By Tom Juravich, William F. Hartford, James R. Green
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Additional info for Commonwealth of Toil: Chapters in the History of Massachusetts Workers and Their Unions
Resolved, That no member of this society shall exact more than eight hours of labor, out of every twenty-four, of any person in his or her employment. 3. Resolved, That, as the laborer is worthy of his hire, the price for labor shall be sufficient to enable the working-people to pay a proper attention to scientific and literary pursuits. 4. Resolved, That the wages of females shall be equal to the wages of males, that they may be enabled to maintain proper independence of character, and virtuous deportment.
Without their pathbreaking efforts this book would not have been possible. Special thanks need to be given to Beth Berry of the Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. As the editorial assistant on this project, she tirelessly worked through many drafts of this volume. Her skill, patience, and good cheer helped make this book possible. We also would like to thank Bruce Wilcox and the staff from the University of Massachusetts Press. From our very first conversation Bruce was excited about this project and has been a tireless supporter throughout.
As their workloads grew, workers found the industry's thirteen-and fourteen-hour workdays unbearable. "The time we are required to labor is altogether too long," one worker declared. " As the campaign for a shorter workday progressed, it became closely linked to the growing problem of child labor. Although children had always worked in New England, they had traditionally done so within family settings that provided for their moral and intellectual development. This responsibility extended to masters who took on apprentices, as well as parents who supervised their children's labor on regional farms.