Wage Security

October 27, 1944

Report Outline
Proposals for a Guaranteed Annual Wage
Operation of Wage Security Systems
Wage Security and the National Economy

Proposals for a Guaranteed Annual Wage

Labor demands for a guaranteed annual wage have been advanced with increased frequency, and with steadily increasing force, at recent hearings before the National War Labor Board. Like the depression demand for a 40-hour week, the guaranteed-wage demand is—in essence—a demand for regularized employment. To date the new demand has been put forward chiefly by the mass unions affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations, but it is receiving attention also from the American Federation of Labor as a means of compelling employers to provide steady work. In the recon version period the demand for a guaranteed annual wage may emerge as the leading claim of organized labor upon American industry.

Payment of guaranteed wages the year around is held forth by the supporters of this revolutionary change in the wage system as a realistic way to maintain the national income, to minimize postwar unemployment, and to iron out business fluctuations. By its opponents the guaranteed wage is characterized as a “strait jacket for industry” which would lead to business insolvency, followed by government subsidy and government domination of a large part of the industrial machine.

Union Demands Before National War Labor Board

Four principal unions of the C. I. O.—the United Steel-workers, the United Automobile Workers, the United Electrical Workers, and the United Aluminum Workers—have petitioned the War Labor Board to order industry to guarantee yearly employment and incomes to their members. The demands are substantially the same in each case: they call for “a minimum weekly wage for each week during the life of the contract,” with the amount to be determined by multiplying each employee's hourly wage rate by 40 hours of guaranteed work.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cost of Living and Wages
Apr. 17, 2020  Inequality in America
Sep. 08, 2017  Universal Basic Income
Apr. 08, 2016  Future of the Middle Class
Apr. 18, 2014  Wealth and Inequality
Jan. 24, 2014  Minimum Wage
Jun. 19, 2009  Rethinking Retirement
Mar. 06, 2009  Middle-Class Squeeze
Mar. 14, 2008  Gender Pay Gap
Dec. 16, 2005  Minimum Wage
Sep. 27, 2002  Living-Wage Movement
Apr. 17, 1998  Income Inequality
Oct. 27, 1978  Wage-Price Controls
Jun. 16, 1978  Military Pay and Benefits
Mar. 23, 1966  Rising Cost of Living
Oct. 25, 1961  Price-Wage Restraints in National Emergencies
Jun. 21, 1961  Wage Policy in Recovery
Jun. 11, 1958  Prices and Wages in the Recession
Sep. 18, 1957  Control of Living Costs
Nov. 02, 1955  Wages, Prices, Profits
Jan. 26, 1954  Minimum Wage Raise
Jan. 02, 1954  Cost of Living
Jan. 21, 1953  Guaranteed Annual Wage
Dec. 17, 1952  Future of Price and Wage Controls
Nov. 19, 1951  Fringe Benefits and Wage Stabilization
Dec. 06, 1950  Wage Control
Jun. 13, 1949  Wages in Deflation
Jun. 04, 1947  Guarantees of Wages and Employment
Oct. 29, 1946  Decontrol of Wages
Dec. 01, 1945  Minimum Wages
Sep. 29, 1945  Wage Policy
Oct. 27, 1944  Wage Security
May 17, 1943  Incentive Wage Payments
Aug. 25, 1941  Prices, Profits, and Wage Control
Apr. 28, 1941  Wartime Changes in the Cost of Living
Sep. 21, 1940  Two Years of the Wage-Hour Law
Nov. 01, 1938  Industry and Labor Under the Wage-Hour Act
Jan. 20, 1938  Wage Rates and Workers' Incomes
Apr. 11, 1935  The Cost of Living in the United States
Sep. 01, 1930  Wages and the Cost of Living
May 24, 1930  The Anthracite Wage Agreement
Feb. 20, 1925  Measure of Recovery in Profits and Wages Since 1920–21 Depression
Unions and Labor-Management Relations