Pennsylvania. Dept. of Factory Inspection.

Annual report of the Factory Inspector of the Commonwealth of ..., Volume 8 online

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identical statute, Mr. Justice Lore says:

"It does not forbid any person, firm or corporation, from employ-
ing as many persons or as much labor as such person, firm or corpo-
ration may desire, nor does it forbid any person to work as many
hours a day or week as he chooses. It merely provides that in an em-
ployment which the Legislature has evidently deemed to some extent
dangerous to health, no person shall be engaged more than ten hours
a day or sixty hours a week.

'Tliere can be no doubt that such legislation may be maintained,
either as a health or police regulation, if it were necessary to resort
to either of those sources for power. This principle has been so fre-
quently recognized in this Commonwealth that reference to the de-
cisions is unnecessary."

Mr. Justice Brown in the Supreme Court of the United States says:

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"This right of contract, however, is itself subject to certain limita-
tions which the State may lawfully impose in the exercise of its police
powers. While this power is inherent in all governments, it has
doubtless been greatly extended in its application during the past
century owing to an enormous increase in the number of occupations
which are dangerous, or so far detrimental to, the health of em-
ployes as to demand special precautions for their well-being and pro-
tection or the safety of adjacent property, while this court has held,
notably in the case of Davidson vs. New Orleans, 96 U. S. 97 (24, 616)
and Yick Wo vs. Hopkins, 116 U. S. 356 (30:230) that while the police
power cannot be put forward as an excuse for oppressive and unjust
legislation, it may be lawfully resorted to for the purpose of preserv-
ing the public health, safety or morals, or the abatement of public
nuisances, and a large discretion is necessarily vested in the Legis-
lature to determine not only what the interests of the public require,
but what measures are necessary for the protection of such inter-
ests." Lawler vs. Steele, 152 U. S. 133-136. (38:385:388).

In Pennsylvania the existence of the police power is recognized in
numerous instances in our courts as a necessary function of govern-
ment. Judge Rice, in Comm. vs. Brown, 8 Superior Ct. Rep. 351,
says: "In the exercise of the police power of the State, it may enact
laws in the interest of public morals, and to protect the lives, health
and safety of persons following specific callings, and thus indirectly
interfere with freedom of contract." And our Constitution specially
provides, Art. XVI, Sec. 3, that "The exercise of police power of the
State shall never be abridged or so construed as to permit corpora-
tions to conduct their business in such manner as to infringe the
equal right of individuals of the general well-being of the State."

Surely an act which prevents the mothers of our race from being
tempted to endanger their lives and health by exhaustive employ-
ment, can be condemned by none save those who expect to profit by
it. The complaint of violated constitutional rights, it will be ob-
served, does not come from those who are employed, but from those
who employ them.

The Legislature has spoken in no uncertain words on this subject,
and our Supreme Court has declared that "a statute will be declared
unconstitutional by the court only when it violates the Constitution
clearly, palpably, plainly and in such manner as to leave no doubt for
hesitation in our minds." Sharpless vs. Phila., 21, Pa. 147.

We think that this act is clearly within the police power of the
State, and the exercise of it in this case justified by the interests of
the individual and the community.

Other point of demurrer in addition to those we have discussed
were also very ably argued before us, but we are unable to perceive
their application to the case before us.

The demurrer, therefore, to this bill of indictment is orerruled.

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FILED JULY 26, 1900.

No. 234 October Term, 1899.

^ Appeal from the court of quarter

„ ^ ^ ,^ ^^* , T I T^ I sessions of Philadelphia county.
Robert Beatty and John R. ., , x ^ ^

.„ ^^ \ Judgment affirmed.

Beatty* j

Filed July 26, 1900. Orlady, J.

An indictment against these defendants under the act of April
29, 1897, P. L. 30, was returned a true bill by the grand jury. A
demurrer was filed thereto which after argument, was overruled,
a judgment was entered for the Commonwealth, and the defendants
were sentenced. On argument in this court the specifications of
error are urged under two propositions: 1. The indictment does
not charge a crime known to the laws of the State. 2. The act on
which the indictment is based is in contravention of the constitu-
tion of the State and of the United States.

