Yale Union Laundry Strike

“Test the Ten Hour Law: Its Application to Laundress is Argued in Court”

The Oregonian. “Test the Ten Hour Law.” October 17, 1905. The Historical Oregonian (1861–1987) Online Research Tool. Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR.

The decision of Curt Muller, proprietor of Grand Laundry in Portland, OR, on labor day in 1905, to keep employee Emma Gotcher at work longer than the state-allowed 10 hours for the day, would eventually lead to the seminal Muller v. Oregon decision upholding the state’s right to dictate the terms of labor for different groups of citizens.

After being fined $10 for breaking the Oregon law, Muller appealed to the state, arguing that the statue violated the 14th amendment. During the Supreme Court hearings, Louis Brandeis, defendant for the State of Oregon, and future Supreme Court justice, successfully argued in favor of the Oregon statue, arguing “women are fundamentally weaker than men in all that makes for endurance.”

For more information about Muller v. Oregon, please see the entry here.