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SECOND SPECIAL REPORT
COMMISSIONER OF LABOR.
THE VARIOUS STATES, TERRITORIES,
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
PREPARED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF
CARROLL D. WRIGHT,
FOR THE COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
A REPORT SUBMITTED BY HON. JOHN J. O'NEILL, OF
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
REPORT ON THE LABOR LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES, JULY
Mr. O'NEILL, of Missouri, from the Committee on Interstate and
[To accompany H. Res. 152.]
The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to which was referred H. Res. 152, "providing for the compilation of the labor laws, etc., of the various States and Territories and the District of Columbia," submit the following report:
The committee, recognizing the great benefits that will be derived by the people from a knowledge of the labor laws now in force, hereto append a compilation thereof furnished by the Department of Labor.
LETTER FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF LABOR.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,
July 20, 1892.
SIR: In obedience to the request of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce of the House of Representatives, I have the honor to hand you herewith a compilation of the labor laws of the various States and Territories and of the District of Columbia.
In preparing this compilation the first question to arise related to the legislative year with which to close the compilation. It was manifestly impossible to bring this report fully up to date, and it was therefore determined to bring it up to a date to include those laws passed prior to the legislative sessions of the year 1890-'91. This has been done, and in the case of the Federal statutes the labor legislation of the year 1890-'91 has also been included.
The table following contains a statement for each State and Territory, as to whether the sessions of its legislature are held annually or biennially, its latest session laws that have been examined for material for this compilation, and the year in which its subsequent session was held. In many cases the session laws of States are not printed for many months after the close of the session. It has been impossible, therefore, to include the legislation of 1892 and, for some States, of 1891 in this compilation of laws;
Sessions of legislature, whether annual or biennial, latest session laws examined, etc.
Questions have arisen from time to time in the progress of this work as to what classes of legislation could be said to have such a bearing on the general subject of labor as to warrant their inclusion therein. Many laws have been enacted, particularly in recent years, designed directly to affect the subject of labor in many of its various phases. These laws have, of course, been included. There are, however, many laws on the statute books not designed to be distinctly labor laws, but to be of a more general application. Still, in their actual application, many of these laws would seem to affect the laboring classes more than others, or at least to have a bearing upon the condition of the laboring man. A good example of this class are the exemption laws. Such laws may be deemed to have a place in any compilation of laws designed to illustrate the state of legislation bearing upon labor, and the intention has been to include all such laws herein.
The question, however, as to whether a certain law would properly fall within this class is largely a matter of judgment, and it may well
LABOR LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES.
happen that some laws, not here included, may in the opinion of some, be as clearly entitled to a place in this volume as many of those which appear therein. Somewhere, however, the line had to be drawn, and, great care having been taken, it is confidently believed that the judg ment of the Department in this matter will be generally approved. Owing to the voluminous character of the laws relating to apprentices and to the liens of mechanics and laborers it has not seemed wise to incorporate them in full into the body of this work or even to present a complete digest of their provisions. In addition to the reason stated another reason arises in the case of the apprentice laws, viz: That for practical industrial purposes these laws are about obsolete. Digests have, however, been made of the main features of these laws, that of the apprentice laws being preceded by a reproduction in full of the apprentice laws of the State of New York, which seem to be the most complete and the fullest of all the laws of this country upon that subject.
The language used in the notes of these digests is almost entirely the exact language of the statutes themselves, and no attempt to alter or improve the same has been made. Any such attempt would have been fraught with the danger of changing the meaning of the statutes involved.
By reason of the fact that a legal holiday may give a day of rest to some at least of the laboring classes, and the further fact that several of the States have by their legislatures created a legal holiday known as "labor day," a statement showing the legal holidays of the different States may properly have its place in a work of this kind. A table showing the legal holidays of the country has therefore been prepared, it not being thought necessary to occupy space by publishing these laws in full. While, however, the table shows all the holidays of the country, including "labor day," yet, in the case of this holiday, an exception has been made and the laws creating the same have been published in full in the body of this work. This has been done, first, because such laws are generally short and do not fill much space, and, second, because it is thought that their wording and form might be of interest and use to those wishing to urge the passage of similar laws by the leg islatures of their States. This table of legal holidays and the digests of the apprentice and lien laws, above referred to, are placed in a chapter together, which makes the first chapter of this work.
The second chapter of this work comprises all the labor laws passed by the legislatures of the States and Territories and by the Congress of the United States, other than those contained in the first chapter. The laws of each State and Territory are published together under the head of said State or Territory, and the arrangement by States, etc., is in alphabetical order, beginning with Alabama and ending with Wyoming. These are immediately followed by such labor legislation as has been found in the federal statutes. Under the head of each State and Territory the general arrangement has been to publish the laws in the order in which they were passed. It has been deemed best to publish these laws literally and practically in full. No attempt has been made to abstract them, principally for the reason that in so doing the question of interpretation, which properly belongs to the courts alone, would necessarily be involved. It frequently happens, however, that one or more sections of an act may have no bearing at all upon the subject of labor, while other sections of the same act may. In such cases only those sections which do so relate to labor have been published. Again, in a section which generally affects the subject of labor,