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Monday, September 1, 2014

The Rise And Fall Of The 40-Hour Workweek

Today's post is shared from
"Eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, eight hours for what we will."
During the Industrial Revolution, that was one slogan of workers who rallied for the eight-hour workday — the 40-hour, five-day week that's become the standard for Americans.
On Sept. 5, 1882, the first Labor Day march took place in New York City, and one of the key concerns of workers was cutting down hours. Side note — Labor Day celebrations were moved to Sept. 1 two years later.
Henry Ford was the first to implement the change in all his Ford factories — moving away from 48-hour, six-day workweeks without changing wages. In 1926, Ford spoke with World's Work magazine, explaining why he made the change. Interestingly, more rest for workers wasn't exactly his reasoning.
He's quoted as saying: "A workman would have little use for an automobile if he had to be in the shop from dawn until dusk. ... The automobile, by enabling people to get about quickly and easily, gives them a chance to find out what is going on in the world-which leads them to a larger life that requires more food, more and better goods, more books, more music -- more of everything."
In 1938 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act into law — providing for the 40-hour workweek across the U.S. The formation of labor unions played a large hand in getting the act passed.
Unions helped prompt the Great Sit-Down of 1937, protesting the working conditions...
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