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cents an hour as the minimum in Indiana was held unconstitutional by the state courts as being an infringement upon the autonomy of municipalities and also class legislation, since it applied in terms to unskilled labor only.


While European legislation for the protection of labor on public works most frequently aims directly at the establishment of "fair wages," American statutes more often attempt to maintain " fair wages" by indirection. One method is the exclusion of alien workmen, who cut under the standard wage of American workmen. More than 15 years ago New York enacted that "in all cases where laborers are employed on any public work in this state, preference shall be given to citizens of the state" (L. 1889, ch. 380), and in 1894 it was further provided that none but citizens of the United States should be employed (chapter 622). The Supreme Court in 1895 held this act unconstitutional with respect to municipal contract work, on the ground that it impaired the freedom of contract and also violated the treaty between the United States and Italy. At the present time the law (section 13 of the Labor Law) requires contractors performing public work in cities of the first class (New York and Buffalo) to keep a register of laborers showing whether they are native-born or naturalized citizens, and in the latter case, the essential facts pertaining to their naturalization.

A number of the other states have enacted similar laws against the employment of alien labor in competition with the work of American citizens, namely, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois (unconstitutional), Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Porto Rico and Wyoming.

The New York statute enacted in 1894 (chapter 277) and later embodied in the labor law (section 14), requiring stone used in public works to be dressed in the state was declared by the Court of Appeals in 1901 (People ex rel. Treat v. Coler, 166 N. Y. 144) to constitute an unconstitutional interference with interstate commerce. More recently the Supreme Court of Missouri has affirmed the constitutionality of a similar requirement in an ordinance of the city of St. Louis (1905, Allen v. Labsap, 87 Southwestern Reporter, 926).


Two states, Montana and Nevada, require all public printing to bear the label of the International Typographical Union, the principal organization of journeymen printers in this country, and one state, Nebraska, requires public work in cities to be

performed by union labor. The employment of union labor is insisted upon in many other communities where it is not required by law, unless it be in city ordinances. The disposition of the courts is to hold such requirements invalid on the ground that such discrimination is class legislation and tends to monopoly. In this state it was held in 1901 (unanimous court, Davenport v. Walker, 57 App. Div. 223), that public officers have no right to insist upon the employment of union labor by contractors.


Owing to the direct accountability of public officers to the voters, a majority of whom are usually wage earners in communities where manhood suffrage prevails, they are not likely to resort to the expedient of depressing wages that is so often forced upon contractors subject to keen competition. Few workmen employed directly by the public authorities have cause to complain of poor treatment as compared with workmen in competitive occupations. Most of the legislation regarding labor conditions on public works, discussed in the foregoing, is aimed at the contract system; and while there is an increasing tendency to regulate the contract system, none of the states have gone so far as to abolish that system entirely. Only in California is there a statute which forbids public buildings to be erected by contract and requires all labor thereon to be employed by the day.

The irresponsibility of sub-contractors is a matter of common knowledge and has led to the frequent prohibition of sub-letting. In this state the sub-letting of contracts is prohibited by an act of 1897 (chapter 444) except with the consent of the public authorities who let the contract. In order to prevent the adoption of the sweating system in the manufacture of army clothing, the Quartermaster General of the United States inserts the following clause in government contracts:

"Neither this contract nor any interest therein shall be transferred to any other party or parties, and in case of such transfer, the United States may refuse to carry out this contract either with the transferor or the transferee; but all rights of action for any breach of this contract by said....... are reserved to the United States."

While this clause, which has only been in use since the Spanish-American war, serves to maintain the worker's wages, its purpose from the point of view of the government is to protect the soldiers from contagious diseases by confining the making of uniforms to factories that can be kept under supervision and not allowing the clothing to be scattered in dwellings.

Uniforms for the sailors of the navy are made at the Brooklyn navy yard, where the suits are given out to be finished in the

homes of sewing women. The increase in the size of the navy in recent years has crowded the capacity of the rooms devoted to the manufacture of uniforms, and it is now proposed to enlarge the capacity of the factory so as to permit the employment of more cutters and at the same time have the finishing done on the premises.


Statutes, Constitutional Provisions, etc., of New York, relating to Conditions of Employment on Public Work.



