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Labor History, Headed To A School Near You?

by Staff | Apr 24, 2014 12:06 pm

(15) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Labor, State

More Connecticut schoolchildren may soon learn in the classroom about how the U.S. came to have a 40-hour work week and workplace safety protections.

That’s because the state Senate this week passed “An Act Concerning the Inclusion of the Labor Movement and Free Market Capitalism in Public School Curriculum.” The 25-10 vote took place Wednesday. Now the bill heads to the state House of Representatives.

The bill directs the state Department of Education to draw up a curriculum on the subject and to make it available to local school boards for optional use.

New Haven’s two senators—Majority Leader Martin Looney and labor committee Co-Chair Gary Holder-Winfield—championed the bill.

In a video news release Wednesday (click above to watch it), Looney noted that the 40-hour work week, sick days, safety regulations, and employee health benefits came to be only “because of the advocacy of organized labor.”

“None of these things happened by accident,” Looney said. “In many cases they had to happen over the objection of substantial business and corporate interests.”

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posted by: Noteworthy on April 24, 2014  12:54pm

This nothing but pandering to the unions and completely devoid of value. Forget the history of the labor movement - let’s teach civics and civic responsibility. This is just pathetic.

posted by: JohnTulin on April 24, 2014  1:03pm

Great move.  We need to combat the anti-labor (and anti-science) attitude that dominates the discussion.  Good work by all!

posted by: robn on April 24, 2014  1:18pm

Try the Quakers; far preceding unions with progressive thinking about labor.

posted by: New Haven Taxpayer on April 24, 2014  1:23pm

WOW. Could you be a bigger suck up to the unions?
I don’t think so.
I am a life long Dem. but will be voting for anyone running against Looney this time around. Waste of tax dollars, paying this guy to write legislation ensuring more tax dollars be spent to help him hold office.

posted by: Threefifths on April 24, 2014  1:35pm

posted by: Noteworthy on April 24, 2014 1:54pm

This nothing but pandering to the unions and completely devoid of value. Forget the history of the labor movement - let’s teach civics and civic responsibility. This is just pathetic.

The labor movement built this country.If it was not for the Labor movement.You would not have the follwing Benfits.

Weekends
All Breaks at Work, including your Lunch Breaks
Paid Vacation
FMLA
Sick Leave
Social Security
Minimum Wage
Civil Rights Act/Title VII (Prohibits Employer Discrimination)
8-Hour Work Day
Overtime Pay
Child Labor Laws
Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
40 Hour Work Week
Worker’s Compensation (Worker’s Comp)
Unemployment Insurance
Pensions
Workplace Safety Standards and Regulations
Employer Health Care Insurance
Collective Bargaining Rights for Employees
Wrongful Termination Laws
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Whistleblower Protection Laws
Employee Polygraph Protect Act (Prohibits Employer from using a lie detector test on an employee)
Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS)
Compensation increases and Evaluations (Raises)
Sexual Harassment Laws
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
Holiday Pay
Employer Dental, Life, and Vision Insurance
Privacy Rights
Pregnancy and Parental Leave
Military Leave
The Right to Strike
Public Education for Children
Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 (Requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work)
Laws Ending Sweatshops in the United States.

Care to give any of these benfits up.

With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in men, than any other association of men.— Clarence Darrow

posted by: Threefifths on April 24, 2014  4:44pm

Blame the Unions for Everything!

http://youtu.be/a-JWYCLSQos

posted by: Threefifths on April 24, 2014  4:47pm

For you union haters.

Confessions of a Union Buster.

http://youtu.be/a-0gxca-VxM

posted by: Jones Gore on April 24, 2014  6:51pm

Teaching labor history in school is very nice but how does that address the issues the cities are having with youth violence?

Youth Violence is the only issue that is ignored as a serious issue and is only addressed with more laws focused on incarceration rather than prevention. When Sandy Hook happen laws to prevent this from happening again were put in place although they may have violate constitutional right as some would argue.

When the knock game came and gone in two weeks, months later State law makers passed laws to charge youth as adults. An attempt to lock away more minority youth as they were profiled as the only ones committing this crime.

