. With almost no
changes, this act remains in force and, together with the mine-safety
law, constitute practically the whole of Washington’s safety legisla­
In Oregon there was no safety legislation prior to the factory
inspection act of 1907.1 This act was an almost literal copy of the
Washington act of 1903, covers the same subjects, provides for the
same kind of enforcement, and has the same limitations. It remains
in force in its original form and, with the exception of the safety
requirement of an employers’ liability act, is the only important
State legislation upon the subject of accident prevention.
California was the last of the three coast States to interest itself
in the safety of the worker, there being an entire absence of any
important safety legislation or safety activities prior to 1913. In
that year there was adopted an accident compensation act, and in it
there were incorporated rigid safety provisions and a plan for com­
prehensive safety activities on the part of the State. The safety
provisions of this act are of quite a different character from those
of Washington and Oregon. Three of the more significant points
of difference may be briefly noted here.
The first point to be noted is that in Washington and Oregon the
subjects of accident prevention and accident compensation are not
directly related. The two subjects are covered by different laws and
are administered by different agencies. In California, on the other
hand, accident compensation and safety are correlated as comple­
mentary ideas. The two subjects are covered by the same act and
are administered by the same commission.
In the second place, the safety requirements of Washington and
Oregon are laid down in detail in their respective laws. The law
enumerates particular dangers that are to be guarded against, and
the duty of the administrative officials is to enforce these particular
requirements. The California law attempts no enumeration of par­
ticular hazards. It declares simply that work places are to be safe
and leaves it to the administering commission to frame detailed rules
and standards. And it vests the commission with extensive authority
to frame such rules and to enforce their observance.

1 Acts of 1907, ch. 158.



Finally, the safety requirements of Washington and Oregon are
primarily concerned with machine dangers and are limited almost
entirely to places using machinery. The California law applies to
practically all work places and to all kinds of accident hazards,
including those of disease.
A more extended discussion of these points of difference is given in
the following sections, in which the safety laws and safety activities
of each of these States are described in some detail.

The safety legislation of Washington consists of (1) safety provi­
sions of a general factory inspection act, applicable to factories and
similar work places, and administered by the bureau of labor; (2)
mining laws for the protection of coal-mine workers, administered
by a separate coal-mine inspection department.

The safety requirements of the factory inspection act may be
classed as of the older type of safety legislation, which regarded
accident prevention as concerned almost entirely with mechanical
safeguarding against the more obvious machine dangers. This be­
comes evident upon a reading of the law. The following quotations
are complete upon all essential points:
Any person * * * operating a factory, mill, or workshop
where machinery is used shall provide * * * belt shifters
* * * where the same are practicable; * * * also reasonable
safeguards for all vats, pans, trimmers, cut-off, gang edger, and other
saws, planers, cogs, gearings, belting, shafting, coupling, set screws,
live rollers, conveyers, mangles in laundries, and machinery of other
or similar description, which it is practicable to guard, and which
can be effectively guarded with due regard to * * * ordinary use
* * * and the dangers to employees therefrom, and with which
the employees * * * are liable to come in contact while in the
performance of their duties * * *.1
The openings of all hoistways, hatchways, elevators, and wellholes
and stairways in factories, mills, workshops, storehouses, warerooms,
or stores, shall be protected where practicable, by good and sufficient
trapdoors, hatches, fences, gates, or other safeguards * * * 2
These requirements have three definite limitations. In the first
place, the very precision of the law constitutes a limitation upon its
scope, inasmuch as dangerous conditions not specifically enumerated
remain uncovered. Thus, in a recent case, the State supreme court
held that the requirement that shafting be guarded does not extend

1 Codes and Statutes, 1910, sec. 6587.
2 Idem, sec. 6589.



to revolving rods and bars being worked upon as materials, even
though their movements are similar.1 In other words, this particular
kind of hazard, even though very great, is not within the law.
A second limitation arises in the determination of what particular
safeguards are to be considered “ reasonable,” “ practicable,” etc.
Immediate determination is left to the bureau, but the discretionary
authority thus conferred by law is not very extensive, inasmuch as
any order of the bureau is contestable on the ground not only that
the safeguarding ordered is not required by law but also that the
particular guarding demanded by the bureau is 44unreasonable,”
“ impracticable,” interferes with the “ ordinary use ” of the ma­
chinery, or is not necessary, because the danger point referred to is
not one that the employees are liable to come into contact with dur­
ing the “ performance of their duties.”
Finally, it is to be noted that as the safety requirements apply only
to places using machinery, a large number of employments are ex­
cluded where accident hazards exist and where it is possible that
effective safety work might be done. Thus, it is estimated that the
effective jurisdiction of the bureau is limited to work places employ­
ing only about one-third of the employees covered by the compensa­
tion act, all of whom are presumed by the compensation act itself to
be engaged in extrahazardous work. According to the records of
the bureau for 1914, the inspection law covered 1,910 plants with
55,300 employees.2 For the same year the industrial insurance com­
mission reports that there were approximately 176,000 employees
within the scope of the compensation act. The largest groups of
workers covered by the compensation act and not covered by the in­
spection law are those engaged in logging operations and in construc­
tion work of various kinds. Both of these classes of work are recog­
nized as peculiarly hazardous.
Legislation regarding safety in general work places is thus of
rather limited scope. The actual safety activities of the bureau, how­
ever, have been broader than the law itself. It has sought, through
its inspection work and through cooperation with employers, to erect
certain standards of mechanical safeguarding. Also, it has carried
on a fairly comprehensive safety campaign among employers and

As regards mechanical safeguarding, the commissioner, by study
of particular problems, has attempted to standardize certain features
of the inspection work and has prepared a brief “ Handbook on Safe­
1 Gilbert v. C. M. & P. S. R. R. Co., Supreme Court of Washington (Aug. 13, 1913),
134 Pac., 471.
2 Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-14, pp. 278, 279. The report
of the same bureau for 1915-16 (p. 148), received after the above text was in type,
shows no important change in the scope of inspection. The figures reported for 1915
are : Plants covered, 1,828 ; workers covered, 52,993.



guarding,” which covers in some detail various safety regulations
for general machinery, laundries, elevators, etc. But such standardi­
zation is by no means complete, and under the law very rigid stand­
ards can seldom be insisted upon.
The work of field inspection is done by the five deputy inspectors
of the bureau, each covering a prescribed district. The inspector’s
work covers other subjects than safety but safety occupies the major
portion of his attention. Each inspector works independently, but
correlation is sought by periodic conferences o f all the inspectors
with the commissioner.
As regards the enforcement of orders, the inspection law of Wash­
ington contains a peculiar arbitration provision. This is to the effect
that if an employer objects to any order of the bureau he may ap­
peal to a board of arbitration, to consist of three members, one chosen
by the employer, one by the bureau and these two to choose a third.
The decision of this board is to be final upon both the employer and
the bureau. This provision for arbitration has apparently never been
availed of. And, in any case, it has been the policy of the bureau to
seek to obtain compliance with its recommendations by means of co­
operation with the employer. Prosecution has almost never been re­
sorted to.
The number of factories covered by the bureau’s inspection is re­
ported for 1914 as being 1,910, with 55,300 employees. As against
this, as has been noted, the number of employees covered by the com­
pensation act is reported by the industrial insurance department as
having been 176,820 in 1914, and 158,351 in 1915.1
As the number of points covered by the inspection law is very lim­
ited, annual visits to all factories are easily practicable in the indus­
trial centers. In the more remote sections, a serious difficulty is in
the locating of isolated establishments, there being no requirement as
to registration.2
1 Reports of Industrial Insurance Department, Washington (State), 1914, p. 19, and
1915, p. 17.
2 The last available report of the bureau gives the following data regarding inspec­
tions made during the 17-month period from April, 1913, to September, 1914. It is to
be noted that during that period 323 plants which had been in existence previously
were located for the first time, and that in more than 40 per cent of the plants visited
conditions were found unsatisfactory.
(From Report of Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-14. p. 233.)
Annual inspections------ --------------------------------------------------------------------- 2, 516
Reinspections--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2, 684
First inspections (of old plants not formerly reached)-------------------323
New plants (beginning operations during period)___________________
Total inspections_____________________________________________5, 943
Plants in which conditions were found satisfactory------------------------3, 199
Plants in which conditions were found unsatisfactory---------------------- 2, 434
Plants closed_______________________________________________________
Total_________________________________________________________ 5,943




As an important factor in accident prevention, however, the bureau
now regards the matter of mechanical safeguarding as of subordinate
importance. It points out that, according to the reports of the
industrial insurance commission, only a small fraction of the acci­
dents in the State are attributable to lack of safeguards; that the
vast majority are due to other more personal causes—carelessness,
ignorance, bad plant conditions, etc.—that can only be reached by
the education of employer and worker, and by better plant organi­
To this end the bureau, with the cooperation of the industrial
insurance commission, inaugurated in 1914 a fairly comprehensive
educational campaign. The principal features of this campaign
have been the distribution among employers of various prepared
caution signs, the encouragement of employers to organize shop
safety committees, and the issuing of a safety bulletin. Principal
emphasis was placed upon the shop committee idea. The effort to
have such committees organized was made partly through corre­
spondence and printed material, and partly through personal visits
and personal urging by the commissioner and his deputies. The
movement is regarded as having been very successful.
The issuance of a safety bulletin, as a quarterly publication, was
begun in August, 1915. The title is the “ Workman’s Safety Guide.”
It is prepared primarily for the workers and its intention is to spread
safety information of all kinds, and more particularly to encourage
the organization of shop committees and to increase their efficiency.
The numbers of the bulletins so far issued are well printed and well
For none of this safety education work has the bureau any special
appropriation or equipment and this necessarily places somewhat
narrow limits upon its effective scope.

The laws for the protection of coal miners) consist primarily of
requirements regarding means of exit, ventilation, signals, etc. In
addition, however, they include a strict 8-hour law for underground
workers, a provision regarding weighing and the use of check-weighmen, and a prohibition of the employment of women and children
in mines.
The mine legislation in total, while fairly detailed upon some
points, is not regarded as being sufficiently comprehensive to meet
the best modern practice. This fact was recognized by the legislature
of 1911, which provided for the appointment of a commission to
revise the coal-mining laws. The commission consisted of repre­



sentatives of the miners, the operators,, the mining engineering pro­
fession, and the State inspection department. A code was compiled
and submitted to the legislature of 1913. It failed of passage and
no action was taken by the legislature of 1915.1
The safety requirements are given in detail in the several laws and
are enforceable by the coal mine inspection department. There is
no delegation to the department of administrative authority to make
rules or erect standards apart from the specified requirements of
If, upon inspection, conditions are found contrary to legal re­
quirements or unsafe for the workers, the department’s remedy is by
court injunction, two days’ notice to the employer being required.
The department itself is not given authority summarily to forbid
the continuance of work which it considers dangerous.
The coal mine inspection department has only two employees—the
chief mine inspector and one deputy inspector. As a result the
organization of the department is simple. Both the chief and his
deputy spend most of their time in field inspection. Both are en­
gaged in the same kind of work and are in close personal touch at
all times.
In J.914 there were 56 coal mines in operation in the State, the
number of employees being 5,647. During the 18 months ending
December 31,1914, the inspector and his deputy made approximately
300 visits and inspections, each mine being visited several times a
year.2 In addition to periodic inspections, many investigations are
the results of complaints on the part of the miners. As the coal
miners are well organized, complaints may be readily made through
union officials.
The educational work of the department has been chiefly in the
direction of encouraging the movement for mine-rescue and firstaid training and to encourage the establishment of safety associations
in the mines) of the State. In this it cooperates with the United
States Bureau of Mines.3
It is the policy of the department to obtain compliance with the
mining laws through cooperation with the employer. Attempts
at legal compulsion are rarely resorted to. During the year 1914,
the last for which record is available, the only prosecutions were
against mine workers for violation of a law forbidding the carry­
ing of matches into mines worked by the light of safety lamps.4
1 Report of State Inspector of Coal Mines, Washington, 1914, p. 14.
2 Idem, p. 14.
3 Idem, pp. 14, 15.
* Idem, p. 8.




There is no mine-safety legislation in Oregon, mining indeed being
of negligible importance in the State. Otherwise the safety legis­
lation of Oregon is almost identical with that of Washington, the
factory-inspection act of Oregon being an almost literal copy of the
earlier Washington act.1 This is true as regards both the safety
requirements themselves and the placing of their enforcement upon
the bureau of labor.
In Oregon, however, the authority of the bureau of labor to require
safeguards is legally somewhat stronger, because of certain stringent
requirements of an employer’s liability law which demands that all
dangerous machinery, appliances, and places be guarded without
“ regard to cost,” and makes violation a misdemeanor.2 This law is
not under the direct jurisdiction of the bureau of labor, but it may
be availed of by the bureau as an aid in its work.
The safety requirements of the factory-inspection act, being the
same as those of the Washington act, have the same limitations as
those pointed out in the discussion of the safety legislation of Wash­
ington. That discussion need not be repeated.
Also the administrative experience and practices of Oregon have
been closely similar to those of Washington, with the exception that
not as much emphasis has been placed upon educational activities as
distinguished from mechanical safeguarding.
For the work of field inspection the bureau has four deputy in­
spectors who devote practically their whole time to field work. Their
inspection duties cover several subjects, but by far the greater part
of their attention is devoted to matters of safety. The State is dis­
tricted for purposes of inspection, each inspector covering all places
within his district.
The bureau publishes no information in regard to the number
of work places subject to inspection or the number of inspections
made. As regards the scope of the bureau’s jurisdiction, it is prob­
able that the estimate made for Washington would apply, namely,
that the jurisdiction of the bureau in matters of safety covers only
about one-third the number of workers covered by the workmen’s
compensation act.
The attitude of the bureau toward prosecutions has been substan­
tially the same as that of the Washington bureau. The effort has
been to secure results through cooperation. Prosecutions have been
rarely undertaken. On the other hand, occasional use has been made
in Oregon of the provision of the factory-inspection law which per­
mits an employer who is dissatisfied with an order of the bureau to
appeal to an arbitration board.

1 Lord’s Oregon Laws, 1910.
2 1911, ch. 3.

Secs. 5040 and 5042.




Prior to the year 1913, as has been noted, there was an almost
entire absence of safety legislation in California, and the subject
of industrial safety had received little attention in the State. But
discussion of accident compensation aroused interest in the asso­
ciated idea of accident prevention, and the compensation act as
recast in 1913 provided for comprehensive safety activities on the
part of the industrial accident commission.
The plan then adopted was substantially the same as the one
first developed in Wisconsin. The law directs simply but broadly
Every employer shall furnish employment * * * and * * *
a place of employment which shall be safe for employees therein and
shall furnish and use such safety devices and safeguards, and shall
adopt and use such practices, means, methods, operations, and proc­
esses as are reasonably adequate to render such employment safe, and
shall do every other thing reasonably necessary to protect the life and
safety of employees.1
No attempt is made to enumerate special dangers or means of
protection. This is left to the determination of the commission,
which is authorized to draw up safety rules and standards and,
after a public hearing, to issue such rules and standards in the
form of orders.
These orders have substantially the same effect as statutory law.
An employer dissatisfied with any order may request a rehearing
by the commission, and if dissatisfied with the result of the rehear­
ing may thereupon appeal to the State supreme court or the dis­
trict court of appeal. But if he does not do this in advance of
prosecution for failure to comply with an order he may not offer
as a defense that the order was unlawful or unreasonable. More­
over, in any case the commission’s findings of fact are conclusive.
Failure to comply with the safety provisions of the act or with
the orders of the commission constitutes a misdemeanor, and in
case of continued violation each day’s violation constitutes a sepa­
rate offense.
The scope of the law is such as to cover every employment in the
State except farm and house work. Mining, logging, and construc­
tion work are thus included. Moreover, the protection contemplated
by law covers all kinds of industrial hazard, including those of
industrial diseases.

The law is very liberal in equipping the industrial accident com­
mission with authority and resources to carry on effective safety
1 Acts of 1913, ch. 176 (Am. 1915, chs. 541, 607, 662), sec. 52.



work. The commission is allowed an almost entirely free hand in
the selection and appointment of safety experts and inspectors and
in fixing the salaries of its staff. It is also free to arrange its own
methods of work.
Acting upon this authority, the commission organized a special
safety department and placed all safety activities under its imme­
diate charge. The department consists of a superintendent of
safety and 12 assistants. The superintendent was formerly safety
expert of a large steel company and almost all of the assistants are
men of technical training.
In addition to this regular staff a plan of cooperation was ar­
ranged with the United States Bureau of Mines for the promotion
of safety in mining. The agreement called for the United States
Bureau of Mines to appoint one of its engineers to take charge of
the safety work in the mining industry. Half of the salary and
expenses of this engineer were to be borne by the State and half
by the United States Bureau of Mines. This cooperative plan was
carried out and is regarded as being a complete success. Under a
similar arrangement another official of the Federal bureau, a spe­
cialist in first-aid work, was assigned to California.
The work of the safety department has been along two main lines:
(1) Educational and propaganda work, and (2) the framing of
safety rules and standards.

The work of safety education was particularly necessary in Cali­
fornia because of the previous absence of legislation or agitation
concerning safety matters. The department therefore as its first
activity attempted to bring the need and possibilities of accident
prevention to the attention of employers, employees, and the public.
An extensive safety-first campaign was carried on by means of lit­
erature, newspaper publicity, and visits to industrial plants; confer­
ences were held in the larger cities of the State, at which addresses
were made by employers, workers, members of the commission, and
other qualified persons. Much stress was laid upon the importance
of shop committees and employers were urged to appoint such com­
A safety museum was early established in San Francisco. It is
well housed and well equipped. A branch museum was later estab­
lished in Los Angeles.

In framing rules and standards, the practice of the commission
has been to have such work done for particular industries or subjects
by committees representing the parties immediately concerned—em­



ployers, workers, machine manufacturers, insurance companies, etc.
There is a double purpose involved in this plan—first, to have the
safety regulations framed by those best informed in the particular
subjects under consideration; and, second, by having the regulations
fixed by the parties most concerned it is believed that observance can
be more readily secured. I f an employer, for instance, is a party to
the framing of a certain rule, he is not in a position to contest its
Two general safety committees, one for San Francisco and one for
Los Angeles, were organized. Each consisted of three representatives
of employers, designated by the employers’ association, three labor
representatives, designated by the State Federation of Labor, and
one representative of the casualty insurance companies, together with
a representative of the commission as secretary. On the San Fran­
cisco committee the superintendent of safety acted as secretary, and
on the Los Angeles committee the assistant superintendent of safety.
The appointment of two district committees—one for the northern
part of the State and one for the southern part—was simply to facili­
tate the work, it being felt that attendance at meetings and confer­
ences would thereby be made more feasible. The work of the commit­
tees was coordinated by means of correspondence and visits.
These two committees worked out a set of general safety rules,
which were adopted by the commission and duly promulgated. The
committees were continued in office to act in an advisory capacity in
the selection of subcommittees for the preparation of rules on special
industries, and special subjects—boilers, elevators, laundries, etc.
These subcommittees are still at work.
In addition to the general committee and the subcommittees a
special committee on mining rules was appointed. This was com­
posed of three mine operators and three miners, together with the
mining engineer of the' commission. The mine workers’ representa­
tives were unable to attend the meetings. The remaining members
worked out an elaborate code of mining rules. After two public
hearings, at which certain changes were suggested, the commission
adopted these rules and promulgated them as orders. This mining
code is extremely elaborate and represents one of the most compre­
hensive codes of its kind in the United States.
The safety work of the State of California is thus in process of
development. From the nature of the plan followed it will be a
considerable time before its success can be determined. It will be
necessary to complete the series of safety codes before there is even
a broad basis for the real constructive wor,k of accident prevention.
The effectiveness of these codes must then be tested, as also the
efficiency of the commission in securing good results.



