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BUREAU OF LABOR

APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONER.-A commissioner of labor shall be appointed by the governor, and said commissioner of labor, by and with the consent of the governor, shall have power to appoint and employ such assistants as may be necessary to discharge the duties of said commissioner of labor; and said commissioner of labor, together with the inspector of coal mines, shall constitute a bureau of labor. On the first Monday in April, 1897, and every four years thereafter the governor shall appoint a suitable person to act as commissioner of labor, and as factory, mill and railroad inspector, who shall hold office until his successor is appointed and qualified. (L. ’05, sec. 1, chap. 83.)

DUTIES OF COMMISSIONER.-It shall be the duty of such officer and employes of said bureau to cause to be enforced all laws regulating the employment of children, minors and women, all laws established for the protection of the health, lives and limbs of operators in workshops, factories, mills and mines, on railroads and other places, and all laws enacted for the protection of the working classes, and declaim it a misdemeanor on the part of the employers to require as a condition of employment the surrender of any rights of citizenship, laws regulating and prescribing the qualifications of persons in trades and handicrafts, and similar laws now in force or hereafter to be enacted. It shall also be the duty of officers and employees of the bureau to collect, assort, arrange and present in biennial reports to the legislature, on or before the first. Monday in January, statistical details relating to all departments of labor in the state; to the subjects of corporations, strikes or other labor difficulties; to trade unions and other labor organizations and their effect upon labor and capital; and to such other matters relating to the commercial, industrial, social, educational, moral, and sanitary conditions of the laboring classes, and the permanent prosperity of the respective industries of the state as the bureau may be able to gather. In its biennial report the bureau shall also give account of all proceedings of its officers and employes which have been taken in accordance with the provisions of this act, or of any other acts herein referred to, including a statement of all violations of law which have been observed, and the proceedings under the same, and shall join with such accounts and such remarks, suggestions and recommendations as the commissioner may deem necessary. (Sec. 2, p. 132, '01.)

LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

OFFICE OF BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS AND FACTORY

INSPECTION.

OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 1912. To His Excellency, M. E. Hay, Governor of the State of Wash

ington: SIR—In accordance with chapter LXXIV, Laws of 1901, I have the honor to transmit herewith to you, and through you to the honorable legislature, this, the eighth biennial report of this bureau for the years 1911-1912. Respectfully yours,

CHARLES F. HUBBARD,

Commissioner.

INTRODUCTION

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This is the eighth biennial report issued by the Bureau of Labor of this state and the fourth report prepared under the direction of the present commissioner. In the years that have elapsed since the organization of the bureau, the scope of its work has been greatly broadened. As originally created, the department was limited to the commissioner and a single clerk, and the work was necessarily confined within a very limited sphere. With the constant development of the industrial and commercial enterprises of the state, a demand was created for an enlarged activity on the part of the Labor Bureau, and each recurring session of the legislature has witnessed important additions to the laws of the state, requiring many new and varied duties of this department.

The more important of these duties may briefly be enumerated as follows:

1.. General supervision of the enforcement of all the labor laws of the state and the investigation and prosecution of offenses against such laws.

2. Inspection of all factories, mills, work shops and other places where machinery is employed, and requiring the installation of approved safeguards for all such machinery; also sanitary conditions.

3. Inspection of boilers and hulls of all steamboats and power boats operating on waters which are under the jurisdiction of the state. Examination of masters, pilots and engineers for licenses and issuing of same.

4. Inspection of bakeries and requiring that same be conducted under proper sanitary conditions.

5. Enforcement of the eight-hour lay for public works, the eight-hour law for female workers, the ten-hour law for street car operatives, the Sunday closing law governing barber shops, and the child labor laws.

6. The investigation of strikes and other industrial disturbances and the organization of arbitration boards, whenever same may be desired by either party to a dispute.

7. The collection and compilation of statistics relating to various classes of labor employed throughout the state, including data upon the hours of service, wages paid, conditions of employment, etc.

8. Investigations of the cost of living, including the collection of statistics covering prices of commodities entering into common household use, cost of rents and the relation of income to expense.

9. To report to the Governor and through him to the legislature, such additions or amendments to the labor laws as the commissioner through experience and observation may deem advisable.

These various duties and others which will be found fully outlined in the appendix to this report, containing the revised labor laws of the state, furnish the basis of the chief activities of the department. The staff at present comprises in addition to the commissioner, the woman assistant commissioner, in charge of the inspection of places where female help is employed, two office clerks, five inspectors of factories, one inspector of hulls and one inspector of boilers. The last two mentioned are employed during a portion of the summer months only. .

The foregoing outline of the principal work performed by the department suggests in a large measure the scope of the report itself. The purpose in view has been to bring the lawmakers of the state and the public generally, in touch with the needs of Washington's vast army of wage earners and the conditions of living by which they are surrounded.

On the whole, the biennial period now closing has been marked by industrial and commercial depression. The lumber industry, which is perhaps the most important barometer of labor conditions in the state, has been more or less stagnant for much of the time. Many of the mills have been shut down for months, and others have operated on part time only. The dullness in the lumber trade has been reflected in other lines and the situation of labor generally has not been satisfactory. Recently there have been evidences of a revival in the logging and lumber industry and there appear to be excellent reasons for anticipating steady and profitable employment for many who have suffered from lengthy periods of enforced idleness.

In the agricultural sections of the state, unusually heavy crops have been harvested for 1912, and a wide avenue of employment has been opened from that source. In some localities there has been a scarcity of help on the farms and fruit ranches and this demand has served to relieve conditions in the more congested industrial centers.

In concluding this introductory statement, it is desired to make acknowledgment of the loyal and efficient services rendered by the assistant commissioner, office clerks and field inspectors and to commend them for their work. The department is also under many obligations to Governor M. E. Hay, and to the Attorney General's office for various courtesies extended and to those who have supplied facts and figures for use in compiling this report.

CHARLES F. HUBBARD,

Commissioner.

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