Official Document, Women's Employment
The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was a New Deal response to the Depression to stabilize and energize the economy of the United States. One function of the NRA was to set industry standards for products, production methods, and wages. The codes developed for U.S. garment workers were applied to Puerto Rico in July 1933, and by August there were already major strikes.
The code had very negative effects in Puerto Rico. Home needleworkers had previously been paid by the number and quality of pieces they produced, and were contracted by intermediate agents. Under the U.S.-imposed codes, the structure remained the same, only workers were paid by the hour. A major shift occurred, as needlework was no longer considered skilled labor, or the work of artisans, but rather unskilled labor. Recognizing the failure of the code and danger of strikes, the report below was commissioned to try to find ways to adapt the codes to the local situations of Puerto Rico.
This source is a part of the Women and the Puerto Rican Labor Movement teaching module.
Manning, Caroline. "The Employment of Women in Puerto Rico," Bulletin of the Women's Bureau, No. 118. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1934, p. 20.