The title of the act is as follows: "To regulate the employment
and provide for the health and safety of men, women and chil-
dren, in manufacturing establishments, mercantile industries, laun-
dries, renovating works or printing offices, and to provide for the
appointment of inspectors, office clerks and others to enforce the

The first and fourteenth sections of the act are the ones alleged
to have been violated, and the arguments of counsel have been
confined to the consideration of those, viz: "Section 1. That no
minor, male or female, or adult woman shall be employed at labor
or detained in any manufacturing establishment, mercantile indus-
try, laundry, workshop, renovating works or printing office for a

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longer period than twelve hours in one day, nor for a longer period
than sixty hours in any week." '^Section 14. Any person who vio-
lates any of the provisions of this act, or who suffers or permits
any child or female to be employed in violation of its provisions, shall
be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be pun-
ished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars."

Theretofore the offense charged was not indictable; and it is set
out in the indictment in the exact words of the act of Assembly
which created it. The defendants could not have been misled
as to the nature of the offense they were called upon to answer.
It is sufficient in form under our procedure act of 1860, which re-
quires only a substantial conformity with the act prohibiting the
offense and prescribing its punishment.

The title to the act fairly invites an examination of the contents
of the bill by all who employ men, women or children in the es-
tablishments, industries, works or offices mentioned, and everything
which the nature of the subject of a title reasonably suggests as
necessary or appropriate for the accomplishment of the expressed
purpose is sufficiently indicated by the title: Com. v. Jones, 4 Pa.
Superior Ct., 362. To regulate the employment and provide for the
health and safety of men, women and children in industrial establish-
ments, necessarily implies that rules and methods of government,
permissive, mandatory and prohibitive are within the contempla-
tion of the Legislature, and an enforced submission to the regulating
agencies is implied through the imposition of penalties.

There has been a general disposition to construe the constitu-
tional provision liberally, rather than to embarrass legislation by
a construction the strictness of which is necessary to the accom-
plishment of the beneficial purposes for which it has been adopted:
Cooley's Conts. Lim. 175. The title need not be a complete index
to the bill. (Mauch Chunk v. Magee, 81 Pa. 433), if it fairly gives
notice of the subject of the act so as reasonably to lead into an in-
quiry into the body of the bill, it is all that is necessary. Allegheny
County Home's Case, 77 Pa. 77.

The appellant© contend that the act is in violation of the State
constitution, article 1, section 1, in that it is an unjust interference
with an adult female's right of acquiring and possessing property,
and of pursuing her own happiness; and in violation of article 3,
section 7, in that it is a special law regulating labor.

It is a matter of history in our State that this act of Assembly is
the result of extended legislative examination into the manage-
ment of our varied industrial institutions, which has been conducted
by legislative committees, and through our factory and mine inspec-
tion bureaus. It is one of a system which has developed in propor-

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tion to the growth and prosperity of the State, and when we con-
Bider that nearly a million of laborers, men, women and minors,
are employed in the industries mentioned in the title of this act, it
is apparent that legislation to regulate their employment and pro-
vide for their health and safety is an imperative necessity.

By section 2 of the act of April 21, 1849, P. L. 672, labor performed
during a period of ten hours on any secular day in all cotton,
woolen, silk, paper, bagging and flax factories, shall be considered
a legal day's labor, and by a supplement to that act of May 7, 1855,
P. L. 472, no male or female operators under the age of twenty-one
years can be employed under any contract in these manufactories
for a longer period than sixty hours in any one week — or more than
an average of ten hours a day during the same period. A progres-
sive step was taken by the act of June 3, 1893, P. L. 276, by which
a new department of the State government was created, namely that
of Factory Inspector. By this act all employes of women or chil-
dren or either, in any factory, manufactory, mercantile establish-
ment, renovating works, or laundry, are required to post and keep
posted a notice stating the number of hours per day for each day
of the week required of such persons, and the inspector was given
visitorial powers over factories, workshops and other establishments
employing women and children and was directed to make report
of the number of hands employed in each with the maximum number
of hours of work performed each week. With the light given by
the results of the previous legislation on this important subject the
act under consideration was enacted.

