On this day
One of the most important decisions by the Ford Motor Company took place 107 years ago on January 5, 1914. That was the day Henry Ford, along with his vice-president James Couzens, announced that the company would henceforth pay newly hired employees at the Ford Model T assembly plant five dollars per day for eight hours of work. The move was undoubtedly a history-making event as well as a boon for the Ford factory workers who would receive it.
The introduction of the Ford Model T heralded the era of the affordable automobile and the dawn of mass production, two aspects of 20th century life that are still very much with us today. But the assembly line production process that enabled Ford to churn out 200,000 examples of the Model T by 1913 also created monotonous working conditions for the Ford factory workers tasked with putting the vehicle together at the company’s factory in Highland Park, Michigan. A chronically unreliable and demotivated workforce proved costly for Ford, as the company was forced to constantly hire and train replacements to run the assembly line, which could not function without their work. Henry Ford figured a higher wage could function as an acceptable replacement for rewarding work, and thus the five-dollar daily wage was born.