June 20, 1907: Salesclerks Fight to Keep Shortened Work Hours on Saturdays


Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

June 20, 1907
Los Angeles

The salesclerks of Los Angeles are steaming—and not over the warming temperatures. Beginning last summer, all the department stores agreed that instead of closing at 10 p.m. on Saturdays, they would close at 12:30 p.m., giving the staff a half-day off with pay.

But the new manager of the Bon Marche, J.W. Eccleston, decided he could increase business by remaining open, incurring the anger of every other merchant—and clerk—in town. Eccleston said: “We have the matter under advisement. We have not determined that we will not close, but we will probably not do so on next Saturday night. We have our side of the story; our employees are unanimously with us and I don’t see that we need any outside sympathy.”

Thousands of store workers crowded into Simpson Auditorium for a meeting on preserving the half-holiday in the summer and closing at 6 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. on Saturdays for the rest of the year. Speeches were made and boycotts were threatened.

In the end, the half-holiday prevailed.

Here’s an inflation reality check:

Women’s mohair swimsuits $3.50-$12 ($71.83-$246.28 USD 2005). Taffeta silk $15-$20 ($307.85-$410.47 USD 2005).

Weather in Los Angeles for June 20, 1907: A low of 55 and a high of 72; at midnight, it was 61 and cloudy.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1907, Labor, Streetcars and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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