By article 16, section 3, our State Constitution declares that "the
exercise of the police power of the State shall never be abridged."
This inherent power of government is vested in the Legislature to
make such laws as they shall judge to be for the good of the Com-
monwealth, and the exercise of it has been left to the individual
states to determine primarily what measures are appropriate or
needful for the protection of the public morals, the public health,
or the public safety, subject to the power of the courts to adjudge
whether any particular law is an invasion of the rights of the Con-
stitution: Mugler vs. Kansas City, 123 U. S. 205, Book 31, L. C. P. Co.

The police power of the State is diflftcult of definition, but it has
been held by the courts to be the right to prescribe regulations for
the good order, peace, health, protection, comfort, convenience and
morals of the community which does not encroach on a like
power vested in Congress or State Legislatures by the Federal
Constitution, or does not violate the provision of the organic law;
and it has been expressly held that the fourteenth amendment to
the Federal Constitution was not designed to interfere with the


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exercise of that power by the State: Powell vs. Peuna., 127 U. S. 678:
Powell vs. Com., 114 Pa. 205. Its essential quality as a govern-
mental agency is that it imposes upon persons ajid property burdens
designed to promote the safety and welfare of the public at large.
The principle that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or
property, without due process of law, was embodied in substance
in the constitutions of nearly all, if not all, of the states at the time
of the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, and it has never
been regarded as incompatible with the principle, equally vital be-
cause equally essential to the peace and safety of society, that all
property in this country is held under the implied obligation that the
owner's use of it shall not be injurious to the community: Boston
Beer Co. vs. Massachusetts, 1)7 U. S. 32.

A prohibition upon unhealthy practices, whether inherently so,
or such as may become so by reason of prolonged and exacting
physical exertion which is likely to result in enfeebled or diseased
bodies, and thereby directly or consequently affecting the health,
safety or morals of the community, cannot in any just sense be
deemed a taking or an appropriation of property.

The length of time a laborer shall be subjected to the exhaus-
tive exertion of physical labor is as clearly within legislative con-
trol as is the governmental inspection of boilers, machinery, etc.,
to avoid accidents, or of the sanitary conditions of factories and
the like to preserve the health of laborers.

The power to legislate on this subject is inherent in all free gov-
ernments, and is limited only by the Constitution. It must be
asserted within reasonable limits. And when we consider that
the federal government has fixed eight hours as a day's work for all
laborers, workmen and mechanics employed by or on behalf of
it (Reb. Stat. sec. 3738), and that our own State has fixed the same
number of hours as a day's labor in all of our penal institutions (Act
of May 20, 1891, P. L. 100), and for all mechanics, workmen and
laborers in the employ of the State, or any municipal corporation
therein (Act of July 20, 1897, P. L. 418), and that electric railway
companies are prohibited from permitting or sufTering any of their
employes to work more than twelve hours in one day (Act of March
24, 1887, P. L. 13), and that in all cotton, woolen, silk, paper bagging
and flax factories, ten hours of any secular day shall be considered
a legal day's labor (acts of 1849 and 1855 above mentioned), it cannot
be held to be unreasonable to fix the time of labor for adult females
at twelve hours a day or not more than sixty hours a week in the
establishments named in this act.

