Newstalgia Reference Room - the radio program Cross Section: U.S.A. from May 8, 1948 discusses the proposed revamping of the Minimum Wage laws and the increase in the minimum wage. Guess who wasn't crazy about it?
September 22, 2010

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Factory Workers in the 1940s - "Oh . . .Seventy-five cents an hour too high for you?"


An honest days work for an honest days pay - seems the eternal mantra. In 1948 they were planning on revamping the Minimum Wage Law and actually planning an increase on the minimum wage. Bear in mind, this is way before the days of cost-of-living increases. On this program, part of the Cross Section: U.S.A. series from May 8, 1948, CBS News Commentator sets up the scenario for the discussion to ensue:

Bill Shadell (CBS News): “Today our subject is the federal minimum wage law and the proposals for changing the law, many of which are now before Congress. Should the minimum wage be raised, how much and for whom? What classes of workers should the law embrace? And what are the interlocking problems in a re-study of the wage/hour act? Two bills, now before Congress would boost the minimum wage; one by Senator Albert Thomas, Democrat of Utah, to seventy-five cents an hour. Another by Senator Joseph Ball, Republican of Minnesota, to sixty cents an hour. But it’s not all as simple as that. Senator Thomas would extend coverage of minimum wage and overtime provisions to several million persons. Both he and Senator Ball would have what are called Industry Committees studying the cost of living and each industry’s ability to pay. The Thomas bill would allow the base pay to go up as high as a dollar an hour in any particular industry. Senator Ball would allow a raise to seventy cents but also a lowering to fifty cents in particular industries.”

Even in 1948 there was no end to the quest for a decent wage. And no end to the people who don't think you really need one.

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