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Capitol Heel Brief #16: Why We Should Pour A Lil Sumthin’ Out For Frances Perkins This Labor Day

Frances Perkins should be thanked for the working conditions in the U.S.
photo: Library Of Congress

Monday, September 5th is Labor Day-a day off work to relax. Rarely, if ever, do we think of the people who made this day possible or any other benefits we enjoy that relate to the workforce in the United States. But of course, behind every strong man is ALWAYS a very thoughtful, smart woman. Allow me to introduce you to Frances Perkins ( 1882-1965), a Democrat, who was selected to be Secretary of Labor by Franklin D. Roosevelt, when he entered the presidency in 1933.  Perkins made history as the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet in this role, as well as serving one of the longest terms of any Roosevelt appointee.  Francis Perkins was a defender of workers’ rights and welfare as a forceful advocate for massive public works programs as the country struggled through the end of the Great Depression.

Frances Perkins should be thanked for the working conditions in the U.S.
Credit: AP

Perkins pushed for both a minimum wage and a maximum workweek, as well as a limit on the employment of children under the age of 16. She championed the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps-a government work relief program that ran from 1933-1942, as well as unemployment compensation-all of which were enacted. Francis Perkins helped draft the Social Security Act (1935) and supervised the Fair labor Standards Act.  She unquestionably fulfilled her goal as a force for change in US labor laws and standards.

Cheers and thank you, Ms. Perkins!🥂

You can read more about Frances and her relationship with Roosevelt and all they did together in her book, The Roosevelt I Knew.

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