If such legislation savors of paternalism, it is in its least objec-
tionable form, in that it cares for those who from their own
necessities, ambition, or the cupidity of their employers, may be

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prompted or required to jeopardize their health in unreasonable
and dangerous employment, which in the legislative judgment,
founded upon statistical experience injuriously affects their health,
and hence the interests of the State itself. It is of the same char-
acter of legislation which prohibits the employment of females in
or about coal mines, and of minors in trades, etc., which labor ar-
rests or impairs the natural development of mind and body. The
State at large is more interested than either employer or employe
in preserving that natural physical condition which assures to the
individual the most of health and happiness and is least likely to
transmit physical, mental or moral effects to succeeding genera-
tions. The Legislature has adjudged that the health of adult fe-
males is imperiled by being employed at labor in establishments
named for a longed time than stated in the act. The adult females,
or even the employer, may think otherwise, but self interests from
a financial standpoint is often an unsafe guide. "Though reason-
able doubts may exist as to the power of the Legislature to pass a
law, or as to whether the law is calculated or adapted to promote
the health, safety or comfort of the people, or to secure good order,
or promote the general welfare, we must resolve them in favor of
that department of government." State vs. Holden, 37 L. R. A. 108.
^*The Legislature has recognized the fact which the experience of
legislators in many states has corroborated, that the proprietors of
these establishments and their operatives do not stand upon an
equality, and that their interests are to a certain extent conflicting."
Holden vs. Hardy, 169 Pa. U. S. 366; Book 42, L. ed. 780.

The whole argument in this case is based on the injury done to
the adult females whose right to labor as long as they please is
alleged to be violated. The remarks of the court in Holden vs.
Hardy, 14 Utah 71, are applicable here. "The argument would cer-
tainly come with better grace and greater cogency from the latter
class. But the fact that both parties are of full age and compe-
tent to contract does not necessarily deprive the state of the power
to interfere, when the parties do not stand upon an equality, or
when the public health demands that one party to the contract
shall be protected against himself. The state still retains an in-
terest in his welfare, however reckless he may be. The whole is
no greater than the sum of all the parts, and when the individual
health, safety and welfare are sacrificed, the state must suffer."

This declaration was adopted by the United States Supreme Court
in Holden vs. Hardy, 169 U. S. 366, 42 L. ed. 780, in validating a
state statute which limited the employment of men in underground
mines, smelting works, etc., to eight hours a day.

The object of such legislation is the good of the public as well
as of the individual. The fact that the 'individual is willing to

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waive protection cannot avail. The public good is entitled to pro-
tection and consideration; and if, in order to effectuate that object,
there must be enforced protection to the individual, such individual
must submit to such enforced protection for the public good. The
statute was enacted as a remedy for such evil. Short vs. Mining
Co., 45 L. B. A. 603. In the exercise of its police power the State
may enact laws in the interest of public morals, and to protect the
lives, health and safety of persons following specified callings and
may thus indirectly interfere with the freedom of contract. Lawler
vs. Steele, 152 U. S. 133; Com. vs. Brown, 8 Pa., Superior Ct. 351.
It is undisputed that some employments may be admissible for
males and yet improper for females, and regulations recognizing
and forbidding women to engage in such would be open to no
reasonable objection. The same is true of. young children whose
employment in mines and manufactories is commonly and ought
always to be regulated. In addition to the power to punish misde-
meanor and felonies, the State has also the authority to make
extensive and varied regulations as to the time, mode and circum-
stances in and under which pai'ties shall assert, enjoy or exercise
these rights without coming in conflict with any of those constitu-
tional principles which are established for the protection of private
rights or private property. Cooley's Const. Lim. 745, 6th ed. It
is the prerogative of the Legislature to prescribe regulations founded
on nature, reason and experience in determining the kind of labor
and the length of time it shall be permitted by either men, women
or minors. Sex imposes limitations to excessive or long continued
physical labor, as certainly as does minority, and the arrested devel-
opment of children is no more dangerous to the State than debilitat-
ing so large a class of our citizens as adult females by undue and un-
reasonable physical labor. In overruling the demurer the court
below pertinently said: Surely an act w^hich prevents the mothers
of our race from being tempted to endanger their life and health by
exhaustive employment can be condemned by none save those who
expect to profit by it." The complaint of violated constitutional
rights, it will be observed, does not come from those who are em-
ployed, but from those who employ them. The proper office of
statutes is to remedy the defects and modify the operation of com-
mon law rules in order to meet changed conditions in society and
increased volume and improved methods in business. Com. vs.
Vrooman, 164 Pa. 316.

