As World War II production geared up in 1942, discussions of salaries and manpower shortages on the homefront began to take on increased importance. This story in the Association News column of Luggage & Leather Good' February 1942 issue was written early in the year, a mere month after the declarion of war.
Industry Minimum Wages
"The industry looks forward with interest to the report which our Industry Wage and Hour Committee will bring back from its Washington conference, scheduled for February 3.
A committee was appointed from all areas of the industry and met February 3, 1942 in Washington, DC. They were to "investigate economic and competitive conditions in the industry and recommend the highest minimum wage up to 40 cents an hours which would not substantially curtail employment." The memebers of the committee are listed on page 70 of the same issue.
"Joseph A. MeClain,Jr., Dean of the School of Law, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, is chairman. Other members of the committee are:
Wartime wage and price controls made wage increases rare. But the August 1942 issue of Luggage & Leather Goods announces the increase in the minimum wage to $.40 an hour. Adjusted to todays dollars at a 1090% inflation, that's $5.03, nearly equivalent to today's minimum wage.
Minimum Wage Increase
Effective July 27, 1942, workers in the handbag industry must receive a minimum wage of 40c an hour. This has been approved by the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Law. Four important points should be taken into consideration in making up working agreements with employees. (1) Hourly wage must be 40c an hour (2) Time and one-half to be paid for hours in excess of 40 hours a week (3) Stipulate the minimum weekly wage guaranteed to employee and provide for payment to employee of a weekly bonus equal to amount, if any, by which employee's earnings (straight time plus overtime) for any given week are less than guaranteed amount. (4) To avoid misunderstanding as to the effect of the contract, employer may also include in the contract a provision that if, in a long work-week, employee's actual earnings (straight time plus overtime) exceed the guaranteed weekly wage, employee will receive the additional compensation due him in excess of the guarantee.