10 April 2011

Frances Perkins (1880 - 1965)

Frances Perkins, pictured here in an undated photo, was born on this day in 1880. Perkins was the first woman to hold a cabinet level position in the United States government. She was Secretary of Labor under F.D.R; in that post she was instrumental in enacting in Social Security and the Fair Labor Standards Act which established the first federal minimum wage law as well as limits on the length of the working week.

In the midst of the ongoing onslaught by Republicans (and GOP-wannabe types like Andrew Cuomo) on labor unions it is important to remember that progressives have gained support from unions and that that support translated into bedrock social legislation. You can link to the Frances Perkins Center in Maine here.

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