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Third National Conference

Workmen's Compensation For
Industrial Accidents

Chicago, June 10-11, 1910

A Brief Report of
The Second National Conference
Washington, January 20, 1910

Copies may be had at fifty cents each from
JOHN B. ANDREWS, _Assistant Secretary_,
Metropolitan Tower, New York City.


Commissioner United States Bureau of Labor

Chief Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library

_Treasurer_ HENRY W. FARNAM
Yale University

_Secretary_ H. V. MERCER
Chairman Minnesota Employees Compensation Commission

_Assistant Secretary_ JOHN B. ANDREWS
Secretary American Association for Labor Legislation


(In Addition to the General Officers).

HENRY R. SEAGER, _Chairman_,
Vice-Chairman, New York Commission

Member Minnesota Commission

Chairman Wisconsin Commission

Secretary Illinois Commission

Chairman Massachusetts Commission

Chairman New Jersey Commission

Chairman Ohio Commission

Delegate from Indiana

Delegate from Michigan



Third National Conference

Workmen's Compensation For
Industrial Accidents

Chicago, June 10-11, 1910

A Brief Report of
The Second National Conference
Washington, January 20, 1910






1. Friday Forenoon Session, June 10 10

2. Friday Afternoon Session, June 10 39

(1) "Worker's Compensation Code," An Outline for Discussion 40

3. Saturday Forenoon Session, June 11 82

APPENDIX, - Brief Report of Washington Conference, January 20, 1910 124


Princeton University Press
Princeton, N. J.


The National Conference on Workmen's Compensation for Industrial
Accidents was organized at Atlantic City, July 29-31, 1909. The
second meeting was held in Washington, January 20, 1910. The third
meeting, June 10-11, 1910, was in Chicago. The nature of the
Conference is clearly set forth as follows:


1. The name of this organization shall be the National
Conference on Workmen's Compensation for Industrial Accidents.

2. Its purpose shall be to bring together the members of
the commissions and committees of the various States and of
the National Government, representatives to be appointed by
the governors of the different States, and other interested
citizens, to discuss plans of workmen's compensation and
insurance for industrial accidents.

3. Its officers shall be a chairman, a vice-chairman, a
secretary, an assistant secretary and a treasurer, to be
elected annually and to hold office until their successors
shall have been elected.

4. The business of the organization shall be conducted by an
executive committee, consisting of the officers and of other
members, said committee to represent at least ten different

5. The voting members of the Conference shall be the members,
secretaries and counsels of all State Commissions or committees
on the subject, one or more representatives to be appointed by
the governors of different States, and ten members at large to
be elected at any regular meeting of the Conference.

6. Individuals and associations of individuals may be
admitted as associate members, and as such, be entitled to
the privileges of the floor and to receive the publication of
the Conference upon the payment of $2.00 per annum for each
such individual member, and $25.00 per annum for each such

7. No resolution committing the Conference to any fixed
program, policy or principle, shall be deemed in order at any
of its meetings, except upon unanimous vote.

8. The funds of the Conference shall be derived from
contributions from the commissions and committees on the
subject, and from voluntary subscriptions.

The proceedings of the Atlantic City Conference are published in a
volume of 340 pages, and copies may be had, at fifty cents each,
from H. V. Mercer, of Minneapolis. The proceedings of the Chicago
Conference (including as an Appendix on pages 124-135 a brief report
of the Washington Conference, the proceedings of which have not been
printed _in extenso_), may be had at fifty cents a copy by addressing
John B. Andrews, Metropolitan Tower, New York City.


Third National Conference on Industrial Accidents and Workmen's

Auditorium Hotel, Chicago

June 10-11, 1910

Commissioner United States Bureau of Labor

_Secretary_ H. V. MERCER
Chairman Minnesota Employees' Compensation Commission

_Assistant Secretary_ JOHN B. ANDREWS
Secretary American Association for Labor Legislation



_Minnesota_: H. V. Mercer, William E. McEwen, George M. Gillette.

