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ACE Update 11.14.19: Member Representation; Dues Forgiveness; PGAs and CalPERS; Bond vs. Parcel Tax; Negotiations Update

President’s Message

As I close out my second term as president of ACE, I wanted to thank all of you for your support and inspiration. It is always wonderful to talk with new and veteran colleagues to get a better understanding of the issues important to you. Over the past year, your ACE representatives have worked hard to address your concerns. The results aren’t always perfect, the work is often slow going (hello classification study), and sometimes disheartening (hi negotiations) but it is always done with the goal to make your working conditions at FHDA the best they can be.

A few of our accomplishments this past year include navigating the largest budget reduction in the district’s history ($17.6 million). We were able to minimize the elimination of filled positions – 1.5  out of 17 identified filled positions were cut – with 45 vacant ones also eliminated. No one went down in pay and out of 400 positions – 99 percent of which are full time – only one was reduced by 50 percent. In addition, your costs for benefits did not go up. We were also able to negotiate six percent cost of living adjustment for this year, increase funding for travel and conference, and develop a timeline for completion of the classification study with a financial implementation date back to July 1, 2019. Not to mention the countless members we have represented to make certain they were treated fairly by management on issues around compensation or discipline. Imagine how different all of this would look without a collective bargaining agreement.

There is still more work to be done. We still have our lawsuit against CalPERS regarding 2019-20’s five percent salary adjustment with a slated court date of February 2020. We  dropped our unfair labor practice (ULP) against the District to get them to the bargaining table where we still have additional items to iron out (see below). A successful bond or parcel tax could open further negotiations around compensation and additional one-time funding from the state in 2019-20 leaves open the possibility for more professional development opportunities.

Member representation remains a priority for ACE.  Recent changes to our constitution, approved by you, more clearly define our fiscal obligation to members vs. nonmembers. We continue to operate the business side of ACE as efficiently as possible, forgiving dues when we can, keeping 96 percent of our operating costs directly tied to member representation, and investing our money more strategically to make it work for us. Out of all the work ACE board members, stewards and negotiators do, I hope it is clear that we all do this work from a desire to help and because we believe in the concept that we are stronger together.

In Solidarity,

Chris White, ACE President
(650) 949-7789, office”The fight is never about lettuce or grapes.  It is always about people”. – César Chávez

Dues Forgiveness November 2019

ACE will forgive dues in your November paycheck (Nov. 30).  For Classified Hourly employees, this will be reflected in your December 15 paycheck.

Why does ACE forgive dues? ACE works really hard to be as fiscally prudent with dues collected from members. When we spend less than we’ve budgeted for the year, we forgive dues. This year, because the classification study has taken longer than anticipated and re-classifications are on hold until it is completed, funds budgeted to cover costs associated with classification issues  – ACE pays half the cost for appeals – we’re on track to spend less than budgeted.

What does ACE spend dues money on? Access to representation was the main reason we chose to be an independent union and it is the largest expense in our annual budget.  Several months a year, our legal representation itemizes their bill, and the work they do on our behalf often exceeds the flat monthly fee we pay them.  Other expenses include potential legal costs such as: arbitration (ACE pays half), court filing fees and expert testimonies; accountants, insurance, financial audits and taxes; office supplies, web hosting and routine state fees for running a small business; and training for officers and stewards, food for site meetings and elective stipends for ACE officers.  We also have monies set aside for a strike fund and a 5% budget reserve.

Does ACE spend money collected from dues on political activities?  No.

Professional Growth Awards and CalPERS

Professional growth awards (PGA) are an incentive for workers to participate in activities designed to enhance and update performance through continuing education and involvement in professional organizations and associations, and to improve the capabilities of the worker during the period of employment with the District. Two hundred hours are needed for an award and those hours can be earned across six different categories.   This extra compensation is not part of an employee’s base pay and is attributed as special compensation when reported to CalPERS.

With a large retiree exodus in June and a new account administrator at CalPERS, some of the activities allowed under PGA were called into question regarding their eligibility as pensionable income.  In fact, CalPERS has made the determination that only hours earned in section one (college, adult education or trade school courses) meets the definition for special compensation as defined by the California Code of Regulations, section 571:

Under topic #2, Educational Pay, where PGA is categorized:

“Educational Incentive is defined as compensation to employees for completing educational courses, certificates and degrees which enhance their ability to do their job. A program or system must be in place to evaluate and approve acceptable courses. The cost of education that is required for the employee’s current job classification is not included in this item of special compensation”.

Under topic #5, Statutory items, subsection d:

“If an items of special compensation is not listed in subsection (a), or is out of compliance with any of the standards in subsection (b) as reported for an individual, then it shall not be used to calculate final compensation for that individual”.

