REP LIEU CELEBRATES THE INVALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS OF LABOR ADVOCATES ON LABOR DAY
LOS ANGELES - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement in recognition of Labor Day.
“This Labor Day we honor and celebrate the incredible triumphs of those who have fought tirelessly on behalf of workers. Thanks to their efforts, our workplaces are safer and fairer for employees. Against incredible odds, labor activists organized and fought back against institutional worker disenfranchisement, ensuring that workers had a voice at the bargaining table. In order to celebrate their bravery, on this Labor Day, I am highlighting three individuals whose work has improved the lives of American workers for generations.”
A. Philip Randolph
A. Philip Randolph was a champion of African American labor rights in the 20th century. He was a vocal opponent of discrimination in the armed forces and was a successful union organizer. Randolph founded the first successful predominantly black trade union in American history. On behalf of the union, Randolph defended the labor rights of countless African Americans, eventually pressuring President Roosevelt to sign an executive order to prohibit discrimination in defense industries. Randolph pushed for desegregation of the military and convinced President Truman to desegregate the military in 1948. He is also remembered as one of the architects of the March on Washington in 1963, the setting for Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech. Randolph continued to advocate for equality throughout his life on behalf of numerous organizations, even founding the jobs training center: the A. Philip Randolph Institute.
Dolores Huerta was an impactful political activist and labor leader. She was a staunch advocate for the labor rights of agricultural workers and the economic advancement of Latinos. She created the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA) and co-founded what would eventually turn into the United Farm Workers (UFW) with Cesar Chavez. Huerta helped organize the Delano grape strike in California and served as the primary negotiator for the new worker contracts. She also went on to organize a national lettuce boycott that would eventually lead to the passage of the 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act.
Frances Perkins was the first woman to hold a seat in the Presidential Cabinet, serving as Secretary of Labor under President Roosevelt for 12 years. Before serving Labor Secretary, Perkins spearheaded progressive labor reform in New York, prompted by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that killed 146 garment workers. As Labor Secretary, Perkins played a major role in executing the New Deal, fighting for set minimum wages, pension programs, unemployment insurance and restrictions on child labor. Perkins also drafted the Social Security Act of 1935 and remained a civil servant until 1952.