The criticism of those opposed to this plan of having safety stand­
ards erected by the commission in cooperation with committees of
employers and workers is that the employers may dominate the
committees and the standards secured be less rigid than might be
obtained directly by statute.

Since the object of all safety work is the prevention of accidents the
only true measure of its success is the degree in which the number of
accidents is reduced. In none of the Pacific States is there any
satisfactory information upon this point. By each of them it is
believed that safety efforts have resulted in a marked decrease in acci­
dent hazards. But for no State as a whole and for no large industry
(except coal mining in Washington) has there been any important
attempt to compile the material necessary to determine this fact.
This condition is, of course, in no way peculiar to the Pacific States,
the whole subject of accident rates having been little developed in the
United States.
To determine true accident experience from year to year it is nec­
essary to know the accident rate for each year. And for the compu­
tation of an accident rate’ there is necessary not only the number of
accidents but also the accident exposure—i. e., the number of persons
employed and the period of their employment. Mere accident num­
bers mean little or nothing. A decrease in the number of accidents
from 10,000 one year to 8,000 the following year does not necessarily
imply that conditions have improved, inasmuch as the number of
persons employed may have decreased in even greater proportion.
In other words, it is quite possible that a decrease in the number of
accidents may coincide with an increase in accident rates: It is evi­
dent, therefore, that without accident rates of some kind as a basis
of measurement it is impossible to tell whether safety efforts have met
with success.
Until the recent adoption of their respective compensation acts
there was no effective system of accident reporting in any of these
States, and no attempt had been made—except in the coal-mining
industry of Washington—to obtain data regarding the number of
employees exposed to accident. The administration of a compen­
sation act necessarily requires that greater emphasis be placed upon
the collection and tabulating of accident data. Reports are auto­
matically received of all accidents covered by compensation, and usu­
ally the number of employees exposed, or at least the pay-roll ex­
posure, is, or can be, obtained.
69861°— 17----- 6



Thus far, however, the Oregon compensation commission has been
the only one to present any computations regarding accident rates.
This commission, in its last available report, computes accident-frequency rates from the data obtained under the compensation act.
The frequency rates are based upon the total number of full-time
workers as estimated from pay-roll exposure. The results, as given
in a statement of the report, are very brief, but are interesting as
representing one of the few attempts in any State to compute
accident rates.
A ccident frequency rates per 1,000 full-tim e w orkers in Oregon for the year
ending June 30, 1915.1
F a t a l_________________________________________________________
2. 86
Permanent total disability___________________________________
. 05
Permanent partial disability-------------------------------------------------5. 24
Tem porary disability_________________________________________124. 85
T o t a l__________________________________________________133.00

A summary of the accident-reporting laws of Washington, Oregon,
and California and of the experience thereunder is given below.

A requirement for the reporting of all serious coal-mine accidents
to the coal mine inspection department has been in force for a number
of years. The number of mine employees being also known the de­
partment has been able to compute accident rates. These are pre­
sented in the following table for the 15-year period, 1900 to 1914:
[Summarized from Report of State inspector of coal mines, Washington, 1914, p. 105.]



Average number of acci­ Accident rate per 1,000
dents per year.







Tons mined per


The table shows a fluctuating rate for fatal accidents, with a
decrease in recent years, while the nonfatal accident rate, on the
contrary, has increased very rapidly. This is contrary to all other
experience and can only be explained on the ground that nonfatal
accidents have been reported much more accurately in recent years,
particularly since the compensation act went into effect. The results
1 Report of Industrial Accident Commission, Oregon, 1915, p. 27.



constitute a striking example of the misleading character of conclu­
sions based upon incomplete accident reports.
For employments other than coal mining no accident reporting
was required until the passage of the compensation act in 1911.1
This act requires all employers to report all accidents to the indus­
trial accident commission. As the earlier law regarding the report­
ing of coal-mine accidents was not repealed, coal-mine operators
must now report to two State agencies. It is interesting to note
that of the two sets of reports made those to the industrial accident
commission tend to be the more complete.2
Under the compensation act it is probable that all accidents, even
those of a minor character, in employments in which compensation is
paid, are now fully reported, particularly so as the Washington act
pays for injuries of even one day’s duration. For accidents in
employments not under compensation, however, reports are very

No accident reporting of any kind was required until 1911, when
an act was passed directing all employers of three or more persons
to report all accidents to the bureau of labor.3 This law was ex­
tremely comprehensive in its requirements, but was not observed at
all closely, and the reports received by the bureau were too incom­
plete to be of value. In 1913 the compensation act made it the
further duty of employers to report accidents to the industrial
accident commission,4 thus creating a double system of reporting.
This confusion was removed in 1915 by an act which does away with
all reports except those to the industrial accident commission.5 The
essential feature of this law, as now in force, is that all employers
under compensation, and all others who employ three or more per­
sons, must report all accidents. As the compensation act provides
for no waiting period, it is probable that all accidents under com­
pensation are fully reported. But for accidents in employments not
under compensation reports are very incomplete.

It was not until 1913, and as part of the compensation act, that any
form of accident reporting was required. This act, as amended in
1915, directs not only all employers but also all physicians and in­
1Acts of 1911, ch. 74, sec. 14 (Am. 1915, ch. 188). Another act of the same year
requires public service corporations to report accidents to the public service commission.
1911, ch. 117, sec. 63.
2 See Report of State Inspector of Coal Mines, Washington, 1914, p. 7.
3 Acts of 1911, ch. 102. In addition, a special law relating solely to railroads was
enacted the same year. Acts of 1911, ch. 279, sec. 73.
4 Acts of 1913, ch. 112, sec. 29.
BActs of 1915, ch. 76.



surance carriers to report all cases of industrial injury to the indus­
trial accident commission, and the term “ industrial injury”
includes injuries due to disease as well as to accident in its ordinary
sense.1 By an earlier act of 1911, physicians were required to report
cases of certain occupational diseases to the State board of health.2
This act was never effective and, while still unrepealed, is suspended
in practice by the reporting requirements of the compensation act.
As was seen to be the case in Washington and Oregon the accident
reports, while very complete for employments under compensation,
are very incomplete for those not under compensation.
1 Acts of 1913, ch. 176, sec. 71 (as amended by Acts of 1915, ch. 607).
2 Acts of 1911, ch. 485.

Injury to the health of the worker may be due to definite occupa­
tional disease, such as lead poisoning and anthrax, or it may be due
to the more insidious influence of bad working conditions, such as
lack of toilet facilities or bad lighting. In addition, the moral
health of woman and child workers as well as their physical health
may be endangered by improper surroundings in their work places.
Possible preventive measures through legislation cover a wide
range of topics—such as insistence upon cleanliness in work places;
the provision of good light; the provision of good ventilation; the
furnishing of adequate water-closets and washing facilities; the pro­
vision, especially in the case of women, of dressing rooms, rest rooms,
and seats; the supplying of pure drinking water; the maintenance
of good sanitary conditions in labor camps.
It is only very recently that the subject of health conditions in
industry has received any very serious attention in the Pacific States.
In none of them as yet is there a comprehensive body of effective
legislation upon this subject, but increased interest has resulted in
two legislative activities of considerable importance.
The first is the grant of authority to the industrial welfare com­
mission of each of the States to fix standards of working conditions
for women and minors. The authority thus granted is very exten­
sive, covering all matters affecting the physical and moral welfare
of such persons and while as yet exercised to only a limited extent
it offers a broad field for future action.
The second activity referred to was the enactment by California
of a sanitary code for the labor camps of that State and placing its
administration, in 1915, in the hands of the immigration and hous­
ing commission. Washington and Oregon have not as yet made any
important attempt to control the conduct of such camps.
These two instances of recent State legislation have been em­
phasized as of particular importance. Other legislative measures,
however, have not been entirely lacking. In all of the States, in­
deed, statutory requirement regarding matters of health—chiefly ven­
tilation and sanitation—have been in existence for a number of
years, with enforcement resting upon their respective bureaus of
labor. That, as a rule, no very effective results were accomplished
was due in part to the fact that the requirements were too vague and
the authority and equipment of the bureaus too limited to permit




of the erection of very rigid standards. But a further, and more
serious, handicap was the general lack of knowledge upon the sub­
ject of industrial health.

The statutory requirements are limited to a few, brief provisions
of the factory inspection act of 1903 regarding sanitation and venti­
lation and a law of 1911 requiring “ suitable” seats for females.1
The provisions of the factory inspection act consist of two rather
vague requirements that workplaces where machinery is used shall
be kept in a “ cleanly and sanitary state” and provided with “ good
and sufficient ventilation” , and of a more specific demand that, in
case any process is carried on which causes dust to be inhaled to an
“ injurious extent” , exhaust fans or other mechanical means of re­
moval shall be supplied. No standards are erected or suggested as to
what constitutes “ cleanliness” , “ good ventilation” , etc.
Of greater potential importance than these statutory require­
ments is the authority granted the industrial welfare commission
to determine proper working conditions for women and minors.
Thus far the attention of the commission has been chiefly centered
upon the question of minimum wages and the subject of working
conditions has not been gone into with any thoroughness. The
orders issued have contained a number of requirements regarding
toilets, wash rooms, dressing rooms, rest rooms, ventilation, and sani­
tation, but are, for the most part, very general in their terms and
fix no basic standards. Thus, the order regarding factories reads,
“ Every manufacturing establishment where females are employed
shall be properly heated and ventilated, and shall provide and main­
tain adequate facilities and arrangements so that such employees
may obtain rest when in a state of fatigue or in case of illness.”
The bureau of labor is charged with the enforcement of the statu­
tory requirements and is also the active enforcing agency for the rul­
ings of the welfare commission. As noted, the requirements as a
whole are rather weak and the authority vested in the bureau to insist
upon rigid standards is limited. Because of this and also because
of the fact that the matter of sanitary conditions in work places
has not been regarded as of very serious importance in the State
as a whole, the bureau has placed relatively little emphasis upon
most of these subjects. Employees have been urged to remedy bad
conditions but no insistence as a rule has been placed upon very high
standards, and prosecution has not been resorted to.
The subject to which probably most attention has been devoted is
that of dust-removing systems in shingle mills. As a result of a
*R. and B. Codes and Stat., 1910, sec. 6588, and Acts of 1911, ch. 37.



survey of these mills the bureau found numerous cases of throat
affection among shingle workers, due presumably to the cedar dust
inhaled. An extensive investigation of blower systems was then
made and a type found which met the necessary requirements. The
use of this system, or one equally as good, was urged upon all em­
ployers in the industry on the grounds of increased health and effi­
ciency for the workers, with the added economic argument that fire
insurance rates would be thereby reduced. No attempt at compul­
sion was made, but the bureau reports that its campaign resulted in
the installation of good blower systems by a large number of mills.1
As regards general conditions of ventilation and sanitation in the
factories of the State the bureau finds much room for improvement.
In the more recently constructed plants it believes conditions are
reasonably good but in “ factories operated in old buildings sanita­
tion and ventilation are bad and difficult to improve,” and there are
many such factories.2 In some of the fish canneries conditions are
reported as being extremely bad.3
The worse conditions, from the standpoint of sanitation, are prob­
ably found in the logging and construction camps. A bureau re­
port speaks of the ^conditions in some of the camps as being of a
character to beggar description.4 At present there is no law gov­
erning the maintenance of labor camps. They are not covered by the
factory-inspection laws and the bureau of labor has no jurisdic­
tion. Nor has the State board of health any specific jurisdiction
over such camps.

Both the legislation and enforcing experience of Oregon are al­
most identical with those of Washington as above described. The
statutory requirements regarding sanitation and ventilation are part
of the general factory inspection act of 1907,5 which is a copy of the
earlier Washington act, and the only other statutory requirement
upon this subject is that “ suitable ” seats be supplied for female em­
These several requirements are subject to the same limitations as
regards both scope and standards as those of Washington. Enforce­
ment is charged to the bureau of labor which, subject to the legal
limitations noted and to the rather general lack of interest regarding
health conditions in industry, has attempted to do little more than
1 Report o f Bureau of Labor, Washington (State), 1913-14, pp. 76-89.
2 Idem, p. 230.
3 Idem, p. 93.
4 Idem, pp. 61-83.
5 Acts of 1907, ch. 158. (Lord’s Oregon Laws, 1910, sec. 5041.)
6 Lord’s Oregon Laws, 1910, sec. 5038.



correct the more obvious cases of bad conditions in a limited number
of work places. No insistence has been placed upon very high stand­
ards and no prosecutions have been attempted.
The industrial welfare commission has the same broad authority
as in Washington to fix standards of working conditions for women
and minors. This authority was not availed of until 1916, when
among the series of orders issued under date of July 3, and effective
September 1, 1916, one order was devoted solely to the subject of
sanitary conditions. It applies to all work places where women and
minors are employed, although- the commission, on request, may
exempt places employing less than four women. The requirements
made are very complete as regards the subjects covered, but most of
them are general in their terms and will require interpretation and the
fixing of more definite standards. The full list of requirements is
as follows:
Cleanliness.— E very room and the floors, walls, ceilings, windows, and every
other part thereof, and all fixtures therein, shall, at all times, be kept in a
clean and sanitary condition.
D rinking w ater.— A sufficient quantity o f drinking water, w ithin reasonable
access to all workers, shall be provided, w ith sanitary appliances fo r drinking.
A common drinking cup shall not be used.
Lighting.— A ll rooms shall be properly and adequately lighted during w ork­
ing hours. Artificial illum ination in every w orkroom shall be installed, ar­
ranged, and used, so that the light furnished w ill at all times be sufficient
and adequate for the w ork carried on therein, and prevent unnecessary strain
on the vision, or glare on the eyes o f the worker.
Ventilation.— The ventilation o f each room shall be adequate, and there shall
be sufficient provision fo r preventing excessive humidity, and an amount o f
cubic air space necessary to health must be allowed for each employee.
Toilet rooms.— In every establishment there shall be provided suitable and
convenient toilets separate from those used by the opposite sex, and the number
o f such toilets shall be not less than one to every 20 women or minors em­
ployed at one time or m ajority fraction thereof.
Such toilets must be
thoroughly ventilated and open to the outside air, and such toilets must at all
times be kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
W ash rooms.— W ash-room accommodations, separate and apart from those
used by male persons, must be provided, and individual towels, either cloth or
paper, must be furnished. The washing facilities must be adequate, and the
wash rooms must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
Dressing rooms.— A suitable space, effectively screened, must be provided
fo r women to change their street clothes fo r working clothes, and where
practicable individual lockers should be provided.
Tables, benches, and chairs.— Tables and benches, so constructed as to
give the greatest possible com fort and convenience to women and minor em­
ployees, considering the requirements o f the w ork upon w hich they are
employed, must be provided, and convenient and com fortable seats must also
be furnished where the nature o f the w ork is such that employees may sit
while working.



E xpectoration .— Signs must be placed in all rooms forbidding expectoration
on the w alls or floor, and suitable and sanitary receptacles must be provided
for this purpose. These receptacles must be cleaned daily.


Of the laws for the protection of the worker’s health the one of
most immediate importance is the labor camp sanitation act of 1913.
This will be described in the following section.
The other legislation of California upon this subject is similar in
substance to that of Washington and Oregon, but upon certain
points is somewhat more extensive.
As regards sanitation and general ventilation the statutory re­
quirements are very general in their wording—that all establish­
ments employing five or more persons shall be kept in a 66cleanly
state,” with “ sufficient ” water-closets within “ reasonable ” access
and separate for the sexes, and that such establishments shall be so
ventilated that the air will not become “ injurious ” to health. Upon
the subject of exhaust fans the law is more specific, the requirement
being that, when dust or gases are generated “ fans or blowers with
pipes and hood ” must be provided, “ all to be properly fitted and ad­
justed,” and of 46sufficient ” power and size to remove such dust or
Other statutory requirements dealing with particular subjects are:
“ Suitable ” seats for female employees; 1 fresh and pure drinking
water;2 sterilization of wiping rags;3 cellars not to be used as work
places if condemned by the commissioner of labor.4
All of these provisions are enforceable by the bureau of labor.
In the actual work of enforcement the bureau is subject to similar
limitations as those noted in Washington and Oregon. No precise
standards are erected by law, and the bureau has a rather limited
authority to insist upon rigid standards. Of interest upon this point
is a statement of the State supreme court in a recent case declaring
unconstitutional a section of the law regarding sanitation as origi­
nally enacted:
“ The legislature * * * may require the owners of factories
and workshops to put their buildings in proper condition as to sani­
tation, may require them to provide reasonable safeguards against
danger for the operatives, but it may not leave the question as to
whether and how these things shall be done or not done at the arbi­
trary disposition of any individual [i. e., the commissioner of

1 Acts o f 1913, ch. 352.
2 Acts of 1915, ch. 485.
3 Acts of 1913, ch. 81.
4 Codes, 1906, act No. 1098, sec. 3.
5 67 Pac. Reporter, 755. Schaezlein v. Cabaniss.



In addition to these statutory requirements, the industrial welfare
commission has power, as in Washington and Oregon, to fix stand­
ards of working conditions for women and minors. This authority
has so far been exercised in the case of only one industry—fruit and
vegetable canning. For this industry the commission has prescribed
a comprehensive series of requirements for the health and comfort
of women and minors. Upon a number of points, such as toilet
rooms, these requirements are clear and precise and represent ad­
vanced standards of modern practice. They are in full as follows:
S a n ita r y and H e a lt h

R e q u i r e m e n t s i n F r u i t a n d V e g e t a b l e C a n n e r i e s .1

Lighting.— Every workroom (hereafter constructed) must be supplied w ith
adequate natural light during the w orking daylight hours.
Every w orkroom (n ow constructed and which is not so equipped as to furnish
adequate natural light during the w orking daylight hours) must be supplied
with sufficient artificial light properly placed.
Every workroom must be supplied during the w orking hours when daylight is
not available w ith sufficient artificial light properly placed.
Ventilation.— The ventilation o f each workroom shall be adequate and there
shall be sufficient provision fo r preventing excessive humidity by the rem oval o f
escaping steam.
F loors.— Each w orkroom shall have an impermeable floor, made o f cement or
tile laid in cement, brick, wood, or other suitable nonabsorbent material w hich
can be flushed and washed clean w ith water. F loors must be tight and hard and
in good repair, and be pitched to provide for drainage so that there w ill be no un­
reasonable depth o f water. All excess o f w ater or overflow must be im mediately
removed. W ooden racks shall be provided wherever women are obliged to w ork
on wet floors, or cement or tile floors, and such racks shall be not less than 3
inches in height.
T oilet room s.— T oilet room s shall be completely partitioned off from w ork­
rooms, and the doors must be so located or protected by screen that the watercloset compartment shall not be visible from the outside.
Toilet rooms shall have adequate natural or artificial light so that every part
o f the room and o f the interior o f each compartment shall be easily visible.
Toilet rooms shall be sufficiently ventilated and the ventilation shall be only
to the outside o f the building.
The floors o f such toilet room s shall be o f cement, tile laid in cement, wood,
brick, or other nonabsorbent material, and shall be washed and scoured daily
and shall be kept in good repair.
All walls o f toilet room s and water-closet compartments, unless constructed
o f glazed tile, brick, etc., shall be kept covered w ith a nonabsorbent light-colored
paint, varnish, or other im pervious compound.
Every water-closet shall be in a separate compartment, which must be not less
than 28 inches wide and provided w ith a door.
Partitions o f w ater-closet compartments shall be not less than 6 feet high, and
shall extend not nearer the ceiling and floor than 1 foot.
The number o f water-closets shall be not less than one to every 20 women
employed, or m ajority fraction thereof, based on the maximum number o f
women employed at one time.
1 California Industrial Welfare Commission, Order No. 2.