From my research, these rules were instituted as early as 1994

What does this mean?

Your awards are still worth $90 each but for pensionable reporting purposes, CalPERS will prorate the percentage of an award to those hours attributed to section one.

What can ACE do?

The response received from Anthony Booth of our legal team:

“There have been some questions received by ACE regarding what, if anything, ACE can do to challenge PERS’ unwillingness to accept certain PGA award credits, which were previously accepted as valid.
Unfortunately, this is a regulatory issue administered by PERS, pursuant to the California Code of Regulations. As they have evaluated their process, they have determined that they were not properly following their own regulation when admitting certain credits.
Unfortunately for us, courts will ALWAYS defer to the administrative agency responsible for promulgating and applying their own regulations. Thus, we cannot challenge this change because PERS has determined that certain credits do not meet the standard of “educational courses, certificates and degrees”, which is well within their rights”

ACE is working with the District to have any rolled forward educational hours substituted for already earned PGAs, including classes which were not part of a PGA application.  Some people would have this if they used educational assistance to pay for the classes. We are waiting to hear from CalPERS whether this substitution would be acceptable or not as the District is not comfortable agreeing to anything until they’ve heard from them.  We have already negotiated additional funding  ($20,000 per year for two years) for affected employees to take courses at no cost to them to replace hours on already earned PGAs which are not pensionable.  ACE also has an email into a representative with CalPERS to find out what happens to the contributions employees made, and those made by the district on behalf of employees, on those awards; what specifically do they mean by “completing educational courses, certificates and degrees which enhance their ability to do their job”; moving forward will it be CalPERS or the District’s responsibility to review appropriateness of courses; and a whole host of other questions.

I can understand your frustration and disappointment and we are all working as diligently as we can to find solutions for affected employees.

Bond vs. Parcel Tax – A Primer

The district is considering placing a general obligation bond or parcel tax or both on the March 3, 2020 ballot.  Over the past few months the District has been surveying the community on what type of programs and/or measures they would support with a bond or parcel tax; holding town halls and other community outreach efforts regarding the Flint Center; and preparing a list of capital projects and equipment needs should the board decide to move forward with a bond and/or parcel tax initiative. The FHDA Board of Trustees will be reviewing a resolution brought by the District to act on a bond and/or parcel tax or both for the March 3, 2020 eledtion at a special meeting on Monday, November 25 at 6 p.m. at Foothill.  You should attend.

What is the difference between a parcel tax and a bond?

Parcel tax General obligation bond
Definition A levy on parcels of property typically set at a fixed amount per parcel. Cannot be based on a property’s value. A levy on property based on assessed value and used for voter-approved debt.
Voter approval requirement Two-thirds or 66.67 percent of voters 55 percent of voters
Restrictions and requirements
  • Use of funds restricted to the public programs, services, or projects described in the tax measure. May include salaries.
  • Chief Business Officer (CBO) required to give public update to school board each year on the amount of funds generated and how funds are being spent.
  • Duration of tax must be specified in measure, typically three to seven years.
  • Funds may only be used for school facilities. May not be used for teacher or administrator salaries.
  • Independent annual audit and citizens’ oversight committee review required.
  • Measure must include a specific list of projects.
  • Two-thirds of governing board must approve the bond.
  • Measure must be on a statewide or regularly scheduled local election.
  • Property tax may not exceed $25 per $100,000 of taxable property value.
Pros and cons
  • Considered a regressive tax. Property owners pay a fixed amount per parcel, regardless of property value.
  • Possible to exempt certain groups of property owners, such as senior citizens.
  • Stable, short-term funding for three to seven years.
  • Flexibility in use of funds for programs and salaries.
  • Provides less revenue overall than a general obligation bond.
  • Can be problematic upon expiration of parcel tax authorization if revenue has been used for ongoing expenses, such as employee compensation.
  • Considered a progressive tax. Property owners pay more or less based on assessed value of property.
  • Opportunity to reduce projected costs to taxpayers through refinancing of bonds.
  • Long-term funding of 10 to 30 years.
  • Restricted to funding facilities but can offset general fund dollars that would otherwise cover facilities debt, scheduled maintenance, technology and instructional equipment replacement/upgrades, and salaries directly related to administrative oversight work on construction projects authorized by voters in a bond measure.

What bonds or parcel taxes has Foothill-De Anza passed?

Foothill – De Anza successfully passed two bond measures: Measure E in 1999 for $248 million and Measure C in 2006 for $490.8 million.  A full list of projects for both of those measure can be found under the bond measure web page.  In 2010, FHDA was unsuccessful in passing a parcel tax, estimated to provide an additional $7 million annually, garnering 57 of the 66.67 percent of votes needed to pass.

