Skip to main content

Frances Perkins Gave Us The Blueprint

On a night in February 1933, Frances Perkins sat in front of the newly elected 32nd president of the United States as he told her that he wanted her to be the new Secretary of Labor. Perkins told President Franklin Roosevelt she would take the job if she could do it her way. Perkins wanted: a 40-hour work week, minimum wage, work compensation, unemployment compensation, a federal law banning child labor, direct federal aid for unemployment relief, Social Security, a revitalized public employment service, and health insurance. The opposition to Perkins demands came from courts, businesses, labor unions--yes, labor unions, conservatives, and the chamber of commerce. Even with all this opposition against Perkins, a lot was accomplished. Today, we are trying to protect our Social Security, which we pay into, and even to expand it. We also want to go back to providing free college, like we used to have before politicians, like California Governor Ronald Reagan, redirected the money for free college to give tax breaks to corporations. We’re also fighting for a minimum wage of $15 an hour when, in reality, it would be closer to $24 an hour had it kept up with inflation. Climate change is a real concern, especially for our future generations, and we don’t want them living in a dystopian world like the Mad Max movies portray of a polluted world with its resources depleted, and the people fighting over the crumbs leftover from the rich. Then we have the concerns regarding healthcare, protecting pensions, allowing workers to unionize, eliminating private prisons, reinstating Glass-Steagall Act and the Voter Rights Act. Now, if we could do what they did in the 1930-‘40s, why in the hell can’t we? Maybe we don’t have a president or political party that supports us. Maybe, they would rather support Wall Street, the big banks and the oligarchies. We, the 99 percent, have much better tools today to make the changes needed than the people in 1933. These changes should be a world movement. All of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East, all of South of America, Greece, Italy, are in the same situation as we are. The International Workers of the World (IWW) saw the needs for these changes in the 1920s and ‘30s. It is time for the 99 percent to receive a new bill of rights that include the rights listed above. An American labor leader, Eugene V. Debs, said in a speech before the IWW conference on June 2, 1894: “The forces of labor must unite, the dividing lines must grow dimmer day by day until they become imperceptible, and labor hosts, marshaled under one conquering banner, shall march together, vote together and fight together, until working people shall receive and enjoy all fruits of their toil--such an army would be impregnable. No corporation would assail it. The reign of justice would be inaugurated. The strike would be remanded to the relic chamber of the past. An era of goodwill and peace would dawn.” Could the revolution that Senator Bernie Sanders started be the one?

Popular posts from this blog

Post Workists and What it Means

To change the abundance of labor in the world is to put more money in the pockets of the laborer to buy the products their fellow workers are making. Otherwise, when there are more products than money, there is slump in the economy. Austerity policies, low wages and automation (robots) were also of concern in the 1950s when Henry Ford II, CEO of Ford, took Walter Reuther, head of the United Auto Workers Union, on a tour of a new engine plant. Ford gestured to a fleet of new machines and said, “Walter, how are you going to get these robots to pay union dues?” The union leader turned to Ford and said, “Henry, how are you going to get robots to buy your cars?” This type of change in the labor has created a new type of working class that swings from task to task in order to make ends meet while enduring the loss of labor rights and bargaining rights. They are called “precariat” workers, a group of workers who live on the verge of collapse due to the instability of the nature of their job…

GOP To Pick-off Remainder of Unions

The last bastion of organize labor is now on the west and east coasts, like New York City, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Labor has mostly given up on the south and the middle of the U.S., is that because unions aren’t up to the fight? We have lost Detroit, Michigan and Wisconsin, which was the start of public unions. These GOP government control states, like govenors Synder and Pence have kicked our union butts. In California, labor has lost all of the rural counties, Orange and San Diego counties; and now San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles counties are our last strong holds. It would not take a lot to lose California. California has elected GOP governors before and with our new federal government now in place and with the Koch brothers, et al, and their money it could be done again. We, union workers, could lose it all. They have started on teachers’ union and they are still trying to break the postal workers union by forcing the pension funds to be funded 75 years ahead of pa…

Gig Economy

The Gig con, which sells people on a more flexible job without fixed hours. This sounds enticing to workers fed up with their 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. jobs. Also, to people without jobs, and to people who have part-time jobs, and need more money. Gig jobs fill in many needs, but the rub is that these jobs or most of these jobs don’t pay into Social Security or Social Disability Insurance so when someone hits retirement age there is nothing to fall back on. Most have been told that Social Security will not have money for them because Social Security will be broke. This is a lie and a con job on the workers. Social Security will be OK if the federal government will keep its hands off the money we paid into it. They think it is their piggy bank. Then what if you get sick or injured on the Gig job, there is no healthcare. We know that we are running out of jobs here and worldwide. This is why we need the universal basic income and unions for all. At this time, the federal government estimates…