Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History

Gender in Store: Salespeople’s Working Hours and Union Organisation in New Zealand and the United States, 1930-60

Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (2002), 83, (1), 107–130.

Abstract

Explanations for the weakness of retail employees’ unions have often emphasised that a high proportion of salespeople were women with low attachment to the labour force and unions. Comparing the experience of salespeople’s unions in Wellington (New Zealand) and Saint Paul (Minnesota), this paper shows instead that perceptions of women as consumers shaped the political environment in which retail unions tried to control working hours. After 1930s legislation in both countries denied salespeople the 40 hour week other occupations had been granted, retail unions in Saint Paul and Wellington focussed their efforts on achieving a 40 hour, five-day week. While both unions were successful in gaining their 40 hour week, when that goal had been accomplished they lost the commitment of their members, revealing the structural limitations of craft-based unionism trying to organise workers in an industry which was organised on merchandise, not functional, principles.

Access Token
£25.00

Details

Author details

Roberts, Evan

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
1071
1082
1093
1104
1115
1126
1137
1148
1159
11610
11711
11812
11913
12014
12115
12216
12317
12418
12519
12620
12721
12822
12923