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Adamson Act


ADAMSON ACT, enacted on 3 September 1916 at President Woodrow Wilson's behest in response to a pending strike by the major brotherhoods of railway workers. It established an eight-hour day for interstate railway workers and time and a half for overtime. The railroads challenged the law before the Supreme Court, claiming that it raised wages rather than regulated hours. In March 1917, impatient with the Court's inaction, the brotherhoods demanded immediate institution of the eight-hour day and scheduled a strike. Wilson again intervened, postponing the strike and then securing from the railroads a promise to grant the eight-hour day regardless of the Court's decision. One day after the settlement was announced, the Court upheld the law in Wilson v. New, 243 U.S. 332 (1917).


Kerr, K. Austin. American Railroad Politics, 1914–1920: Rates, Wages, and Efficiency. Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1968.

Kolko, Gabriel. Railroads and Regulation. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1976.

Link, Arthur Stanley. Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era, 1910–1917. New York: Harper Collins, 1963.

James D.Magee/t. m.

See alsoLabor Legislation and Administration ; Railroad Brotherhoods ; Railroad Mediation Acts .

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