Issued February, effective



Every water-closet shall have a bowl o f vitreous china, or o f first quality cast
iron, porcelain enameled inside and out, or o f other approved material. Every
such bow l shall be provided with adequate facilities for flushing, and shall be set
entirely free from inclosing woodwork, and so installed that the space around it
can be easily cleaned.
The bowls o f water-closets shall be provided with seats o f w ood or other non­
heat absorbing material, and shall be coated with varnish or some other water­
p roof substance.
An adequate supply o f toilet paper shall be provided in every water-closet
All toilets shall be kept clean and the bowls and seats o f water-closets shall
be scrubbed at least once a day. All toilets, wash rooms, lavatories, and watercloset compartments shall be kept clean.
W ater supply.— Each place o f employment shall be supplied w ith sufficient
pure drinking water and the faucets shall be placed so that they are convenient
to the employees. Common drinking cups are prohibited. Individual cups must
be used or sanitary drinking fountains must be installed.
W ash rooms.— There shall be wash rooms and lavatories adjacent to toilet
rooms, and all wash rooms and lavatories shall be supplied with soap, running
water, and towels, and shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.
Common towels shall not be used or permitted and individual or paper towels
must be supplied.
Number o f washbowls.— The number o f washbowls, sinks, or other appli­
ances shall be not less than one to every 20 women. Twenty inches o f sink w ith
one faucet shall be considered as an equivalent o f one washbowl. Spring faucets
shall not be used except where washbowls are provided.
L ocker rooms.— A suitable room shall be provided where women may change
their clothing. A sufficient number o f lockers shall be provided.
Time fo r meals.— Every woman and minor shall be entitled to at least one
hour for noonday m ea l: Provided how ever, That no woman or minor shall be
permitted to return to w ork in less than one-half hour.
Seats.— Seats shall be provided for each and every woman employed, and
such women shall be permitted to use the seats at all times. Seats shall be of
such types as approved by the industrial w elfare commission.
Carrying.— No woman shall be required or permitted to carry any box, box o f
fruit, vegetable, or refuse, or trays o f cans, or any heavy burden to or from her
place o f work in the establishment.

Inasmuch as labor camps are living places and not strictly working
places, the subject of their sanitary condition might be considered as
not properly a concern of labor legislation. As a matter of fact,1
however, the labor camp is essentially a labor matter. Where a
camp is maintained the worker, from the nature of the case, must
usually live therein, its character is dependent upon the owner and
employer, and in all respects it becomes an integral part of the work
Until 1913 these camps were subject to no regulation. It was
known that conditions in many of them were bad but the extent of
the evil was not generally recognized. In 1913 a law was passed pro­
viding certain sanitary regulations for labor camps of all kinds, and



the enforcement thereof was placed in the hands of the State board
of health.1 The requirements of this law were few and indefinite.
Moreover, the State board of health was not equipped for its effec­
tive enforcement, and, with the consent of the board, the whole sub­
ject of labor-camp sanitation was turned over to the commission on
immigration and housing.
After investigation and study this commission prepared a set of
detailed sanitary regulations, much more complete than those con­
templated by the law itself. These regulations were printed in
pamphlet form and the effort was made to have them accepted volun­
tarily by the employers.2 As a result of the commission’s investiga­
tions and disclosures of labor-camp conditions the legislature of 1915
so amended the earlier law as to make it more comprehensive and
more stringent in its requirements.3 At the same time the duty of
enforcing the law was definitely transferred to the immigration and
housing commission and an appropriation of $10,000 granted for
the special work of camp inspection.
The law applies to all camps where five or more persons are em­
ployed. Its sanitary requirements briefly summarized are as fol­
lows: (1) Bunks, tents, and other sleeping places to be kept clean
and have sufficient air space; (2) bunks or beds to be made of iron,
canvas, or other sanitary material; (3) mess tents and kitchens to
be kept clean and openings screened; (4) water-closets to be kept
clean and screened; (5) all garbage and rubbish to be deposited in
covered receptacles and emptied at least daily; (6) owner, superin­
tendent, and foreman each to be responsible. The penalty for viola­
tion of these requirements is a fine of not over $200 or imprisonment
of not over 60 days, or both, and' in addition it is provided that any
camp failing to obey the law shall be deemed a public nuisance, sub­
ject as such, after five days’ notice, to criminal prosecution.
The commission has been and still is carrying on an active field
campaign among the camps of the State.4 The mere locating of the
camps is a matter of considerable difficulty, inasmuch as many of
the camps are of an extremely temporary character and no system of
registration is provided; also, because of inaccessibility, return visits
to see that orders have been complied with are often very difficult.
For the work of inspection the commission employs three special
camp inspectors. In addition to its own force, the commission has
also arranged for cooperation with the State board of health for the
handling of all technical problems of sanitation, with the mine in­
spector of the industrial accident commission for work among the
1 Acts of 1913, ch. 182 (amended 1915, ch. 329).
2 Advisory pamphlet on camp sanitation and housing, 56 pp.
3 Acts of 1915, ch. 329.
4 Commission of Immigration and Housing of California.
pp. 9-40.






mining camps, and with the industrial welfare commission for work
among the canneries. Also it has arranged with the highway com­
mission to have inserted in all contracts for highway construction
a clause requiring all camps in connection therewith to be maintained
in accordance with the requirements established by the immigration
and housing commission.
The regulations which the commission seeks to have adopted are
contained in an “ advisory pamphlet ” in which are given detailed
rules, with sketches and photographs for the proper building and
maintenance of labor camps. These rules are very complete and are
considerably more elaborate than those contained in the law itself.
Thus far the commission has sought to secure its objects by co­
operation with employers and workers.1 No prosecutions have been
undertaken, the commission stating that on the few occasions when
necessary, threats to prosecute have been sufficient. The commis­
sion points out the importance of constant inspection in order to
secure and maintain good conditions:2
The commission has found that the practice, so frequently fol­
lowed in the enforcement of laws regarding sanitation, of not mak­
ing inspections or reinspections until complaints are made is entirely
wrong. This practice is, of course, based on the theory that the em­
ployees or any others affected will report insanitary conditions to the
proper authorities. But, as a matter of fact, the average employee is
afraid of “ losing his job ” if he complains, and the casual outsider or
neighbor who may be affected by insanitary conditions is either igno­
rant of the danger or lacks the initiative to complain to the author­
ities. A few complaints against camps come to the office, but many
of them are anonymous, and the localities are so scattered that the
established routes of regular inspections and reinspections are fol­
lowed, the complaints being investigated only incidentally.
Moreover, certain data from the reinspection reports, which are
given in detail further on, disclose the regrettable fact that many of
those who work and live in labor camps are seemingly more or less
apathetic concerning general sanitary conditions. Therefore, it is
not only impossible to base inspections on complaints alone, but
this lack of appreciation on the part of some employees makes more
difficult the maintenance of good conditions.
Data contained in the reports of the commission for 1915 and 1916
present a striking picture of a phase of industrial life, and a very
important phase on the Pacific coast, about which almost no informa­
tion is anywhere else available. A few of the more important find­
ings may be briefly summarized.
The commission estimates that the total number of persons living
in labor camps during all or most of the year is at least 75,000, not
1 Commission of Immigration and Housing of California.
pp. 9, 10.
2 Idem, pp. 10-12.

Annual Report,




including farm and ranch labor. In the 663 camps covered by the
commission’s investigations during the last six months of 1915, there
were 40,441 residents. Of these, 4,596 were women and 4,064 were
children—together constituting 21 per cent of the total residents and
indicating that the camp is not merely a place for the hardy, migra­
tory male worker.1
The following table classifies the 663 camps inspected during the
six-month period referred to, according to the industry and accord­
ing to the rating of their sanitary conditions as good, fair, or bad,
as made by the inspectors. The number of laborers shown in this
table is in each case based on the capacity of housing facilities and
so does not agree with the number actually living in the camps as
shown in the preceding paragraph.
T a bl e


[Source: Commission of Immigration and Housing of California, Annual Report, 1916, p 349. Number of
laborers is based on capacity of housing facilities, and is not number actually living in camps.]





Laborers. Camps.

Laborers. Camps.

Laborers. Camps.

Highway and grading
Mines and quarries...








Per cent.................













The above figures show conditions after the commission had been
engaged in the work of camp inspection for approximately a year
and represent, roughly speaking, a second series of inspections. At
that time, as shown, 38 per cent of the camps with 51 per cent of the
residents were rated as good, as against 30 per cent of the camps with
22 per cent of the residents rated as bad. As compared with condi­
tions at the time of the first series of inspections a year earlier, the
commission reports that, allowing for changes in standards, the good
camps had increased 12 per cent and the bad camps decreased 11 per
As regards particular sanitary provisions, it may be noted that
bathing facilities were available in only 420 of the 663 camps. “ The
legislature would not amend the law so as to specifically require bath­
ing facilities, so it seems to be difficult to persuade the operators to
1 Commission of Immigration and Housing o f California.
p. 27.
2 Idem, p. 28.

Annual Report,




provide them. As proof that the workers appreciate this feature, it
was found that in only 2 out of the 420 camps where bathing facili­
ties were available did the men use the facilities less frequently than
once a week.” 1
In 52 of the 663 camps no toilets at all were provided, and in 159
cases the toilets were rated as filthy. Model sanitary toilets were
found in 267 camps and flush toilets in 80.
As regards sleeping quarters, the commission reports that condi­
tions “ are not so good as they should be. This may be due to the
very vague clause of the law with regard to this feature. At any rate
22 per cent of the camps failed to keep the sleeping quarters in every
particular up to the standard set by the commission. In 34 per cent
of the camps there were no floors in the bunk houses or tents. In wet
weather this lack of wooden floors makes conditions unhealthful as
well as uncomfortable. Moreover, in 10 camps no bunks were fur­
nished and the men were required to sleep on the ground.” 2
1 Commission of Immigration and Housing of California.
pp. 29, 30.
2 Idem, pp. 30, 31.

Annual Report,



The Pacific States were among the earliest of the American States
to adopt the principle of accident compensation. Washington and
California did so in 1911 and Oregon in 1913.1
The purpose of the laws then adopted was to provide a system of
accident insurance for the workers in industry. In the absence of
such law, the primary burden of accident falls upon the injured
worker. He may sue the employer on the ground of negligence, but
the occasions upon which such negligence can be established in a
court of law are but a fraction of the whole number of accidents.
Moreover, even where suits are successful they may be very costly.
The compensation principle abandons the doctrine of employers’
liability. It regards accidents as a normal incident of industry, to
be borne as one of the cost elements of production and ultimately to
be paid for by society through increased prices. It offers the injured
worker definite compensation benefits proportioned to the severity of
his injury. It offers the employer immunity from damage suits.
All accident compensation laws are based upon this principle, but
differ widely in their conceptions of what a good compensation
system should be. Those of the Pacific States are of particular
interest as representing radically different systems. They differ,
that is to say, upon such fundamental principles as the degree in
which they are compulsory, the kind of insurance permitted, and
the placing of the burden of cost.
The Washington and California acts are absolutely compulsory
for certain classes of work—hazardous employments in Washington
and all except farming and domestic service in California. The
Oregon law, on the other hand, is entirely elective in form, but in
effect it is quasi compulsory for hazardous employments. Employers
in such work are not required to accept the act but are presumed
to do so; and if they reject it are denied important legal defenses in
case of suits.
1 The Washington law has remained in force in substantially the same form as orig­
inally enacted. The first California act proved unsatisfactory and was superseded in
1913 by a more comprehensive and stringent law, which became effective Jan. 1, 1914.
The Oregon law, although enacted in the early part of 1913, did not go into full opera­
tion until July 1, 1914.




Again, as regards the question of insurance. On the one hand,
Washington and Oregon not only make insurance* compulsory but
make it compulsory through an exclusive State insurance fund.
No other form of insurance is permitted. The California act, on the
other hand, does not require insurance at all. The employer is at
liberty to carry his own risks or to insure in any way he sees fit.
A State insurance fund is maintained, but it is not an exclusive one,
and carries on a compensation insurance business in competition with
other insurance carriers.
Finally, as regards the burden of cost, in Washington and Cali­
fornia, as in almost all American States, the cost of compensation
benefits is placed upon the employer. In Oregon, on the contrary,
the cost is divided between the employer, the employee, and the
State. The employee’s contribution is 1 cent per working day,
equivalent to about one-eighth of the total cost.
The three acts agree in placing the administration of the com­
pensation system, including the management of the State fund, in
the hands of a special commission of three members. The commis­
sion in Washington is known as the industrial insurance commission
and in Oregon and California as the industrial accident commission.
The present chapter is concerned with the operation of the com­
pensation acts primarily from the standpoint of the worker. This
is not necessarily the same as the standpoint of the employer. To
the employer compensation represents a business expense, and his
immediate interest is with the subject of cost—of premium rates.
To the worker the cost of compensation is of subordinate interest.
Even in Oregon, where he pays part of the cost, his portion is a
fixed amount—1 cent a day—irrespective of ultimate cost. His
immediate interest is in being covered by the act, in having the bene­
fits as high as possible, and in the prompt settlement of his claim.
Five features of a compensation system may thus be considered
as of primary significance to the worker. These are:
(1) The scope of the system, i. e., the number of workers and the
character of injuries covered.
(2) The scale of compensation, i. e., the amount and charact«r
of the benefits paid.
(8) The location of liability for the payment of benefits.
(4) The method by which claim cases are settled, this involving
the questions of justice and promptness in the awarding of benefits.
(5) The effect of compensation upon accident prevention. How­
ever good the compensation system, it is more important to a worker
not to be injured than it is to be compensated for the injury.
The following description of the compensation systems of the
Pacific States will follow this division of subjects:
69861°— 17-------7




An accident compensation system of complete scope would be one
that covered all kinds of industrial injury and all forms of employ­
ment. The California act is complete upon the first of these points—
kinds of injuries covered. None of the acts of the three Pacific
States is complete upon the second point.

The acts of Washington and Oregon cover only accidental injuries
in the narrower sense of the word “ accident ”—bruises, lacerations,
fractures, etc.—and do not include occupational disease. The Cali­
fornia act covers all forms of industrial injuries, including those of
The Washington act is specific in excluding occupational diseases,
declaring that the word injury as used in the act is to be taken as re­
ferring only to “ an injury resulting from some fortuitous event as
distinguished from the contraction of disease.” With this exception
and with the exception of injury due to the deliberate intention of
the workman, all injuries are compensable if occurring in the course
of employment. I f an injury results through the workman’s failure
to use a provided safeguard, compensation is reduced by 10 per cent.
The Oregon act does not specifically exclude occupational disease.
It grants compensation to any workman sustaining “ personal injury
by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment,” but
this has been construed as not including injury due to disease. In­
juries due to deliberate intention on the part of the worker are ex­
cluded, as in Washington, but there is no penalty placed upon the
workman in case of injury due to his failure to use safeguards.
The California act as originally enacted in 1913 limited compen­
sable injuries to those caused “ by accident.” By an amendment of
1915 the qualification “ by accident” is removed and compensation
becomes payable in all cases of “ personal injury.” The scope of this
term will depend upon the interpretation placed upon it by the com­
mission and by the courts. It was apparently the legislative intent
that the term should be construed very broadly.
The conditions to which an injury must conform in order to be
compensable in California are: (1) The employee must be perform­
ing service incidental to his employment and be acting within the
course of his employment, (2) the injury must be proximately caused
by the employment, and (3) must not be due to intoxication or willful
misconduct on the part of the employee.
As regards the second of these conditions—the employment as
proximate cause—the trend of the cases decided is that compensa­
tion is payable when the weight of evidence shows that the injury



might have been caused by the employment and there is no proof
that it was otherwise caused.1
As regards “ willful misconctuct ” the commission has uniformly
held that “ to constitute willful misconduct there must be a violation
of a rule imposed by the employer for the protection of an employee,
which rule is diligently enforced.” The existence of a rule which is
not regularly enforced and violations penalized, may not be cited
in defense, and in every case the burden of proof is upon the person
making the allegation of willful misconduct.2 In one case where
an injury arose from failure to use safeguards duly provided and
the use of which was diligently enforced by the employer, the in­
jured employee was denied compensation.3

In each of the three States the number of employees under com­
pensation is, broadly speaking, coincident with the degree in which
their employers are brought under by compulsion or quasi-compul­
sion. Purely voluntary election on the part of employers in classes
excepted from any compulsion has taken place only to a very lim^
ited extent.
The actual number of employees covered by compensation in the
Pacific States is not known with any precision. In 1915 the estimates
were as follows: Washington, 175,000; Oregon, 30,000 to 40,000, and
California, 500,000, the latter item being no more than a crude guess.
There is also no accurate information for any of the States re­
garding the percentage that the employees under compensation con­
stitute of the total number of employees in the State. In a report
of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics the attempt is made
to compute such percentages for all States having compensation acts,
the United States Census of 1910 being used as a basis.4 The com­
putations there made indicate that the percentage of workers under
compensation to the total number of workers in the State is, for each
of the Pacific States, as follows: Washington, 51.5; Oregon, 44.4;
California, 76.2. The computations are recognized as extremely
crude but they are the only ones available.
Washington.—The law declares that its purpose is to embrace all
“ extrahazardous ” employments. The term is not defined with any
precision. Enumeration is made of a long list of employments
which are to be so regarded, and it is further declared that any
other work determined by the industrial insurance commission to be
extrahazardous is also to be regarded as under the act.
1 Decisions of Industrial Accident Commission, case 169 (Vol. I, No. 10, p. 12).
2 Idem, case 300 (Vol. II, No. 1, p. 15), and case 448 (Vol. II, No. 2, p, 117).
3 Idem, case 99 (Vol. I, No. 15, p. 9 ).
4 Bulletin of U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, No. 203.



