The Events that Led to the 40 Hours of Work in a Week
Many companies did not have their employees working for 40 hours in a week. Though we have those who work for 60-80 hours in a week at present, the stipulated hours should be 40 hours which translates to 8 hours each day for five days. From this site, you will discover more on the events that led to the 40 hour work week.
Own who was a Welsh manufacturer suggested that a day should be divided into three equal sections with 8 hours back in 1817. The first part of the day would be for working, the other part would be for recreation, and the other would be for rest. European nations did not like this, but it later started being realized in the US. Though the Congress passed the law, the employers turned a deaf ear to this.
In 1867, workers requested the Illinois Legislature to limit the working hours to 8 hours. It was heard, but still some employees contracted with their employers for longer working hours. Many were not excited by this, and it led to a massive strike in Chicago on the 1st of May, and this spread to other nations in Europe. In 1869, President Ulysses S. Grant said that each company should pay a stable wage to their workers and the working hours would be 8 hours in a day.
In the 1870s and 1880s, we had the action of the labor organizations and trade unions who continued to push for the 40-hour working week, with a strike each year on the 1st of May. In 1886, a strike was organized that caused deaths and injuries of both the police and the workers.
The Ford Motor Company instituted the 8 hours of work with a better wage in 1914, but the workers still worked for six days. They visited the homes of their workers to see if they deserved the increased wages. In 1916 more industries instituted the 40 work week. 4 million Americans went on Strike for the push for 40 working hours.
Until 1937, the General Motors Company had not implemented the eight working hours and a stable wage for their workers. The working conditions were also poor. The working hours of the workers of the GMC were reduced when they went on a strike during the Great Depression.
President Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act which brought the reduction on the working hours to 44 in 1938. In 1940, the FLSA was amended by the Congress to 40 working hours.