This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
Provisions which restrict free competition of labor violate the spirit of the statute requiring bids to be let to the lowest bidder. A resolution of a municipality to exclude from competition all persons except those of a specified class is void.1 A provision that no alien or convict labor is to be employed,2 or that only citizen labor shall be used and that eight hours shall constitute a day's work,3 invalidates a contract if increasing or tending to increase the contract price. So a city cannot require a union label upon all printing done for it where competitive bidding is necessary,4 or that only union labor shall be used on public works.5 The result has been reached in some cases, however, that as such provision is invalid, it is to be regarded as simply void, and as it is presumed that all bidders ignored it, the contract is valid.6 Under some statutes provisions not unfavorable to the public may be inserted in the contract, though not in the specifications. Thus a contract has been held valid which contains a provision that no Chinamen shall be employed on the work, and that eight hours shall constitute a day's labor,7 or that no person who was not a citizen of the United States should be employed on the work in question,8 or that only citizens of the United States should be employed and that eight hours should constitute a day's work,9 where it is not shown that such provisions were known in advance, or considered in making bids; and therefore they did not increase the amount of such bids. Under statutes which require contracts to be let to the lowest bidder the proposals for bids cannot fix the price to be paid for labor,10 nor provide that all rock used must be dressed in the state,11 as such provisions restrict bidding. A provision agreeing to comply with an unconstitutional labor law has been held not to invalidate the contract if it does not increase the cost.12
2 Dean v. Charlton, 23 Wis. 590; 99 Am. Dec. 205 (contracts for Nicholson block paving).
3 Dean v. Borehsenius, 30 Wis. 236; Mills v. Charelton, 29 Wis. 400; 9 Am. Rep. 578.
4 Nicolson Pavement Co. v. Painter, 35 Cal. 699; Fineran v. Paving Co., - Ky. - ; 76 S. W. 415. (Bituminous macadam) ; Burgess v. Jefferson, 21 La. Ann. 143 (Nicolson pavement).
5 Field v. Paving Co., 117 Fed. 925; Verdin v. St. Louis, 131 Mo. 26; 33 S. W. 480; 36 S. W. 52.
6 Fishburn v. Chicago, 171 111. 338; 63 Am. St. Rep. 336; 39 L. R. A. 482; 49 N. E. 532. (Asphaltum was required from Pitch Lake, Island of Trinidad.)
7 Smith v. Improvement Co., 161 N. Y. 484; 55 N. E. 1077. (Specifications for "vitrified paving brick manufactured by" a specified manufacturer.)
8 That they can. Mulrein v. Kalloch, 61 Cal. 522. That they cannot. Tucker v. Newark, 19 Ohio C. C. 1; 10 Ohio C. D. 437.
9 That bids should be advertised for. Worthington v. Boston, 41 Fed. 23; Newark v. Bonnell, 57 N. J. L. 424; 51 Am. St. Rep. 609; 31 Atl. 408; Ricketson v. Milwaukee, 105 Wis. 591; 47 L. R. A. 685; 81 N. W. 864. That advertising in such eases is "not only a farcical but also a hazardous proceeding." See Baird v. Mayor, etc., of New York, 96 N. Y. 567, 587.
1 Paterson Chronicle Co. v. Pater-son, 66 N. J. L. 129; 48 Atl. 589.
- Inge v. Board of Public Works, 135 Ala. 187; 93 Am. St. Rep. 20; 33 So. 678.
3 Glover v. People, 201 111. 545; 66 N. E. 820 (attack on validity of assessment).
4 City of Atlanta v. Stein, 111 Ga. 789; 51 L. R. A. 335; 36 S. E. 932; Holden v. Alton, 179 111. 318; 53 N. E. 556; Adams v. Brenan, 177 111. 194; 69 Am. St. Rep. 222; 42 L. R. A. 718; 52 N. E. 314; Marshall & Bruce Co. v. Nashville, - Tenn. - ; 71 S. W. 815. See also Sec. 440.
5 Fiske v. People, 188 111. 206; 52 L. R. A. 291; 58 N. E. 985.
6 Marshall & Bruce Co. v. Nashville, - Tenn. - ; 71 S. W. 815.
7 Hellman v. Similiters, 114 Cal. 141; 44 Pac. 915; affirmed in banc, 114 Cal. 136; 45 Pac. 1057.
8 Hamilton v. People, 194 111. 133; 62 N. E. 533.
9 De Wolf v. People, 202 111. 7S; 66 N. E. 868; (attack on assessment); Wells v. Raymond, 201 111. 435; 66 N. E. 210 (objection by property owner).
10 Frame v. Felix, 167 Pa. St. 47; 27 L. R. A. 802: 31 Atl. 375.