Today in Labor History

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Archive for the tag “scotus”

March 10, 1919


The U.S. Supreme Court rules on Debs v. United States, affirming the labor leader’s conviction under the Espionage Act of 1917 for an anti-war speech he gave in Canton, Ohio, in 1918. Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison and disenfranchised for life. While in prison, he ran for president in the 1920 election and received 919,799 votes (3.4 percent of the popular vote).

February 3, 1941

Feb 3

The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in United States v. Darby to uphold the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which banned certain types of child labor, established a minimum wage, and set a maximum workweek at 44 hours.

June 2, 1952

6833519008_bcfba045f0_zThe U.S. Supreme Court rules that President Harry Truman had no authority when he seized control of the nation’s steel mills on April 8 – the day before a nationwide steelworkers’ strike was set to begin – to keep them in production for the Korean War effort. 600,000 steelworkers went on strike on June 3, effectively ending production for the next six weeks.

April 12, 1937


The United States Supreme Court rules on National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation, affirming the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Wagner Act”) of 1935. The NLRB had ruled against the company for firing ten workers who were attempting to unionize; the company refused, arguing that the NLRA was unconstitutional.

April 9, 1917


The United States Supreme Court rules in Bunting v. Oregon, upholding Oregon’s 1913 state law that prescribed a ten-hour workday for both men and women and the state’s requirement that businesses in the state pay time-and-a-half for overtime up to three hours a day. The case was one of the first that upheld wage regulations in addition to hours regulations.

March 29, 1937


The U.S. Supreme Court, in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, upholds the constitutionality of minimum wage legislation enacted by the State of Washington, overturning a decision in 1923 that held that federal minimum wage legislation for women was an unconstitutional infringement of liberty of contract. The case was brought by Elsie Parrish, a hotel housekeeper who lost her job and did not receive back wages in line with the state’s minimum wage for women law.

February 24, 1908


The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Muller v. Oregon to uphold the state’s restrictions on the working hours of women, setting a precedent to use sex differences — and in particular women’s child-bearing capacity — as a basis for separate legislation. The ruling fueled the emergence of maternalist public policy.

January 27, 1908


In Adair v. United States, the United States Supreme Court upholds employers’ “yellow-dog” contracts, which forbade workers from joining a union as a condition of their employment. They were finally outlawed in 1932 in the U.S. under the Norris-LaGuardia Act.

June 10, 1946


The United States Supreme Court rules on Anderson et al. v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co. – also known as the “portal-to-portal” case – finding that preliminary work activities, where controlled by the employer and performed entirely for the employer’s benefit, are considered working time under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  In 1947, Congress enacted the Portal-to-Portal Act to amend the FLSA in light of the court’s ruling.

June 5, 1939


The U.S. Supreme Court rules on Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization, upholding several lower courts’ rulings that Jersey City mayor Frank Hague’s ordinance banning labor meetings in public places and prohibiting the distribution of CIO literature violates the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly and is therefore unconstitutional.

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