_Wisconsin_: A. W. Sanborn, E. T. Fairchild, John J. Blaine, Wallace
Ingalls, C. B. Culbertson, Walter D. Egan, George G. Brew.

_New York_: J. Mayhew Wainwright, Joseph P. Cotton, Jr., Henry
R. Seager, Crystal Eastman, Howard R. Bayne, Frank C. Platt,
George A. Voss, Cyrus W. Phillips, Edward D. Jackson, Alfred D.
Lowe, Frank B. Thorn, Otto M. Eidlitz, John Mitchell, George W.

_Illinois_: Ira G. Rawn, E. T. Bent, Robert E. Conway, P. A.
Peterson, Charles Piez, Mason B. Starring, M. J. Boyle, Patrick
Ladd Carr, John Flora, George Golden, Daniel J. Gorman, Edwin R.

_New Jersey_: William D. Dickson, J. William Clark, Samuel Botterill,
John T. Cosgrove, Harry D. Leavitt, Walter E. Edge.

_Massachusetts_: James A. Lowell, Amos T. Saunders, Magnus W.
Alexander, Henry Howard, Joseph A. Parks.

_Ohio_: (Members to be appointed by the Governor.)

GENERAL DISCUSSION "Workers' Compensation Code"

(Outline for Discussion)

Representatives of the Federal Government, Members of State
Commissions, Delegates designated by Governors of States,
Representatives of Manufacturers' Associations and Trade
Unions, Insurance Companies, Russell Sage Foundation and
Association for Labor Legislation, and other interested
organizations and individuals.


WORKERS' COMPENSATION CODE (Discussion continued).



Classification of Hazardous Employments.
Repeal of Common Law and Statutory Remedies.
Contract vs. Absolute Liability.
Limited Compensation vs. Pension Plan.
Court Administration vs. Boards of Arbitration.


Third National Conference

Workmen's Compensation For Industrial Accidents

Chicago, June 10-11, 1910

The third meeting of the National Conference on Workmen's
Compensation for Industrial Accidents brought together from widely
separated parts of the United States a large number of those who
represent the serious thought of the country on this most urgent
question. Members of State Commissions in Minnesota, Wisconsin,
Illinois, New York and Massachusetts were present and submitted
reports. Thirty-eight official delegates were appointed by the
governors of States, and, in addition, representatives were present
from manufacturers' associations, trade unions, insurance companies,
the Russell Sage Foundation, the Association for Labor Legislation,
and other interested organizations. Many individuals from the shops,
the offices and the universities, attended the various sessions and
listened to the arguments of the speakers or participated in the

Among those present who took an active interest in the meetings were:

Jane Addams, Hull House, Chicago; T. W. Allinson, Henry Booth House,
Chicago; W. A. Allport, Member Illinois Commission on Occupational
Diseases and State Delegate; L. A. Anderson, State Insurance Actuary,
Madison, Wis.; John B. Andrews, Secretary American Association for
Labor Legislation, New York City.

James V. Barry, State Delegate from Michigan; William P. Belden,
Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company, Mich.; E. T. Bent, Member Illinois
Commission; John J. Blaine, Member of Wisconsin Commission and
State Delegate; M. J. Boyle, Member of Illinois Commission; Frank
Buchanan, Structural Iron Workers' Union, Chicago; Henry W. Bullock,
representing Indiana State Federation of Labor.

Patrick Ladd Carr, Member Illinois Commission; Robert E. Conway,
Member Illinois Commission; Clarence B. Culbertson, Member Wisconsin
Commission and State Delegate.

Edgar T. Davies, Chief Factory Inspector of Illinois and State
Delegate; Miles M. Dawson, Insurance Actuary, New York City; F. S.
Deibler, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.; M. M. Duncan, State
Delegate from Michigan.

