MOOC WHAW2.3x | 13.4 The State Steps In

MOOC WHAW2.3x | 13.4 The State Steps In
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    - Within the context of questions about who should work
    and how they should work, government policymakers
    turned to the issue of how to deal
    with the difficulties imposed by the Depression.
    Unemployment meant that many people were losing their homes,
    being evicted from housing and having to scavenge for food.
    Farmers abandoned land to bankers who held mortgages.
    Mothers and their children lived from hand to mouth
    searching for food and sustenance where they could.
    The early relief programs of the 1930s
    were generally run by local municipalities and states,
    and by the charities that were completely overwhelmed.
    But, very soon, the federal government began to step in.
    The National Industrial Recovery Act,
    signed into law in 1933, allowed industrialists
    to band together to divide up and rationalize
    the production of goods.
    The act provided for codes developed by industrial groups,
    but it's infamous Section 7A also demanded
    that each group include representatives of workers.
    Together, these groups would determine a minimum wage
    for a particular job down to the last detail
    of how much should be paid for a particular task
    that took a measured amount of time.
    NIRA codes also established rules
    for how workers might be treated on the job.
    Let's pass over, for the moment, the fact
    that without apology, the codes set prices
    that differed for men and women
    and it ensured that women's jobs paid less
    than those done by men.
    Instead, we note that the establishment
    of committees required workers to choose representatives.
    In the eyes of many people, that opened the door
    to unionization.
    "The president wants you to join a union"
    became a powerful new organizing weapon.
    The Supreme Court declared NRA codes
    and the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional
    about a year after they had been passed by Congress.
    A parallel act, the Agricultural Adjustment Act,
    which tried to make some of the same arrangements
    for rural areas, was also declared unconstitutional.
    But, the union campaign continued,
    ultimately organizing millions of unhappy working people
    under the banner of the American Federation of Labor,
    and then under its more inclusionary offspring
    the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
    Women, as well as men, flooded into these unions,
    often into segregated female locals
    and protected by new legislation that gave workers
    the right to organize.
    Within less than seven years, union membership climbed
    from fewer than three million
    to more than nine million workers.
    And industrial unionism meant that women
    and African Americans could organize as well.
    Because the federal government imagined men
    and women serving different labor market functions,
    it continued to treat men and women differently
    in the relief programs it set up
    by establishing programs to put young people to work
    on environmental projects.
    The Civilian Conservation Corps sent urban,
    mostly young men, out into rural areas
    to preserve them and to make them more accessible
    to wider publics.
    The camps set up by the Civilian Conservation Corps
    generally excluded women and it was only later,
    under the pressure of women advocates,
    most notably Hilda Smith, that a few women's camps opened.
    Here's a photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt visiting
    one of what became known as the She-She-She
    instead of CCC camps.
    This one is for unemployed women in Upstate New York.
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