The Thirty-Hour Week

January 17, 1936

Report Outline
Labor's Demand for a Thirty-Hour Week
Thirty-Hour Week Bills Pending in Congress
Shift in Position of the A. F. of L.
Hours of Work in Industry in 1935
Economic Effects of a Thirty-Hour Week
Special Focus

Labor's Demand for a Thirty-Hour Week

Pressure for Legislation by the 74th Congress

Establishment of a six-hour day and a five-day week throughout American industry is now the “paramount objective” of the American labor movement. A resolution unanimously adopted by the American Federation of Labor at its fifty-fifth annual convention, at Atlantic City in October, 1935, directed the officers of the federation to employ all its resources to obtain enactment of legislation to this end at the present session of Congress. Plans for carrying out this mandate were laid at the quarterly meeting of the Executive Council of the A. F. of L. which convened at Miami, January 15.

With a national election to be held in November, and the A. F, of L. prepared to support those candidates who vote for the shorter work week and to oppose all candidates voting against it, the situation is more favorable to congressional approval of a thirty-hour week bill at this session than at any time in the past. Public support for the thirty-hour week is likely to diminish, however, as business recovery gains headway, so that unless favorable action is taken by the 74th Congress adoption of a mandatory six-hour day and five-day week is likely to be long delayed.

The Black thirty-hour week bill was approved by the Senate, as a method of dealing with the unemployment emergency, in April, 1933, four weeks after the Roosevelt administration had taken office. The Connery bill, which differed only slightly from the Senate measure, could not be got to a vote in the House before the administration came forward with the proposals later embodied in the National Industrial Recovery Act. Establishment of the N. R. A. shifted attention from proposals for a uniform reduction of hours throughout industry to such varying limitations of hours of work as might be achieved under industrial codes.

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
Unemployment and Employment Programs