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2d Session. S
WORKINGMEN OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
WORKINGMEN OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
Congress for relief.
JANUARY 18, 1875.-Referred to the Committee on the District of Columbia and ordered
to be printed.
To the honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled : The undersigned, your petitioners, the workingmen of the District of Columbia, respectfully represent that they are residents of the cities of Washington and Georgetown, and of the other towns, suburbs, and localities included in said District of Columbia ; that they have been employed, under the late board of public works of said District, to work on inaugurated improvements under said board of public works and superintendents of said board. Your petitioners further represent that the said superintendents, when returning the time of your petitioners, neglected to return the full number of days that your petitioners worked and were legally entitled to. Your petitioners further represent, that numbers of them were entirely left off the rolls as returned by the superintendents to the commissioners for payment, and your petitioners, the workingmen of the District of Columbia, who worked under the late board of public works proper, have not been paid in full by the commissioners of the District of Columbia, and your petitioners can get no satisfaction from the commissioners of the District of Columbia or from any of the said superintendents of said late board of public works of the said District of Çolumbia. Your petitioners further represent that some of the superintendents of the late board of public works are non-residents of the District of Columbia, and have kept no record of your petitioners' time, cannot now be found in said District, and your petitioners, in consequence, have never received one dollar remuneration for work performed under said superintendent or superintendents, as aforesaid stated. Your petitioners further represent that Congress passed an act, which act was approved on the 230 day of June, A. D. 1874, in which act is incorporated a proviso as follows:
And provided further, That the sum of seventy-five thousand dollars of said sum hereby appropriated shall be used for the payment of workingmen employed on public improvements on the streets and excavations of Washington, under the board of public works of the District of Columbia, or the contractors of the same; and the commissioners are hereby authorized and ordered to retain, from the several contractors who are indebted to the workingmen, and whose accounts have not been settled by the board of public works, the several sums due the workingmen.
Your petitioners further represent that said proviso has not been liberally construed and fully carried into effect by the commissioners of the District of Columbia, and your petitioners have suffered to the amounts of hundreds of dollars each; and that your petitioners' counsel, John Pope Hodnett, called the attention of the commissioners to the law, but your petitioners and their counsel could get no satisfaction from the said commissioners of the District of Columbia.
Your petitioners further represent that they several times called the attention of the board of audit of said District of Columbia to the act of Congress ordering the commissioners to stop amounts due to the workingmen from each contractor before a final adjustment of contractor's account by said board of audit, but your petitioners could get no satisfaction, and they and their counsel were grossly insulted, and most of their papers, showing the indebtedness of each contractor to your petitioners, were destroyed; and powers of attorney, duly attested and acknowledged, have been stolen from the office, and have never since been found, or if in the office have never been produced and have been totally abrogated.
Your petitioners further represent that, in consequence of the connivance or collusion of the contractors with the clerks of said board of audit of the District of Columbia, your petitioners, the workingmen of the District of Columbia, have been defrauded by the contractors for whom your petitioners worked, and who have been paid, or certificates of indebtedness issued to them, by the said board of audit; which certificates have been sold by the contractors without payment in full being made to your petitioners.
Your petitioners further represent that Hon. Henry T. Blow, late commissioner for the District of Columbia, went, in behalf of your petitioners, to the board of audit and protested against any certificates being issued to any contractor without first deducting the amounts due your petitioners; but still the action of Mr. Blow availed but little, for the contractors were paid without payment in full being made to your petitioners by the said contractors.
Your petitioners respectfully ask for an investigation into the affairs of the offices of the comptroller, auditor, and board of audit of the District of Columbia. Your petitioners are strongly of opinion that money has been freely used by certain contractors in getting their claims through the said board of audit, and through this means your petitioners have been defrauded of a large part of their daily wages, and the laws which were enacted to protect them have been trampled under foot and usurped in the premises.
Your petitioners, the workingmen of the District of Columbia, further represent that they cannot get the warrants of the District of Columbia cashed, either at the Treasury of the United States or at the collector's office of the District of Columbia, and they are put to the greatest in. convenience, and often hardship, sometimes having to pay a large percentage to the banks to cash the warrants of the treasurer of the District. Your petitioners therefore respectfully request the passage of a law ordering the treasurer or collector of the District of Columbia to cash the warrants of the treasurer of the District of Columbia, when indorsed and witnessed according to law, and presented by the party to whom the warrant
is made payable, or the party or parties' legal representative, also imposing a fine on any of the banking-houses of the District of Columbia who refuse to cash the warrants of the District, when properly ipdorsed. Your petitioners feel it their duty to call the attention of Congress to the disgraceful and unlawful manner in which the affairs of the District are conducted, and to ask Congress to place the affairs of the workingmen of the District in the bands of a labor bureau, as they are satisfied they can receive no justice from the commissioners, the board of audit, or the contractors. Your petitioners further represent that they are dependent upon their daily wages for the support of their families, and if they are defrauded and robbed continually, and the laws set at defiance by those placed in power to see them faithfully executed, they must follow the example of the workingmen of France aod New York, and by this means save themselves and their families from starvation, ruin, and annihilation. Your petitioners pray Congress for an adequate appropriation to pay all the laborers of the District who worked under the board of public works proper, and also under the contractors, subcontractors, their agents and legal representatives. Your petitioners feel that the extraordinary hardships of a long winter are to be encountered, and as work is very scarce in the District, they respectfully ask immediate action upon their case, and when this petition is referred to the Committee on the District of Columbia, your petitioners request that their counsel, John Pope Hodnett, be permitted to appear before said committee and make a statement of your petitioners' grievances, and suggest a plan by which your petitioners may be relieved from the hardships under which they have so long and patiently suffered. Your petitioners further request the passage of a law declaring eight hours a legal day's work, and two dollars compensation for each day's work performed by any workingman within the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia. Signed on behalf of the National Labor Council of America.
A. E. REDSTONE, President.
Signed on behalf of the United Labor League of the District of Columbia.
JOHN POPE HODNETT,
President Central Council, D. C.
Committee. Attest: T. G. HALINAN,
Secretary Central Council Labor League, District of Columbia.
SUPPORT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF TIE DISTRICT OF
COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
The support of the government of the District of Columbia.
JANUARY 18, 1875.-Referred to the Committee on Appropriations and ordered to be
printed, to accompany bill H. R. 4452.
OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
Washington, D. C., January 18, 1875. SIR: The commissioners send you herewith a draught of a bill for the support of the government of the District of Columbia for the fiscal Tear ending June 30, 1876, and will thank you to have it referred to the proper committee of the House.
You are aware that the present tax-levy expires with the current fis. cal year.
The bill is so drawn as to be adapted to any form of government Congress may establish. You will note that the rate of tax and the distri. bution to the various funds are left blank, (see pages 1 and 2,) the filling of which will depend on the rate of tax and the basis of valuation on which the lery is calculated. Accompanying the bill you will find estimates of expenditures for 1876, not including the interest on the 3.65 bonds; also estimates of revenues on a two per cent. tax, and a one and one-half per cent. tax, on a valuation of $98,231,000, (the present valuation,) and on $90,000,000. As a valuation ou all the realty in the District is provided for, and as it may be less than the present valuation, we have taken $90,000,000 as one of the bases for calculation.
The entire estimated expenditure, less the interest on the 3.65 bonds, is $2,753,800. The interest on the 3.65 bonds is $365,000, which, with the above estimate, makes a total of $3,120,800.
All this sum must, of course, be realized to meet the estimated expenditures. You will observe that the highest estimate, of two per cent. on the present valuation, will yield but $1,964,620. From this should be deducted an amount to meet the failure in the payment of