"I STAND FAIRLY WELL WITH LABOR"
Franklin D. Roosevelt was reared in an economic stratum which knew little of the struggles and heartaches of American labor. As State Senator, and then as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under the guidance of Louis Howe, he developed an acquaintanceship with the work and aspirations of many laboring men and women throughout the country. 1 During his years of convalescence after 1921, he imbibed considerable knowledge of the labor movement from Rose Schneiderman and from others. who had devoted their lives to the cause of the nation's workers.
What then was Roosevelt's concept of labor's role on the American scene in 1928? How contrast it with his attitude four years later?
Al Smith's most successful efforts to protect men, women, and children in industry were made during his years as a legislator in Albany. During his four terms as Governor, he sought valiantly to secure enactment of laws insuring minimum wages and a forty-eight-hour work week for women. A Republican legislature relented sufficiently to grant him an imperfect fortyeight-hour week law. However, Smith had to be constantly on his guard to ward off frequent Republican efforts to undermine the Workmen's Compensation Act.
During the 1928 campaign Roosevelt expressed a more liberal attitude on injunctions and old age pensions than had Al Smith. As part of his appeal to the "labor vote" Roosevelt cited his excellent relations with organized labor while Assistant Secretary of the Navy, during which time he "did not have one single
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Publication information: Book title: Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of New York. Contributors: Bernard Bellush - Author. Publisher: Columbia University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1955. Page number: 191.