National Archives at Atlanta

National Archives at Atlanta

Labor Conditions
After the lean years of the Great Depression, American workers found plenty of jobs at higher rates of pay, as the demand for workers outgrew supply in most, if not all, war industries. Women entered the workforce in numbers previously unknown, and African Americans filled many jobs closed to them just a few years earlier. Nation-wide labor unions agreed not to strike during the war in exchange for improved benefits, but small "wildcat strikes" did occur. Although wages and benefits improved during the war, workers did not necessarily experience upward mobility. They went where they were needed but could not leave when better jobs opened up elsewhere. To leave one job for another, a worker needed a release called a "Certificate of Availability" declaring the worker no longer necessary in his previous position. With the winning of the war first and foremost in the minds of the government, management, and labor, "Certificates of Availability" were not liberally issued.
WAC Basketball Game

"Axisdents" Cartoon

ca. 1943

Certificate of Availability Process

Certificate of Availability

November 1944

Cafeteria Workers on Strike

Workers on Strike

March 5, 1945

Letter to Senator Walter F. George

changing Jobs

November 23, 1943

Employee Violates Area Stabilization Plan

Worker Leaves Job for North

June 19, 1943

Workers Needed in Coal Mines

Coal Mine Losing Workers

August 20, 1943

Mobile Women's Recruitment Campaign

Women Recruited

March 6, 1943

Alabama Coal Strike

Alabama coal Strike

October 20, 1943

Investigation of Electricians

Investigation of electricians

August 19, 1944