Page images
[ocr errors]

solely because the means had become inadequate. A condition of affairs in naturalization matters never before experienced in the history of the country had been created. Aliens desirous of filing their naturalization papers at a time when their action was expressive of the highest sentiment of loyalty discovered that the machinery of the Government, both State and Federal, was powerless to assist them.

Communities have paid for the cost of printing the preliminary naturalization forms; individuals and organizations of a patriotic, philanthropic, religious, commercial, or educational nature have lent their aid to the relief of this appalling situation; yet all to no purpose. Governmental aid of an expert character was insufficient to meet the national need. Communities determined upon an all-American organization have had their plans deferred, if not frustrated, by lack of governmental power by which they might be guided, notwithstanding that the examining force exerted itself to the maximum and the public gave to the utmost its voluntary assistance. So great was the increase in this work that it became necessary in the judgment of the Department to establish a specific division in the Bureau of Naturalization to exercise immediate supervision over it. The Division of Citizenship Training was therefore created and a chief, entitled the “Director of Citizenship," was placed at its head.

During the past year 117,000 copies of the citizenship textbook compiled from material used by the public schools and descriptive of the functions of the Federal Government, were distributed for the use of candidates for citizenship attending the public schools. This book, admittedly inadequate both as to mechanical construction and subject matter, has, nevertheless, been acclaimed throughout the United States by the public-school authorities. It has been submitted to a committee of educators representing the public schools and universities engaged in the solution of the problem of teaching the foreigner. New material has been placed in the hands of this committee, which is working under the supervision of the Director of Citizenship to the end that there may be issued with the coming school year a book that will be an acceptable standard course in citizenship training.

Notwithstanding the influenza, which adversely affected the public schools as well as all other activities during the past year, there were 3,000 petitioners for naturalization in attendance upon the public schools who received certificates of graduation issued jointly by the local school authorities and this Department through the Bureau of Naturalization. These few thousands represent only a small number of those actually entitled to such recognition. Certificates of proficiency have been authorized and will be issued during the coming school year to those aliens who have only declared their intention and

to whom recognition for their hard-earned merit is justly due. A certificate of recognition of the public-school system has also been authorized for issuance to the public schools of each of the communities as an indorsement by the Government of their work in training the foreigner for citizenship responsibilities.

In carrying on this work the Division of Citizenship Training cooperates with the directors of Americanization of the various cities, Americanization committees of chambers of commerce, labor organizations, and industrial concerns, with educational, religious, patriotic, philanthropic, and other organizations having for their objective the welfare of the Nation as it bears upon the individual foreigner. Without their aid this work, which has reached such a high state of development, would have been seriously handicapped. By their aid the conviction that each community should be an all-American community is gradually but surely making strides toward realization.

NATURALIZATION OF SOLDIERS AND SAILORS. During the past year the important work of vesting with American citizenship that great patriotic body, the loyal foreign-born soldiers making up a large part of the American forces, both military and naval, went steadily forward under varying conditions of difficulty. American citizenship was granted to 128,335 soldiers in the Army camps and adjacent courts throughout the United States. These soldiers were relieved from all the general requirements of the naturalization law, and, because of their adoption of the uniform, accorded full American citizenship. They were also relieved from paying the $5 fee where they had made no declaration of intention and of the $4 fee where the declaration of intention had previously been made. This represented an actual saving of $513,340 in the latter case. The number of those in the former class is unknown and therefore can not be stated. The first report of the provost marshal general, dated December 20, 1917, showed 76,545 foreigners in the Army who had not declared their intention to become citizens of the United States. The number afterwards inducted into the service without the declaration of intention is not known. To these 76,545 the requirement for a previous declaration of intention was waived, thereby saving the sum of $76,545, a total, as nearly as can be ascertained, of $589,885 saved to soldier applicants. This was nearly as large an amount as the total naturalization fees ($597,087.97) collected throughout the United States from all other aliens. None of the attendant delays in naturalization proceedings were required of them, as the law permitted the immediate hearing of their petitions for naturalization upon being filed. As stated in the last annual report, the law intended to extend to every alien wearing the American uniform the opportunity of American citizenship.


[ocr errors]

WAR ACTIVITIES. Organization.-On January 3, 1918, the date on which the United States Employment Service was established as a separate branch of the Department, there were in existence but 96 branch offices, operating in 36 States and the District of Columbia. In five other States, seven offices were in operation to which Federal officers were assigned under the cooperative supervision of the Department and the respective State commissioners of labor. In the remaining eight States the Federal Government had no employment agencies. The administrative force in Washington numbered only 12 officers and employees, and the field force approximately 200. By July 1, 1918, there were, in round numbers, 350 offices, with a paid personnel of about 1,700, while the administrative force in Washington had grown to 300. In many of the States the offices are maintained in cooperation with State or municipal agencies.

In addition to the regular personnel of the field force, the organization contained three groups of special volunteers, viz: State Advisory Boards, Community Labor Boards, and the Industrial Advisers. For a short time while these boards were in process of formation there was also in operation in each State a fourth board known as the State Organization Committee. Of these groups of volunteer workers, the State Advisory Boards and the Community Labor Boards are still functioning.

