The Dignity of a Decent Job


It has been a common practice for successful books to be carried over to the silver screen.  Such is the case of In Dubious Battle, a 2016 drama film, based on John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name.  The film depicts the struggle of humble apple pickers in California during the Great Depression—1933.

The Great Depression was a desperate time; in fact, it was the worst of time in the history of the United States.  Those who found work suffered long hours, unsanitary living conditions and starvation wages.  There wages sunk to level of a dollar-a-day.  That’s thirty bucks a month, including Sataurdays and Sundays.  Times were rough in the thirties.

In some agricultural areas, exhausted workers walked out of their jobs to exercise their working rights.  For these have-nots, fair wages was a God-given right, and they would strike back to get them.  Simple as that!

Dignity, respect, and the ideal of a fair share of the production of their work with their bare hands is what they wanted—and deserved.  For five years many of these miserable workers were encarcerated, bullied, wounded or killed.  Then there was light at the end of the tunnel—The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed this bill on Saturday, June 25, 1938, to avoid pocket vetoes 9 days after Congress had adjouned.  It banned oppressive child labor and set the minimum hourly wage at 25 cents, and the maximum workweek at 44 hours.

The FLSA established minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private and public sectors—Federal, State, and local government.  It was a step in the right direction for the American worker.

Good Day!



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