A Brief History of the U.S. Minimum Wage

Americans have grappled with how to compensate workers for more than a century.
5:26 | 08/31/16

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Transcript for A Brief History of the U.S. Minimum Wage
Probably him is simply this. Following my act together and gone. And a great way we can put people back. For more than a hundred years Americans have grapple with out of drilling comments. Save the nation's lowest paid workers. Here's a look back and is a big issue a brief history of the minimum wage. The seas for a federal minimum wage were first planted in the industrial city of Lawrence Massachusetts in 1912. America had established itself as a world power. Leading the globe and steel autos and agricultural production. But a series of industry scandals had awoken something within the working class revolt. January 191230000. Textile workers walked off their jobs in Lawrence after their wages were cut by 32 cents. For nine weeks strikers interred Arctic temperatures and Billy cub wielding police for the factory owners friendly agreed to a 15% weight check. It became known as the bread and roses strike and it shook the country to its core. By the end of June Massachusetts would recommend the first statewide minimum wage for women and children. Did in eight years thirteen other states and the District of Columbia followed suit even the country's leading industrialist Henry Ford. Established a five dollar day minimum wage in his factories in 1914. Calling it the finest cost cutting movie ever made but it would take another two decades before the. Overnight mental well we're reduced to selling apples on street. The prosperity the world with what he's had exploded like a giant soap bubble and the United States tumbled down into a bottomless abyss of depression. In 1933. Is a country reeled under the Great Depression congress pass a national industrial Recovery Act. Giving president Franklin Delano Roosevelt the right to regulate industry. In his mind literally landing clean. Sabrina well in my. I did okay. Action without. And manage. As part of the NRA from FDR released the president's re employment agreement which ask employers to reduce hours and raise wages. 2.3 million employers signed up. That is why I am not only me and my elderly. And was dying and this problem government Whitney. The sign and in the name maybe. And name good math. Well clearly this is we have the right man in the White House. I think back. This bill are no that was bugged his city thinks that the NRA has 100% buying. Gift. Live up to the garden consigned to them. But just two years later in 1935. The Supreme Court ruled that the NRA was unconstitutional. It was the beginning of a tense battle between FDR and the Supreme Court as the justices continue to nullify state minimum wage laws finally in 1937. The Supreme Court buckled under pressure from FDR and began ruling in favor of the state minimum wage laws that had previously rejected. FDR send congress a new shorter bill even though it was severely weekend. The bill passed congressional review act was signed into law on June 25 1938. To many requests might the congress comes paid fair labor standards act. But it's totally isn't Colin Smith. The fair labor standards act established a minimum wage of 25 cents an hour forty hour work weeks. And the abolishment of child labor. Sex has signed up for the social security act it is the most far reaching program the most populated program for the benefit and looked that has ever been adopted. The last 75 plus years congress' raise the minimum wage twenty times but its purchasing power peaked in 1968 a dollar sixteen hour. Which is equal to ten dollars and fifteen cents an hour in today's money. And its value degrades a movement to raise the minimum wages taken root with 29 states and the District of Columbia. Sit in their own minimum wage is higher than the federal standard. The highest California and Massachusetts. Who pay their lowest earning workers ten dollars an hour. But efforts to raise the federal minimum wage have been met with fierce opposition but this is all about politics. And now in Washington today a brutal battle. Over the minimum wage in this country Republicans in the senate filibustered beating back a bill sort of raise the federal minimum wage. To ten dollars and ten cents is now stalled at seven dollars and 25 cents some cities they picked up where congress left off. The city of Seattle made history on Monday when it raised the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour far away the highest in the country. But it's fast food workers staged marches across the country seeking to fifteen dollar an hour wage. Some economists wonder if such a drastic increases economically sound bastard workers an overview. One thing we know that flight today. They owes a lot to those textile workers marching through the snow waiting streets of Lawrence mass. More than a hundred years ago.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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