Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

The Square Deal

In the early 20th century, George F. Johnson ran the biggest shoe factory in the world: The Endicott-Johnson Corporation in upstate New York. Endicott-Johnson Corporation sold 52 million shoes a year. However, George F. Johnson wasn’t only known for his shoes.

Johnson had an unusual idea about how workers should be treated. He was the first in the shoe business to introduce the eight-hour workday. He had parks and libraries built, and provided employees with healthcare. Every baby born to an employee received a bank book with a $10 deposit, and a pair of shoes.

Some people called it welfare capitalism, but Johnson had a different name for it. He called it ‘The Square Deal.” 



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