1950s Labor Feminism

1950s continues trends from the 1940s, but with more opposition from unions and less help from the government because the war is over. None of the unions explicitly ban women by this time but many are still not explicitly supporting them, and most are apathetic. The AFL-CIO merger happened here. Leaders like Esther Peterson began pushing for protections and accommodations to reduce the burden of the “double day”, where working women were expected to be both a full-time employee and caregiver for their children (Cobble). Passing equal pay legislation and limits on working hours, as opposed to paid time off that most unions focused on, were essential to this (Cobble). Most of these laws were passed but were limited to states. Existing protective laws applying only to women did a better job of preventing overly long hours than the Fair Labor Standards Act, which only required extra pay for overtime and didn’t ban it completely (Cobble).

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