dcsimg

The History of Minimum Wage

Video: History of Minimum Wage


Get to know about the history of minimum wage law.

Everybody wants to be compensated for the work they do, no matter the job. From month to month, bills have to be paid, families have to be fed, and needs have to be met. Minimum wage supplies citizens and workers of the U.S. with a guaranteed amount of money for work done. Minimum wage is the lowest rate at which an employer can pay a worker by the hour, whether that state's law is $5.15 or as high as $8.50. The Clinton administration gave the rights to each state to implement their own minimum wage law based on the cost of living in their state.

President Franklin Roosevelt was the first to implement a minimum wage system under his National Recovery Act that implemented a $00.25 hourly wage. The Supreme Court denied Roosevelt's plan but soon, other events would lead to the establishment to minimum wage. The way people feel about the current minimum wage system has fluctuated with the cyclical rise and fall of the economy. People that support the system say that it's a good method to have to protect yourself from any unfair wage offered by an employer. Minimum wage has evolved into it's current form after years of reform and attention from politicians. Back when the wage was first established, it paid workers only $00.25 per hourly, but now wages currently have extended over $8.00 per hour in some states. The rest of the information will discuss the history of minimum wage and its entity. The sources below will show you how minimum wage was established and how it has changed throughout time.

Controversy started with John L. Lewis, who was the President of the Committee for Industrial Organizations. Industrial workers, unions, and unskilled workers had tension between them after John L. Lewis attacked Carpenters Union President, William Hutcheson, for making a comment about an unskilled worker in 1935.

Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

In earlier times, many workers felt that they were being required to work too many hours, while being paid too little for their labor. This is one reason why labor laws were established. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was created to solve this issue. The objective was to create a maximum 40-hour work week that an employer could work an individual along with a minimum wage that the employer must pay the individual for his or her work. Controversy started with John L. Lewis, who was the President of the Committee for Industrial Organizations. Industrial workers, unions, and unskilled workers had tension between them after John L. Lewis attacked Carpenters Union President, William Hutcheson, for making a comment about an unskilled worker in 1935. A few years later, police were trying to help and protect the employees of Goodyear Tire in a Chicago, when a riot broke out, resulting in 10 murders. This turned people away from Lewis and his organization, allowing the birth of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to further take actions to protect the labor force and ensure that the proper treatment of employees was being met.

  • Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938: learn all about the overview of the Act of 1938 and other links pertaining to useful information such as minimum wage rates for each U.S. state.

  • John L. Lewis: Biographical information about John L. Lewis.

  • Committee for Industrial Organizations: Information about organization and how and when it was formed.

  • FLSA of 1938: PDF file of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. 54 pages worth of material.

  • Carpenters Union: learn all about the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

  • FLSA: Basic information about The Fair Labor Standards Act and how it applies to the workplace.

The 1996 Minimum Wage Law

When changes in the economy are made, such as inflation and a value increase of products and services, then the demand for an increased workforce increases. The federal legislation increased the minimum wage from $4.25 to $4.75 on October 1, 1996, and made another $.40 increase nearly a year later on September 1, 1997. The objective of raising the minimum wage was to provide better standards of living for poorer or low income workers. At the same time, studies found that raising the wage made individuals stay on welfare longer than people in states where the minimum wage did not increase.

History of Changes to the Minimum Wage Law

Since the minimum wage was first established, changes have been made to the minimum wage to meet the needs of the current workforce and economy. In 1996, the wage went to $4.75, and in 1997 the wage jumped to $5.15 an hour. The federal legislation made this change in order to help poorer workers reach a better standard of living. This was the same reason the Clinton Administration made an increase in 2001. During that time, President Clinton wanted to increase the wage a whole $1.00, up to $6.15 an hour. His plan was first proposed in 2000. The Fair Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2005 would eventually raised the minimum wage to $7.25.

Additional Resources on Minimum Wage

Minimum wage is very important when it comes to workers, employers, and the economy. As an employee, you have certain rights to protect you from unfair treatment and pay that are designed to help maintain an acceptable standard of living. It is very important to know and understand your rights in case you're not fairly treated under the guidelines of the law. The rise of minimum wage throughout the history of the U.S. has definitely had an impact on the economy, labor demand, retail and small businesses, and the workforce. The links below will give you an additional understanding of these concepts.