Compensation Data Facts - What's What in Compensation
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History of compensation... Boston ship carpenters were one the first tradesmen to raise the question of labor hours by refusing to work more than 10 hours a day, unless paid extra for each hour. At that time, work weeks in the United States averaged 90-100 hours. Employers argued that conducting business in a ten-hour system was impossible, but the movement, which was already underway in other industries, spread throughout the states.
In 1835 Boston shipbuilders went on strike for 10-hour work days. They were joined by workers from other industries to challenge “the traditional sunup-to-sundown working day" and set in motion the movement that eventually landed a standard ten-hour work day. Despite not being unionized, ship workers managed to achieve an eight-hour day in 1842, long before most industries. This laid the groundwork for the eight-hour day we have today. In June 1868, Congress passed an eight-hour law for federal employees.