Second Bill of Rights

In his Second Bill of Rights  in 1944, Franklin Roosevelt opined that citizens have a basic right to employment that pays a living wage; freedom from unfair competition and monopolies; decent housing; basic medical care; adequate education, and Social Security.

How much of this has been accomplished?

  1. Employment that pays a living wage: Sorta, kinda.  Current efforts to raise the federal and some states’ minimum wage offer hope here.
  2. Freedom from unfair competition: Not so much.  According to the United Mine Workers, NAFTA is largely seen as a failure by organized labor because jobs have decreased instead of increasing as promised.
  1. Decent housing: Also not so much.  A recent report on CNN painted a dismal but at the same time marginally hopeful picture of the housing situation in Detroit.
  2. Basic medical care: Getting better.  Despite the efforts of a number of Republican governors to hamstring the Affordable Care Act, it was announced that over 100,000 have signed up under it.
  3. Adequate education:  Again, sorta, kinda.  One of our former students only recently paid off her $40K education loan.  She’s a crackerjack programmer.  Today, she’s driving a bus part-time.
  4. Social Security: Troublesome.  It remains the “third rail” of American politics.  But proposals continue to circulate to change, by slowing down, the way in which increases in Social Security benefits are calculated.

After almost 60 years, the Second Bill of Rights still waits in the wings.

Michele Petrovsky, Webmaster at Tools4Change Author of, Cathedral or Bazaar?  Fix Higher Education – Teach by the Seat of Your Pants , Donkey Dharma, and Quick Guide to Linux Glen Mills, Pa.


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Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work