Crystal Eastman, Secretary and Member New York Commission; Herman L.
Ekern, Deputy Commissioner of Insurance, Wisconsin.

Henry W. Farnam, President American Association for Labor
Legislation, New Haven, Conn.; John Flora, Member Illinois
Commission; Lee K. Frankel, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New
York City; Ernst Freund, University of Chicago and President Illinois
Branch A. A. L. L.

John H. Gray, University of Minnesota and President of Minnesota
Branch, A. A. L. L.; John M. Glenn, Director Russell Sage Foundation,
New York City; George Golden, Member Illinois Commission; Daniel J.
Gorman, Member Illinois Commission.

Walter D. Haines, Member Illinois Commission on Occupational Diseases
and State Delegate; Alice Hamilton, Expert Investigator Illinois
Commission on Occupational Diseases; Samuel A. Harper, Attorney
Illinois Commission; Leonard W. Hatch, Statistician, New York State
Department of Labor; Charles R. Henderson, Secretary Illinois
Commission on Occupational Diseases and State Delegate; J. C. A.
Hiller, Missouri Commissioner of Labor and State Delegate; Frederick
L. Hoffman, Statistician Prudential Insurance Company, Newark, New

Wallace Ingalls, Member Wisconsin Commission and State Delegate.

Sherman Kingsley, United Charities, Chicago.

Thomas F. Lane, Missouri State Delegate; Julia Lathrop, Director
Chicago School of Civics; James A. Lowell, Chairman Massachusetts

Charles McCarthy, Chief Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library;
Edwin M. McKinney, Chicago; Ruben McKitrick, University of Wisconsin;
Floyd R. Mechem, University of Chicago; H. V. Mercer, Chairman
Minnesota Commission and State Delegate; H. E. Miles, National
Manufacturers' Association and Racine-Sattley Company, Racine, Wis.;
John Mitchell, Member New York Commission; William H. Moulton,
Sociological Department, Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company, Mich.

Cecil Clare North, De Pauw University, Indiana.

Irene Osgood, Assistant Secretary American Association for Labor
Legislation, New York City.

Joseph A. Parks, Member Massachusetts Commission; P. A. Peterson,
Member Illinois Commission; Charles Piez, Member Illinois Commission;
Ralph F. Potter, Attorney Ocean Accident and Guarantee Corporation,

Samuel Rabinovitch, Milwaukee Relief Society; G. A. Ranney,
International Harvester Company, Chicago; Benjamin Rastall,
University of Wisconsin; A. Duncan Reid, Ocean Accident and Guarantee
Corporation, New York; C. T. Graham Rogers, Medical Inspector New
York Department of Labor; David Ross, Secretary Illinois State Bureau
of Labor.

Amos T. Saunders, Member Massachusetts Commission; A. W. Sanborn,
Chairman Wisconsin Commission and State Delegate; Ferd. C.
Schwedtman, National Association of Manufacturers, St. Louis; Henry
R. Seager, Member New York Commission and President of the New York
Branch, A. A. L. L.; A. M. Simons, Chicago; Geo. W. Smith, Member New
York Commission; John T. Smith, Secretary Missouri State Federation
of Labor; Mason B. Starring, Member Illinois Commission; H. Wirt
Steele, Charity Organization Society, Baltimore, Md.; Ethelbert
Stewart, United States Bureau of Labor; Charles A. Sumner, City Club,
Kansas City, Missouri.

Edward G. Trimble, Employers' Indemnity Exchange, Houston, Texas;
James H. Tufts, University of Chicago.

Paul J. Watrous, Secretary Wisconsin Commission and State Delegate;
Agnes Wilson, United Charities, Chicago; Edwin R. Wright, Member and
Secretary Illinois Commission.

FIRST SESSION, FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 1910, 9.30 A. M.

In the absence of Commissioner Charles P. Neill, of the United States
Bureau of Labor, who was detained in Washington by urgent official
matters, the first session of the Chicago Conference was opened by
the Secretary, H. V. Mercer, Chairman of the Minnesota Employes
Compensation Commission, and he was unanimously elected temporary
chairman for the Chicago meetings.

