It took a long time, a great number of beatings, murders and eventually compromises to get our country to where were just 10 years ago.
During the 1700s most people worked from first light to dusk for starvation wages. In 1787 after hard fought ideologies, the Constitution, the supreme law of the United States, was adopted after good men made serious compromises. During 1828 workingmen's parties were formed to try to elect candidates that favored a 10-hour workday, free public education and the end of the practice of imprisoning people in debt. Finally in 1837 Andrew Jackson declared a 10-hour workday in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
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In the 1920s and early 1930s many striking workers and their children were killed by state militias or vigilantes hired by factory owners. On June 25, 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which banned oppressive child labor and set the minimum hourly wage at 25 cents, and the maximum workweek at 40 hours and provided that employees working beyond 40 hours a week would receive additional overtime bonus salaries.
What's happening today?
For multiple reasons such as technology eliminating the need for much hand assembly and metal working machine operations, cheaper labor overseas, the bursting of the housing bubble, we now have a large unemployment problem. Today many companies don't let anyone work 40 hours in a week so they won't need to pay overtime or provide other fringe benefits. Also, thanks to Citizens United and the Supreme Court that allowed the rules to be changed, big business can now buy politicians' votes by giving them obscene amounts of money to run their campaigns. Thanks to the Tea Party the practice which created our country as we know it is verboten. They do not allow compromises.