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Consumers League

conditions, national, leagues, label and organization

CONSUMERS' LEAGUE, an organization intended ((to promote better conditions among the workers)) by encouraging the purchase of goods made and sold under proper conditions. The work of the organization is based upon the principle that the purchase of an article tends to create a demand for that article, and that in the stress of modern competition manufacturers and merchants are unable to improve the con dition of their employees while there is a con stant demand for cheap goods, gregardless of how cheapness is brought about.° The move ment had its origin in England in 1890 and the first consumers' league in the United States was organized in New York in 1891; its object was to investig:ate retail stores and to encourage the patronizing of those conforming to their standard of conditions. Similar leagues now exist in nearly all the larger cities and towns of the United States and in many in Canada. The standard for a ((fair house') demands: (1) Equal wages for women and men for equal work, wages to be paid by the week; (2) rea sonable hours of employment according to local conditions, overtime to be paid for and a half holiday in the summer; (3) retiring and lunch rooms to be separated and regulated according to the sanitary laws; (4) recognition of fidelity and length of service and general considerate treatment The National Consumers' League was or ganized in 1898 for the purpose of regulating conditions of manufacture rather than sale. The national organization is a federation of State leagues; the governing body is a council consisting of representatives from the State leagues. The council annually elects a president,

two vice-presidents, two secretaries and a treas urer; and these, with two representatives from each State league, constitute the executive com mittee of the council. Any person living where there is no local or State league may join the national society by paying a yearly fee. The main lines of its work are enlisting the aid and interest of authorities in the enforcing of labor laws and furthering of necessary legisla tion; investigating conditions of labor and awarding the use of the league's label to manu facturers conforming to their standard; educat ing public opinion by lectures, correspondence and literature. The standard for establishments entitled to the label demands: (1) That all State factory laws be complied with; (2) that the label be used only on goods made on the premises; (3) that no children under 16 be employed; (4) that no person work over 60 hours a week; (5) the league shall have the right of inspection. The national organization embraces leagues in all the States.

Bibliography.— B rooks, ( The Consumers' League); Brooks, (Label of the Consumers' League) (in the American Economic Associa tion's Publications, 3d series, Vol. I, 250-258) ; Kelley, (Aims of the Consumers' League) (in the American Journal of Sociology, Vol. V, 289) ; Lowell, (Consumers' League); McVey, (Work and Problems of the Consumers' League) (in the American JosOnal of Sociol ogy, Vol. VI, 764) ; and the reports of the National Consumers' League.