O'Neil-Pringle Minimum Wage Bill
In 1933, the Ohio legislature debated the merits of the O'Neil-Pringle Minimum Wage Bill. This bill, if passed, would allow a state official to establish minimum wages for both women and children employed in certain businesses. This legislation would principally affect factory workers and employees in other industrial occupations. The main proponents of the O'Neil-Pringle Minimum Wage Bill were members of the Democratic Party. Opponents of the bill primarily were members of the Republican Party, although a sizable number of Democrats also objected to the legislation. Opponents claimed that businesses did not have enough capital during the Great Depression to increase wages for women and child workers. Higher wages, these legislators contended, might force businesses into bankruptcy, especially considering that the United States and its citizens at this point in time were facing the Great Depression. At President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's urging, Ohio Governor George White lobbied for the O'Neil-Pringle Minimum Wage Bill's passage, although the legislation seemed doomed to certain defeat. Surprisingly, the Ohio legislature approved the measure in 1933.
The Ohio legislature's action symbolizes the change occurring in the federal, state, and local governments within the United States during the 1930s. Historically, most Americans had opposed government involvement in their everyday lives. With the Great Depression, some Americans, including many Ohioans, believed that the various levels of government had a duty to assist their citizens.
- Lehrer, Susan. Origins of Protective Labor Legislation for Women, 1905-1925. N.p.: State University of New York Press, 1987.