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. The 40 hour work week did not come easy, and from below, you will learn more on what led to this.
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. It was realized in many countries in Europe, but a few decades later, it started making sense to the Americans. The Congress later in 1866 passed the law, but it did not take charge.
A section of workers in Illinois requested the Legislature to reduce the working hours to 8 hours in a day in 1867. Though this law was passed, you still could have those who would strike a deal with their bosses 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, the President, Ulysses S. Grant proclaimed a god wage for every worker and eight working hours a day.
The 1870s and the 1880s had some action of the trade unions, and the labor organizations as they championed for the 8 work hours in a day and they could hold a strike each year on the 1st of May. In 1886, there was a strike with 300,000 people turning out and this led to injuries and deaths of the workers and the police in Chicago.
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. By 1916, we had more companies that accepted to reduce the working hours to 40 hours in a week. 4 million American workers went on strike to have the 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. Workers went into a strike during the Great Depression workers went on strike which saw them reduce the working hours.
President Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act which brought the reduction on the working hours to 44 in 1938. The Congress later amended this to 40 working hours.