Edwin F Minter, Friend to Workers?
On this date 100 years ago to day, Edwin F. Minter, the owner of the Minter Screen Manufacturing Co. at 929 E Grove, suggested in a letter to the Pantagraph that Bloomington was a large enough town that workers should have a half day holiday on Saturdays. At this time, all workers were expected to work a six day work week. Bankers and lawyers worked a half day on Saturday, but men and women who worked with their hands worked a full day on Saturday, leaving only Sunday as a day of rest. Minter was not alone in making this suggestion. Many other progressives were urging a shorter work week. In New England some factory workers were already working a five day week, allegedly as a concession to Jewish workers. Henry Ford used the five day work week as a strategy to get better work out of his employees. Whether his ideas were adopted by other employers in Bloomington can only be learned from more research or consulting with historians who are aware of employment practices in the area.