Wages in Deflation

June 13, 1949

Report Outline
Wage Rates and Current Business Activity
Current Developments in Wage Negotiations
Wage Trends in Past Depressions
Changes in the National Economy
Special Focus

Wage Rates and Current Business Activity

Recent Downturn in Postwar Business Boom

Major wage agreements are being negotiated this spring and summer in an atmosphere of declining business activity for the first time in more than a decade. Aware that many statistical indicators have turned downward and uncertain over business prospects during the life of new contracts, labor and management both are making substantial changes in objectives and in bargaining techniques. The order by John L. Lewis for a week of “stabilizing inaction” in the coal fields is a striking example. It came three days after southern operators had demanded modification of benefits to miners in negotiations for replacement of the bituminous contract which expires June 30.

The United Automobile Workers will shortly begin negotiations with the Ford Motor Company, after a 25-day strike at the River Rouge plant in May, to replace the contract which expires on July 15. By the end of August expiration dates will have been reached for important contracts in oil, shipping, textiles, and hosiery.

Procedures to reopen longer term contracts have recently been initiated in other important industries. U. S. Steel Corporation subsidiaries have agreed to begin discussions with the United Steelworkers in mid-June. C. I. O. electrical and rubber workers unions have announced their intention to invoke reopening clauses in agreements with Westinghouse, General Electric, U. S. Rubber, Firestone, and Goodyear. Additional contracts in the automobile, textile and other industries may be reopened if a new pattern of wage increases or other concessions is set in key negotiations. The outcome of the current negotiations and of those to be undertaken at later dates will be profoundly affected by the trend of business activity and employment in the immediate future.

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