In formally opening the Conference and assuming the chair, Mr. Mercer

CHAIRMAN MERCER: According to the program here, the first order
of business for this meeting is brief reports from the different
state commissions. I understand there are seven States that have
commissions working on the question of compensation for industrial
accidents, or perhaps, more properly speaking, for injuries occurring
in the course of and arising out of the industries in which they
are employed, - for "accidents," according to the courts in some
States, do not mean what we want to cover. Some courts use that term
in the popular sense; some use it as including, and some use it as
excluding, any idea of fault or negligence.

In view of the fact that you have made me temporary chairman, it
would hardly be proper for me to open this meeting with a report from
Minnesota, and hence I will call upon the other States first.

(Upon the Call of States by the Chairman, the following responses
were given.)


SENATOR JOHN J. BLAINE: Our Committee is a legislative committee made
up of three members of the Senate and four members of the Assembly.
The committee was appointed at the last session of the Legislature
in 1909. They have been diligently pursuing the course of their
investigations with the object of arriving at a bill which the
committee can recommend to the Legislature for its adoption. It was a
few months before we got to work after our appointment and it was not
until last April that we drafted the first tentative bills.

I would state briefly that the first tentative bills were drafted
with the object of drawing out discussion on the part of the
employers and employes. We had held some meetings previously, and
those who appeared before us were somewhat in the dark as to just
what we intended to do and wanted to do, and therefore we drafted
tentative bills to which they should direct their fire of criticisms
and suggestions.

The first bill presented was a bill destroying the common law
defenses, assumption of risk, the co-employe doctrine, and modifying
contributory negligence to that of comparative negligence. The second
of the first tentative bills was a compensation measure. The purpose
of the first bill was to use a "constitutional coercion," as we have
termed it, making the compensation bill practically compulsory, but
not in the language of the bill declaring it compulsory, hoping
in this way to bring it within the constitution. That destroyed
the common law defenses and then gave the employer the right to
come under the compensation act. Also in that bill the employe was
presumed to be acting under that bill unless he contracted to the
contrary at the time of entering his employment.

The matter of compensation and the details of the bill are not of
particular interest to the Conference, because they are questions
concerning which there is very little contention, and they resolve
themselves practically to the point of working out the question
of arbitration and the measure of compensation and the manner of
arriving at compensation, and such court procedure as is necessary,
in detail.

We found that our first tentative bills performed the exact object
which we intended they should. Neither the committee nor any of
its members, I believe, had any idea that the first tentative
bills represented their individual ideas or even the idea of the
committee as a whole; but they certainly resulted in bringing about
discussion, and after those bills were sent about the State to
employers and employes they all got busy and we had very valuable
and helpful discussions upon those bills. We held a conference in
Milwaukee lasting about a week. There appeared before the committee
representatives of the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association of
Milwaukee, and from the northern part of the State representatives
of the lumber and various other industries. We also had the State
Federation of Labor.

After that meeting we met again in May and drafted our second
set of tentative bills, the first bill destroying the defense and
assumption of risk, and also the co-employes doctrine as a defense,
but embodying the question of contributory negligence. That bill,
if enacted into law, independent of every other act, would make all
employers of every nature subject to the law, whether the employer
was a farmer, a manufacturer or whatsoever he might be. The second
bill provided practically the same as our other bill.

We found at these public hearings that the question of who shall
pay for the insurance, as it is called, is not a matter of great
contention in Wisconsin. I think the larger manufacturers, and
the great majority of all of them, favor paying the compensation
themselves and either assuming the obligation, or organizing
mutual insurance companies or protecting themselves with liability
insurance policies. There are a few who believe that the employes
should contribute a small portion toward the compensation, but I do
not believe that is the general sentiment among the employers and
manufacturers in Wisconsin.