The enumerated list includes such highly hazardous employments
as lumber operations, construction work, mining and powder works.
On the other hand, it includes a number of employments with a rel­
atively low accident hazard, such as creameries and printing. In
view of this, it would appear that the commission has the authority
to give the term “ extrahazardous” a very comprehensive interpreta­
tion and thus very considerably broaden the scope of compensation.
Thus far, the commission, by resolution, has brought three groups
of employments under the act—retail stores and fuel yards, mercan­
tile and storage warehouses, and teamsters, truck drivers, and freight
The act covers all workers in extrahazardous employments,
whether engaged in public or private work. Thus, employees of the
State, cities, and counties are brought under the protection of
compensation to the extent that their work is hazardous.
Voluntary acceptance of the compensation act by employers not
brought under by compulsion has been rather rare, and the com­
mission has not been able to offer much encouragement to such prac­
tice. This is partly because the form of election is cumbersome.
Not only the employer but each of his employees must signify their
assent; also the matter of rating and classification is a matter of
difficulty under the Washington system of a State insurance fund
composed of a number of small funds. In 1915 there were only 61
employers under the act by voluntary election.
The report of the industrial insurance department for the year
ending September 30, 1915, states that there were approximately
10,000 employers, with approximately 175,000 employees, under the
compensation act. An attempt by the commission to estimate the
number of “ standard ” or full-time workers from pay roll and wage
data gave 158,351 as the total number of full-time workers covered
by the act.2
Oregon.—The Oregon act enumerates a list of employments which
are to be regarded as hazardous and presumed to be subject to the
act in the absence of positive rejection by individual employers. I f
rejection is made, the employer so doing loses three important legal
defenses in case of suits for damages—fellow-servant rule, con­
tributory negligence, and assumption of risk.
The list of employments given is similar to that of the Washing­
ton act. It includes factories, mines, construction, logging opera­
tions, and, broadly speaking, all other employments where power is
used. Employees in public service are not covered. The enumer­
1 Report of Industrial Insurance Department, 1915, pp. 38, 39. This resolution be­
came effective June, 1915, and by the end of the year had added 510 employers to the
State fund.
2 Idem, pp. 15, 16.



ated list is exclusive, the commission not being authorized, as it is in
Washington, to add other employments which it considers of special
The presumptive elective feature of the Oregon act has been suc­
cessful in bringing under compensation the great majority, but not
all, of the workers in the employments specified by law as hazardous.
The commission estimates that the proportion so covered during the
first year of the act’s operation (July, 1915) was between 80 and 85
per cent.
Voluntary acceptances of compensation by employers in nonhazardous employments have been very few. At the end of the first
year (July, 1915) only 169 employers had made such election. This
was in part due to the fact that under the original act of 1913 all
employers so electing were subject to the same contribution or
premium rate. This deterred election, especially on the part of em­
ployers with low hazards. Under an amendment of 1915, the com­
mission may fix separate rates for different employments.
The total number of employers contributing to the State insurance
fund at the above date was 5,613, including the 169 who came under
by voluntary acceptance. The number of workers represented is not
available, but is estimated as between 30,000 and ^OOO.1
California.—The California act brings under compensation, by
compulsion, all employments of labor except (1) agriculture, (2)
domestic service, and (3) such work as is casual and not in the usual
course of the employer’s business. Of these exceptions, agriculture
is by far the most important. Agriculture includes fruit growing,
dairies, and stock and poultry raising. As thus defined, it is not
only one of the dominant industries of the State; it is also one of
high hazard. The report of the industrial accident commission of
the State for 1915 shows that of the 678 fatal accidents reported
during the year 62, or 9 per cent, were in agricultural pursuits, and
the reporting of agricultural accidents is recognized as less complete
than for other industries.
The definition of casual labor as made by the commission is any
labor employed for less than a week. But the mere fact of being
casual, does not exclude the employment from the scope of com-,
pulsory compensation, To be so excluded, it must also be of a
character clearly outside the usual business of the employer.2
The compulsory feature of the act applies to all public employees
as well as to private employees. And the commission has repeatedly
held that employees outside of the State are covered if they are resi­
1 Report of Industrial Accident Commission, 1915, p. 6.
2 Decisions of Industrial Accident Commission, case 625 (Vol. II, No. 1, p. 30), and
case 761.



dents of the State and are acting under contracts of employment
made within the State.1
Voluntary acceptance of the act on the part of employers in the
excepted classes noted above has been made in 6,858 cases.2 Most
of these have been employers in agriculture.
The number of
workers thereby brought under the act is not known, but at best
would constitute only a fraction of the total number of workers in
those classes.
There is no record of the total number of employees under com­
pensation. An extremely rough estimate places the number at

To the worker a disabling injury means loss of wages during the
period of his disability. In addition it means that at a time when
his income is reduced, perhaps entirely eliminated, he is very pos­
sibly in need of expensive medical and surgical attention. I f he dies
as a result of the injury, the loss of income is suffered by his family.
None of the compensation systems in existence attempts to make
full indemnity for all of the financial expenses and losses resulting
from injury. The usual practice is to provide for immediate medi­
cal and surgical attention, and to make direct money payments of
assumed sufficiency to support the worker and his family during
the period of disability or dependence. Existing acts vary greatly
in the character and amounts of the benefits offered. Those of the
three Pacific States represent almost all phases of possible variation.
The Washington act makes no provision at all for medical service,
this expense falling entirely on the worker. On the other hand,
practically no waiting period is required, any injury causing dis­
ability of more than a day and a half being entitled to a money
benefit. Under the Oregon law, medical service is allowed up to a
total cost of $250 per case, and, as in Washington, there is practi­
cally no waiting period. In California medical service may be
unlimited, but a waiting period of two weeks is required—no money
benefit being payable for disabilities of less than two weeks dura­
As regards the scale of money benefits the acts of Washington and
Oregon are unique in basing payments upon a pension system, vary­
ing with the number of dependents but not, as a rule, with the pre­
vious earnings of the injured worker. In Washington the minimum
monthly pension is $20, payable in the case of an unmarried worker
or of a widow without children. The maximum is $35 per month,
1 Decisions of Industrial Accident Commission, case 29 (Vol. I, No. 11, p. 10).
2 Report of Industrial Accident Commission, 1915.



except that under certain conditions of temporary disability this
may be increased by 50 per cent. In Oregon the minimum is $30
per month and the maximum $50, with a provision similar to that of
Washington, piermitting a 50 per cent increase in certain cases of
temporary disability. These pensions continue during the whole pe­
riod of disability or dependency and apply to all kinds of injuries
except those known as permanent partial disabilities—loss of foot,
leg, etc.
The money benefits under the California act are based upon the
percentage of wages system. The beneficiary, in all cases except
permanent disability, receives continuing payments equivalent to 65
per cent of the previous earnings of the injured worker for a period
not to exceed 240 weeks, with weekly limits of not less than $4.17
nor more than $20.83. This constitutes a limit of $5,000 upon the
total amount payable. In the more serious cases of permanent dis­
ability a life pension is granted.
A more detailed analysis and comparison of the compensation
benefits of the three States is given below under the two main divi­
sions of the subject (a) medical benefits and (b) money benefits.

The place of medical service in a compensation system is of an
importance that can not well be exaggerated. Prompt and efficient
medical attention means minimizing the seriousness of injury. This
is to the interest of the worker as the physical sufferer and of the
public as the ultimate bearer of the cost of compensation.
To the worker it is more important that he be cured of a hurt than
that he be compensated for it ; more important, for example, that his
eyesight be saved than that he receive a life pension for blindness.
And, from the standpoint of compensation cost, the p,rompt restora­
tion of the injured worker to health means relief from further dis­
ability payments. In case of an eye injury, even the most expensive
surgery is cheap compared to the heavy compensation award usually
allowed for blindness. And finally, it is to be noted, that skilled
medical examination is the principal deterrent against malingering.
The character of the medical service obtained by injured em­
ployees thus becomes a factor of far-reaching influence in the work­
ing out of a compensation system. This is so whether the injured
worker is left to provide for his own treatment, as in Washington, or
whether service is furnished as a part of compensation, as in Oregon
and California. In any case, the body which administers the act
is vitally interested in seeing that injuries under compensation
receive efficient medical and surgical attention.



The compensation bill as originally debated in the legislature pro­
vided that the expenses of medical service should be borne by the
State fund. This provision, however, was stricken out before the
passage of the bill. As a result all of the costs of medical service
fall upon the injured worker, either immediately in the form of
doctors’ bills or indirectly in the form of company hospital dues.
The company hospital system is very prevalent in Washington,
especially in the lumber industry and in railroad construction. Of
the injured workers reporting to the industrial insurance commission
in 1911, about 60 per cent paid some form of hospital dues, the most
usual amount being $1 per month.
Inasmuch as the cost of medical attention rests upon the worker
himself, he is at liberty to select his own physician and arrange for
the necessary service. And he does so except in places having the
hospital-fee system. The industrial insurance commission has no
immediate authority in such selection. But it does have a very
definite interest as regards the character of the medical service
In the first place, it is its duty, as manager of the State insurance
fund, to see that the fund is protected. This involves medical ex­
amination and supervision in many cases in order that the fund may
not be burdened by disabilities due to, or prolonged by, improper
treatment. In the second place, it is the duty of the commission, as
general administrator of the compensation act, to see that interests
of the worker are properly protected. To this end, the law author­
izes it “ to supervise the medical, surgical, and hospital treatment to
the intent that same may be in all cases suitable and wholesome.”
A person in receipt of compensation must submit to medical ex­
amination when required to do so by the commission, under penalty
of suspension of benefits. Also, the commission may reduce or sus­
pend compensation if the injured worker refuses to undergo an op­
eration agreed to .as desirable by reputable physicians or persists in
any practice that obstructs recovery to health.
The medical work of the commission is under the charge of a chief
medical adviser. It is his duty to advise the commission upon the
medical aspects of compensations, claims, and awards, and to keep in
touch with the more serious and difficult cases of disability. Physi­
cians are designated in the various counties to act as medical ex­
aminers upon request of the commission. These are paid by fee.
The medical adviser may also refer difficult cases to designated
Financial importance of medical service.—As the worker him­
self pays for all medical attention, there is no available record of the
total amount so paid. But data obtained by the commission indi­

a d m in is tr a tio n

o f la b o r la w s in

p a c ific

sta tes.


cate roughly the importance of this burden in the case of temporary
total disabilities.1 For 1907 such cases for which full information
was obtainable, the total wage loss was $143,695, and the total cost
of medical treatment $32,808, making the total cost to the workers
$176,503. The compensation awards granted for these cases
amounted, in total, to $63,328. This would indicate that the workers’
expense for medical treatment in the case of temporary disabilities
was about 50 per cent of the money indemnities awarded.

The law authorizes the commission to provide, out* of the State
insurance fund, all necessary medical and surgical attention, includ­
ing transportation and hospital service, not to exceed a total cost of
$250 per case. The commission reports that of the total number of
claims filed during the year 1914-15, there were 12 cases in which the
cost of medical treatment would have exceeded $250 if the maximum
allowed by the law had not been fixed at that amount.2
The commission has authority to provide for medical service in
any way it may see fit. It has not attempted, nor has it the equip­
ment, to furnish direct service by means of a regular staff of
physicians. It has a medical division, with a chief medical adviser,
and appoints examining physicians to examine and pass upon diffi­
cult and doubtful cases.
In case of an accident, the injured worker is free to choose his own
physician and method of treatment, and does so except in places
where a company hospital system exists. This system is very preva­
lent in the State. Of the accidents reported during the year, 57 per
cent represented cases in which the injured worker had been paying
hospital dues, the average monthly dues being 97 cents.
Where the company hospital system exists the commission has
followed the plan of arranging with the employer for the furnishing
of the medical service provided for under the act, whenever it
believes that such arrangement will be beneficial. A formal contract
is drawn up. The employer agrees to furnish all necessary attention.
The commission agrees to return to the employer the amount of the
contributions of his workmen to the State fund, and reserves the
right to supervise and control all medical service rendered. It is
also agreed that the employer is to deduct the amount of each
worker’s contribution from the hospital dues charged such worker.
Under the original act the worker’s contribution to the State fund
1 Report of Industrial Insurance Department, 1915, p. 94.
2 Report of Industrial Accident Commission, 1915, p. 15.



was, on the average, about 36 cents per month.1 Under the amend­
ment of 1915, it is 1 cent a day, or approximately 26 cents a month.
The average hospital dues, as noted above, are about 97 cents per
Where the contracting system does not exist, the physician ren­
ders his bill directly to the commission and is paid by voucher upon
the State fund. A schedule of fees chargeable by physicians attend­
ing compensation cases was prepared by the commission after con­
sultation with physicians and a committee-of the State medical so­
ciety. These fees are fixed at a lower level than those ordinarily
charged in private practice.
The commission follows the work of attending physicians and the
progress of the cases by, means of periodical reports required of
such physicians. These reports pass under the attention of the medi­
cal adviser. I f it appears to him that a case is being improperly
handled or there arises any question in regard to it, it is his duty to
make personal examination or to refer the case to an examining
physician. The commission designates such a physician in each
county, payment being by fee. Any person in receipt of compensa­
tion may be required to submit to a medical examination at the di­
rection of the commission, under penalty of having compensation
payments suspended.
Financial importance of medical service.—For the year 1914-15,
the total compensation payments out of the State fund, including
reserves set aside for pensions, was $365,284.2 This amount con­
sisted of $303,419 for money payments or reserves and $61,865 for
medical service. The item of medical service thus constituted 20.4
pej1cent of total money awards.
It is also to be noted that of the total of $61,865, $35,841, or 58
per cent, was paid directly to employers under the hospital con­
tract system noted above.

Under the original act of 1913 the employer was liable for all
necessary medical services—including hospital and surgical costs—
for a period of not to exceed 90 days. By an amendment of 1915 the
commission is authorized, in individual cases, to extend the period of
liability as much beyond 90 days as it may deem wise. Thus, at the
discretion of the commission, medical service may be unlimited both
as to cost and duration.
1 Under* the old law the contribution of the worker was one-half of 1 per cent of his
■wages. Average wages of those injured are reported by the commission as $2.78 per
day. This would make the average monthly contribution approximately 36 cents on
the basis of a 26-day month.
2 Report of Industrial Accident Commission, 1915, p. 27.



The whole question of medical service is quite different under the
California act, which permits all forms of insurance, from what it is
in Oregon, where all compensation insurance is in an exclusive State
In California the right to select the physician and arrange for
treatment rests with the employer. I f the employer is insured, this
right may be assumed by the insurance company. The injured
worker must accept the treatment offered, unless it is clearly unsatis­
factory and so determined by the commission. Otherwise he forfeits
his claim to compensation. Also, the worker forfeits his right to
compensation if he refuses to undergo a surgical operation when, in
the opinion of the commission, based upon expert advice, the risk is
inconsiderable in view of the seriousness of the injury. On the other
hand, if there is unreasonable delay on the part of the employer or
the insurance carrier in furnishing medical treatment the worker
may make his own arrangements.
The character of the medical service rendered varies greatly. Many
of the larger employers maintain their own hospital service or at
least retain a doctor on contract. Some of the insurance companies
also have their own examining surgeons. Of the 60,241 cases of
temporary disability reported to the commission in 1914, the char­
acter of the medical treatment was also reported in 59,751. Of these,
32,287, or 54 per cent, were treated by private doctors; 12,919, or 22
per cent, were treated by company doctors; and in 14,545 cases, or 24
per cent, no medical fees were reported as paid.1
The industrial accident commission has general supervisory
authority over all medical services furnished by employers and insur­
ance carriers, including the State compensation fund. The commis­
sion maintains a medical department, with a chief medical adviser
and two assistants, as a permanent division of its staff, and has
secured the services of numerous physicians throughout the State to
whom cases may be referred for examination, payment being by fee.
The medical department attempts to keep in touch with all of the
more difficult and long-continued cases. It is its duty to see that the
worker receives all necessary treatment and attention that will aid
in his rapid and complete recovery. To this end it may investigate
the progress of a case, order examination by specialists, and, if it
thinks desirable, direct the course of treatment.
A physician called to attend any worker injured in the course of
employment must make a report of such accident to the industrial
accident commission within 10 days of first attendance. This applies
to all accidents, whether or not the injured worker is covered by a
policy of the State compensation insurance fund.
About 12 per cent of the insured employers of the State carry their
insurance under policies of the State compensation insurance fund.
1 Report of Industrial Accident Commission, 1915,


. 91.



This fund has a similar relation toward accident cases under its
policies as that of a private insurance company, except that the med­
ical department of the accident commission also acts as medical ad­
viser to the State fund. It is the duty of the manager of the fund
to conduct its affairs in as economical manner as possible. Persons
injured under its policies are permitted to choose their own physi­
cians unless there is definite reason to the contrary. These physicians
are allowed a very complete liberty in their methods of treatment.
Reasonable economy is* recommended, but they are urged to make all
necessary expenditures which would tend to restore the injured
worker as soon as possible to full earning capacity. The employer
or commission at any time may demand an examination of a worker
claiming or receiving compensation by a physician appointed by the
employer or commission; The worker is entitled, at his own ex­
pense, to have a physician present at the time, but refusal to submit
to examination bars his right to compensation. Any physician pres­
ent at such examination may be required to testify as to the results
In cases not insured in the State fund the charges of physicians
employ.ed by employers, insurance companies, or employees is nor­
mally a matter of contract into which the commission does not enter.
In cases insured in the State fund the attending physicians are paid
according to a schedule of fees prescribed by the commission. These
fees are very much lower than those charged in private practice, the
theory being that the assurance of full and prompt payment com­
pensates physicians for the lower fees.
Financial importance of medical service.—The report of the in­
dustrial accident commission states that the total compensation pay­
ments reported as paid during the year 1914 were $1,861,809, of
which $1,131,630 were in the form of money awards and $730,178
for medical, surgical, and burial expenses.1 These figures are incom­
plete as not including outstanding liabilities at the end of the year,
but are of interest as indicating the importance of medical service
as a part of the compensation system.

Money awards under compensation vary in amount with the sever­
ity and character of the injury. For the fixing of such awards in­
juries may be grouped in four main divisions, according as they
result in—
(1) Death.
(2) Total permanent disability, such as blindness, which totally
and forever incapacitates the injured from profitable labor.
1 Report of Industrial Accident Commission, 1915, p. 45.
to not over $70,000.

Burial expenses amounted



(3) Temporary disability, such as bone fractures and burns, which
incapacitate for a period but do not impair future earning capacity.
(4) Permanent partial disability, such as loss of one arm or of
one eye—injuries which do not wholly incapacitate but cause a per­
manent impairment of faculty.1

I f a fatally injured worker has no dependents, the payment of
burial expenses closes the compensation account. All three of the
States provide for the payment of such expenses, within the limits
of $75 in Washington and of $100 in Oregon and California.2 Thus
fatal accidents, where no dependents are left, are among the cheapest
of accidents from the standpoint of compensation cost. And it is
of interest to jiote that the proportion of such cases to all fatal cases,
is very large. Of the 890 fatal accidents compensated in Washing­
ton during the three years 1913 to 1915, 407 or 46 per cent were cases
in which no dependents were left.3 In Oregon, 28 of the 60 fatal
cases during 1914-15 or 47 per cent were of this class; 4 and in Cali­
fornia, while the proportion of fatally injured workers without de­
pendents is not given, the number of those who were single, and
thus for the most part without dependents, was 339 out of a total
of 607.5
I f a worker killed by accident does leave dependents, then such
persons become entitled to cash benefits in accordance with a pre­
scribed schedule. The three acts agree substantially in their defini­
tion of dependency. Wives, invalid husbands, and children are
presumed to be total dependents and thus automatically entitled to
full compensation. In other cases dependency must be proven.
The California act is the more liberal in the case of children, full
dependency being presumed for children up to 18 years, whereas in
Washington and Oregon this is so only up to the age of 16 years.6
The benefit schedules are as follows:
TYashing ton.—The benefits to dependents in fatal cases are en­
tirely in the form of fixed monthly payments. To the wife or in­
valid husband this monthly payment is $20, with $5 additional for
each child under 16, up to a total of $35 per month. These amounts
1 Temporary partial disabilities, logically a fifth group, are too infrequent to require
notice in this place.
2 In practice the actual awards for burial expenses tend to approximate closely the
maximum award available. Thus in Washington, with a $75 limit the average award
for burial expenses in 1915 was $74.92. And in Oregon, with a $100 maximum, the
average in 1915 was $95.08.
3 Reports of Industrial Insurance Department: 1913, p. 94 ; 1914, p. 102 ; 1915, p. 87.
4 Report of Industrial Accident Commission, 1915, p. 27.
e Idem, p. 64.
6 California is also more liberal as regards alien beneficiaries living outside the United
States. The law itself is silent on this point, but the State supreme court has ruled that
beneficiaries residing abroad are to be treated the same as if resident in the United
States. The Washington law allows compensation in such cases only when in the relation
of father, mother, husband, wife, or child, and the Oregon act in the case of father and



vary slightly to meet other conditions of dependency, but in no case
may the total be greater than $35 per month. All pensions are for
life or until remarriage in the case of the wife and invalid hus­
band, and until the age of 16 years in the case of children. I f the
widow remarries she receives a lump sum of $240 and the pension
Oregon.—Death benefits under the Oregon law are quite similar
in character to those of Washington, but are larger in amount. The
widow or invalid widower receives a monthly pension of $30 with
$6 additional for each child under 16 up to a total of $50. As in
Washington the pensions are for life or until remarriage in the case
of the widow and invalid widower and until 16 years of age in the
case of children. Upon remarriage of a widow she receives a lump
sum payment o f $300.
California.—Under the California law total dependents in fatal
cases are entitled to receive continuing payments equivalent to 65
per cent of the previous weekly earnings of the worker for a period
of 240 weeks (4-^ years). The total compensation payable, how­
ever, may not be less than $1,000 or more than $5,000. The pay­
ments are thus within the limits of $4.17 and $20.83 per week.
Comparison of death benefits in the three States.

