The Five-Day Week in Industry

May 23, 1929

Report Outline
The Ten-Hour Movement
The Eight-Hour Movement
Hours of Work in Basic Industries
Progress of the Five-Day Week
Special Focus

During the summer of 1929, from one-half to three-quarters of a million American wage earners will enjoy the five-day week. It is estimated that 350,000 workers at present have the five-day week the year around. Perhaps an equal number are employed in mercantile, commercial and industrial establishments which close all day Saturday during the summer months as a regular practice, or which will try the five-day week as an experiment during two or three months of the present summer.

It was announced. May 4, 1929, that an agreement had been reached between the Building Trades Employers' Association and the Building Trades Council of New York City whereby approximately 150,000 building trades workers in New York would be placed on a five-day work schedule, beginning on Saturday, August 24, 1929. The unions of carpenters, bricklayers, plasterers, painters, plumbers and electricians at present have the five-day week in many eastern cities. A dispute over another issue led to a withdrawal of the five-day-week concession by the New York Building Trades Employers' Association on May 13, but the agreement was reinstated on. May 22 when all outstanding differences were submitted to arbitration.

The five-day, forty-hour week was formally adopted as one of the aims of the trade-union movement by the American Federation of Labor in the autumn of 1926. The gains thus far made have come mainly as the result of negotiation with union employers, or as outright grants by employers in unorganized industries. There have been few strikes or lockouts to date on the five-day-week issue. The placing of the five-day week in effect for all of the New York City building trades at the end of the present summer will bring the number of American wage earners employed on a year-round five-day work schedule to at least 500,000 by Labor Day, 1929. This number represents only about 2.5 per cent of the persons employed in the major industrial groups1 a and only about 1.1 per cent of the persons gainfully occupied in the United States,2 but it is of sufficient size to stamp the movement for the five-day week as one of major importance.

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
Labor Standards and Practices