Exploring American History Unit VII – Becoming a World Power. Chapter 21 - The Progressive Spirit of Reform Section 2- Reforming the Workplace. Reforming the Workplace. The Big Idea In the early 1900s, Progressives and other reformers focused on improving conditions for American workers.
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Chapter 21 - The Progressive Spirit of Reform
Section 2- Reforming the Workplace
In 1908 the National Child Labor Committee employed Lewis Hines as their staff investigator and photographer. Hines traveled the country taking pictures of children working in factories. Hines also lectured on the subject and once told one audience: "Perhaps you are weary of child labor pictures. Well, so are the rest of us, but we propose to make you and the whole country so sick and tired of the whole business that when the time for action comes, child labor pictures will be records of the past."
Sadie Pfeifer, 48 inches high. Has worked half a year.
Breaker Boys" were used in the anthracite coal mines to separate slate rock from the coal after it had been brought out of the shaft. They often worked 14 to 16 hours a day.
In 1916 Congress made its first effort to control child labor by passing the Keating-Owen Act. The legislation forbade the transportation among states of products of factories, shops or canneries employing children under 14 years of age, of mines employing children under 16 years of age, and the products of any of these employing children under 16 who worked at night or more than eight hours a day. In 1918 the Supreme Court ruled that the Keating-Owen Act was unconstitutional.
After the Supreme Court ruled that the Keating-Owen Act was unconstitutional, Congress passed a Second Child Labor Law. This levied a tax of ten per cent on the net profits of factories employing children under the age of 14, and of mines and quarries employing children under the age of 16. This legislation was declared unconstitutional as a result of the Drexel Furniture Company case in 1922.
June, 1938, that Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act. The main objective of the act was to eliminate "labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standards of living necessary for health, efficiency and well-being of workers". This included the prohibition of child labor in all industries engaged in producing goods in inter-state commerce. It set the minimum age at 14 for employment outside of school hours in non-manufacturing jobs, at 16 for employment during school hours, and 18 for hazardous occupations.