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Preventing the Waste of Humans in Industry 1931 USDOL Women's Bureau

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Published on Jan 13, 2011

This clip shows the problems of waste of materials and workers in industry focusing on workplace safety and health issues. Occupational medicine physician Alice Hamilton wrote several publication for the Women's Bureau, including, Women Workers and Industrial Poisons in 1926. The U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau, established by Congress in 1920, is the only federal agency mandated to represent the needs of wage-earning women in the public policy process. For 89 years, it has been meeting that mandate -- identifying the topics working women care about most, aggressively researching the issues, and pioneering innovative programs to address them -- amidst the ever-changing compass of our nation. The Bureau has always been a champion for the interests of working women. One of the agency's early achievements was the inclusion of women under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which, for the first time, set minimum wages and maximum working hours. During World War II, the Bureau worked to achieve more skills training, wider job opportunities, better pay and better working conditions for what was then the "new" female workforce. This is clipped from the 1931 Women's Bureau film, Behind the Scenes in the Machine Age (42:23 min). The film depicts technological changes affecting women factory workers and ways for the improvement of women's working conditions and the increase in industrial efficiency. It contrasts clean, well lighted workrooms with sweatshop conditions, illustrates ideal washroom and lunchroom facilities, factory safety measures, the use of conveyors to move bulky goods and compares obsolete and modern packaging and wrapping machines. For more information on the Women's Bureau, now and in the past, go to http://www.dol.gov/wb/ .The entire film is available at the US National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

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