Date: Oct 24, 2012 3:57 AM
Author: Paul A. Tanner III
Subject: Re: Speachless In New York (or, another OMG moment)
On Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 11:37 PM, Haim <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> All the more reason to limit the power of the state. Our Founding Fathers understood this.
BS. In terms of the power of the state and the power of central
government - federal government - in particular, they were the most
liberal and progressive bunch in US history. In going from the
Articles of Confederation to the US Constitution, they implemented the
biggest expansion of the size and scope and raw power of the federal
government in US history by far.
> Even the architect of the welfare state, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, understood the menace of the public sector union and rejected them. >
"I have to correct the misinformation about the 1937 letter from
President Franklin Roosevelt to then-National Federation of Federal
Employees National President Luther Steward, a letter that many claim
demonstrates Roosevelt?s disfavor of public-sector unionism.
I know this letter well because the original version of it hangs on
the wall five feet outside of my office at the national headquarters
of NFFE, the organization I lead.
?Organizations of Government employees have a logical place in
Government affairs. The desire of Government employees for fair and
adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working
conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities
for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and
other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically
no different from that of employees in private industry.?
So what is one to take from Roosevelt?s perceived dissonance about
public unions? This letter was saying one thing and one thing only:
Federal employees should not have the right to strike.
It is clear that this letter was written to federal employees about
the importance of not having strikes in federal agencies because of
national security concerns. Nothing more.
To suggest this is evidence that Roosevelt ? the father of workers?
rights to form and join unions ? shares an ideological lineage with
Walker?s union-busting tactics is outrageous and disingenuous. A voice
in the workplace for teachers, firefighters and other public employees
is not a matter of national security, it is a matter of dignity for
I can say with conviction and history firmly on my side that if
Roosevelt was around today, he would lead the charge for workers?
rights to unionize ? public and private."
"But as anyone who reads the entire letter from which the article
quotes, ever so selectively, can easily see - FDR did not oppose
federal public employee unions. He opposed strikes by federal public
[From FDR's letter:]
"I congratulate the National Federation of Federal Employees the
twentieth anniversary of its founding and trust that the convention
will, in every way, be successful."
Emphasis added. Also note that in these records, the addressee is
listed as the sender, but as noted at the source, this letter was from
FDR to Mr. Seward.
And who was this National Federation of Federal Employees that FDR was
A union representing federal employees since 1917:
NFFE was officially created at a labor convention in Washington, D.C.
on September 17, 1917. It formed as an affiliate of the AFL and was at
the time the federal employees union, representing several trades and
industries. NFFE and other unions were able to form after 1912, when
Congress passed the Lloyd-Lafollette Act to overturn Theodore
Roosevelt's previous executive order. Roosevelt's mandate, frequently
referred to as the "gag rule" had previously prevented unionized
That's right. FDR's letter congratulating a federal employee's union
on it's 20th Anniversary is being used by the GOP to claim FDR opposed
government employee unions.
So, to repeat, another important lesson here: When middle-class
destroying, union bashing Republicans quote FDR in support of their
agenda, assume they are lying.
FDR would have changed his views about collective bargaining for
federal employees and agreed with JFK.
It is obscene for conservatives to lie about FDR, to imply that he
would support their hatred of all that is good and decent in the
economic sphere even just a bit, that he would support their social
Darwinism even just a bit. To see this, here is part of what this
decent man said in 1944 during WWII when the outcome hung in the
balance a half a year before D-Day, in his last State of the Union
address, delivered as one of his fireside chats:
There is video of FDR giving this Second Bill of Rights was found by
Michael Moore during his research for his movie on the obscene,
ruthless, bloodthirsty horror devoid of all conscience that
unregulated big corporate capitalism has become in the US (think of
Romney's company - see the below). It is shown in this Wikipedia page
- - press the right-arrow to see it. See many versions of it also at
You-Tube by entering "Second Bill of Rights".
Just this past week, Romney's Bain, the 51% owner of Sensata, has
killed these 17 dollar per hour American jobs and sent them to China -
to pay them less than 1 dollar per hour. This, even though this
company Sensata (making auto parts) has just posted record revenue and
record profits, in part because Obama saved the US auto industry.