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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Junie Edna Kaylor Aaron, December 12, 1979. Interview H-0106. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Advent of the eight-hour workday

Aaron remembers the advent of the eight-hour workday. (She cannot recall the precise date, but this change likely happened with the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act.) The change did not affect her life on the job very much, but it did make a big difference for workers with spouses or families. Aaron would have been one of them: she married her husband, Charles, in 1926.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Junie Edna Kaylor Aaron, December 12, 1979. Interview H-0106. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember when the eight-hour day came in?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
Yes. Charlie, didn't we start working the eight-hour day during the Depression?
CHARLES AARON:
Yes.
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
What year was that? Thirty-one or '32, somewhere along there. I was trying to think what president it was that started that eight-hour-a-day work, and I can't think now of his name.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you a Democrat or a Republican?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
I've voted both ways, so I can't say which I am.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was your family traditionally one or the other?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
My family was mostly Democrats, I think, but I've voted both ways. I think you need to vote for the man instead of the party, but sometimes you don't know which to vote for. It's kind of hard.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What difference did the eight-hour day make to you?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
The biggest part of the difference was you got home earlier, and at that time we had children, when that eight-hour-a-day come in. You got off earlier every evening. You got to do your work up earlier at home, and, of course, if you had a garden, you got to work it earlier and such as that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you keep on having an hour lunch break?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
No, we just had a half an hour of lunch break.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have to work harder once the eight-hour day came in during the hours you did work?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
No, you didn't have to work any harder. It was the same thing. The sewers and the turners was on piecework then, and you just got pay for what you made.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did the eight-hour day make a lot of difference?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
Yes, the eight-hour day made a big difference to people that had families and to married people.