Negotiations Update

by Cathleen Monsell, chair of negotiations

We continue to negotiate with the District on the implementation of the classification study.  Our legal representative had to make clear our dismissal of the unfair labor practice (ULP) didn’t not dismiss our assertion that we are operating from the terms agreed upon with the the District in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding the salary portion of the study signed in January of 2017. We agreed to drop the ULP and bargain the issue.  We’re waiting for the District to bring a proposal to the table. We met on Nov. 7 and meet again on Nov. 20.  We also still need to define a process for travel and conference fund applications and are addressing the issues with PGA and CalPERS.

Ratification Vote

Thank you to everyone who voted.

ACE 2019-2020 Negotiated Agreement
Number of Eligible Voters: 353
Number Who Voted: 206
Response Rate 58%

1)   Yes I approve

Number of Votes: 205

2)   No I do not approve

Number of Votes: 1

Officer Election Results

Thank you to everyone who voted.   Officers elected for January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021. Terms are staggered so not all officer positions were up for election this year.

ACE                                                  De Anza
Chris White, president                     Vins Chacko, vice president
Keri Kirkpatric, board member seat 1

Central Services                                    Foothill
Scott Olsen, vice president             Christine Mangiameli, board member
Andre Meggerson, chief steward

Thank You Josh Pelletier

Josh has been chief steward for Foothill since March of 2018. He has served with gravitas, professionalism and compassion and his advocacy for workers leaves a lasting impact on the ACE organization. On a personal note, I want to thank Josh for his counsel and friendship.  On more than one occasion, he has listened to me lament and provided sound advice, and a laugh, so I could continue to do this work.

We wish him well in his new role as supervisor for community outreach at Foothill.

Wanted:  Interim Board Member, Central Services

ACE is seeking an interim board member for Central Services.  The position would start January 1, 2020 and run through December 31, 2020.  ACE board members serve in addition to their full-time FHDA job. The position is voluntary with ACE providing an optional $125 monthly stipend.

As part of the executive board, board members are directly responsible for:

  1. The operation of ACE.
  2. Assuring the appropriate expenditure of funds.
  3. Proper and legal administration and implementation of the Constitution.
  4. Any representation of ACE that has been authorized by the Board in order to bind ACE or agree to any issues subject to collective bargaining and EERA.

Duties of the Board Members:
There are four (4) Board Members nominated from and elected by the General Membership. The Board Members shall:

  1. Ensure that the interests and directives of the General Membership are represented at Board Meetings.
  2. Serve on two (2) College or District Committees pertinent to ACE business and report back to the Board.
  3. Attend the Classified Senate meeting at each location. At least one Board Member from each site should attend, but two (2) members should not serve on the same Senate.

Serving as a Board Member requires subordination of personal interests to those that represent the highest good of the members. Board Members shall have no greater rights than any other member of ACE.

Attendance at Meetings
Executive board members are required to attend all general membership and site meetings in their respective jurisdictions and meetings of the executive board unless the absence is excused by the president of a majority of the Board.

Current meetings of the Central Services ACE Board Member 2019 – 2020:

  • District Human Resources Advisory Committee (HRAC), which rarely meets.
  • ACE Board Meetings: the second Wednesday of every month, alternating between campuses.
  • Central Services Classified Senate meetings.
  • Any special projects or committees.

Next Step
If you’re interesting in serving as the board member for central services, please send an email to no later than Friday, Dec. 6.

10.15.19: Call for Officer Nominations – Elections Held Online Oct. 28 -Nov. 1

Nominations are being solicited for the following officer positions:

  • President
  • Vice President: De Anza & Central Services (two separate positions)
  • Chief Steward: Foothill
  • Board Member: De Anza & Foothill (two separate positions)

See Article 5 of the ACE Constitution for job descriptions.

Any member may nominate a candidate for president. Only De Anza members may nominate candidates for De Anza positions; only Central Services members may nominate candidates for Central Services positions; and only Foothill members may nominate members for Foothill positions.

Central Services ACE Nomination Ballot 2019

De Anza ACE Nomination Ballot 2019

Foothill ACE Nomination Ballot 2019

Nominations Close Monday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Submit your nomination by email to the ACE Recorder, Shawna Santiago.

Online elections held October 28 – November 1.

ACE Update 09.19.19: Thank you; Negotiations Update: Officer Elections; Financial Consultant & ACE Audit; PGA; Francis Perkins

President’s Message

The start of a new academic year always ushers in feelings of excitement, opportunity, and for some, a bit of nervousness too. Based on the phone calls and emails I have received it also brings a sense of frustration around changing roles and reorganization, a byproduct of last year’s budget reductions, endless delay with the classification study, and uncertainty around enrollment.