Comparison of the value of the death benefits offered by these acts
may be readily made as between Washington and Oregon. The
schedules of these two States are based upon the same principle.
They differ only in the size of the pensions offered, the limits in
Washington being from $20 to $35 per month and in Oregon from
$30 to $50 per month. Under all circumstances, therefore, the de­
pendents of fatally injured workers are better provided for in
Oregon than in Washington.
In considering the sufficiency of these pensions it is of interest to
compare with them the minimum wage standards as fixed for women
by the industrial welfare commissions of these two States. The
lowest minimum established for any woman worker by the Washing­
ton commission is $8.90 per week, the equivalent of about $38.50 per
month. The lowest fixed by the Oregon commission is $8.25 per
week, the equivalent of about $35.75 per month.1
Comparison of the value of the benefits offered by Washington and
Oregon with those of California is extremely difficult, as the under­
lying theories of the two systems are quite different. In California
the benefit may vary from $18.07 to $90.22 per month. Thus the
maximum monthly payment in California ($90.22) is much higher
than the maximum of Washington ($35) and of Oregon ($50). On
the other hand, the minimum payment in California ($18.07) is

1 See Chapter IV above.

I ll


lower than in either Washington ($20) or Oregon ($30). The
California payments are limited in time to a period of 240 weeks
and may not exceed $5,000 in total, whereas the pensions offered in
Washington and Oregon are for life and may exceed $10,000 in total.
The practical working out of the death-benefit schedules of the
three States may be indicated by a few representative cases. The
selection of cases is difficult, and those presented in the following
table are no more than illustrative of the major variations.
The table shows the benefits due to a widow, as affected by age and
family in Washington and Oregon and by the amount of the hus­
band’s wages in California. The three wage groups are, respectively,
$45.50 per month ($1.75 per day), $75 per month ($2.88 per day),
and $156 per month ($6 per day). The $1.75 per day rate represents
the very low paid worker; the $2.88 per day rate represents approxi­
mately the average income of all injured workers in these States,1
and the $6 rate represents the small group of highly paid workers.
As the age of the widow seriously affects the value of a life pension
in Washington and Oregon, computations are made at two ages—
30 years (the life expectancy at this age being 35.33 years) and 40
years (the life expectancy being 28.18 years).
T able

[Life expectancy of widow at age 30, 35.33 years; at age 40, 28.18 years.]


Widow, with
no children.

$20 per month for
Age 30, $8,480.
Age 40,$6,763.

$30 per month for
Age 30, $12,719.
Age 40,$10,144.

Widow, with
1 child aged
6 years.

$25 per month for
10 years, then
$20 per month for
Age 30, $9,080.
Age 40, $7,363.

$36 per month for
10 years, then
$30 per month for
Age 30, $13,439.
Age 40, $10,864.

Monthly earn­ Monthly earn­ Monthly earn­
ings, $75
ings, $45.50
ings, $156
($1.75 per day). ($2.88 per day). ($6 per day).
$29.58 per
month for
55.4 months
(240 wks.).

$48.75 per
month for
55.4 months
(240 wks.).

Widow, with $35 per month for $48 per month for ...... do............
7 years, then
7 years, then
3 children,
aged 3,6, and $30 per month for $42 per month for
3 years, then
3 years, then
9 years.
$25 per month for $36 per month for
3 years, then
3 years, then
$20 per month for $30 per month for
rest of life.
rest of life.
Maximum :
Age 30, $10,280.
Age 30, $14,879.
Age 40, $8,563.
Age 40, $12,305.

$90. 222per
55.4 months
(240 wks.).


1See report of Industrial Insurance Department, Washington, 1915, p. 88; Report of Industrial Accident
Commission, Oregon, 1915, p 32; Report of Industrial Accident Commission, California, 1915. pp. 61, 85.
265 per cent of $156 is $101.40, but the maximum allowed by the compensation act is $5,000 per accident,
which is approximately $90.22 per month.



Injuries which totally incapacitate the victim for life are very
infrequent. They consist of such cases as blindness, loss of both legs
or of both arms, paralysis, and insanity. In Washington for the
year 1914-15 there were only 9 total permanent disabilities out of a
total of 12,915 injuries reported.1 In Oregon, for the year 1914-15,
only 1 such case was reported out of a total of 3,669 injuries,2 and
in California, for the year 1914, there were only 13 cases causing as
much as 95 per cent of permanent disability out of a total of 62,211
injuries reported.3
While instances of total permanent disability are thus not fre­
quent, they are, economically, the most expensive of all injuries. Not
only is there the same loss of income, with consequent deprivation to
the worker’s family, as if death had resulted; there is the additional
burden incident to the support of the worker as a permanent invalid.
Most compensation acts recognize this fact in allowing higher
benefits for total permanent disability than for death. The acts of
Washington and Oregon do so to a very limited extent. Under
each of them the monthly pension allowed a worker suffering from
total permanent disability is the same as to the widow in case of
fatal injury, except that the minimum amount is increased by $5
if the injured worker is married; that is to say, to $25 per month in
Washington and to $35 in Oregon. The maximum pensions remain
the same as in fatal cases. Thus the award to a totally disabled
worker with a wife and four children is no greater than the award
to his widow would have been if he had been killed instead of disabled.
Under the California law, total permanent disability is allowed a
much higher benefit than is death. In case of death the widow
receives 65 per cent of wages for a period of 240 weeks. In case of
total permanent disability, the injured worker is given a similar
benefit, but at the expiration of the 240 weeks a life pension equiva­
lent to 40 per cent of wages is granted. The theory of this is that
the 240 weeks during which 65 per cent of wages is payable consti­
tutes a sufficient period for the family of the worker to adjust itself
to the loss of its usual income, and that the 40 per cent pension
thereafter paid is for the specific support of the incapacitated

The most frequent injuries by far are those which result in tem­
porary disability—such injuries, for example, as bruises, lacerations,
and fractures, which incapacitate the worker for a period but which,
after healing, leave no impairment of faculty and do not interfere
with future earning capacity. At times these temporary disabilities
1 Report of Industrial Insurance Department, 1915, p. 87.
2 Report of Industrial Accident Commission, 1915, p. 27.
3 Idem, p. 72.



may be only partial in character, allowing the injured person to
work part of the time or at a reduced wage. But usually such
disabilities cause total incapacity while they last, and the present
discussion is limited to disabilities of that character.
Most of these disabilities are of very short duration. In each of
the Pacific States more than 70 per cent of the temporary disabilities
reported lasted less than 4 weeks and less than 5 per cent lasted as
long as 20 weeks. Because of this fact, the question of a “ waiting
period” becomes of much significance.
Waiting Period.

The compensation acts of Washington and Oregon are among the
very few that provide for no waiting period, at least none of any
moment. The Washington act, in a phrase of obscure meaning,
declares that no compensation shall be payable “ unless the loss of
earning power shall exceed 5 per cent.” The commission inter­
preted this as meaning 5 per cent of a month and thereupon fixed
a waiting period of 1^ days (5 per cent of 30 days). But such a
short waiting period as this is of rather negligible importance, and
practically all injuries of any importance are compensable in Wash­
ington and Oregon.
In California, on the other hand, the law fixes a two-week waiting
period. Disabilities of shorter duration are not entitled to cash
benefits, and for those lasting for a longer period no benefits are
allowed for the first two weeks.
The effect of this two weeks’ waiting period in California is to
eliminate from money benefits large numbers of accidents that would
be covered in Washington and Oregon. The proportionate numbers
concerned are indicated in the following table, which shows for each
of the States the percentage of reported disabilities terminating
within specified weeks. The data of the table are based upon the
accident reports as made to the several compensation commissions
and are incomplete for the very short time disabilities. This is
especially so in Washington.
[Source: Report of industrial insurance department, Washington, 1915, p. 90; Report of industrial accident
commission, Oregon, 1915, p. 30; Report of industrial accident commission, California, 1915, p. 101. The
data in the latter report are in chart form, from which the exact figures can be only approximated.]

T able

Time loss.
1 week and under1 ........................................................................
1 to 2 weeks .....................................................................................
2 to 4 weeks
4 to 20 weeks ...................................................................................
20 weeks and over ............- ............................................................




T otal............................................................................. ..........




Total number of disabilities reported.......................................




1 But excluding disabilities involving no time loss.
Total disabilities reported, 60,052, including 18,452 involving no time loss.


69861°— 17-------8



In California, therefore, approximately 65 per cent of all re­
ported disabilities (excluding those involving no time loss) lasted
less than two weeks, and these, while receiving medical service, re­
ceived no cash benefits. In Washington, nearly all of these disabili­
ties would have been entitled to cash benefits without medical service.
In Oregon they would have been entitled to both cash benefits and
medical service. The Industrial Accident Commission of Oregon
estimates that if the act of that State had provided for a two. weeks’
waiting period, the compensation payments for 1914-15 would have
been reduced by about $34,600, which is 46 per cent of the total of
$75,130 paid out for cash benefits in cases of total temporary dis­
ability for the year mentioned.1
Cash Benefits.

In Washington and Oregon the benefits allowed for total tem­
porary disability follow the same general pension plan as that de­
scribed above for other disabilities, except that under certain con­
ditions the pensions there noted may be increased very considerably
in amount.
Thus under the Washington law the normal weekly pensions of
$20 to $35 per month are increasable to 50 per cent for the first six
months of disability, subject to the limitation that with such increase
the total weekly pension does not exceed 60 per cent of previous
weekly earnings. This limitation is an important one, operating, in
practice, in such a wa^ as to prevent the lower-paid workers, espe­
cially those with large families, from getting full advantage of the
50 per cent increase.
This may be best shown by means of an illustration. An unmar­
ried worker earning $40 a month meets with an injury of temporary
nature. The permissible monthly pension in such case would be
$30—i. e., the normal $20 pension increased by 50 per cent. But as
60 per cent of his previous monthly earnings ($40) is only $24, the
pension allowed him is limited to that amount. Again, take the case
of a disabled worker, earning $58 per month, with a wife and three
children. The permissible pension in such case would be $35 plus
50 per cent, or $52.50. But as 60 per cent of his previous monthly
earnings is only $34.50, the pension allowed him would be limited
to the normal one of $35. He would receive no benefit from the 50
per cent increase provision of the law.
The Oregon law contains precisely the same provision in regard
to benefits for total temporary disabilities as that just described for
Washington—namely, that benefits for such disabilities are to be the
normal monthly pensions ($30 to $50 in Oregon) increased by 50
1 Report of Industrial Accident Commission, Oregon, pp. 27, 30.



per cent, provided that with this increase the total monthly pension
does not exceed 60 per cent of previous monthly earnings. This 60
per cent limitation works out, as it does in Washington, to the
disadvantage of the lower paid worker.
The California law applies the same principle of percentage of
wage loss to temporary total disabilities as to other forms of dis­
ability. The temporarily disabled worker is entitled to a benefit
equal to 65 per cent of his previous weekly earnings for a period not
to exceed 240 weeks, provided that the weekly payments may not be
less than $4.17 nor more than $20.83 (the equivalent monthly limits
would be $18.07 and $90.22).
Comparison of benefits for temporary disability in the three States.

The table below shows, for certain selected cases, the cash benefits
for total temporary disabilities offered by the compensation acts of
the three States. The selection of cases offers similar difficulties to
those noted in connection with the comparative table given above
for fatal injuries, with the added complication that in all three
States benefits for temporary disabilities vary with the earnings of
the worker. The cases presented are, therefore, no more than a
rough illustration of certain of the more important variations. The
wage grouping is the same as that used in the table on fatal injuries,
and the grouping by size of family is also substantially the same.
The table shows the monthly benefits for disabilities subject to
compensation. It does not take into consideration the question of
waiting period. Also it may be noted that in the preparation of this
table, in order to bring all data upon a comparable monthly basis,
it was necessary to make certain assumptions which may not be
entirely accurate.
T a b l e 7 .— COMPARISON

[For explanation of amounts in parentheses see text following.]

Size of family.


Compensation allowed per month.



Worker, unmarried...............................................

$45.50 $27.30 ($30.00)
75.00 30.00
156.00 30.00

$30.00 ($45.00)


Worker, married, with no children.....................


27.30 ( 37.50)

36.00 ( 54.00)
45.00 ( 54.00)

i 90.22

Worker, married, with 1 child..............................


30.00 ( 45.00)

42.00 ( 63.00)
45.00 ( 63.00)


Worker, married, with 3 children.........................


35.00 ( 52.50)
45.00 ( 52.50)

50.00 ( 75.00)
50.00 ( 75.00)


1 65 per cent of $156 would be $101.40, but the m axim um allowed by the compensation act is $90.22 per
m onth.



In the columns for Washington and Oregon certain items have
opposite them larger items inclosed in parentheses. The larger
items are the monthly payment permissible to a worker of the family
group under the 50 per cent increase provision. The smaller item
shows the amount to which the actual payment is reduced as a re­
sult of the proviso that the total payment may in no case exceed 60
per cent of previous earnings.
Comparing the benefits in the individual cases by States, it will
be noted that those of Oregon are higher than those of Washington
by from $3.30 to $22.50, except in one case—that of a married
worker with one child and a wage of $75. In this .case the benefits
of the two acts are the same—$45—the 60 per cent limitation operat­
ing in Oregon but not in Washington.
Comparing Oregon with California, it appears that the benefits
of the two States are quite similar for the two lower-wage groups—
$45.50 and $75—but with the highest wage group—$156—the Cali­
fornia benefits much exceed those of Oregon, but decreasingly so as
the dependent family increases in size.

By permanent partial disabilities are meant such disabilities as
result from the loss of an arm, a hand, or a finger—injuries which
do not incapacitate the sufferer from future labor but which reduce
his earning capacity or handicap him in his efforts to get work.
In no respect do the compensation acts of the Pacific States differ
more markedly than in their attitude toward the size and character
of the indemnities for this kind of disability. Washington departs
from its usual monthly payment plan and employs a system of
lump-sum awards, the maximum being $1,500. Oregon retains the
monthly payment plan in a modified form, awards for all the more
serious injuries being payable in installments of $25 a month, with
96 months ($2,400) as the maximum. In each of these States the
same award is made for the same injury, irrespective of the age,
occupation, or earnings of the injured worker. California, on the
other hand, in evaluating permanent disabilities takes into con­
sideration the occupation, age, and previous earnings of the worker.
Washington scale for permanent partial disabilities.

The law provides that all permanent partial disabilities shall be
compensated in lump-sum payments, according to the degree of
disability, the maximum in no case to exceed $1,500 and the loss of
the major arm at or above the elbow to be entitled to this maximum.
The commission is to determine and pay for any other injury in
proportion thereto.



Acting upon this direction the commission prepared a disability
scale. This scale accepts, as directed by law, the loss of the major
arm as the maximum disability, and rates this as a 60 per cent injury.
Total deafness and loss of leg at or above the knee are also valued at
60 per cent. All three of these injuries thus receive the maximum
of $1,500. From these, the other more frequent injuries are gradu­
ated downward, one degree being equivalent to $25. The scale is
quite detailed, all arm and hand injuries being separately rated ac­
cording to whether the member affected is major or minor.
Oregon scale for permanent partial disabilities.

The law contemplates that awards for permanent partial disabili­
ties are to be paid in monthly installments of $25 per month with
96 months ($2,400) as the maximum. The number of months for
which such payments are to continue is specified for a list of repre­
sentative injuries. For certain minor injuries in this list, where
the award is not more than 50 per cent of the maximum, the monthly
payments may be commuted, at the option of the worker, into lump­
sum payments of specified amount. All intermediate injuries not
named in the law are evaluated by the commission, which may per­
mit commutation only when the award is not more than one-eighth
of the maximum. During the year 1914-15 about two-thirds of
all injured workers having the option of election elected to take pay­
ments in lump sums.1
The scale as given in the law is very brief. No distinction is
made between major and minor hands and arms. Loss of arm at or
above elbow and complete loss of hearing are rated at the maximum,
and thereby entitled to $25 for 96 months, a total of $2,400. From
these the other injuries are graded downward.
The California system of rating permanent disabilities.

In its treatment of the subject of permanent disabilities the Cali­
fornia compensation system carries out, with considerable fullness,
what may be called the rehabilitation theory. This theory is that
the amount and period of compensation should be, as nearly as pos­
sible, such as to permit the injured worker to adjust himself to his
injuries. When complete adjustment is never possible a permanent
pension is desirable. Where adjustment is possible, compensation is
to be for the period necessary for such adjustment. In determining
the length of this period the law provides, and this is a distinctive
feature of the California law, that the age and occupation of the
injured worker shall be taken into account.
Report of Industrial Accident Commission, 1915, p. 14.



In other words, permanent disabilities are not given a uniform
rating. It is regarded that the loss, say, of a finger to a man of 50
is more serious than to a man of 20, inasmuch as the younger man can
more readily adapt himself to the loss. For the man of 20, therefore,
adjustment being easier, compensation should be less. Or, again, it
is regarded that the loss of a finger to a common laborer means less
to him than to a machinist, whose skill is so largely represented in
his fingers, and therefore that compensation should be less.
The scheme of compensation awards is outlined in the law. It is
there provided that all permanent disabilities are to be rated in terms
of percentages, from 1 to 100. For each 1 per cent of disability up
to 70 the compensation allowance is to be 65 per cent of previous
weekly earnings for a period of 4 weeks. Thus a 10 per cent dis­
ability is to receive 65 per cent of earnings for 40 weeks, a 50 per cent
disability similar payments for 200 weeks, and so on. For disabilities
rated at 70 per cent or over, 65 per cent of wages is allowed for 240
weeks, and thereafter a life pension. This pension is equivalent to
10 per cent of earnings for 70 per cent disabilities, and to increase 1
per cent for each percentage of disability up to the maximum dis­
ability of 100* per cent for which the pension is 40 per cent of earn­
ings. At this point, of course, permanent partial disability merges
into permanent total disability.
The law thus fixes the amount of the award for each disability per­
centage. The classification of disabilities and their placing in par­
ticular percentage groups, however, is left entirely to the industrial
accident commission. In other words, the law states that a 10 per
cent disability is to receive compensation for 40 weeks, but it is left
to the commission to determine what particular disabilities are to be
put in the 10 per cent group.
The commission, as one of its earliest tasks, undertook the prepa­
ration of a rating table to cover the various disabilities. Inasmuch
as the factors of age and occupations had to be taken into account,
the preparation of such a table involved many difficulties. A division
known as the permanent-disability rating department was created for
the study of the subject. This department sought to make a com­
prehensive study of the subject of permanent disabilities as affecting
the earning capacity of persons of different ages in different lines of
work. The existing material was examined, and in addition a force
of investigators were assigned to a field study of occupations.
As a basis for computation a standard worker was assumed—an
unskilled laborer, 39 years of age, unskilled labor representing work
on which physical requirements and functional adjustments were
simplest. Using this as a basis the effort was to ascertain the rela­



tionship of all other occupations as regards physical requirements
and specialization of functions. The age factor was less difficult to
handle, an empirical formula being easily tested.
As a result of this series of investigations and studies there was
drawn up a rating schedule covering (1) the nature of injury, (2) the
occupation of the worker, and (3) the age at time of injury. The
schedule is necessarily very voluminous, but by an ingenious index
system is easy of consultation.
A rating schedule, however well prepared, could not be entirely
complete. Nor could it dispense entirely with human interpretation.
The rating department was, therefore, continued for the purpose of
collecting further information regarding permanent.disabilities and
also of approving ratings agreed on by the parties concerned and
submitted to the commission for approval. The aim is to have all
cases of permanent injury not in the rating schedule as prepared
come to this department for grading and standardization. Reports
are kept of all such ratings with the object of establishing precedents
for use in subsequent cases of approximately the same character.
Private insurance companies must follow the disability rating
schedule of the commission. Disabilities not in the schedule may
have the rating fixed by the company, but appeal may be made to the
Comparisons of the benefits allowed for permanent partial disabilities in the
three States.

