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REPORT

OF THE

SECRETARY OF LABOR

SEVENTH ANNUAL REPORT

OF THE

SECRETARY OF LABOR.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,

Washington, D. C., November 10, 1919. To the PRESIDENT:

The great world conflict was only in a very superficial sense a contest between armed men. In a deeper sense it was a conflict between organized peoples. Victory was determined by the superior ability of the peoples of the allied and associated nations to keep their troops in the field properly supplied and equipped with the necessary materials and munitions of war.

He would be ungrateful indeed who did not recognize that the chief burden of the war was borne by those who risked their lives. But it detracts nothing from their share in the victory to realize that the forces of the world democracies would have been helpless had they not had behind them united peoples and effective industrial forces. Back of the armed men were ships which sped across the ocean with the products of American labor, and railroads which transported those products to the seaboard; behind the railroads in turn were warehouses, workshops, factories, and mines. All these are in the long run but different forms of labor; and had any of this labor faltered we should not now be preparing to enjoy the blessings of peace and liberty.

There have been some speculation and some unfortunate disputes as to the nation which contributed in greatest part toward the winning of the war. Such discussions are futile. But it is of the highest importance that we realize that the thing which did make victory possible was labor. The efficiency of our Nation in war was determined—as was the efficiency of all other nations-by our ability to direct our labor, whether manual or managerial, most efficiently toward a common end. And that I conceive to be one of the chief merits of democracy—that under it men can most readily cooperate toward a common end, whether in war or peace.

The importance of labor was no more a fact during the war than it had been during peace. But the exigencies of that conflict stripped

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The war,

away many of the confusions of thought which had theretofore concealed the central truth that man does not live either upon the stored-up wealth of the past or by discounting the future but by his present labor.

Because war had accentuated this truth, which is as old as man, we devoted much governmental effort toward the affairs of our wage earners in war that we should have devoted before in peace.

therefore, resulted in a gigantic expansion of the functions of the Department of Labor. With the coming of peace many of these were discontinued, some properly so, because they were purely war functions. It is a matter of regret, however, that others were abandoned, for they are as needful in peace as in war. It is a matter of regret in particular that two agencies which were of special importance have had to be practically abandoned. Although the organic act of the Department of Labor specifically charges the Department with improving the working conditions of wage earners and advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, two services of the Department devoted to the first object-the Working Conditions Service and the United States Training Service-have been of necessity abandoned, while the one devoted to the latter object-the United States Employment Service-has been forced to curtail its work.

INTERNATIONAL LABOR CONFERENCE.

In world-wide interest and historical significance the most important phase of the work of this Department since its last report. relates to the first meeting of the General Conference of Representatives of the Members of the League of Nations for labor adjustments held pursuant to those provisions of the treaty of peace with Germany which are comprised in Part XIII. This meeting convened at

. Washington October 29, 1919. In order to report upon the activities of the Department of Labor with reference to this meeting, as well as for further reasons, I am extending my annual report beyond its fiscal year and as nearly as possible up to the date of transmission.

Part XIII of the treaty of peace with Germany, which includes all the articles thereof between article 386 and article 428, establishes a permanent international organization of labor on the basis of social justice. Its method is the promotion of what it characterizes as an urgently required improvement of those existing conditions of labor which involve such injustice, hardship, and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world are imperiled. Specific suggestions by the treaty for this improvement include recognition of the principle of freedom of association; regulation of working time and labor supply; prevention of unemployment; provision for an adequate living wage; protection of workers against sickness, disease, and injury arising out of employment; protection of children, young persons, and women; provision for old age and injury; protection of workers when employed in countries other than their own; and organization of vocational and technical education.

The permanent international organization so established consists of a General Conference of Representatives of the Members of the League of Nations, together with an International Labor Office to be controlled by a Governing Body and to be located at the seat of the League of Nations as part of the league. The general conference is composed of four representatives of each member of the League of Nations. Two of these representatives are Government delegates; the other two respectively represent employers and workers and are chosen by each Government in agreement with the industrial organizations most representative of employers or of working people, as the case may be, in their respective countries. The Governing Body consists of 12 persons representing Governments, 6 representing employers, and 6 representing wage earners. The Director of the International Labor Office, who chooses his own staff, is appointed by the Governing Body and is subject to its instructions. Disputes among members are appealable to the Permanent Court of International Justice provided for in article 14 of the treaty, which is part of the covenant of the League of Nations.

The first meeting of the general conference is provided for by Chapter IV and its Annex in Part XIII of the treaty. This chapter, entitled “Transitory provisions," is devoted, together with its annex, to the first meeting of the general conference. Therein the treaty requires the first meeting of the conference to take place in the month of October, 1919, at Washington. It is also therein required that arrangements for the convening and the organization of such first meeting should be made by the Government of the United States, and to this end our Government was therein and thereby requested to convene the same.

Subsequently, by joint resolution, Congress adopted the following authorization, which was approved August 15, 1919:

That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, authorized to convene and to make arrangements for the organization of a general international labor conference to be held in Washington, D. C.: Provided, however, That nothing herein shall be held to authorize the President to appoint any delegate to represent the United States of America at such conference or to authorize the United States of America to participate therein unless and until the Senate shall have ratified the provisions of the proposed treaty of peace with Germany with reference to a general international labor conference.

By authority of the aforesaid resolution the Department of State sent an invitation, through the American embassies and missions

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