Statement on the Extension of the Automobile Code.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
January 31, 1935
Renewal of the Automobile Manufacturing Code brings with it two distinct and important advances which are designed substantially to improve employment conditions in this major industry. No backward steps are taken.
When the code was renewed last November, I expressed the desire that something be done to regularize employment to the end that the annual earnings of employees in the automobile plants be increased as much as possible by steadier and more continuous work throughout the year.
The manufacturers had indicated to me their serious purpose to bring about a greater regularization, and I was informed at that time that they were already engaged in studies to accomplish it.
I also instituted an investigation by the research and planning division of N.R.A. and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to develop the facts which might enable me to suggest recommendations looking toward greater stability of automobile employment and other improvements in labor conditions.
This investigation and accompanying studies have been prosecuted diligently. In line with recommendations already made and with conclusions reached independently by the manufacturers themselves, I have obtained at this time an expression of willingness to go along with a plan for greater regularization from which benefits may be constantly expected to accrue to workers.
A fulfillment of this understanding is provided for in the Executive Order renewing the code.
First, the plan involves introduction of new models of passenger cars in the fall instead of the winter. This should result in a greater regularity of work and in lessening the spread between the peaks and valleys of employment.
The second advance which has come out of conference is the provision for payment of time and one-half for overtime in excess of forty-eight hours per week, which will benefit the employees through additional compensation for any necessary overtime work and deter the employment of workers in any unnecessary overtime.
It is true that today most employees can work only forty-eight hours; this, however, has to be averaged down to forty hours average for the year. However, certain groups have been subject to being worked at such times as high as sixty or seventy hours per week without any limitation of hours.
The modification in this code extension establishes a principle of time and a half if these groups work more than forty-eight hours.
These are two substantial advances toward regularization of employment for this large group of workers; and I believe that, with the continuance of the provisions made by the Government in the establishment and functioning of the Automobile Labor Board to promote and maintain harmonious labor relations, progress of the industry, in its service to the general welfare will be maintained.
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