This letter is an official statement from the New York Times Unit of the Newspaper Guild of New York in support of the Norton Hours and Wages Bill (H.R. 7200). Named after Mary T. Norton, who chaired the House Labor Committee and led the effort to bring the bill to a vote on the House Floor, the legislation set a minimum wage, established a 40-hour work week and overtime standards, and enacted child labor laws.
The Newspaper Guild addressed its statement to Representative Edward Curley, a fellow New Yorker and member of the Labor Committee, urging support of the bill as a continuation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal agenda. The letter also urged Representative Curley to back additional funding for a special subcommittee of the Senate’s Committee on Education and Labor, which was commissioned to investigate attempts by employers to prevent workers from organizing unions.
The House agreed to the conference report on S. 2475, the Senate’s companion bill to H.R. 7200, on June 14, 1938, and the Fair Labor Standards Act became law on June 25, 1938. Many smaller newspapers were exempt from the minimum wage and maximum hours requirements in the final version. Given the scope of the exemptions granted to small businesses, the final legislation initially impacted about one-fifth of the nation’s workforce.