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Roosevelt’s inauguration; Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America meet in secret and agree to impose salary cuts

Roosevelt’s inauguration; Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America meet in secret and agree to impose salary cuts

Photo caption: The Theatrical Legitimate Code Hearing, meeting in the House Office Building in 1933 to set codes for the entertainment industry.

Inauguration Day for FDR was on March 4, 1933.  It was also a National Bank Holiday, as President Roosevelt hoped a holiday would slow the avalanche of bank withdrawals by frightened depositors.

Theatre owners countrywide used this as an opportunity to slash wages and benefits, justifying their actions by saying they were “cash poor” because of bank closings.  The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) met in secret the night of Roosevelt’s inauguration and agreed to impose salary cuts of 25 percent to 50 percent for eight weeks.

The Studio Basic Agreement was one week away from renewal when unionized studio workers were asked to take a 20 percent wage cut.  The unions voted unanimously to reject the wage cut.

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