Is the eight-hour workday an historical triumph or a contemporary daydream?
For this Labor Day, we found an old story about local workers who went on strike for fewer daily hours at the dynamite factory. While it's history from 112 years ago, it raises questions about the present.
In those days, laborers sought a limit on their daily toil. In 2012, many people would love to work eight hours a day. Some of them because they're scheduled for only four hours per day and need to earn more to make ends meet. Others work 16 hours a day without overtime pay and would welcome more leisure time to lead a genuine life.
In 1907, the powder works factory was owned by corporate giant DuPont, which opposed union demands for an eight-hour workday.
Hercules was a small company town then, and much of the 1,000-member workforce lived in Pinole. In this chapter of the struggle between labor unions and corporations, the company conceded to union demands.
A work disruption at the plant had been reported a day earlier when union with non-union employees.
This one-paragraph article is from the May 11, 1907 edition of the San Francisco Call newspaper. We present it with the original punctuation and spelling.
DEMANDS ARE GRANTED
VALLEJO. May 10.— The boiler makers of the Dupont powder company at Pinole, who struck a week ago for an eight hour day and $4 wage, have finally been granted the concession and have gone back to work. President White of the Contra Costa labor council believes that the Dupont people will grant an eight hour day in all departments.
This article comes from the California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cdnc. The collection has digitzed more than 400,000 images from newspapers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Images dated between 1846 and 1922 are in the public domain and not subject to copyright.
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