Section 1. It shall be the duty of the legislature to provide for the organization of cities and incorporated villages, and to restrict their power of taxation, assessment, borrowing money, contracting debts, and loaning their credit, so as to prevent abuses in assessments and in contracting debt by such municipal corporations; and the legislature may regulate and fix the wages or salaries, the hours of work or labor, and make provision for the protection, welfare and safety of persons employed by the state or by any county, city town, village or other civil division of the state, or by any contractor or subcontractor performing work, labor or services for the state, or for any county, city, town, village or other civil division thereof. [As amended in 1905, and in force Jan. 1, 1906.]



§ 5. Liens under contracts for public improvements.-A person performing labor for or furnishing materials to a contractor, his sub-contractor or legal representative for the construction of a public improvement pursuant to a contract by such contractor with the state or a municipal corporation, shall have a lien for the principal and interest of the value or agreed price of such labor or materials upon the moneys of the state or of such corporation applicable to the construction of such improvement, to the extent of the amount due or to become due on such contract, upon filing a notice of lien as prescribed in this article. [As amended by L. 1902, ch. 37.] § 12. Notice of lien on account of public improvements.—At any time before the construction of a public improvement is completed and accepted by the state or by the municipal corporation, and within thirty days after such completion and acceptance, a person performing work for or furnishing materials to a contractor, his sub-contractor, assignee or legal representative, may file a notice of lien with the head of the department or bureau having charge of such construction and with the comptroller of the state or with the financial officer of the municipal corporation, or other officer or person charged with the custody and disbursements of the state or corporate funds applicable to the contract under which the claim is made. The notice shall state the name and residence of the lienor, the name of the contractor or subcontractor for whom the labor was performed or materials furnished, the amount claimed to be due or to become due, the date when due, a description of the public improvement upon which the labor was performed and materials expended, the kind of labor performed and materials furnished and give a

general description of the contract pursuant to which such public improvement was constructed. If the name of the contractor or sub-contractor is not known to the lienor, it may be so stated in the notice, and a failure to state correctly the name of the contractor or sub-contractor shall not affect the validity of the lien. The comptroller of the state or the financial officer of the municipal corporation or other officer or person with whom the notice is filed shall enter the same in a book provided for that purpose, to be called the "lien book." Such entry shall include the name and residence of the lienor, the name of the contractor or sub-contractor, the amount of the lien and date of filing, and a brief designation of the contract under which the lien arose. [As amended by L. 1902, ch. 37.]

§ 17. Duration of lien under contract for a public improvement.—If the lien is for labor done or materials furnished for a public improvement, it shall not continue for a longer period than three months from the time of filing the notice of such lien, unless an action is commenced to foreclose such lien within that time, and a notice of the pendency of such action is filed with the comptroller of the state or the financial officer of the municipal corporation with whom the notice of such lien was filed, or unless an order be made by a court of record, continuing such lien, and a new docket be made stating such fact. And the supreme court of this state, or any justice thereof, or the county court of the county in which such lien was filed, or the county judge of such county, are hereby authorized to make an order continuing any such lien for a period not exceeding six months, upon the application of a lienor upon such affidavits or evidence as in the opinion of such court or judge shall be deemed sufficient. Nothing in this act contained, however, shall prevent any such court or judge from making a new order continuing such lien in each succeeding six months, if in the discretion of such court or judge the same shall be deemed just and equitable. This section as hereby amended, shall apply to all liens under contract for public improvements, now on file, in which the time for making application to the court for a continuance thereof has not expired, when this amendment takes effect. [As amended by L. 1899, ch. 25, and L. 1902, ch. 37.]

§ 24. Priorities of liens for public improvements.-Persons having liens under contracts for public improvements standing in equal degrees as colaborers or material men shall have priority according to the date of filing their respective liens; but in all cases laborers for daily or weekly wages shall have preference over all other lienors having liens arising under the same contracts pursuant to this article, without reference to the time when such laborers shall have filed their notice of lien. [Added by L. 1898, ch. 169.]


§ 135. Security for payment of laborers.-The superintendent of public works or assistant superintendent having charge, shall also require and take from the contractor, a bond with at least two good and sufficient sureties, conditioned that such contractor will well and truly pay in full, at least once in each month, all laborers employed by him on the work specified in such contract, which shall be duly acknowledged and filed in the office of the clerk of the county wherein such contract or work is to be performed, and

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