Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

Podcast: The Square Deal

100 years ago, George F. Johnson ran the biggest shoe factory in the world. The Endicott-Johnson Corporation in upstate New York produced 52 million pairs of shoes a year.

But Johnson wasn’t only known for his shoes. Johnson had an unusual theory at the time, about how workers should be treated. He was the first in the shoe business to introduce an eight hour work day. He built libraries, parks, even hospitals and offered his workers free medical care. Every baby born to an employee got a bank book with a $10 deposit – and a pair of shoes.

Some people called it “welfare capitalism.” Johnson had a different name for it. Today on the podcast: The Square Deal.


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