Since law makers seem to not have a clue, I’d like to offer my help and recommended considering teach state statue in school as a means to prevent youth, particularly those in the inner-cities, from committing crimes that will lead them to years of incarceration and a long life thereafter of joblessness.

I believe the education system role has to evolve with the time, not just to prepare our children for careers, but make them aware of the societal potholes that many fall in to. I believe that this is a bill that will have a greater impact than the history of labor.

posted by: TheMadcap on April 24, 2014  8:45pm

Teaching the history of the labor movement is important because things you enjoy like the 40 hour work week and other things in the list above required literal blood to acquire. It’s kind of symbolic this passed just days after the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow massacre. To suggest this is pandering to unions is basically on par with governor Le Page up in Maine ordering the mural at the Department of Labor of people working to be taken down because it was somehow offensive to business owners(cause I guess it’s offensive to remind people their profits are built on the backs of workers?)

posted by: robn on April 25, 2014  7:37am

All hot air. Since there are many undertaught elements of history with profound effects upon CT, the question is why did these politicians single out labor for its own curricula? The answer is quid pro quo. The Democratic legislature is in the pockets of state and municipal unions.

posted by: JohnTulin on April 25, 2014  8:59am

A Worker Reads History - Brecht

Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima’s houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Young Alexander conquered India.
He alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Was there not even a cook in his army?
Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
Frederick the Great triumphed in the Seven Years War.
Who triumphed with him?

Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?

So many particulars.
So many questions.

posted by: Threefifths on April 25, 2014  2:10pm

posted by: robn on April 25, 2014 8:37am

The Democratic legislature is in the pockets of state and municipal unions.

And the Republicans are totally in bed with Wall street.It is the Republicans who want to de-regulate Wall Street so Wall Street can steal at will.The bonuses for bank executives and the lack of accountability goes back to the Republicans.The current laws that allowed the executives to receive bonuses proved to be lawful and though unethical in face of the melt down of the economy.The banking industry not union contracts caused the conditions that led to the worst economy since the Great Depression Era. Bankers don’t want to be subjected to the laws.The Republicans and bankers want to keep the climate of greed and un-regulation of the banking system.

posted by: robn on April 25, 2014  2:58pm

3/5,

I won’t argue with you about Wall Streets part in the recession because its completely true.  However, it wasn’t Wall Street that filled our legislature with partisans who continue to line union pockets and make long termn obligations and promises CT taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to keep. We’re in tremendous debt and its our own fault.

posted by: Threefifths on April 25, 2014  3:29pm

posted by: robn on April 25, 2014 3:58pm

3/5,

I won’t argue with you about Wall Streets part in the recession because its completely true.  However, it wasn’t Wall Street that filled our legislature with partisans who continue to line union pockets and make long termn obligations and promises CT taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to keep. We’re in tremendous debt and its our own fault.

The cities would have the money to paid for the contracts if they would stop raid pension and health plans.You can not blame the unions or a person who agree to the contract.Read the book Retirement Heist by Ellen Schultz who argued that many large employers have plundered employee pension plans over the past decades and detailed some of their tactics. She also talked about the crisis this loss has created. 

http://www.c-span.org/video/?301767-1/retirement-heist-

posted by: SteveOnAnderson on April 27, 2014  10:25pm

This is extremely welcome news. In the United States (as in most, if not all, countries), we are extremely poorly educated about labor history. It is the shadow of the history we learned in school, visible at every point but rarely (if ever) acknowledged to be a driving force of change in American society. It was not until I became quite active in the labor movement that I was able to begin to see how these struggles permeate our society, not only in the moments of rupture and visibility (exemplified by Northwestern football in the present moment), but also in the years of organizing and struggle—not to mention toil and fear—that make those moments of change possible. No one was EVER granted better pay and benefits. No one was EVER granted job security and vacation. These things that at least some of us still enjoy are not a result of top-down benevolence, but of decades of organizing and struggle. That is the true space of democracy in American history.

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