Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Introducing Frances Perkins

My heartfelt thanks to Diane Amann for inviting me to participate in this blog – it’s a privilege to be a part of this fabulous online community.
Let me introduce Frances Perkins (1882-1965), Secretary of Labor under FDR and the first woman to hold a cabinet position in the United States. A strong advocate of workers’ rights and protections, Perkins began her career studying firsthand the problems of the working poor, particularly young women who had immigrated to the United States in search of jobs. During her tenure as Secretary of Labor, Perkins achieved landmark reforms, including giving workers the right to organize unions and bargain collectively, establishing a minimum wage and maximum workweek, and spearheading the development of the U.S. social security system. As former Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz put it, “[e]very man and woman who works at a living wage, under safe conditions, for reasonable hours, or who is protected by unemployment insurance or social security, is her debtor.”
Imagine what Perkins could have accomplished were she alive today. As our leaders continue to debate immigration reform and to develop/implement anti-trafficking laws and policies worldwide, may Perkins’ work inspire us to consider these issues from a labor perspective...

2 comments:

Lakshmi Bai said...

Welcome, Frances! We're very excited to have you on board.

Grace O'Malley said...

Greetings, Frances! Look forward to hearing more from you!