The table below compares the awards made under the acts of Wash­
ington, Oregon, and California for certain selected cases of perma­
nent partial disability. The injuries selected constitute the more
important forms of dismemberment—loss of arm, leg, hand, foot, eye,
and index finger—and may be taken as entirely typical. For Cali­
fornia it was necessary to use selected examples of workers injured,
as in that State the awards vary with occupation, age, and earnings.
The four examples chosen are believed to be fairly representative—
an unskilled laborer of low wage ($10.50 a week) and a skilled ma­
chinist at the approximate average wage of all injured workers
($17.31 a week), with separate computations for the two classes
of workers at ages 21 and 49.
In those cases where the schedule recognizes differences in severity
for substantially the same injury the largest awards are used in the
table. Thus in Washington and California, but not in Oregon, dis­
tinction is made between major and minor arm and major and minor
hand, the award being slightly less in the case of the minor member.




Loss of—

ington (monthly
Unskilled laborer (wages $10.50
a week).
sum pay­
Age 21.



Leg, at or above
Hand (major), at
wrist joint.




First finger(major
hand), at proxi­
mal joint.



Age 49.

Machinist (wages $17.31 £
Age 21.

Age 49.


$l,507($6.82for $1,705($6.82 for $2,598 ($11.25 $5,961($11.25 for
250 wks.).
for 231 wks.).
240 wks., then
221 wks.).
$2.90 per wk.
for life).
2,200 $l,234($6.82for $l,439($6.82for $2,002 ($11.25 $2,238($11.25for
181 wks.).
211 wks.).
for 178 wks.).
199 wks.).
1,900 $l,098($6.82for $l,302($6.82for $1,923 ($11.25 $2,778 ($11.25 for
161 wks.).
191 wks.).
for 171 wks.).
247 wks.).
1,600 $586 ($6.82 for $736 ($6.82 for $945 ($11.25 for $l,091($11.25for
86 wks.).
108 wks.).
84 wks.).
97 wks.).
1,000 $709 ($6.82 for $879 ($6.82 for $1,260 ($11.25 $l,957($11.25for
m wks.).
129 wks.).
for 112 wks.).
174 wks.).
400 $184 ($6.82 for $238 ($6.82 for $371 ($11.25 for $776 ($11.25 for
27 wks.).
35 wks.).
33 wks.).
69 wks.).

Reference to the table shows how differently the same injury may
be compensated in the different States. Thus, if a worker loses an
arm in Washington he receives a flat lump sum indemnity of $1,500.
In Oregon for the same injury he would receive $2,400 in a series
of 96 monthly payments of $25 each. In California this com­
pensation would be dependent upon the worker’s age, occupation,
and wage. An unskilled laborer of 21 years, at a wage of $10.50 a
week, would receive $6.82 per week for 221 weeks, the equivalent
of $1,507 in total. I f his age was 49 years, he would receive the
same weekly payment for 250 weeks, equivalent to $1,705 in total,
the theory being that the older the worker the harder it is for him to
adjust himself to the loss of an arm. But in either case the unskilled
laborer of low wage would receive less than in Oregon and only
slightly more than in Washington. On the other hand, as his wage
increases his award increases; and a machinist, aged 21, wage $17.31
a week, would receive $11.25 per week for 231 weeks, a total
of $2,598. And if the same machinist was 49 years of age he would
receive $11.25 for 240 weeks and thereafter a small life pension.
This would make his total award (upon life expectancy) some
Again, as an example of interesting differences in the systems
used, it may be noted that, while the leg is given a higher valuation
than the hand in Washington and Oregon, this relation is variable
in California. In the case of the unskilled worker the leg is esti­
mated to be the more valuable of the two members, but in certain
occupations at certain ages, as a machinist aged 49, it is considered
that the loss of an arm constitutes the greater handicap, and is
compensated for at a higher rate.




Each of the compensation acts gives every worker under the act
a legal claim to compensation benefits in case of injury. But in no
case does the State guarantee the payment of claims. Thus the
validity of the worker’s claim rests ultimately upon the solvency of
the party made liable for payment. In Washington and in Oregon
this liability is placed solely upon a State-managed accident insur­
ance fund. In California it rests directly upon the employer,
unless taken over by an insurance carrier. I f for any reason the
State fund, or the employer, or the insurance carrier fail to make
payment, the loss falls upon the worker. The worker thus has an
immediate interest in the method according to which the compensa­
tion liability is carried.

Under the Washington law all employers subject to compensation,
whether by compulsion or election, are required to contribute to the
State accident fund, which thereupon becomes liable for all compen­
sation payments. No other form of compensation insurance is recog­
nized. The fund is under the management of the industrial insur­
ance commission.

All employers affected by the act are compelled to contribute in
proportion to the respective hazards of the work in which they are
engaged. The original act evaluated the relative hazards of the dif­
ferent industries in a series of what may be called “ basic ” rates.
These rates varied from $10 per $100 of annual pay roll in the case
of powder works to $1.50 per $100 for such industries as textiles,
creameries, and printing.
In this manner each of the several industries and employments
enumerated by the law as extra hazardous was given a basic rate
based upon presumed risk. In ' addition, classification was made of
industries according to the general character of the work. Thus class
1 included all employers engaged in underground work, such as
sewers, tunnels, drilling wells, etc.
Each of these classes constitutes a separate unit with its own acci­
dent fund. Each class fund is credited with all contributions from
employers in that class, is to meet all claims made by the industries
of that class, and may not be called upon to meet a deficiency in any
other class fund. Thus the accident fund consists really of several
practically independent class funds.



The method of hazard rating and also the classification of indus­
tries were laid down in detail in the original law and were practi­
cally inflexible. After operation certain weaknesses developed. In
the first place, some of the funds covered so few employers and
such a small total pay roll as to be unsafe and perhaps unfair. Thus
class 20, steamboats, included in 1915 only 9 employers and 44
workers. Also the larger the number of separate funds the larger
must be the total sum set aside for reserve balances in the several
class funds. Finally, it was clear that with accumulated accident
experience, the system of differential hazard rating might be made
more accurate. With these points in mind the legislature of 1915
adopted an amendment authorizing the commission to make changes
in both rates and classification when experience should show such
changes to be desirable.
The “ basic ” rates, it is to be noted, have no importance as abso­
lute amounts. Inasmuch as each class fund is to be self-supporting
and no more, the actual contributions demanded of an industry may
be greater or less than the basic rate. If, in other words, each indus­
try carried its own fund, or if only industries of the same basic rate
were grouped in the same class fund, there would be no significance
in the establishment of a rate in advance. As, however, the system
of classification adopted brings industries with different basic rates
in the same class, those rates become of importance as indicating the
relative proportions in the contributions of the several industries in
the class. Thus, one class is composed of garbage works, with a basic
rate of 2 per cent, and fertilizer works, with a rate of 2| per cent.
The contributions demanded to support the fund of this class might
be greater or less than the percentages named, but the fertilizer
works would have to pay the larger proportions—as 2-J. is to 2.

Each of the class funds, as described above, is responsible for the
accidents in its own class. The State assumes no responsibility. The
ultimate security of payment, therefore, depends upon the solvency
of the employers in the class. The law provides that if at any time a
class fund is insufficient to meet a warrant drawn upon it, the em­
ployer on whose account it was that the warrant was drawn shall pay
the same and be credited with such amount upon his next contri­
This question came to acute issue during the first year of the law’s
operation as a result of a powder work’s explosion in which eight
female employees were killed. The class embraced only five plants—
a very large plant of the DuPont Powder Co., three small powder
plants, and one fireworks factory. The eight deaths required the set­



ting aside of pension reserves and the payment of burial expenses to
the extent of $8,259.35. The fund was insufficient to bear the amount.
It would have been more than sufficient if the assessments of the class
had been paid, but the DuPont Co., whose pay roll constituted over
90 per cent of the total pay roll of the class, refused to pay any of its
assessment. Pending decision of the supreme court as regards the
act’s constitutionality, the commission has taken no legal action in the
matter. Warrants are issued against the class fund, but are marked
as not yet payable.


Under the scale of compensation provided for, death or per­
manent total disability involves monthly payments during the life
of the beneficiary. To meet a continuing payment of this kind the
law provides for the segregation in the accident fund of a sum of
money estimated to carry the series of payments, but the maximum
sum so to be set aside is limited to $4,000. The sum of $4,000 is
sufficient to cover the life expectancy of a person 30 years of age.
For persons under that age, therefore, the maximum amount that
can be set aside is not sufficient to cover life expectancy. To meet
such contingency, it is provided that any deficiency is to be paid
out of the regular accident fund.

Payments by employers are in the form of monthly calls or assess­
ments—each call representing one-twelfth of the basic rate of the
industry for the year. Thus, if the basic rate is 6 per cent ($6 per
$100 of annual pay roll) the monthly call would be for one-half of
1 per cent. The size of the monthly call is thus fixed in advance,
but not the number of monthly calls. The number depends upon
the condition of the class fund. I f the class fund is sufficient to
meet payments and maintain a satisfactory reserve, assessments may
be made for only a few months of the year.
Assessments upon employers are payable within 30 days after
demand. An amendment of 1915 provides that delinquent payments
are to bear interest at the high rate of 12 per cent.
The examination and auditing of the employers’ pay rolls is done
by the force of field auditors maintained by the department. This
work is difficult because of the fact that industry is widely scattered,
distances great, and traveling facilities very poor in certain large
A further difficulty under the original act was that the department
had to locate plants and make demands for payment before any



obligation was created. This was particularly serious in the case of
casual employers, such as are many engaged in construction work
and the operation of small sawmills. To meet this difficulty in part,
an amendment of 1915 provides that an employer engaging in or
resuming business during the course of the year must report the fact
to the commission with an estimate of his pay roll and must make
payment on such estimated pay roll for the first three months of
operation. This is to be done under penalty of three times the
amount due.



The following statement shows the condition of the State fund
on September 30, 1915. The statement is from the annual report
of the industrial insurance commission for 1915 (p. 18).
A ccident fund.
Balance in fund Oct. 1, 1914________________________
Total contributions year ending Sept.
30, 1915____________________________ $1,217,687.67
Interest on daily balances___________
7, 468. 91
Return to accident fund from reserve
fund account remarriages or cessa­
tion o f dependency________________
58, 639. 91
T ota l__________________________
Less refund o f excess contribution__

1, 283, 796. 49
19, 090. 66

$487, 035. 56

1, 264, 705. 83

Total receipts________________________________
Claims paid— year ending Sept. 30,
883, 542. 46
Reserve set aside to secure pensions393, 365. 83

1, 751, 741. 39

Total disbursements__________________________

1, 276, 908. 29


474, 833.10

R eserve fund.
Balance in fund Oct. 1, 1914________________________ $1, 084, 329. 49
Total awards— year ending Sept. 30,
$393, 365. 83
Interest receiv ed -___________________
63, 913. 47
-----------------------457, 279. 30
T ota l__________________________________________
Pensions paid— year ending Sept. 30,
167, 500.16

1, 541, 608. 79

Return to accident fund account
remarriages or cessation o f de­
pendency __________________________
$58, 639. 91

$228,140. 07

Balance in fund Sept. 30, 1915_______________

1, 315, 468. 72


Cash fund.
Accident fund balance______________
Reserve fund balance______________

$474, 833.10
1, 315, 468. 72
------------------------ $1, 790, 301. 82
Invested in bonds to secure reserve__________________ 1, 336, 800. 00
Net cash balance______________________________

453, 501. 82


As in Washington, the only form of compensation insurance recog­
nized by the Oregon law is that offered through the State accident
fund. All employees under the act are required to contribute to the
State fund, which thereupon becomes liable for all compensation
The industrial accident fund consists of contributions from em­
ployers, employees, and the State. The employer contributes ac­
cording to a specified percentage of his pay roll; the employee con­
tributes 1 cent per working day; the State contributes one-seventh
of the combined amounts contributed by employers and workmen.
All employers under the scope of the compensation act are required
to contribute to this fund. Such contribution relieves them of all
other liability. The failure of an employer to contribute, however,
does not affect the right of an injured employee to receive compensa­
tion from the State fund.
All compensation costs, including money awards, medical service,
and administrative expenses, are payable out of the fund. The man­
agement of the fund is in the hands of the industrial accident com­


The pay-roll percentages to be contributed by employers are speci­
fied in the act for employments enumerated by law as hazardous,
the percentages varying for different employments according to their
presumed hazards. For any other employment the rate is fixed by
the commission on the application of any employer therein.
The percentages of pay-roll contributions, or premium rates, were
based in substance upon the rates of the Washington law, but the
system of rating in the two States is quite different. The Wash­



ington law groups the employments by similarity of work, sometimes
placing employments with very different premium rates in the same
class and establishing for each group or class a separate fund against
which are charged all losses in that group. In Oregon there is no
class-fund system. All contributions go into a single fund, against
which all losses are charged. Provision is made in the law against
the possibility of the fund becoming unnecessarily large by provid­
ing that when the commission determines that the fund is sufficient
to meet all payments, with a 30 per cent surplus, temporary exemp­
tion shall be granted employers who shall have been contributors
for the preceding six months.

The accident fund as a whole is responsible for all accidental
injuries to the employees of any employer under the compensation
act. If an employer defaults in his contributions, a workman in­
jured during such period of default may bring suit or elect compen­
sation out of the State fund, but in any case is protected by such
fund. If, however, the accident fund itself should prove insufficient
to meet its charges, there is apparently no means provided by which
the deficiency may be made up, inasmuch as the maximum premium
rates are fixed by law. The State itself assumes no obligation.

Under the compensation scale death or total permanent disability
involves monthly payments during the life of the beneficiary, and
the more serious partial disabilities involve similar payments for
specified periods. To meet a continuing payment of this kind the
law provides for the segregation in the accident fund of a sum of
money sufficient to carry the series of deferred payments. In the
case of death or permanent tQtal disability the full amount neces­
sary to carry the charge, as computed according to life expectancy,
is to be set aside. In the case of partial disability such segregation
is made when the period of payment exceeds two years.
The money thus set aside is separately invested as a distinct fund
known as the segregated accident fund. Any deficiency in the segre­
gated accident fund is to be made good out of and any surplus is to
revert to the regular accident fund. By this means it was intended
that all compensation for accidents should be charged against the
period of occurrence, while at the same time guaranteeing the
security of future payments by making a chance deficiency payable
out of future income.




The workman’s contribution of 1 cent per working day is re­
tained from his wages by his employer and paid by him to the State
The contributions demanded of employers are payable by them
monthly, the assessment being, as noted, a fixed percentage of the
monthly pay roll.
These payments are obligatory, and penalties are provided for
default or for misstatement. Nevertheless, prompt and accurate
payment can not always be secured, and the commission employs a
staff of auditors who visit periodically the various establishments
and employers and audit and* adjust their pay rolls. A most serious
difficulty has been the locating of employers. The law provides
that all employers in the specified hazardous industries are auto­
matically under the act, with obligation to contribute to the fund
unless written notice to the contrary is given. An employer may
thus be under the act, but unless an accident occurs and is reported
may escape his obligation to contribute. This is possible, of course,
chiefly in the case of small, casual employers, such as those engaged
in construction work lasting a short period. The locating and list­
ing of such employers has been a most serious difficulty. The diffi­
culty has been accentuated in Oregon, as in Washington, because
of the extent and, in large part, sparsely settled character of the

The following statement shows the financial condition' of the
State fund on June 30, 1915. The statement is from the annual re­
port of the industrial-accident commission for 1915 (p. 8) :
Contributed by State_______
Em ployers’ contributions___
W orkm en’s contributions___

$90, 345. 22
450, 932. 49
78, 754. 33
--------------------- $620, 032, 04

Set aside in reserve to guar­
antee pensions____________ $174, 843. 99
Compensation for time loss. 121, 638. 27
First aid to injured w ork­
men ______________________
61, 438. 70
Burial expense_____________
5, 219. 23
Pensions paid______________
7, 060. 27
Cost o f administration to
70,129. 22
------------------ -- $440, 329. 68
--------------------- $179. 702. 36



It should be noted that while the above payments for compensation benefits
represented a period o f one year, the receipts from employers and workm en
were for 11 months only. The law requires employers to make payments to the
fund between the 1st and 15th o f each month on account o f the preceding
month’s pay roll. Payments for June pay rolls were therefore not due until
after the date o f this report.
The law provides for a payment to the industrial accident fund by the State
o f an amount equal to one-seventh o f the total payments made by employers
and workmen. From this fund are made all payments authorized by the act,
including the cost o f administration. The item o f $90,345.22 appearing in the
statement includes the original appropriation o f $50,000 made by the legisla­
ture and $40,345.22 as the State’s contribution from July 1, 1914, to Decem ­
ber 31, 1914. On June 30, 1915, the Secretary o f State credited to the fund
$40,910.38 to cover the State’s contribution for the preceding six months,
although the actual transfer was not made until a later date.

The California act does not make insurance compulsory. The
employer may carry his own risks, or he may insure with private
insurance companies, in mutual associations, or with the State com­
pensation fund. Many of the larger companies, especially the lum­
ber companies, carry their own risks, and some small employers do
the same. The great majority of employers, however, insure with
the private companies or with the State fund.

In those cases where the employer is not insured the security of
compensation payment is dependent entirely upon the solvency of the
employer. A claim for compensation is given the same legal prefer­
ence over the other unsecured debts of the employer as is given to
wage claims.
If the employer is insured, and the insurance company has agreed
to assume all compensation payments, the employer is relieved of
further liability, and the security of claims rests upon the solvency
of the insurance company.
The liability of the State compensation insurance to its policy­
holders is limited to the fund’s own resources. The State itself
assumes no liability.

An act of the 1915 legislature provided that after October, 1915,
there should be uniform minimum rates for all compensation in­
surance. Before that time the possibility of rate cutting existed.
Most of the private companies, together with the State fund, agreed
to observe the same schedule of rates, but a few companies remained
outside this agreement.
Under the act referred to the State insurance commissioner is di­
rected to prepare a schedule of minimum rates and classifications,



which all insurance writers must observe.- In carrying out this plan
there was organized an association composed of the representatives
of the insurance companies and the State fund to act in an advisory
capacity to the insurance commissioner in establishing a merit-rating

The State compensation insurance fund is organized and conducted
as an insurance enterprise in a manner similar to that of a private
insurance company and in competition with numerous private com­
panies. The chief points of distinction are that it maintains no staff
of salaried agents and is not conducted for profit. All policies issued
are participating policies.






The management of the State fund is entirely under the jurisdic­
tion of the industrial accident commission. It is organized as a dis­
tinct department of the commission, with a separate staff of em­
ployees and under the immediate direction of an official known as
the manager. The office of the manager is a statutory one, but the
appointment is by and at the discretion of the commission.
The fund is required to be entirely self-supporting, and all oper­
ating expenses to be met out of income and rates to be based upon
the reserve plan. In order that it might be able to establish itself
safely at the start, the State made an appropriation of $100,000,
which sum, however, it has not been necessary to use.
All public corporations (city, counties, etc.), if they insure at all,
are required to insure with the State fund, but in all other respects
the business is carried on in competition with private companies.
As the fund is not required by law to accept all applicants for
insurance it has declined risks which it considered unsafe, and dur­
ing the formative period it accepted risks with an undue catas­
trophe hazard, such as mining, only for limited policies.
The State fund employs no special staff of solicitors to secure
business. The law authorizes and directs certain city and county
officers to receive applications and premiums, and an amendment of
1915 permits the commission to grant compensation for such work.
So far, however, compensation for obtaining business has been paid
in only a very few instances. Business is obtained primarily by the
regular employees of the commission as incidental to their other


At the end of its first year of business, December 31, 1914, the fund
showed a sufficient surplus to warrant, in the commission’s judg69861°— 17— —9



ment, a dividend of 15 per cent on net premiums received. The dis­
tribution of this amount was made pro rata among the policyholders.
At the end of the second year, December 31, 1915, a second dividend
was declared and the attempt made to apportion it according to a
merit plan based on loss experience during the previous year. This
dividend return averaged about 15 per cent.
In addition to the above dividends, the management of the fund
believes that a further dividend of approximately 28 per cent will
be available for distribution to policyholders of each of the two years
when the legal reserves have been held the statutory period of 5





The State fund at present carries about 12 per cent of the compen­
sation business of the State and is the largest single carrier of such
insurance. The following is a statement of the condition of the
fund at the end of the second year of operation, December 31, 1915.1
Statem ent



C o m p e n s a t io n

Ja n u a r y

1, 1914,


I nsurance
D ecember

F und,

C o v e r in g

P e r io d

31, 1915.

