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A screen shot from 'Girls Taking Time Checks, Westinghouse Works,' 1904

A scene from "Girls Taking Time Checks, Westinghouse Works" in 1904

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National Labor Union Requested an Eight-Hour Workday
August 20, 1866

How many hours is a reasonable workday? On August 20, 1866, the National Labor Union, made up of skilled and unskilled workers, farmers, and reformers, called on Congress to order an eight-hour workday.

The National Labor Union was created to pressure Congress to make labor law reforms. The Union failed to persuade Congress to shorten the workday and the labor organization itself dissolved in 1873. However, its efforts heightened public awareness of labor issues and increased public support for labor reform in the 1870s and 1880s.

In this film, turn-of-the-century factory workers keep track of the hours they worked by punching a time clock. Do you know anyone who punches a time clock?

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VIDEO CREDIT: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. “Girls taking time checks, Westinghouse works,” 1904. Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress. Call Number FEC 2545.