I think the only serious problem we have to meet is whether we shall
take away the common law right from the employe. The Federation of
Labor of Wisconsin is very much opposed to that feature of our bill,
and personally I am opposed to it. I have expressed that opposition
at all the hearings and directed many questions along that line to
ascertain the sentiment of employers and employes.

Our bill creates the presumption that an employe is acting under
the act unless he contracts to the contrary at the time of his
employment, and of course the idea of that is to get around the
constitutional provisions; therefore, there will be consent to act
under the law, and consent to arbitration, and hence it will no doubt
be constitutional. But the employes, through their representatives,
believe that they should have the right of selection after the injury
has occurred. The Federation bill that they have prepared, follows
practically the same lines as the English act, giving the double
remedy of a common law right of action, and then also compensation
in case of their failure to recover under the common law; but they
have gone so far, through their representatives, as to state that
they would not ask for that provision in its entirety. While I am
not going to speak authoritatively as to just what they will or will
not do, I think it is their idea that if they are given the right
to elect at the time or within a reasonable time of the injury,
whether they shall proceed under the common law remedy or accept the
provisions of the compensation act, that they will be willing to
waive the double remedy, and whichever act the employe chooses to
proceed under, will be a waiver of all other remedies.

That question is going to be debated by both sides and I think if
we are going to meet with any danger of defeat in promoting this
legislation it will be upon that one subject, and personally I hope
that the employers will find that under a reasonable bill, with
reasonable compensation and protection drawn about them, so there
will be no danger to mulct them in any great damages, that they will
be willing to accept some provision giving the employes the right of
election at the time of the injuries.

Under the second tentative bill we have had public hearings
throughout the State, particularly in the industrial centers,
and concluded those hearings last Friday. We expect to meet as a
committee, redraft our bills and get them into substantial form, and
then I suppose, after we have determined what the committee intends
to do as a committee in submitting its report to the Legislature
on the essential points, we will then have public hearings and the
questions that are debatable will be debated before that committee at
these hearings, and then we will make our report accordingly.


MISS CRYSTAL EASTMAN: The New York Commission is in a peculiarly
fortunate position. Our bills have both passed and one of them has
already been signed by the Governor, so that to-day our labors would
be all over and we could return to rest, except for the fact that we
still have to inquire into the causes and prevention of industrial
accidents, the causes and effects and remedies of non-employment, and
the causes and remedies for the lack of farm labor in New York State.
You will see from this that we received a life sentence on the New
York Commission. The Legislature evidently thought it would give to
us the solution of all the problems of modern industry and keep the
reformers quiet for fifty years. However, we have finished up the
Employers' Liability part of our job and we feel that we have done
our part of the work in that regard and now have put it up to the

When I was planning what I should say here, I rather thought I would
discuss the two bills which we have introduced, and passed, and leave
out the discussion of how we did the work, but since I have come here
I believe it is more important to tell you how we did it, and take it
for granted that you know about the bills and are familiar with them.

Our work, to my mind, is divided into five different sections. In the
first place we had reports specially prepared for the Commission,
one on the Employers' Liability Law in New York State and the other
States. That was prepared by our counsel and sent to every member of
the Commission early last summer. Then we had a report prepared on
the Foreign Systems of Compensation and Insurance: That was mailed
to the members of the Commission for their information. Then we had
a report on Relief Associations in New York State, which was very
voluminous and was not generally mailed, but was kept in the office
for reference.

The next section of our work was printed inquiries sent to all the
employers whom we could get the names of from the State Department of
Labor, and to all labor unions on record. These inquiries were just
about the same as those sent to the employers, and in a general way
we asked both the labor unions and the employers what they thought of
the present law on employers' liability, how they thought it met the
situation; and we asked them how they would like a law on workmen's
compensation, describing it very briefly. We received replies from
only a small proportion of the inquiries we sent out, but a large
enough number to give us some general idea of the feeling of both the

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