Appropriation (ch. 176, laws 1913)—
Premiums written, less premiums re­
turned _____________________ _________ 1, 202, 837. 79
Interest received, due, and accrued__
39, 952. 76
---------------------- $1, 342, 790. 55
Expenses and salaries (including ad­
justment exp en ses)________________
Compensation and statutory medical
p a y m e n ts ___________________________
269, 847. 44
Unearned premium reserve___________
101, 712. 30
Statutory reserve for outstanding
losses (75 per cent o f earned pre­
miums less losses and loss expenses
p a i d ) _______________________________
All other disbursements and liabilities.
1, 893. '56
---------------------- 1,028,67 0.09
Total surplus_________________________________________
Less dividends to policyholders_____________________

314,120. 46
74, 475. 88

Net surplus____________ _______________________

2 239, 644. 58

1 Compensation News Bulletin of the State compensation insurance fund, April, 1916.
? As regards this surplus, the management of the State fund explains: The above state­
ment is based on the statutory reserve of $498,898.02, to cover outstanding liabilities.
I f the indicated amount of such liabilities ($176,159.11, including liberal estimates for
all undetermined cases) were used, the surplus would be $562,383.49 instead of $239,644.58, an increase of $322,738.91 available for dividends.




The position of the injured worker as claimant for compensation
benefits is quite different in Washington and Oregon, with their sys­
tem of a single State-managed insurance fund, from what it is in
California, where the single State-fund system is not in use.
In Washington, as also in Oregon, the claim of the injured worker
is made directly to the commission, which decides upon the validity
of the claim and, if decision is favorable, orders payment to be made
out of the State fund. All claims thus come before and are disposed
of by the commission itself. I f the claimant is dissatisfied with the
decision, he may appeal to the courts for review. The employer is
interested in the disposition of claims as the amount of his contri­
butions to the State fund are affected thereby, but his interest is not
immediate and seldom leads him to contest a claim.
In California the worker makes his claim for compensation upon
his employer, and settlement is made between the worker, on the
one hand, and the Employer or his insurance carrier, on the other.
In case of disagreement either party may appeal to the industrial
accident commission. I f still dissatisfied, appeal may be made to
the courts. Inasmuch as the employer or, if insured, his insurance
carrier must pay all compensation awards, there is a direct conflict of
interest between the worker as claimant and the employer or insur­
ance carrier as payer of claims. The great majority of cases are
amicably settled between the two parties and do not come before the

As claims for compensation lie solely against the State accident
fund, all such claims must be made to the industrial accident com­
mission. On the occurrence of an accident it is the duty of the
, injured worker to give notice of such accident immediately to his
employer, and of the employer to report immediately to the com­
mission. Failure or delay in giving such notice, however, does not
affect the right of compensation.
The claim application itself must be made by the injured worker
or his beneficiary direct to the commission and must be made within
a year of the date of injury. The application must be certified to
by the attending physician. The law makes it the duty of the physi­
cian to make the necessary certification and report and also to inform
the worker of his rights and to lend him all necessary assistance in
making his application.
The procedure incident to the settlement of accident claims was
developed with the aim of making settlements in minor cases as far
as possible by mail and without the intervention of other parties
than those immediately concerned. The procedure in the settlement



of the average nonfatal case is as follows: At least three prepared
forms must be filed with the department— (1) workman’s claim for
compensation, (2) employer’s report of accident, and (3) report of
attending physician. In the case of a death claim the first of these
three is, of course, not necessary, but there must be filed a claim on
the part of the dependent, and a burial certificate from the under­
taker must be submitted. I f the various reports harmonize in their
details, and there are no suspicious or complicating circumstances
of any kind, the claim may be advanced for immediate settlement.
The majority of claims are settled in this way.
If, however, reports do not harmonize, or if there are any doubtful
or disputed points, or the case is of a serious character, further
investigation may be necessary or desirable. I f the point in doubt
concerns the character of the injury, an examination of the injured
person is made by an examining physician employed by the com­
mission. I f the doubt concerns the nature of the employment or
similar matters, the case is investigated by an adjuster or other rep­
resentative of the commission. Moreover, in all cases of serious or
semiserious injury, it is the policy of the commission to get in touch
with the injured worker, either at home or at the hospital or at the
commission’s office.
In the case of a continuing disability a follow-up system is em­
ployed. The form used -for the report of attending physician con­
tains two detachable stubs, one to be sent in 30 days after the first
report, and the second to be returned when the patient is able to
resume work, or is discharged from treatment. In addition, followup requests for information are made of physicians when necessary.
The employer, although his liability has been transferred to the
State fund, is not without financial interest in the awards made by
the commission. Not only are the contribution rates of employers
grouped in a class fund determined ultimately by the amount of the
payments made out of that fund, but a mistake in charging a payment
against a class fund unduly increases the burden of the employers
therein and decreases the burden of those against whom the charge
really lies. In practice, however, employers, for the most part,
seem to display little interest as regards the payment of awards.


Decisions of the commission may be appealed to the superior
court of the county, provided notice that such appeal is to be made
is given the commission within 20 days of date of decision. In all
cases of appeal the decisions of the commission are regarded as prima
facie correct, and the burden of proof is placed upon the plaintiff.



The fee of an attorney engaged in an appeal ease must be reason­
able, and the court may determine the amount of such fee. I f in
any appeal case the decision of the commission is overruled by the
court, the attorney’s fee, as also all other fees and costs, are payable
by the commission out of the accident fund.
During the first three years of the act’s operation there were 78
appeals taken by injured workers. Of these 38 were appeals on the
ground that the awards made were insufficient and 40 were in cases
of rejected claims.1
l u m p -s u m

paym ents


It is the theory of the Washington system that compensation for
death and total disability should be on the pension or continuing
payment principle. The law, however, permits the commission to
convert a monthly payment into a lump sum when the beneficiary
resides out of the State or when the circumstances of the case would
make such conversion to the distinct interest of the beneficiary.
The commission has approved of lump-sum conversions on but
very few occasions, none at all being granted until 1915, when three
lump-sum settlements were made. Cash advances to pensioners,
with resulting reduction in the amount of the pension, have been
fairly* frequent, there being 31 cases in 1915, the advances varying
from $20 to $1,000.

The following table shows the disposition of all claims made to
the commission for the year ending September 30, 1915, and also
for the four-year period ending at that date, the latter period repre­
senting the full life of the compensation act.
T a b l e 9 .— ACCIDENTS


[Source: Report of industrial insurance department, 1915, pp. 71, 72.]

Sept. 30,

Total for 4
Sept. 30,

Accident cases reported (files complete)................................................................



Claims suspended (unable to locate claimant, etc )...............................................
Claims allowed (final settlement)................ ..........................................................
Claims rejected........... ........ •-...............................................................



Less reopened during previous year.......................................................................



Total disposed of...........................................................................................
Monthly and partial payments continued............................... ..............................
Claims in process of adjustment.............................................................................



1 Report of Industrial Insurance Department, 1914, p. 14.



The whole procedure incident to the settlement o f compensa­
tion claims in Oregon is quite similar to that just described for
All claims for compensation must be made to the industrial
accident commission. This commission passes upon the validity of
claims and, subject to the right of appeal to the courts, its decisions
are final.
The workmen’s application for compensation must be certified to
by the attending physician. The law makes it the duty of all physi­
cians to inform an injured worker of his rights and to lend him all
necessary assistance in making his application and putting through
his claim. An application is not valid unless made within a year of
the date the injury occurred or the right to compensation accrued.
The procedure in the case of the average nonfatal case is as fol­
lows : At least three prepared forms must be filed with the commis­
sion (1) Workman’s claim for compensation; (2) employer’s report
of accident; and (3) report of attending physician. In the case of
death there is necessary the employer’s report of accident and the
report of attending physician, as above, and also a formal claim
from the dependent and a formal proof of death from the under­
taker. In special cases reports of eyewitnesses may be required.
All these reports are assembled and examined by the claims depart­
ment. I f the reports harmonize and there are no suspicious or
complicating circumstances, the claim may be advanced for imme­
diate settlement by the commission. I f the reports do not harmon­
ize, or there are doubtful or disputed points, or the case is of a serious
character, further investigation may be necessary or desirable, such
as an examination by the medical adviser or by a designated surgeon.
In the case of serious and continuing disabilities each case is followed
by means of formal reports from and correspondence with physi­
cian and employer. The form used for the report of attending
physician contains two detachable stubs, one to be sent to the com­
mission 30 days after the first report of accident is sent in and the
second to be returned when the patient is able to resume work. The
employer is also asked as to the time the injured party returned to
work, etc.
In the settlement of claims the two parties immediately concerned
are the commission, as administrator of the State fund, and the
injured worker. The employer, harving transferred his liability to
the State, usually feels only a remote interest in the amount of indi­
vidual settlements. His interest is concerned, inasmuch as the law
provides that an employer may receive a reduction in premium rates
if the accident loss of his establishment does not exceed a certain



yearly minimum. But, as a rule, the employer pays comparatively
little attention to this fact.


Any decision of the commission may be appealed to the circuit
court of the county in which the accident occurred or the claimant
resides, provided that notice that appeal is to be taken is given the
commission within 30 days of the rendering of the decision com­
plained of. The appeal may be upon questions of either law or fact,
but the decision of the commission is regarded as prima facie correct
and the burden of proof placed upon the person appealing. I f the
decision of the commission is reversed or modified, the fees and cost
are chargeable against the accident fund if such fund is affected by
the appeal. During the first year (ending June 30, 1915) there were
four cases o f appeal.
L U M P -S U M P A Y M E N T .

A basic theory of the Oregon law is that compensation should be
in the form of continuing payments. Lump-sum conversion is per­
missible only in a few instances. I f the beneficiary in fatal cases
ceases to be a resident of the State, the commission may make a lump­
sum settlement. Otherwise, such conversion is never allowed in case
of death or total disability. In the case of certain minor permanent
partial disabilities—such as loss of one eye, of finger, of toe—the in­
jured worker has the option of taking his compensation in monthly
payments or in a lump sum. But in the more serious permanent disa­
bilities—such as loss of arm, leg, hand, or foot—lump-sum conver­
sion is prohibited.
During the first year of the act (ending June 30, 1915) 66 per cent
of those suffering minor partial disabilities chose to take their com­
pensation in the form of lump-sum payments. No applications were
received for lump-sum conversion on the part of beneficiaries who
had moved outside the State.
In any case of compensation, the commission is authorized to make
cash advances, not to exceed one-fourth the present value of the
monthly installments payable.


c l a im s

settle d .

The following table shows the disposition of all accident cases.reported during the year ending June 30, 1915
Accident cases rep orted ______________________________________ 4, 546
No claim s made (237) or no record o f dependency (20)
or settled by third party ( 1 ) ________________________ 258
1 From Report of Industrial Accident Commission, 1915, p. 17.


Claims in process o f adjustm ent--------------------------------------343


Total cases passed upon--------------------------------------------------3, 945
No time lost but first aid paid-----------------------------------------------876
Total money awards made------------------------------------------------ 3, 069
Claims rejected------------------------------------------------------------------------158
Total claims a llo w e d ____________________________________ 2, 911
Monthly payments continuing at end o f year--------------Aw ards made and amounts set a s id e __________________
Final settlement made________________________________ 2, 714
Cases (fa ta l) finaled by expiration or rem arriage-----2

In order to create a claim for compensation, it is incumbent upon
the injured worker to notify his employer within 30 days of the
occurrence of injury. But such notice is not necessary if the employer
has actual knowledge of the injury, and in no case does failure to
give notice debar recovery if such failure did not result from any in­
tention to prejudice the employer and did not prejudice him in fact.
A claim for disability compensation must be filed within six months
of injury. A death claim must be filed within one year of death, and
in any event within 240 weeks of day of injury.
The great majority of compensation claims are settled directly be­
tween the injured employee on the one hand and the employer or
insurance carrier on the other. Misunderstandings between the
parties are frequently settled by informal action or advice on the
part of the industrial accident commission. And either party to a
dispute may appeal to the commission for a formal hearing.
The formal hearings before the commission have usually been con­
cerned with the extent of disability. During the fiscal year ending
June 30, 1915, the commission heard and decided 939 cases out of
1,269 before it, this number not including a large number of informal
hearings and opinions. The disposition of the 939 decided cases was
as follows:
Awarded compensation__________________________________________598
Denied compensation____________________________________________ 231
Settled and dismissed___________________________________________ 74
Dism issed________________________________________________________ 28
Stayed by injunction------------------------------------------------------------------T o t a l_____________________________________________________ 939

In 436 of these cases the only question involved was that of the
extent of the award and was necessarily in favor of the employee.



O f the remaining cases, which could have been decided in favor of
either party, the division was almost exactly in half.1
In the hearings before the commission the effort is made to keep
them as simple and untechnical as possible. “ Its hearings are in­
quiries and not trials. It is in the long run more important to the
State that what may be called 4average justice’ shall in such cases
be inexpensively and expeditiously attained than that a more exact
or hairsplitting justice shall be striven for at a cost in money that
eats up the substance involved.” 2
The commission attempts to discourage the use of attorneys, but
the employers and insurance companies are usually represented by
attorneys, and very often the employees are so represented. In the
latter case the commission may fix the attorneys’ fees. In one case
the commission annulled an agreement between an injured employee
and his attorney, providing for a contingent fee of 20 per cent, and
allowed a fee of only $20. At the same time it stated that even this
sum was unduly high and that normally it would allow a fee of not
over $10.3

Any person dissatisfied with a ruling or decision of the commis­
sion has the right to appeal to the courts, but before such appeal is
permissible application must be made to the commission for a re­
hearing on the points in dispute. An application for rehearing must
be made within 20 days of the issue of the order or decision
complained of.
I f a rehearing is denied by the commission or the results of th6
hearings are unsatisfactory to any party, such party may within
30 days thereof apply for a court review. Such application may
be made only to the State supreme court or to the district court of
appeal, and the review by the court may not include findings of facts,
the commission’s findings of facts being considered conclusive.
Of the 939 cases heard by the commission during the fiscal year
ending June 30, 1915, rehearings were asked in 57 cases and court
review in 31.
During the same year, five appeal cases before the courts were dis­
posed of. The action of the commission was affirmed in three o f
these five cases, was overruled in one case, and in one case was set­
tled and dismissed.
L U M P -S U M P A Y M E N T S .

Compensation awards may not be commuted into lump-sum pay­
ments without the approval of the commission. The commission
1 Report of Industrial Accident Commission, 1915, p. 15.
2 Decisions of Industrial Accident Commission, case 812 (Vol. II, No. 3, p. 217).
3 Idem, case 209 (Vol. I, No. 12, p. 9 ).



may give such approval, or on its own initiative may order com­
mutation, if it is satisfied that such procedure will be in the interest
of the parties concerned. The lump-sum payment may be ordered
paid directly to the beneficiary or deposited in a bank, or with the
State compensation insurance fund, as a trust to be administered as
the commission may direct.
It has been the practice of the commission not to approve of lump­
sum payments except when it was clearly established that a definite
benefit would result, such, for instance, as the paying off of an incum­
brance on a home. On several occasions it has refused the requests
of applicants for computation because no satisfactory reasons were
shown why the granting of the request would be beneficial.

One of the most important motives leading to the adoption of the
compensation acts was the belief that they would lead to the reduc­
tion of accidents; that the employer would find it cheaper to pre­
vent accidents than to pay for them. In the preceding chapter on
safety it was noted that as yet there is no definite information upon
this point; no data to show to what extent, if any, accident rates
have decreased.
Also in that chapter it was pointed out that the subject of safety
was emphasized in the California act, but received little attention
in the acts of Washington and Oregon.1 The California act vests
the industrial accident commission with the authority and equip­
ment to carry on extensive safety work, and the commission has been
very active along this line. In Washington and Oregon, on the
other hand, the compensation commissions are given no special
authority or resources for safety work, this subject being left within
the jurisdiction of the State bureaus of labor.
To some extent, however, both the Washington and Oregon acts
attempt to encourage safety through penalties in the fixing of con­
tribution rates to the State fund and in the payment of compensation
benefits. The Washington law has three provisions upon this
(1) It is directed that if a workman is injured because of the
absence of safeguards required by, or in accordance with, law or is
of less than legal age, the employer is to pay into the accident fund
a sum equal to 50 per cent of the amount of compensation paid the
injured workman. In effect, however, this provision is nothing more
than a penalty for the violation of the State laws.
(2) The commission is authorized to increase the premium rate
of any establishment which, “ because of poor or careless manage­
ment * * * is unduly dangerous.” This authority has been



availed of in a very few instances but, of necessity, cannot be used
with any wide effect. Whether a plant is “ unduly dangerous” and
if so, whether it is due to “ poor and careless management” is a ques­
tion of fact very difficult to determine.
To discourage carelessness on the part of the worker it is pro­
vided that if a worker is injured as a result of the removal of a safe­
guard or protective device by himself, or by a fellow-worker with
his consent, the compensation award shall be reduced by 10 per cent.
No case of this kind has as yet arisen.
The Oregon law offers a 10 per cent reduction in premium rate
to the individual employer during each of the second and third
years he is subject to the act, when the State fund pays out on account
of accidents in his plant not to exceed 50 per cent of his own con­
tributions to the fund during the preceding year. About 85 per cent
of the employers subject to the act during the first year received this
reduction in premium rates during the second year, beginning July
1, 1915.
The law provides that the benefit of the 10 per cent reduction is
to be withdrawn as soon as the conditions noted cease to exist. Also
it is to be withheld from any employer who “ willfully fails to install
or maintain any safety devices required by statute.” This latter
provision is intended as an added penalty for failure to observe the
safety laws. It has not been invoked, and in practice is not very
workable, particularly as the failure must be “ willful.”
In addition to the 10 per cent reduction in rates to the employer
with a good safety record, the Oregon act also provides that when
the accident fund is of sufficient size to be safe the commission may
grant a month’s exemption in contribution payments to all employers
who have contributed to the fund for the preceding six months.
Such an exemption was granted by the commission for the month
of July, 1915.1 An exemption of this kind is, to a certain extent,
an incentive to employers as a whole to reduce accidents, but does
not bear directly on the individual employers as does the 10 per cent
reduction mentioned above.
1 Report of Industrial itccident Commission, 1915, p. 22.


The preceding chapters have described the activities of the Pacific
States with regard to the more important of the subjects affecting
labor. In the course of that description the work of the principal
administrative agencies was noted in connection with the subject then
under consideration. The present chapter brings together these
several agencies in a brief comparative statement of their duties and
of their equipment for the performance of such duties.
Table 10 gives, for each of the three States, a list of the principal
State agencies concerned with the administration of the labor laws.
The upper portion of the table presents a very brief statement of
the duties and functions of each of these agencies. The lower por­
tion gives a similarly brief statement of their equipment and resources.
Reference to the table shows that in each of the States there are
four administrative agencies of major importance. In three in­
stances these agencies, in both title and duties, are closely similar
for all three States. Thus, in each of them there is a bureau of labor,
an industrial welfare commission, and a compensation commission
;(known as the industrial insurance or industrial accident commis­
sion). In addition, Washington has a special coal-mine inspection
department, Oregon a special board for the issue o f child-labor per­
mits, and California a special commission concerned, as one of its
chief functions, with the welfare of immigrant labor.1
The several agencies within each State constitute independent1
governmental departments. The commissioner of labor in Wash­
ington is ex officio a member of the industrial welfare commission
of that State. With this exception, none of the States makes any.
important provision for definite correlation in the work of the sev1 In -addition to the agencies listed or mentioned in the table, a few other State
departments are incidentally concerned in the administration of laws affecting labor.
These a r e :
Washington: The public-service commission has jurisdiction over laws regarding hours
of labor, safety, etc., on railroads and other public-service companies; and the depart­
ment of agriculture administers a bakery-inspection law, which until recently was under
the bureau o f labor.
Oregon: The public-service commission has general jurisdiction over public-servicecompanies, including a few provisions regarding railroad labor.
California: The State board of health and local health offices enforce laws regarding
sanitation in food-producing establishments, including canneries ; and the railroad com­
mission administers an act for the protection of electrical workers.


