Bad laws in our nation ruled by law: Lochner (freedom for employers to work laborers to death)

Right. Well this definitely comes under the category of The War on Workers, doesn’t it?

7. Lochner v. New York (1905): Look, they’re not all civil rights cases! In this case, the Supreme Court struck down a New York law limiting bakery work hours to 10 hours a day, finding an implicit “liberty of contract” in the Due Process Clause and giving birth to the Lochner era.

Obviously, my parentheses in the headline above is somewhat hyperbolic. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be anything in this decision that says workers can say no to unreasonable work hours without getting fired.

And did they get overtime when they killed themselves kneading dough?

Anyhow, this is the sort of thing that happened to employees before labor laws. But we can already see the Trump era is doing its best to dismantle laws that protect workers, so we may soon be buying our bread from bakeries that have 13 hour work days, 7 days a week.

Oops. I shouldn’t have limited the work day to 13 hours because that would be constricting the freedom of employers and their half-dead employees to make deals beneficial to…well, one of ’em, anyway.

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