In view of our many mining and manufacturing industries, the
solicitous care of government over the health and safety of the
laborers is an important branch of legislative duties. It is not a
denial of the right to contract. Labor in the establishment men-
tioned in the act is permitted, but in the legislative judgment, it

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is not good for the State at large, as it now is, and as it is intended
to continue, that adult females should labor a greater number of
hours than mentioned in the act. If employes, without regard to
sex, are required or permitted to perform labor in fixed places where
but few of the muscles of the body are used, where the temperature
is abnormal, where chemicals are employed and the air is impover-
ished by, or laden with, noxious gases and impalpable particles,
the physical tension and nervous strain consequent upon such em-
ployment for an unreasonable time must of necessity produce an
appreciable and dangerous effect on the health of the employe so
exposed. Adult females are a class as distinct as minors, separated
by natural conditions from all other laborers, and are so constituted
as to be unable to endure physical exertion and exposure to the
extent and degree that is not harmful to adult males; and em-
ployments which under favorable conditions are not injurious are
rightly limited as to time by this statute, so as not to become harm-
ful by prolonged engagements.

The conflict of decisions on the question of the power to limit con-
tracts between master and servants is marked, and it is far from
settled. In the interest of public policy in this State the trend of
the decisions in Com. vs. Brown, 8 Pa. Superior Ct. 339, Com. vs.
Hamilton Mfg. Co. 120 Mass. 383; 163 Mass. 339, and Holden vs.
Hardy, 169 U. S. 266, 42 L. ed. 78, is more likely to furnish better
results, and secure greater health to the Commonwealth, rather
than the class of cases of which Ritchie vs. The People, 155 111. 98,
L. R. A. 79, is most frequently cited.

Class legislation discriminating against some and favoring others,
is prohibited, but legislation which, in carrying out a public purpose,
is limited in its application, if within the sphere of its operation,
and if it affects all persons similarly situated is not within the four-
teenth amendment. Barlier vs. Connelly, 113 U. S. 27, 28, L. ed.
923; Minneapolis & St. Paul Ry. vs. Beckwith, 129 U. S. 29, U. S.
32 L. ed., 585.

The act cannot be said to be a local or special law "regulating
labor, trade, mining or manufacturing," in violation of article 3,
section 7, when it applies to all adult females alike throughout
the State who are employed in the establishments mentioned in
the act. It relates to and distinctly defines the class of persons
affected by it. Wlieeler vs. Phila., 77 Pa. 338; Durkin vs. Kingston
Coal Co., 171 Pa. 192; Com. vs. Jones, Pa. Superior Ct. 362.

The assignments of error are overruled and the judgment in the
court below is affirmed.

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Philadelphia. )

State of Pennsylvania, j

I, Charles S. Greene, prothonotary of the Superior Court of Penn-
sylvania, do hereby certify that the above and foregoing is a true
copy of the opinion in the above entitled cause, so full and entire
as appears of record in said court.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed
the said of said court at Philadelphia, this 4th day of September,
A. D. 1900.



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To regulate the employment and provide for the health
and safety of men, women and children in manu-
facturing establishments, mercantile industries,
laundries, renovating works or printing offices; and
to provide for the safety of men, women and chil-
dren in hotels, school buildings, seminaries, colleges,
academies, hospitals, storehouses, public halls and
places of amusement, by requiring proper fire-
escapes; and to provide for the appointment of in-
spectors, office clerks, and others to enforce the

Section 1. Be it enacted, etc.. That no minor male or Minors and aduu
female, or adult women, shall be employed at labor or
detained in any manufacturing establishment, mercan-
tile industry, workshop, renovating works or printing
office, for a longer period than twelve hours in any day,

Online LibraryPennsylvania. Dept. of Factory InspectionAnnual report of the Factory Inspector of the Commonwealth of ..., Volume 8 → online text (page 2 of 93)