Wage Policy

September 29, 1945

Report Outline
Raising Conflict Over Wages in Industry
Administration Position on Wages and Prices
Wage Policy and Maintenance of Prosperity
Special Focus

Raising Conflict Over Wages in Industry

Rapid Growth of Labor Campaign for Higher Wages

Strikes and threats of strikes on an ever-widening scale have confronted industrial managers and government officials at Washington with difficult problems of wage and price adjustment. The chief of these problems is whether wage rates should now be raised—or can now be raised—to give wage-earners the same purchasing power in time of peace that they enjoyed during the war.

Undeterred by a mounting volume of transitional unemployment, labor leaders moved quickly after the surrender of Japan to enforce demands for maintenance of high “take-home” pay. The United Automobile Workers of America, world's largest union, led the way by lodging with the General Motors Corporation, only five days after the end of the war, demands for a 30 per cent increase in wage rates. In the immediately succeeding weeks similar demands were made by C. I. O. unions in the steel, rubber, oil, and other basic industries. The unions pointed to large company profits during the war and said their demands for wage increases could be granted without increases in prices.

The threat of the labor situation to rapid resumption of peacetime production was highlighted, Sept. 14, when the Ford Motor Company laid off 50,000 workers and halted virtually all operations because of strikes in other companies that were interrupting the flow of parts for new cars. On the same day U. A. W. leaders disclosed their strategy for enforcing the 30 per cent wage demand by successive strikes, if necessary, throughout the automotive industry. U. A. W. officials said they had no intention of utilizing the machinery for adjustment of wage disputes provided by the War Labor Board.

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