The $ 5 Day

Submitted By haleyanderson388
Words: 433
Pages: 2

“The $5 Day” On January 5, 1914 Henry Ford announced he was paying $5 for eight hours of work a day in his factory. This change attracted thousands of unskilled workers looking for work. This also sparked many other factories to increase their wages or move their factory out of the city. The new policy was first discussed in January of 1914 when Ford held a meeting to discuss production and wages for that year. It is debated who actually came up with the idea because another man named Couzens, claimed he presented the idea. (Casey) The new policy made Ford’s employees some of the richest factory workers in the country and raised his reputation among the community. “…the five-dollar day redefined the relationship between compensation and skill.” (Casey) Workers had always increased the price for their labor by increasing their skill level. Employers also reduced their labor costs by reducing the skill required to do their work. Ford was offering to pay his unskilled workers more, even as he told them he didn’t want then to think, only follow orders. Things would soon change when the Great Depression hit. When the Great Depression hit, his and other assembly line companies could no longer pay the high wages. The plants became vulnerable to union organizers and labor stoppages. Ford fought the unions with every means possible, but eventually he was forced to sign a contract with the United Auto Workers. Ford was unwittingly set the stage for industrial unionism. (Casey) Ford's plan attracted a variety of responses. Workers viewed him as a friend, while many businessmen viewed his ideas as reckless. Ford disregarded criticism because he knew how important his employees were. He believed that retaining more employees