The Five-Day Week and the Six-Hour Day

March 10, 1932

Report Outline
Recent Progress of Five-Day Week Movement
The Five-Day Week in Industry, 1908–1932
Five-Day Week Measures in Congress
The Movement for a Six-Hour Day
Special Focus

Recent Progress of Five-Day Week Movement

Ten Years Ago the country was astounded by the demands of the United Mine Workers of America for a five-day week and a six-hour day in the bituminous coal fields upon the expiration of existing contracts with union operators, March 31, 1922. The wage convention at which these demands were formulated was dominated by the radicals of the miners' organization. It authorized a strike to enforce its demands, although warned by conservative leaders of the union that such a course would be suicide.

In the negotiations for settlement of the four and a half months' strike that ensued the demands for shorter hours and a five-day week were not pressed. The union was able to do no better than retain the existing scales of wages, which had been threatened with reduction by the operators. The demands of the radicals had alienated public sympathy and ten years later the bituminous miners were farther from a six-hour day and a five-day week than they had been in 1922.

In other industries, however, the movement for a five-day week has made notable progress since 1922, All employees of the Ford plants were put on a five-day work schedule at the end of 1926 and in 1927 the American Federation of Labor set out the five-day week as a “new goal” for organized labor. During the last five years the movement has won a wide measure of public support and has been endorsed by many employers of labor. Progress has been particularly rapid during the last two years of depression.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Work Week
Jun. 12, 1987  Part-Time Work
Feb. 28, 1973  Leisure Business
Apr. 19, 1972  Productivity and the New Work Ethic
Aug. 11, 1971  Four-Day Week
Dec. 09, 1964  Leisure in the Great Society
Jun. 13, 1962  Shorter Hours of Work
Feb. 17, 1960  Sunday Selling
May 08, 1957  Four-Day Week
Dec. 03, 1954  Shorter Work Week
Mar. 05, 1948  Hours of Work and Full Production
Jul. 05, 1944  Hours of Work After the War
Nov. 16, 1942  Hours of Work in Wartime
Jan. 17, 1936  The Thirty-Hour Week
Mar. 10, 1932  The Five-Day Week and the Six-Hour Day
May 23, 1929  The Five-Day Week in Industry
Economic Crises
Labor Standards and Practices