News & Blog

May 2018 Newsletter


~~May 2018 Newsletter ~~

Traveling Exhibit funded by the Maine Community Foundation

Traveling Exhibit nears completion thanks to the Maine Community Foundation.

In May the Center received a grant from the Maine Community Foundation’s Lincoln County Fund to complete the final stages of a traveling exhibit project.

The Frances Perkins Traveling Exhibit will include 10 pull-up panels interpreting her life and legacy, and a 30-minute video of PBS quality, based on presentations of some of our best scholars.

Upon completion this summer the exhibit will be available to all interested schools and learning facilities in the region. Please contact the Center if your
school or organization would like to be one of the first for the exhibit to visit.

This month’s organization spotlight:

Jobs with Justice

Pictured: Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs with Justice


Everyone deserves the freedom to earn a decent living and a have brighter future. Yet millions of individuals today—in particular women, people of color and immigrants—aren’t able to support their families and afford basic necessities because the economy no longer works for workers. But when working people do come together in union, they achieve a fair return on their work. By negotiating collectively, men and women establish standards that improve conditions for people across communities and industries.


Jobs With Justice is a national network expanding people’s ability to come together to improve their workplaces, their communities, and their lives. We create solutions to the problems working people face by leading campaigns, changing the conversation and moving labor, community, student and faith voices to action. With our network of 36 labor coalitions in 22 states across the country, we’re building a movement to ensure more of us can earn a fair return on our work. Jobs With Justice advocates for family-sustaining wages, and fair, safe, and equitable policies and workplaces. We win real change at the national and local levels by challenging corporate greed and demanding an economy that works for all.


Sarita Gupta is the executive director of Jobs With Justice and the co-director of Caring Across Generationsand a nationally recognized expert on the economic, labor and political issues affecting working people across all industries. She is a key leader and strategist in the progressive, labor, economic justice, women’s, and caregiving movements, and in 2016, she received the Open Door Award of the Frances Perkins Center. Her background mirrors that of Perkins’, as well as her commitment to improving the lives of others. Like Perkins, Sarita attended Mt. Holyoke College with a focus on science coursework. However, her career path took a pivotal turn when she began exploring socioeconomic barriers to women’s healthcare, and gained greater exposure to student activism.


Under Sarita’s direction, alongside co-director Ai-jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Caring Across Generations is spearheading a national movement to transform the way we care in this country. By harnessing the power of social action, social media and storytelling, the organization seeks to spark connections across generations and strengthen family and caregiving relationships. As a member of the “sandwich generation,” Sarita is grappling with and speaks to the care issues facing more and more Americans, balancing caring for young children with caring for aging parents.


Elder and child care are becoming critical issues. Our current care system, is costly, broken and unfair. Too often caregivers, who predominantly are women, have to leave their jobs because the burden of family care is not affordable or sustainable. And they often neglect their own health and personal needs. We’re testing out a bigger solution to the care dilemma with Home Care for All in Maine. In November 2018, voters will have the opportunity to pass the first universal home care program in the nation. Home Care for All will ensure all Maine families can access the care they need, invest in care jobs, support family caregivers, and keep vital members of our communities at home. We believe that Frances Perkins would approve of our efforts to dream big in creating programs that address working people’s needs in this era.

Then and Now

Photo: Lewis Hine’s, Breaker Boys, 1910

Excerpts on child labor from The History Place.


“In 1904, the National Child Labor Committee was organized by socially concerned citizens and politicians, and was chartered by Congress in 1907. From 1908 to 1912, photographer Hine documented numerous gross violations of laws protecting young children. At many of the locations he visited, youngsters were quickly rushed out of his sight. He was also told youngsters in the mill or factory had just stopped by
for a visit or were helping their mothers.

 Attempts at child labor reform continued, aided by the widespread publicity from Hine’s photographs. As a result, many states passed stricter laws banning the employment of underage children. In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, better known as the Federal Wage and Hour Law. The Act was declared constitutional in 1941 by the U.S. Supreme Court.

 The Act set a work week of 40 hours, with a minimum wage of 40 cents per hour. It prohibited child labor under age 16 while allowing minors 16 and over to work in non-hazardous occupations. The Act set 18 as the minimum age for work in industries classified as hazardous. No minimum age was set for non-hazardous agricultural employment after school hours and during vacations. Children aged 14 and 15 could be employed in non-manufacturing, non-mining, and non-hazardous occupations outside of school hours and during vacations for limited hours.” 

Photo: Stringer/Reuters 

Trump’s brutal policies target the most vulnerable Americans.

 by Katrina vanden Huevel

We tend to associate the word “brutality” with physical violence, especially violence at the hands of the state. It calls to mind police shootings, torture
and war. But there is another form of brutality that is less apparent to the naked eye — the brutality of policy.

 In recent weeks, the Trump administration has announced policy proposals that appear to serve little purpose other than cruelty. For example, the Labor Department is apparently  planning to roll back child labor protections that limit the hours that teenagers can spend performing dangerous jobs, such as operating chainsaws and trash compactors. The agency risibly described its proposal as an effort to “launch more family-sustaining careers by removing current regulatory restrictions” in a summary of the draft regulation obtained by Bloomberg Law. Worker and child labor advocates, however, credit the rules with significant reductions in the number of teenagers who are injured or killed.


Read the full article here.

“Frances and Faith” by The Rev. Charles Hoffacker

The First Book to Explore the Faith of Frances Perkins is now available.


Tread the City’s Streets Again by Donn Mitchell has just been published! Donn is a Frances Perkins Center board member and longtime Perkins scholar. His book allows Perkins, mostly in her own words, to set forth her theology and sense of vocation, for it draws substantially on three extensive unpublished lectures she gave in 1948 at St. Thomas Church in New York City.


The first and last chapters of Tread the City’s Streets Again present a biography of Perkins emphasizing how her Christian vocation developed throughout a life of public service. Chapters 2, 3, and 4, which quote frequently from her St. Thomas lectures, deal respectively with “A Christian Order of Society,” ‘The Vocation of the Laity,” and “The Good Life, Community and Individual.” These lectures were delivered in a conversational style and include responses to written questions from the audience.


Click here to read more

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cropped Frances and Faith icon

April 2024 FPC E-Newsletter

To appreciate thoroughly the life and
accomplishments of Frances Perkins, a great agent
of social change who served as Secretary of Labor
throughout FDR’s tenure, requires recognizing that
faith was the foundation of who she was and all that
she did.