Page images
PDF
EPUB

cies.

have free access to factories and other places where people are employed, and have the power to summon witnesses. The information collected must be embodied in a biennial report to the legislature. 2. To grant licenses to proprietors of employment agen

No person may engage in this business without such a license. Each license is granted for one year. License fees are collected according to law, and the money thus received goes into the labor bureau fund.

3. To enforce labor laws. He is specially required to enforce the child labor law, the law forbidding unsanitary conditions in places where people are employed, the law forbidding the use of unsafe scaffolding, and other laws. Inspectors are sent to all parts of the state, and if discovery is made that labor laws are being violated, arrests and prosecutions follow, through the aid of local peace officers and district attorneys. (See article XIX, and sections 15, 17, 18, article XX, of the constitution.)

158. Industrial Commissions.! — There are two important state commissions that have to do with the industrial life of our people: the industrial accident commission and the industrial welfare commission.

The industrial accident commission consists of three members appointed by the governor each for four years at a salary of $5000 a year. It has its principal office in San Francisco and maintains a branch office in Los Angeles. It is authorized to appoint an attorney, a secretary, a manager of the state compensation insurance fund, a superintendent of the department of safety, and such other assistants, experts, inspectors, and employees as may be necessary

1 Statutes of 1913, Chapters 176 and 324.

-- 16

CIVIL GOV. IN CAL.

The law provides that if a person is injured or killed while working for another, the employer is liable for damages, except in the case of employees engaged in farm work or in domestic service. To determine the amount of the liability is often a very complicated matter. The law contains many regulations for the adjustment of such disputes, and creates the industrial accident board to carry these regulations into effect. Cases are taken up by the commission on applications of interested parties. It carefully investigates each case, and renders its decision and awards damages according to the facts. Any award of the commission may be filed with the clerk of any superior court in the state, and is thereafter regarded as a judgment of that court. Any party to the dispute may appeal from the decision and award to the state supreme court or to the district court of appeals, but in reviewing such cases these courts are subject to certain limitations mentioned in the law.

In order that liability for industrial accidents may not prove to be too heavy a burden for employers, the state undertakes to insure them against loss from such accidents. An insurance fund is provided and placed in the charge of the industrial accident commission, which has full power to establish premium rates and to adopt regulations for administering the fund. It is intended that this enterprise shall be self-supporting, but that the state shall make no profit from it. No employer is compelled to take out any insurance with the state.

The commission is also given power to inspect places of employment and to compel employers to take such precautions and to establish such conditions as will make accidents improbable and safeguard the health of employees.

The industrial welfare commission consists of five members

a woman.

appointed by the governor. One of their number must be

The term of office is four years, and each member receives, in addition to traveling expenses, $10 a day for the time devoted to the public service. The commission appoints a secretary “and such expert, clerical, and other assistants as may be necessary."

“ It shall be the duty of the commission to ascertain the wages paid, the hours and conditions of labor and employment in the various occupations, trades, and industries in which women and minors are employed.” The word “minor" here refers to children under eighteen years of

age. The commission or its assistants may inspect any place where women and children are employed, and may require reports at any time from such places. "If, after investigation, the commission is of the opinion that, in any occupation, trade, or industry, the wages paid to women and minors are inadequate to supply the cost of proper living, or the hours or conditions of labor are prejudicial to the health, morals, or welfare of the workers," the commission may call a conference composed of representatives of the employers and workers, for the purpose of getting at all the facts in the case. After this the commission may fix a “minimum wage " that must be paid, prescribe the maximum hours of employment per day, and establish a standard of conditions looking toward health and safety that must be maintained. Any employer who disregards any order of the commission in respect to any of these matters is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to fine or imprisonment or both. This commission was created by the legislature of 1913. It is clearly intended to protect the weaker members of society from industrial oppression and the misery and degradation growing out of it.

159. The State Board of Health.1 As we have seen ($ 99), our general state system for the protection of the public health provides for the following boards and officers :

1. The state board of health consisting of seven members, appointed by the governor, with the approval of the senate.

2. County health officers appointed by boards of supervisors.

3. Deputy county health officers for unincorporated towns, appointed by county supervisors.

4. City boards of health and health officers appointed by city councils or in some other manner provided by city charters.

The members of the state board of health are appointed for four years and serve without pay. They appoint a secretary, who is their executive officer. His salary is $3600 a year and his office is in the capitol. They also appoint an assistant secretary, a chemist, and various other employees. An attorney for the board is appointed by the governor. The most important duties of the department are as follows:

1. To protect the people of the state against contagious diseases. The details of this work are mainly in charge of the local health officers. If they are unable to locate the source of an epidemic, the state board sends trained inspectors to assist. The state board may assume entire control of a situation on the request of the local health officers; or, without such request, if it is convinced that such action is necessary. Local health officers must report all cases of contagious diseases to the state board. The board may quarantine any part of the state. It must prevent the in

i Political Code, $ 2978 seq.

troduction of contagious diseases from other states. To aid in the diagnosis of doubtful cases, it maintains a hygienic laboratory in Berkeley, to which health officers may send specimens for examination.

The board maintains a special department of tuberculosis to register all persons in the state who are afflicted with this disease, and to supervise all hospitals, sanitariums, and other places where tuberculous patients are treated. The board appoints a director for this department, and the governor appoints an advisory board of four members. The members of this board receive no pay, but their traveling expenses incurred in the public service are paid by the state. It makes recommendations to the state board of health relative to the treatment of tuberculosis.

2. To keep a record of marriages, births, and deaths. As far as possible, the cause of every death must be recorded.

3. To prescribe the form of permits issued by local officers for the burial, cremation, or transportation of the bodies of deceased persons.

4. To enforce the state pure food law. The state board maintains a pure food and drug laboratory in Berkeley. Samples of foods that are offered for sale are purchased and sent to the laboratory by special agents appointed for the purpose, and by county sheriffs who are constituted such agents by the pure food act. If any article is found to be adulterated or mislabeled, the person who is responsible is prosecuted. This means the person from whom it was purchased, unless he is able to show a written guarantee from the manufacturer or wholesaler, from whom he purchased it, to the effect that the article is not adulterated

1 The federal government protects us against contagious diseases from foreign countries.

« PreviousContinue »