Item no. 28112
|Occupation: Public employees|
"We Are Here!"
Senator Robert F. Wagner was the sponsor of what was considered U.S. labor's magna carta--the National Labor Relations Act enacted in 1935, which, for the first time, gave workers the right to organize and bargain collectively. However, the legislation did not cover public employees.
It was therefore ironic that in 1954, nineteen years after his father had enhanced the cause of labor, New York City Mayor Robert. Robert F. Wagner refused to have the city bargain with its municipal employees. One of the tactics used by the workers to publicize their cause was the holding of "Bermuda Day" demonstrations, at which they wore Bermuda shorts to embarrass the mayor, who had been on holiday there.
Mayor Wagner did finally sign the "Little Wagner Act" in 1958, giving New York City employees the right to organize and bargain collectively.
This image is featured in one of the bronze historical plaques installed in Union Square to commemorate the history of labor in the square. See the "Culture of Solidarity" plaque in our exhibit on Union Square.
Image from AFSCME DC 37.