Letter to Judge E. H. Gary on Abolition of the Twelve-Hour Day in the Steel Industry
My dear Judge Gary:
I have now had an opportunity of reading the full report of the committee of the Iron and Steel Institute on the question of the abolition of the twelve-hour day in the steel industry. As I have stated before I am, of course, disappointed that no conclusive arrangement was proposed for determination of what must be manifestly accepted as a practice that should be obsolete in American industry. I still entertain the hope that these questions of social importance should be solved by action inside the industries themselves, for it is only such solutions that are consonant with American life and institutions.
I am impressed that in the reasoning of the report great weight should be attached to the fact that in the present shortage of labor it would cripple our entire prosperity if the change were abruptly made. In the hope that this question could be disposed of I am wondering if it would not be possible for the steel industry to consider giving an undertaking that before there shall be any reduction in the staff of employees of the industry through any recession of demand for steel products or at any time when there is a surplus of labor available, that then the change should be made from the two shift to the three shift basis.
I cannot but believe that such an undertaking would give great satisfaction to the American people as a whole and would indeed establish pride and confidence in the ability of our industries themselves to solve matters which are so conclusively advocated by the public.
WARREN G. HARDING
NOTE: Made public on July 5, 1923.
Warren G. Harding, Letter to Judge E. H. Gary on Abolition of the Twelve-Hour Day in the Steel Industry Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/329329