T a b le





1. Bureau of Labor.
To enforce laws upon—
Safety, sanitation, and ventila­
tion in factories.
WToman labor.
Child labor (except permits).
To compile labor statistics.
To mediate in labor disputes.
(No private employment offices.)

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To enforce laws upon—
Safetyt sanitation, and ventilalion in factories.
Woman labor.
Child labor (except permits).
To compile labor statistics.
(No mediation duties.)
To supervise private employment
(No State employment offices.)

4. Coal Mine Inspection De­

(No mine inspection or mine leg­

(Mine safety under jurisdiction
' of industrial accident commis­

( Work permits to childrenissuable 4. Board of Inspectors of Child
by judges of county courts.)

(Work permits to children issu­
able by local school officials.)

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To enforce laws upon—
Sanitation and ventilation (but
~ not safety. See 3 below.)
Woman labor.
Child labor (except permits).
To compile labor, statistics.
(No mediation duties.)
To supervise private employment
(No State employment offices.)
To conduct State employment
2* Industrial Welfare Commis­ 2. Industrial Welfare Commis­ 2. Industrial Welfare Commis­
To make and enforce rulings—
To make and enforce rulings—
To make and enforce rulings— '
For women and minors.
For women and minors.
For women and minors.
On wages,hours, and work con­
On wages, hours, and work con­
On wages and work conditions
(not hours).
3. Industrial Insurance Com­ 3. Industrial Accident Com­ 3. Industrial Accident Com­
To administer compensation act.
To administer compensation act. To administer compens aticn act.
(No jurisdiction in safety mat­ (No jurisdiction in safety mat­ To frame safety rules and carry
on safety work.

To enforce mine safety laws.

(No special protection for immi­
grant labor and no provision for
sanitation in labor camps.)

Toissue work permits to children.
To supervise employment of chil­
(No special protection for immi­ 4. Immigration and Housing
grant lab'or and no provision for
sanitation in labor camps.)
To protect immigrant labor.
To enforce labor camp sanitation.

1. Bureau of Labor.

(Salaries and resources are for one year.)

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1 commissioner, $3,000.
1 commissioner, $2,400.
1 commissioner, $4,000.
1 woman assistant, $1,200.
4 deputy inspectors, $5 per day.
5 deputies and assistants, $1,8005 deputy inspectors, $4 per day.
(Approximately$1,500 per year).
(Approximately $1,200 per year.)
1attorney, $2,400.
1 statistician and 1 assistant,
$1,500, $2,100.
8 male field agents, $1,500-$1,800.
2 female field agents, $1,500.
Appropriation............... $7,700
From fees..................... 12,600
From fees.......................13,800
From fines, etc............. 10,000
For employment offices 25,000
Total....................... 21,500
2. Industrial Welfare Com­
2. Industrial Welfare Com­
5 members, no salary.
3 members, no salary.
Appropriation, $3,500.
Appropriation, $5,000.
3. Industrial Accident Com­
3. Industrial Insurance Com­
3 members, $3,600.
3 members, $3,600.
Appropriation, $81,255.
Appropriation, $110,650.
4. Coal Mine Inspection De­ 4. Board of Inspectors of Child
1 chief inspector, $2,400.
5 members, no salary except sec­
1 deputy inspector, $1,800.
retary, $1?500.
Appropriation, $7,250.
Appropriation, $2,500.

Total...................... 76,400
2. Industrial Welfare Com­
5 members, $10 per day of service.
Appropriation, $15,000.
3. Industrial Accident Com­
3 members, $5,000.
Appropriation, $188,120.
4. Immigration and Housing
5 members, no salary.
Staff of investigators, etc.
Appropriation, $35,000.



eral agencies. In practice there has been some measure of coopera­
tion but this has been largely the result of informal arrangement.
The data presented in the table are in very abbreviated form, but
are of sufficient fullness to give a fairly complete idea of the gen­
eral character of the several agencies and to permit of comparison
between States. The more significant features of the organization
of these agencies are commented upon below in somewhat greater
detail than can be given in tabular form.
Preliminary note may be made of the fact that neither Washing­
ton nor Oregon has a merit system of appointment for State em­
ployees. All appointments*and removals are entirely personal. In
California a civil-service law was enacted in 1913. It provides for
competitive examinations and tenure of office on good behavior. It
applies to most employees of the State government except heads of

The bureau of labor (or labor statistics) in each of the States is
primarily an inspection and law enforcing body. With a few excep­
tions later noted, it is its duty to see that all of the various labor
laws are observed and, to that end, to make inspections and to in­
vestigate complaints. This work covers such subjects as safety and
health conditions in factories, the employment of women and chil­
dren, wage-payment laws and laws regarding hours of labor on
public works. The most important exception to this general state­
ment is that in California the subject of safety is placed not under
the bureau of labor but under the industrial accident commission
in the effort to coordinate accident prevention and accident com­
In addition to their law-enforcing duties, each of these bureaus
is, by law, a statistical agency, charged with the collection and com­
pilation of labor and industrial statistics. In practice, none of them
has attempted any very extensive work along this line. The Wash­
ington and Oregon bureaus have no special equipment for such
work. The California bureau has a special statistical division and
while most of its time is occupied with routine bureau work, some
important original investigations have been made; such, for instance,
as the studies of the lumber and cement industries in 1914.
Mediation in labor disputes is made a duty of the commissioner of
the bureau of labor in Washington. Oregon makes no provision
upon this subject. In California an old law of 1891 provides for
a State board of arbitration and conciliation, but no appointments
thereto have been made in recent years.



The State employment offices of California, established in 1916,
were placed under the management of the commissioner of labor.
This constitutes a separate division of the bureau’s work, with a
special appropriation and special staff. No such offices have been
established in Washington or Oregon.
In each of the States the bureau of labor, in addition to its duty
of enforcing the statutory labor law as noted above, also cooperates
with the industrial-welfare commission in enforcing the rulings
of that commission regarding employment standards for women and
minors. In Oregon the bureau of labor also acts, to some extent,
in cooperation with the board of child-labor inspectors in the en­
forcement of the child-labor laws.

Each of the bureaus of labor is under the charge of a single execu­
tive, known as the commissioner. In Washington and California the
commissioner is appointed by the governor. In Oregon, however,
this office is elective. The term of office is four years. The present
commissioner has been in office since its creation, having been elected
three times.
The staff of the commissioner of labor in Washington, exclusive of
clerical help, consists of 6 persons—a woman assistant commissioner
and five male deputy factory inspectors. In Oregon there are four
deputy inspectors, all males. The staff of the California bureau is
much larger. There are five deputy commissioners and assistants,
who have general direction of the work of the bureau’s four offices in
as many cities. These are all males. There are 10 inspectors and
field agents, two of whom are women. Also, the bureau has its own
attorney and a statistical division with a statistician in charge. En­
tirely additional to this regular staff of the bureau, there is a special
force employed for the management of the State employment offices.
The salaries paid by the several bureaus of labor are lowest in
Washington* Thus, the salary of commissioner, in each case fixed by
law, is $2,400 per year in Washington, $3,000 in Oregon, and $4,000
in California. The Washington law fixes the salary of the woman
assistant at $1,200. It also limits the salary of deputy inspectors to
not more than $4 per working day. The present deputies are paid
this full amount, which is equivalent to approximately $1,200 per
year. The Oregon law, in similar fashion, fixes the salary of deputies
at $5 per working day, the equivalent of about $1,500 per year.
In California, five of the staff officers are statutory with salaries fixed
Ipy law—three of the deputy commissioners, the attorney, and the
statistician. The other salaries are established by the commissioner.
They vary from $1,500 to $2,100, and thus permit of promotion



among employees, a thing which is not possible under the Washing­
ton and Oregon systems.
The resources of the several bureaus, as shown in the chart, are
the approximate yearly incomes, averaged from the biennial appro­
priations of 1915 and the estimated fees and fines. The yearly totals
are, respectively: Washington, $21,500; Oregon, $18,350; and Cali­
fornia, $76,400, made up of $51,400 for the regular work of the bureau
and $25,000 for the conduct of the State employment offices.
Of especial interest, in connection with the fiscal resources of these
bureaus, is the fact that in Washington and Oregon the bureau of
labor’s income is derived in major part from a system of factory in­
spection fees. The fees are levied upon all factories. The amount
varies, with the size of the factory, from $5 to $10 per year in Wash­
ington and from $2 to $20 per year in Oregon. In theory this fee is
a payment by the employer for definite service rendered him by the
bureau. The employer may demand an inspection of his plant and
if conditions are found satisfactory is entitled to a certificate con­
taining a statement to that effect. Such certificate constitutes prima
facie evidence of compliance with the provisions of the law. The
bureau, however, is required to make such inspection whether or not
demand is made by the employer, and the fee is payable even though
a certificate is withheld. Moreover, such certificate is in no way
equivalent to a license. That is to say, the possession of a certificate
is not a preliminary condition for commencing or carrying on busi­
ness. Washington and Oregon are among the very few American
States to retain this inspection fee system. It does not exist in

The duties of the industrial welfare commissions are substantially
the same in all three States, Their primary duty is to determine,
according to a prescribed procedure, the conditions under which
women and minors may be employed. In Washington the authority
of the commission covers wages and working conditions but not hours
of labor. In Oregon and California it covers all three subjects.
The location of responsibility for the enforcement of commission
rulings is not entirely clear in any of the States. Responsibility
would seem to rest upon both the commission itself and the bureau
of labor and, in practice, the effort has been to secure enforcement
through cooperation on the part of these two agencies.

The welfare commissions of the three States are composed of from
three to five mejnbers, unsalaried except that in California $10 per



day is allowed for time actively devoted to commission work. In
each case the appointments are made by the governor and the terms
of office (4 years in Washington and California, 3 years in Oregon)
are so arranged that the terms of different members expire in differ­
ent years, thus making the commission a continuing body.
In each of the States the welfare commission was intended as an
entirely nonpolitical body. But the laws differ as regards the extent
to which the membership is to be representative of the three interests
immediately concerned in the results of the commission’s work—the
employer, the employee, and the public.
The Washington law seeks to obtain an entirely neutral body. It
makes the State commissioner of labor ex officio a member and specifi­
cally directs that none of the other four members shall have been,
within five years prior to appointment, a member of an employers’
association or of a labor union. One of the original appointees was
disqualified because of this provision. The Oregon law, on the con­
trary, is specific in declaring that the membership shall represent, as
far as possible, employers, employees, and the public. The Cali­
fornia law is silent on this point, the only qualification of member­
ship being that at least one of the members must be a woman. The
commission as appointed contains representatives of the three inter­
ests mentioned.
The present commission of Washington, in addition to the commis­
sioner of labor, consists of three women and one man; the Oregon
commission of one woman and two men; the California commission
of one woman and four men.
The commission members in all three States are supposed to devote
only such time to the work as necessary for the framing of employ­
ment standards and directing their administration. Each of the com­
missions is authorized to employ assistants for the active, routine
part of the work and to fix their salaries. In Washington and also
in Oregon there is only one such assistant regularly employed—a
secretary, who, in each case, is a woman. The California commis­
sion, with a much larger appropriation, employs an office staff and
also a force of field investigators.
The annual income (average of two years’ appropriation) for the
support of the welfare commissions is: Washington, $5,000; Oregon,
$3,500; California, $15,000.

The primary duty of the industrial insurance commission in Wash­
ington and of the industrial accident commissions in Oregon and
California, respectively, is to administer the workmen’s accident com69861°— 17-------10



pensation law. This includes the management of a State insurance
fund. In California the industrial accident commission is also given
charge of all accident prevention work. This is not the case in Wash­
ington and Oregon, where, as earlier noted, all safety activities are
under the jurisdiction of the State bureau of labor.

Membership on the compensation commissions of all three States
is a salaried office, requiring full-time service on the part of the
incumbent. The salary is $3,600 per year in Washington and
Oregon and $5,000 per year in California.
Each of the commissions is composed of three members appointed
by the governor and subject to removal by him. The Washington
law fixes the term of appointment at six years, with the terms of the
members so arranged as to expire in different years. Since the crea­
tion of the commission in 1911 changes in personnel have been fre­
quent. In 1916 the whole membership was changed by the gover­
nor. No qualifications are prescribed for appointment to the com­
mission. The present membership includes a representative of or­
ganized labor.
In Oregon the original act fixed the term of office at four years,
the terms expiring in different years. This provision was repealed
in 1915, and the period of service left indefinite. The only qualifi­
cation upon appointment is the requirement that not more than two
members shall be members of the same political party. One of the
present commissioners is a labor representative.
Members of the California commission are appointed for four-year
terms, expiring in different years. No qualifications are prescribed
for membership. The present commission contains one labor repre­
All of the members of all three commissions are males. It is of
interest to note that one of the earlier members of the Oregon com­
mission, serving for a brief period, was a woman.
All three commissions are given very full authority to employ and
fix the salaries of necessary assistants. This authority, in Washing­
ton, is subject to a statutory limitation that the total expenditure for
assistants is not to exceed $60,000 a year, the salaries of auditors not
to exceed $6 per day, and the fees of county medical examiners not
to exceed $5 per examination. In Oregon there is a limitation of
$25,000 placed upon the total expenditure for the employment of
assistants. In both of these States the limitations placed upon salary
expenditure are inflexible.
In California there is no such limitation placed upon expenditures
by statute. The offices of secretary, assistant secretary, manager of
the insurance fund, and superintendent of safety are specifically pro­



vided for by law. The appointment of all other employees and the
fixing of all salaries are at the discretion of the commission, subject
to the provisions of the appropriation act. Under arrangement with
the United States Bureau of Mines, the chief mine inspector of the
commission is detailed by the Federal bureau and his salary paid
half by the State and half by the United States.
The appropriations for the support of the compensation commis­
sions are not of the same nature in all three States. Under the Wash­
ington law the State pays all the expenses of administering the com­
pensation act, including the management of the State insurance
fund. But it makes no contribution to that fund. The appropria­
tion for the two years 1915 and 1916 was $221,300, an average of
$110,650 per year.
In Oregon the administrative expenses of the commission (amount­
ing to $49,528 for the year 1914^15) are paid out of the State
insurance fund. To this fund the State contributes a certain pro­
portion of its receipts. This contribution for the year 1914—15
amounted to $81,255, not including a preliminary donation of $50,000
made to the fund at the start.
In California the State paysi for all expenses of the commission
except those incident to the management of the State insurance
fund. This fund, as conducted in California, is a competitive insur­
ance carrier and is to be self-supporting. The State appropriation
for the commission’s expenses for the two years 1915 and 1916 was
$376,240, an average of $188,120 per year.

In none of the States do mines come under the inspection juris­
diction of the bureau of labor. Washington possesses a special coal­
mine inspection department which devotes its whole attention to the
subject of safety in coal mines. This department is by law asso­
ciated with the bureau of labor, but in practice constitutes an inde­
pendent agency. Oregon makes no provisions for mine inspection
and has very little legislation regarding mine safety. In California
the safety jurisdiction of the industrial accident commission covers
mines as well as other work places.

The coal-mine inspection department of Washington has only two
employees—a chief mine inspector and one deputy. The mine
inspector is appointed by the governor for a term of four years,
upon the recommendation of an examining board consisting of a



miner, an operator, and a mining engineer. The salaries of both
inspector and deputy are fixed by law—$2,400 and $1,800, respec­
tively. The law also requires, as qualification for either office, at
least five years’ practical experience in coal mining.

The three States differ markedly in their provision for the issue of
work permits to children. Washington gives this authority to the
judges of the county courts. California gives it to the school authori­
ties of the various localities. Oregon is the only one of these States
to centralize this work. For this purpose a special State agency was
created, known as the board of child labor inspectors. This board
has sole jurisdiction over permit issue for the whole State. Also,
in cooperation with the State bureau of labor, it has general super­
vision over all matters involving the employment of children.
e q u ip m e n t .

The board consists of five members, appointed by the governor for
terms of five years, the term of one member expiring each year.
Service is unpaid, except that one member is chosen as secretary
and allowed a salary of $1,500 per year, this amount being -fixed by
law as a maximum. The secretary is a woman. She devotes her
whole time to the work of the office. There are no other regular em­
ployees. The full board decides general policies and passes upon dif­
ferent points. For this purpose only periodic meetings are necessary.
No qualifications are prescribed for membership on the board ex­
cept that three members must be women. The present board is com­
posed of three women and two men.
From 1903, the year in which the board was created, until 1911 no
appropriation was made for the support of its work. The board
organized, however, and the active work of the office was carried on
by the secretary without pay. Beginning in 1911 there has been a
biennial appropriation of $5,000, an average of $25500 per year.

This commission, as created in 1913, was primarily an investigative
body to study the problems of the immigrant alien, with the aim
of devising means for his better education, housing, and protection,
and for his more rapid assimilation into the life of the State. Also



it was to investigate the administration of the laws affecting the
immigrant and to see that they were duly enforced. In practice
such a study was equivalent to a study of labor conditions, as the
immigrant constitutes such a large portion of the unskilled labor of
the State and his problems are in large part the problems of labor.
Moreover, the commission’s work tended to develop important
administrative features. Thus, one of its earliest activities was the
establishment of a complaint division for hearing and settling com­
plaints, a large part of which involved labor matters. Later, in 1915,
the legislature placed upon the commission the very important duty
of administering the law regarding sanitation in labor camps.
The immigration and housing commission thus becomes an agency
of very great importance in a broad field of labor activities. Neither
Washington nor Oregon has an agency of similar character.

The commission consists of five members appointed by the governor
for indefinite terms. The members receive no compensation and
are not expected to devote their whole time to the work. The com­
mission may appoint and fix the salaries of such experts and othsr
assistants as it may deem necessary.
The present commission consists of one woman member and four
men. The male members represent various interests—the church,
the medical profession, labor, and business.
The commission employs an attorney as executive officer, and a staff
of sanitary experts, housing experts, translators, and investigators
to carry on the numerous branches of its work. These activities cover
such subjects as housing, education, and legal protection of immi­
grants, as well as purely labor subjects, and are so combined that it
is impracticable to distinguish the services chargeable to labor sub­
jects proper.
The appropriation for the commission’s support for the two years
1915 and 1916 was $70,000, an average of $35,000 per year. Of the
total of $70,000, $10,000 was for the specific purpose of administering
the law regarding sanitation in labor camps.

The appropriations for the support of the four principal labor
agencies in each State, as noted in the preceding chart, represent
approximately the total expenditures of the several States for the
direct benefit of labor.1 The following table brings the total annual
expenditures for these agencies in each State into comparison with
the population of the State in 1914.2 This shows an average annual



expenditure of 10 cents per head of population in Washington, 14
cents in Oregon’ and 11 cents in California.
T a b l e 1 1 .— APPROPRIATIONS



Bureau of labor.................................................—: .............................
Industrial welfare commission...........................................................
Industrial insurance (or accident) commission........................... ......
Coal mine inspection department......................................................
Board of child labor inspectors..........................................................
Immigration and housing commission...............................................



Population of State (1914)..................................................................
Per capita appropriation....................................................................





1 The expenditures as here used constitute, as nearly as can be calculated, the annual
average of the two years 1915 and 1916.
a U. S. Bureau of the Census. Bulletin 122. Estimates for population, July 1, 1914.