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What happened a hundred years ago when a large company shortened the workday & doubled workers pay?

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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:41 AM
Original message
What happened a hundred years ago when a large company shortened the workday & doubled workers pay?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight-hour_day

<snip>On January 5, 1914, the Ford Motor Company took the radical step of doubling pay to $5 a day and cut shifts from nine hours to eight, moves that were not popular with rival companies, although seeing the increase in Ford's productivity, and a significant increase in profit margin (from $30 million to $60 million in two years), most soon followed suit.

In the summer of 1915, amid increased labor demand for World War I, a series of strikes demanding the eight-hour day began in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They were so successful that they spread throughout the Northeast.

The United States Adamson Act in 1916 established an eight-hour day, with additional pay for overtime, for railroad workers. This was the first federal law that regulated the hours of workers in private companies. The United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Act in Wilson v. New, 243 U.S. 332 (1917).

The eight-hour day might have been realized for many working people in the U.S. in 1937, when what became the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S. Code Chapter 8) was first proposed under the New Deal. As enacted, the act applied to industries whose combined employment represented about twenty percent of the U.S. labor force. In those industries, it set the maximum workweek at 44 hours.<10> but provided that employees working beyond 40 hours a week would receive additional overtime bonus salaries.

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XanaDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:41 AM
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1. Well, according to our current overlords...
Baby Jesus would cry and kill a kitten. :evilgrin:
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
2. "Should I buy a Prius?" is what happened. nt
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Forget that
But just imagine if you reported for your regular shift this Tuesday and the boss called everyone in for a meeting and then went on to inform you that everyone will be going home an hour earlier from now on and your daily wages are going to double.

Happy days!

Don
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
3. Ford was then successfully sued by the shareholders
Edited on Sun Sep-04-11 12:01 PM by killbotfactory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_v._Ford_Motor_Compan...

And it should be noted that while Ford was ahead of the curve for employee compensation, true changes to the laws only came about through an organized and persistent leftwing labor movement, and it took DECADES.
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former9thward Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
5. 100 years ago we did not have a global economy.
The amount of exports/imports from/to the U.S. was next to nothing. A far different world with far different conditions.
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LittleWoman Donating Member (217 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:46 PM
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6. Henry Ford was no progressive
but he is reported to have said "I need to pay my workers enough money to be able to buy the products I produce"
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XanaDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Ford was correct, of course
However, the "emerging markets" corporations care about now are China and India. Americans don't matter anymore in the consumer game.

Smokes, Coca-Cola, etc- it's all open to them now!
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evilDonkey Donating Member (32 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
8. different era
What worked 100 years ago wouldn't work today.

If we cut our work hours and doubled our pay it would just make things worse. We are competing against Chinese who work 50 hours per week for a few thousand dollars per year. Tough times for Americans.
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glowing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Not if we change trade agreements to Fair Trade instead of Free Trade..
and insisted that any country that wanted to sell to America would have to abide by the same sort of environmental standards and workers are not subjected to horrifying conditions.
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