AccuConferenceAccuConference

May
15
2007
Who invented the eight-hour workday? Accuconference

For some of you, the workday doesn’t seem long enough to get everything done. For others, you can hardly wait for the day to end. So who is to “blame” for the eight-hour workday, and how did it come into existence?

Here is a summary of what I found on Wikipedia:

  1. Industrial Revolution caused 10-16 hour workdays.
  2. In 1817 a social reformer named Robert Owen developed the eight-hour day saying “Eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.” (8+8+8)
  3. On May 1st, 1886, in what is regarded as the first-ever May Day Parade, 80,000 people walked down Michigan Avenue in Chicago. This caused 1,200 factories across the country (350,000 workers) to go on strike.
  4. The American Federation of Labor declared May 1, 1890 as the start-date for the eight-hour workday. 
  5. On January 5th, 1914, the Ford Motor Company doubled pay and cut shifts to eight hours a day. Given Ford’s success, other companies followed suit.
  6. The Adamson Act was passed in 1916 to establish an eight-hour workday and overtime pay (for railroad workers).
  7. In 1938 the Fair Labor Standards Act made the eight-hour day standard across the country as part of President F.D.R’s New Deal program. 

The(8+8+8) sounds good, but in my opinion it isn’t accurate. It doesn’t factor in the time we spend getting ready in the morning, commuting to work, working-out, and making dinner. Most of us only have 5-6 hours “free” if we’re lucky.

My solution would be to switch to a 28 hour day. This would still provide 168 hours in the week, but the week would only be six days long. This would allow more time to work, play and sleep and would eliminate an entire day of commuting.  We could get rid of Monday, because nobody likes that day anyway.


What would you do with an extra four extra hours a day?

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