The State Advisory Board in each State is composed of the Federal director of employment as chairman, two representatives of labor, two of management, and two women, one of the latter to represent the workers and the other to represent management. The principal functions of these boards during the war were: (a) To advise the Federal director of employment in matters of policy and to assist him in choosing the members of his own staff and the officers to be placed in charge of the main local offices, including the superintendents of women's divisions; (b) to recommend removals of said officers, where deemed advisable for the best interest of the service; and (c) revision and approval of the apportionment among the communities of their respective States of the quota assigned thereto for recruiting purposes.

The Community Labor Boards are composed of five members, representative of the United States Employment Service, local employers, and local employees. The number of Community Labor Boards organized and in operation throughout the United States at the end of the war was 1 644. The functions of the Community Labor Boards during the war were as follows:

(a) Decision of all questions concerning recruiting and distributing labor in the community, subject to appeal by any member to the State Advisory Board; all decisions of both State Advisory Boards and Community Labor Boards being subject to regulations issued and approved by the Director General, acting on the advice of the War Labor Policies Board.

b) Dividing up the total of the community's quota, assigning to industries and employers in nonwar work the proportionate share which each should contribute.

(c) In distributing available labor supplies among local war industries it was the duty of the Commumity Labor Boards to consult the local employers' committee, which was represented on the Community Labor Board.

(d) The Community Labor Board had no executive duties, but so far as possible assisted in recruiting labor by securing harmonious and cooperative action on the part of employers and employees.

The particular duty of the industrial advisers selected by the Department of Labor was to furnish the district draft boards information as to the needs for skilled labor and the supply in each community, to assist the district boards in arriving at their decisions as to whether or not individuals were performing work necessary to the effective operation of the military forces.

From this synopsis of the form of organization of the Employment Service there will be noted the magnitude and importance of the task of creating it; but when it is considered that, coincident with this work of organization, actual and efficient employment activities have been carried on it will be seen that the demands upon the service have been exceedingly great.

Centralized recruiting and distributing of unskilled labor.–One of the most important tasks allotted to the Employment Service was the vesting in it of exclusive authority for the recruiting and distributing of unskilled labor in war work. This authority was recommended by the War Labor Policies Board and submitted to the President on June 15, 1918, by the Secretary of Labor. The President, on June 17, 1918, issued a proclamation urging all employees engaged in war work to refrain, after August 1, 1918, from recruiting unskilled labor in any manner except through this central agency (the United States Employment Service), and urging labor to respond as loyally as theretofore to any calls issued by that agency for voluntary enlistment in essential industry. The regulations of this service dated August 1, 1918, with respect to the central recruiting program, were as follows:



To minimize the danger of interruption to war work in effecting the change from present competitive methods of labor recruiting, the Government central labor recruiting program, as heretofore announced, provides that at the outset employers may con

tinue to hire unskilled laborers who apply for work without solicitation and that private field forces may be utilized under control of the United States Employment Service.

In order that the United States Employment Service may be as effective as possible it is highly important that all employers engaged in war work keep the local office of the United States Employment Service informed from day to day of their exact needs for unskilled labor. The regulations which govern private recruiting are as follows:

Recruiting regulations. 1. Employers may continue to hire workers who apply at the plant without solicitation, direct or indirect.

2. The Federal director of employment in each State is authorized to grant permission to employers to use their own field agents for recruiting unskilled workers under his direction and control for war industries located within the State.

3. Permission to recruit unskilled laborers in States other than the one in which the work is located may be secured from the Director General of the United States Employment Service upon the recommendation of the Federal director of employment for the State in which the men are needed. Such permission will be communicated by the Director General to the Federal directors for the States in which the labor is needed and from which it is to be recruited.

Transportation of workers. 4. No unskilled labor may be transported from one State to another without authorization from the Director General, to be secured by application through the Federal director of employment for the State in which the labor is recruited. No laborers may be moved from one employment district to another within a State without authorization from the Federal director of employment for the State.

5. Employers who receive permission to transport workers from one State to another or from one district to another within any State must file a statement with the nearest Employment Service office of the number of men transferred, the wages offered, and other terms and conditions of employment promised to the men.

No fee agencies or advertising. 6. Employers who are permitted to use their own field agents for recruiting labor must in no case use any fee-charging agency or use any agents or labor scouts who are paid for their work on a commission basis. ·

7. All advertising for unskilled labor, whether by card, poster, newspaper, handbill, or any other medium, is prohibited after August 1, 1918. This applies to all employers engaged wholly or partly in war work whose maximum force, including skilled and unskilled laborers, exceeds 100.

Recruiting skilled labor. No restrictions are for the time being placed upon employers engaged in war work in recruiting their own skilled labor, other than that they should so conduct their efforts as to avoid taking or causing restlessness among men who are already engaged in other war work, including railroads, mines, and farms, as well as work covered by direct and subcontracts for departments of the United States Government.

Federal directors of the United States Employment Service for the several States are instructed to give every possible assistance to employers engaged in war work who desire to recruit skilled labor.

Employers in war work are at present under no restrictions as to advertising for skilled labor, other than that all advertising should be designed and conducted so as to avoid creating restlessness among men in war work (as above described).

« PreviousContinue »