Through the efforts of organizations and individuals matters have been much improved and excellent legislation has been passed in all parts of the country, but the work is only begun. Laws are not at all uniform in different states, which complicates the situation. The press of competition makes it extremely difficult for one factory to live up to high standards when a factory in a neighboring state is paying low wages, working long hours, and employing child labor. The American Bar Association has recently given a great deal of attention to the securing of uniform state laws of various kinds.
One method by which the Consumers' League has put a premium on the best factory conditions is by giving to the manufacturer who lives up to certain standards a label to be attached to his goods. The label provided by the League, and pictured here, insures to the buyer that goods so marked fulfill the following requirements:
1. Clean and safe workrooms with good sanitary conditions.
2. No child labor.
3. No work outside the factories.
4. Proper working hours.
Those who insist on buying goods marked with the Consumers' League label protect themselves and their families from the danger of buying garments made in filthy homes and by diseased workers. They protect the worker from unlimited hours of work and from the lowest possible wages. They insure against the labor of little children and decrease the danger from tuberculosis.
This label is granted only after careful inspection, and its use means continued inspection by the Consumers' League.
Up to the present time the label has been limited to women's cotton underwear, wrappers, cotton dresses, and a few other ready-made garments. These seemed to be the best lines to begin on, partly because so many women are employed in making them. As funds are available, and as it is feasible, other kinds of garments will be included.
Fig. 43. Consumers' League Label.
In some states the League has a list of approved tailors. The requirements are much the same as those for factories. The work, with the exception of embroidery, is all to be done on the premises or in approved workshops, the requirements of factory inspectors must be met, and the conditions of the workrooms must be fair.
One of the best results accomplished by the League is that many merchants have learned that it is economy to treat employees humanely, to pay living wages, to give vacations on pay, to give Saturday afternoon holidays, and to provide decent rest and lunch rooms. The shop girl who has these things done for her sells more goods than the girl who is worked long hours and has no chance for rest.
The Consumers' League has a White List, in which the names of all stores and factories which come up to the requirements of the League are printed. These requirements are as follows: