Workplace standards are covered under NJ labor laws and regulated by the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance.
The minimum wage and hour law was first introduced in 1896 as an arbitration method to prevent labor strikes. A national minimum was set for most workers in the public and private sector with the Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938. This was an attempt to control sweat shops and manufacturing industries. In New Jersey this law established a minimum wage requirement at $7.25 an hour and overtime pay rate at 1.5x the hourly wage. It also sets guidelines for employment of the disabled, their wages and working conditions, and sets mandatory overtime restrictions for healthcare workers.
The New Jersey State Payment Law sets guidelines for unpaid or withheld wages depending on time, manner and mode of payment. This law also prohibits the withholding of wages for illegal deductions and protects employer fringe benefits packages.
Governor of Snyder of Michigan signed laws that deny unions the right to require membership as a condition for employment. This makes it much more difficult for unions to protect workers and hurts union membership and organized labor overall, as this has been seen in other states starring with Wisconsin unions battle with Governor Walker. Currently, 23 other states have signed such measures into law.
The US Department of Labor was established in March of 1913.
Here is a timeline of major labor milestones.
- Creation of the Labor Department March 4th 1913
President Taft signed the Organic Act that created the U.S. Department of Labor, after much opposition during his last hours in office and followed shortly by new President Woodrow Wilson’s appointment of William B. Wilson (no relation) as the first secretary of labor.
- Benefits are established for sick and injured workers Sept 9th 1916
This act established the Office Workers’ Compensation, The Federal Compensation Act provided benefits to sick and injured workers in the workplace.
Labor Department Streamlines War Production
- Women Bureau created June 5th 1920
Created ensure effective employment of women and develop polices
- Unemployment Data is collected starting July 7th 1930
Until The Great Depression, the Bureau of Labor Statistics was only collecting emplyment information so Congress authorizesd BLS to get unemployment information, as unemployment was about to hot an all time peak.
- 5 day work week began December 9th 1930
As secretary of labor under President Hoover, William Doak instituted a five-day workweek and lead the way for progressive reform throughout all labor markets.
- Social Security Act Created August 14th 1935
Payment of benefits to the elderly, disabled and unemployed began with The Social Security Act of 1935.
- 40-Hour Workweek started June 15th 1938
The Fair Labor Standards Act standardizes the 40-hour workweek and created the Wage and Hour Division to enforce the law.
- Equal Pay for Equal Work began on June 10th 1963
Men and Women are guaranteed equal pay for equal work under the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
- Banning Workplace Discrimination stated July 2nd 1964
Employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin was prohibited with the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Workers in the US have many things to thank the unions for, weekends for one and all the paid benefits for another. Of course this came with the main goal of the movement which was to improve working conditions, safety in the workplace for adults and an end to child labor.
The beginning of the labor movement can be seen as early in the formation of the country in 1768 when tradesmen in New York protested reduction in wages and started the Society of Shoemakers in Philadelphia in 1794. This was the first recorded sustained organization for trades among American workers. From then other unions were formed to defend their work against lower prices, which led to the creation of the first national association, a typographical printing union in 1852. During this time the industrial factory system was growing and the unions focused on skilled worker movement.
Through reform and transformation over the next decades, the labor movement came to a halt at The Great Depression. The total disenchantment of the industrial workers from the unions, and with the new legislation of the New Deal broke major unions apart. While the current unions were stopped, some broke way to form new, like John Lewis of the Mine Workers in 1935 left to created the CIO. By the end of the second World War millions of American workers belonged to unions that concentrated on collective bargaining legislation.
The previous dismantling of this country’s collective bargaining legislation brings the further decline in living standards of American wage-earning families set in for the first time since the Great Depression. The union movement in the 1980s became a diminished economic and political force, and now we are back to the beginning.