To me, the new academic year is a fresh start. Many staff have been able to take advantage of our internal hiring practice and move into new positions. Newly hired staff are also filling critical roles. Combined these changes bring new perspectives, ideas and energy to an environment that has demanded change. With budget reductions behind us, outstanding legal issues against the District and CalPERS inching closer to a resolution, enrollment holding steady, and the state extending hold-harmless funding for a fourth year, it is refreshing to be able to focus on strengthening our association and the terms of our Agreement.

Changing Roles/Reorganization
ACE is working with management to address changes in positions and reorganization when we know of them but not every manager is forthright with their plans. That tells it’s own story. With forty-one positions eliminated June 30, this fall we will truly feel the impact of those decisions. We are watching to see if work has been reassigned to students, faculty and/or administrators. When a department is shorthanded, this is easy to justify by management and by staff. When this happens my only question to you, what is the incentive to hire additional staff? The work is getting done.

For all of our sanity, we need to give management a moment to reevaluate their choices as we roll through fall quarter. There is no one way to address this issue and we’re taking it case by case. ACE has already been successful in converting some positions filled by independent contractors and temporary workers into permanent positions. Ultimately, management has the right of assignment. They get to determine what work gets done and what doesn’t. Our role is to make certain the work belonging to our unit is assigned appropriately.

Classification Study
On May 23 ACE filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), charging the District with failing to act in good faith and violating their duty to bargain fairly.
ACE argues the District is in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because they are seeking to take unilateral action and impose conditions on their willingness to bargain. We are still waiting for the PERB to finish their investigation of the allegations and either dismiss the case, seek a settlement, or issue a formal complaint.

Frustrating? Yes but imagine what would happen without ACE. There is no legal action you could take on your own. The District would be able to arbitrarily decide your classification, what work you can do in that classification, and how much they will pay you for that work.

Thank You
I have said on more than one occasion, our association only works with the active participation of the membership. You have shown up in spades to make this work. Often after speaking with their colleagues, new employees join ACE. Our calls to action for officers or committee members are filled quickly. Attendance at site and board meetings continues to increase, and I am humbled by the ACE officers and negotiators who represent this organization with humility, grace, and a demonstrated willingness to always put the good of the members first. Simply put, thank you.

In Solidarity,

Chris White, ACE President
(650) 949-7789, office

“The fight is never about lettuce or grapes. It is always about people”. – César Chávez

Bike Build Off – ACE Executive Board and negotiators come together to test our team building prowess while doing good. The bikes were donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clara County.

Bike Build Off – The winning team!

Welcome New Members

Please take a moment to welcome our newest members.  Invite them to a site meeting, answer their questions or point them to their steward if they need additional guidance.  Our association only works with the active participation from all our members.

De Anza
Lexi Amrhein, Academic Advisor, Counseling
Sasha Bostick, Administrative Assistant II, Bio Health & Env Sciences
Ray Cornell, Facilities Equipment Assistant, PE
Garrett Hoang, Division Admin Assistant, Language Arts
Elizabeth Jahn, Bookstore Courseware Cord., Bookstore
Angelie Lopez, Academic Advisor, Counseling
Millie Peréz Perea, Financial Aid Outreach Assistant, Financial Aid
Sarah Wallace, Facilities Equipment Assistant, PE

Manny Diaz-Alvares, School Relations Specialist, Admissions & Records
Alex Favela, School Relations Specialist, Outreach
Daffney Hillis, Sr. Library Technician, LIbrary
Konstantin Kalaitzidis, Instructional Support Cord., PSME
Rudy Leal, Instructional Facilities Cord., Environmental Horticulture & Vet Tech

Negotiations Update

Cathleen Monsell, Chair of Negotiations

The ACE negotiating team presented our proposals to the District on Sept. 9.  Included are items under Article 7 (employment practices), Article 8 (pay and allowances), Article 14 (worker expenses and material), Article 18 (benefits) and implementation of the classification study.  The proposals presented are intended to establish parity with administrator and faculty contracts, adding as much as possible to the salary schedule including a continuance of the one-time five percent COLA which expired June 30, 2019 and addressing the COLA set by the state for 2019-2020.   At this meeting, the District did not present any proposals.

We meet again with the District on October 3.

