Adamson Act Sets 8-Hour Work Day for Rail Workers

1917

With the passage of the Adamson Act, President Woodrow Wilson effectively avoids a nationwide strike of railroad workers. The act sets an eight-hour work day and establishes overtime compensation for railroad workers, marking the first time the U.S. government regulates the labor conditions of non-government workers. In Wilson v. New, the railroads said the law raised wages rather than regulated hours. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the law established an eight-hour day as the standard of service by employees and that it was within the power of Congress under the commerce clause.