Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s letter to a public union president

Second of three posts this morning. Be sure to sign the petition in support of Scott Walker and the people of Wisconsin which was posted as the first post!


“Franklin D. Roosevelt: No strikes by government employees
01:00 AM EST on Sunday, February 14, 2010

Letter to Luther C. Steward, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, from President Franklin Roosevelt, on April 16, 1937:

‘All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that ‘under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government.’’” (And the same is true for individual States. A strike against a State government is a strike against the people of the State. A strike against a local government is a strike against the people of that local government. A strike against a school district is a strike against the people of that local school district. Any strike against any government is a strike against we the people!—my addition)