Throughout the American history of industrial and commercial progression, the laborers, as well as employers, have frequently found themselves conflicting over various distinct issues primarily concerning the working hours, salaries and workplace security. However, to get an efficient solution to the prolonged battle between the workers and the employers, a powerful labor organization in the nation was formed, namely, The American Federation of Labor (AFL). The principle aim of this union through the labor movement moderated by various influential leaders was to promote the life and experience of an American worker so as the development of the entire nation (Kazin, & Ross, 1992). Most of the organization leaders set idealistic objectives whereby they advocated for the society to be restructured to ensure there is a balance of power between the employers and the workers. Others advocated for a national celebration of Labor Day and one significant issue championed by the union was the shortening of the workday for labor to the eight-hour workday, a concept that had been remarkably popular amongst the laborers but was for an extended period abandoned by the society and the political systems as impractical. Ideally, Labor Day was adequately marked as the day of the workers and is fundamentally different from other holidays of the year such that it does not glorify any struggle of man's prowess over a man or armed conflicts.
In his speech, addressed to a delegation of workers and labor leaders on the International May Day in 1890, President Samuel Gompers of the AFL substantially emphasizes on the significance of the eight-hour workday. He strongly feels that the union should, by all means, avoid the theories regarding both society and political systems and instead should put a large amount of focus on issues such as the working condition, the workers' salaries and most important the length of the workday (Gompers, 1890). In his attempt to protest for the prevalent injustices carried out by the industrial processes, in particular, the employers Gompers notes case that focus on shortening the working hours to approximately eight hours per day. In this case, he mentions that in industries where the working hours are extended, they are often affiliated with less advance of the power of invention. He argues that where the working hours are about ten to thirteen hours, the workers are cheap and as a result, they have no necessity for invention. He also supports his argument by stating that where working hours are reduced to eight, the laborers will have adequate time and opportunities to meditate. A short-hour working system to allow the workers to be more devoted to mental labor, which is more effective as compared to physical energy as this will give them a higher degree of prosperity for their owners and also for themselves through the progress of invention (Gompers, 1890). Typically, I would find this case much convincing primarily because when both working men and women find time away from their working schedule, they tend to spend that time in other more creative and innovative activities with the primary aim of improving their wealth.
Gompers also states that one essential item that the laborers extremely need is time apart from their usual necessities of life, time to work and time to cultivate the skills in them to create a better version of themselves (Gompers, 1890). However, in the modern era of technology with television as well, as other ready amusements, time for self-improvement is also critical as one gets the opportunity to sharpen their skills after the working hours. The workers also find time to acquire information concerning what is happening across the world through the television and gets the opportunity to interact with their peers for business matters or self-growth. According to President Gompers is that the primary goal of the labor movement is to provide the poor laborer with an opportunity to work, to ensure job security and advocate for permanent job wages (Gompers, 1890). However, when all this is fulfilled, I believe that the demands for organized labor can as well be achieved. Gompers argument concerning working hours would also efficiently resonate with the contemporary working and middle classes primarily because a considerable percentage are aiming at improving their skills careers away from the job schedule.
Gompers, S. (1890). "What Does the Working Man Want?" The American Soul in Story, Speech, and, Song. Retrieved from https://www.whatsoproudlywehail.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Gompers_What-Does-the-Working-Man-Want.pdf
Kazin, M., & Ross, S. J. (1992). America's Labor Day: The dilemma of a workers' celebration. The Journal of American History, 78(4), 1294-1323.
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