When slavery ended in 1865, labor was no longer just, "a Black thing," nor a poor, a pauper, or a criminal thing so as more people were introduced to the labor field, more people began to understand the need for labor laws.
People began to organize themselves into groups, unions began to take a seat at the labor negotiation table but there was also the twist of those who wanted laborers but did not want to pay the laborers a salary that was sufficient to nurture a family, much like today.
Amongst the "twisted" there was also those who sought to discriminate and take favoritism over whom they chose to pay certain wages to; Such companies also sought to monopolize their business so that naturally, if they were number one in demand, they could eventually do what they wanted with workers with little repercussion, similar to the perceived method of Wal-Mart today.
In 1886, 21 years after slavery,
"Many unions joined a movement to demand the eight-hour day, but the Haymarket riot- which was provoked by the [Illinois] police and private security agents undermined the movement.”(Stern, Axinn 8th Edition)
This was a time when there was little support for striking laborers and that is why Chicago police were able to intervene in such a manner. The Haymarket riot will be discussed in more detail at a later time.
In response to the police intervention, the New York Association for the Improvement of Conditions among the poor said this in response:
“Every man has a right to work or not…but no man has a right to refuse to support his family and himself when he is able to do it; And no one has a right to prevent others from working, as these strikers persistently attempted to do, while they are themselves idling about the streets and wharves and corner liquor shops…” (Stern & Axinn)
The 8 hour work day did not see success until 1933 when the National Industry Recovery Act was passed.
Given that this is merely the daily thought, we just want to reflect upon how the weekend is meant to be a time of rest and respite for the working. Enjoy your weekend.
How do you feel about labor? Do you feel that your wages are sufficient to nurture you and your family? Share your thought and/or opinion below or within email. Subscribe above.