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- The Progressive Democracy of James M. Cox - 10/14 -
hazards of business. Government without this spur of necessity because its revenue is both regular and certain, does not effect reorganizations and combine common activities so readily. One reason, of course, is that new legislation is required and that is not easy at all times. Wherever human energies are now being directed toward more efficient public service, we find the consolidation under one administrative unit or bureau of all departments which deal either in direct or different manner with the same general subject. Investigation develops many duplications in both labor and expense in the departments of the state. No business institution would continue such a policy and recognizing now the importance of conducting the business of the commonwealth along the same modern and efficient lines of private and corporate operations, there is submitted herewith to your honorable body two recommendations which, in my judgment, are of tremendous importance, namely, the creation of an Industrial Commission and a Department of Agriculture. The first named organization would combine every existing department which deals with the relation between capital and labor. It is certainly a logical observation that the department heads clothed with the responsibility of details will find it extremely difficult to rise to the moral vision necessary to construct and conserve policies dealing with big things. Besides duplication of service is a waste of both human energy and state funds."
In summing up the results of a single year of Workmen's Compensation Law, the Governor at the beginning of 1915 said:
"The humane results of the Workmen's compensation Law have been so widespread and the wisdom of the people in changing the constitution so as to make this plan compulsory has been so completely demonstrated that manufacturer and employee now join in praise of the act. While the liability insurance companies contend that the State could not administer this trust and that the cost would run into millions of dollars per year, the experience of the first twelve months shows the cost of the administration to be approximately $160,000; and the claims, running far in excess of 50,000 in number, have been adjudicated with such promptness as to justify in the fullest measure the soundness of the State plan. The balance in the fund December 15, 1914, was $2,418,414.07. The number of accidents is diminishing and the cost to the employer is decreasing; so that both lower rates and larger compensation seem assured. As one who passed through the stormy period that led to the passage of this law, I urge upon you the extreme importance of the highest manifestations of vigilance, patriotism and humanity in order that the fundamentals of this beneficent legislation may be preserved. Under the pretext of improving the law it can be easily emasculated. Ohio assumed the lead in this legislation, and if the fundamental principle is maintained here, the plan, by its demonstrated worth, will be adopted elsewhere. This means the ultimate loss of ill-gotten millions by potential interests that have grown rich from the tears, blood and maimed bodies of our working people. They will not give it up without a continued struggle. Your duty to humanity and to your State calls for extreme watchfulness.
Though he suffered defeat for re-election in 1914, neither the Industrial Commission Law nor the Workmen's compensation Law nor any other major piece of social legislation was disturbed by his successor. In reviewing four years of the history of the law at his re-accession to power in 1917, he said:
"Since the adoption of the law there have been 300,000 industrial accidents and only seventeen suits have been brought against employers who paid into the state insurance fund. There was but one single verdict rendered by the court against the employer in the list of seventeen and that was for $2000. Five cases were settled out of court, four were decided in favor of the employer, one was dismissed by the employee, one was dismissed by the court and four are still pending. More than one thousand firms carry their own insurance under state consent, and against these institutions but five suits have been brought. Against the employers who have reinsured with the liability insurance companies, eight suits have been instituted, making a total of thirty law suits from all sources. These figures are procured from the official records of the Industrial Commission."
Two years later, in 1919, a further chapter is given:
"The experience of our state with the Compulsory Workmen's Compensation Law bears so vitally on the industrial life of our people that it is deemed proper to report the outstanding features of the situation. The amount of money in the fund held by the State as trustee for the injured workmen and their dependents, as of date, January 2, 1919, was $15,401,429.74. So carefully measured has been the cost of human justice that employers pay a smaller premium-rate in Ohio than elsewhere, and the injured workmen and their dependents are given larger compensation. A dramatic circumstance which bears eloquent testimony in behalf of this law is here recited: Not long since a workman was injured in a factory through which runs the boundary line between Ohio and Pennsylvania. The accident occurred a few feet east of our state, but the poor fellow crawled back onto the soil of Ohio because he knew the difference between our law and the law in Pennsylvania. As a further evidence of the basic soundness of the law and the character of its administration, I have directed the Industrial Commission to have an actuarial audit of the fund in its charge, with the imposed condition that the Ohio Federation of Labor, the Ohio Manufacturers' Association and the State Auditor be consulted in the employment of the most competent actuary, obtainable outside the state service, to do the work."
This, then, is the story, but not all of it. Having its genesis in the meetings between labor and capital, there has been worked out by the two an elaborate code of safety rules which have been officially promulgated by the commission and have the binding effect of law. To-day capital and labor will demand of his successor that his heart and mind be in accord with the program carried to fruition in his six years as Governor. There are other points in his service, briefly covered here, in these lists:
Laws Pertaining to Business
A public utilities law providing property re-valuation as a basis for rate making.
Provision for court appear from the utilities commission decision to the court of final jurisdiction, preventing delay and loss.
Prohibition against injunction on rate hearing without court investigation.
A uniform accounting system applied to utilities.
A state banking code with close co-operation with the federal reserve system, bringing all private banks under state supervision.
State expenditure on a budget system to reduce cost of government and lessen taxation.
A blue-sky act to encourage proper investment and protect against fraudulent securities.
A State Industrial Commission with powers to handle all questions affecting capital and labor, with a state mediator as the keystone.
Complete survey of occupational diseases with recommendation for health and occupational insurance.
Full switching crew in all railroad yards.
Strengthening the user in the state of railroad safety appliances.
A full crew law.
Twenty-four foot caboose.
Reduction of consecutive hours of employment for electric railroad workers.
Obstruction of fixed signals prohibited.
Safeguarding of accidents in mines by proper illumination.
Extra provision for dependents of men killed in mines.
Increased facilities for mine inspector operation.
Protection of miners working toward abandoned mines.
Elimination of sweatshop labor.
Provision for minimum time pay day.
Prohibition of contract labor in workhouses.
Provision for minimum wage and nine-hour working day for women.
Eight-hour working day on all public contracts.
Codification of child laws with establishment of child welfare department.
Compulsory provision for mothers' pensions.
Verdict by three-fourths jury in civil cases.
THE LEADER OF THE STATE IN WAR--VISION IN GOVERNMENT IN PEACE TIME
Theodore Roosevelt said that Governor Cox was among the very foremost of war Governors. The utterance was made after he
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