Bargaining Units Collectively Hire Financial Consultant
ACE, CSEA, FA, POA and Teamsters have collectively hired a financial consultant to further our duties of fair representation and in preparation of bargaining. We have hired the services of Robina Bennion of Robina Bennion Consulting to help us understand the complexities of the District’s budget and current financial situation.  The cost for this consultant will be shared equitably among the bargaining units based on full-time equivalent members in each respective unit. Collectively, the initial estimate for this project is between five and seven thousand dollars. For ACE, the executive board has authorized an allocation not to exceed ten-thousand for our portion of this project. We will keep you updated as we proceed with our findings.


Professional Growth Awards Committee
Mary Medrano, De Anza
Kit Perales, De Anza

Thank you Matt Trosper!

Matt, who has served as a vice president and most currently as a steward at De Anza, has moved on to take on a new role as Director of Athletic Academics at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.

Whether helping the student athletes, ACE as an organization, or members with stewarding issues, Matt has always done so with compassion and a keen sense of humor.  He will be missed and we wish him much success in his new endeavor.

Know Your Agreement:  Professional Growth Awards

The purpose of the Professional Growth Award (PGA) program is to provide incentives to classified professionals to enhance and update their performance through continuing education and through involvement in professional organizations and associations.  Negotiated by your union, for the better part of 30 years classified professionals haven been able to add PGA as part of their compensation.  Over the years, your negotiators have been able to increase the award amount from $42 to $70 to the $90 per month it is today.

Part of what makes PGA so attractive, other than the fact that the award is compounded and can add up fast when additional PGAs are earned, is it counts towards your pensionable income. Under CalPERS, PGA is defined as special compensation – educational assistance – with CalPERS setting very specific rules on what activities qualify.  You will find broad spectrum of activities and classes can be included in your PGA application but it is not unlimited.  These are public funds and their use must be defensible if the public or CalPERS asks.

You will find PGA under Article 8.5, the application in Appendix A, and guidelines for submitting your PGA in Appendix B. Applications are due the 10th of the month. Your current PGA committee members are:

  • Foothill: Denise Perez and Shawna Santiago
  • De Anza: Mary Medrano and Kit Perales
  • Central Services: Kris Lestini (Teamster)

If you have questions, please talk a committee member. They want to help you be successful. I would also ask you to be kind. They have volunteered to serve and  the job includes a lot of paperwork which does not always provide clear guidance on what is  or is not acceptable. They are doing their very best to ensure every activity included on your application counts toward your PGA.  If they question an activity ask yourself, how would the public interpret this use of these funds?

Officer Elections:  You Should Run For Office

Seriously, you should run for office.  Have you thought about it?  Have you spent time thinking over the issues that affect you at work and how you would fix them?

Let me ask you this: do you have good ideas about how to make our union better?  Do you say to yourself, “why doesn’t ACE do something about ______?  Do you want to make a difference?

Too often people wait for someone else to create the change they want. Stop waiting. Running for office is scary.  You’re not sure what to do, how you’re going to add one more responsibility to your plate, and you’re worried you will make mistakes.   It is understandable but holding an elected position can be one of the strongest ways to inspire others and create change within our organization.

As member of the executive board, you’re not alone.  Decisions are made collectively and approved by the membership. Training, release time and elective stipends are offered to officers to support the work they do for ACE. As an independent labor organization, ACE decides what issues are important to us, how we spend our money and, most importantly, how we represent our members. We might not always get it right and the path to change can, at times, be excruciatingly slow but the work we do always comes from a desire to help others. I’m not sure how that desire is ever a mistake, even when outcomes don’t match expectations.

Elective stipends are provided to officers for their work on behalf of ACE.  A member is eligible to be a candidate if they are a non-probationary, permanent, classified employee in the District and is a member of ACE for one (1) full year.  The following positions are up for election.

  • President
  • Vice President – Central Services and De Anza (one at each location)
  • Chief Steward – Foothill
  • Board Members – Central Services and De Anza Seat 1 (one at each location)

Terms are two years in length and run from January 1, 2020 through December 30, 2021.   All executive board members are required to:

  • Attend ACE board meetings held the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 1-2:30 p.m. They rotate between the two campuses.
  • Attend the site meeting for the campus they represent. At De Anza, these are held the 1st Tuesday of the month; At Foothill, these are held the 3rd Tuesday of the month. Both meetings are  from noon – 1 p.m.
  • A description of each officer’s role and responsibilities can be found here.

All positions require subordination of personal interests to those that represent the highest good of the members.  No officer shall have greater rights than any other member of ACE.

Nominations Accepted October 15 – 18
Elections held online October 28 – November 1

So, what office are you running for in the upcoming election.

2018-19 ACE Financial Audit

Every year, ACE hires an outside accounting agency to perform a financial audit of preceding year. The fundamental purpose of the audit is to provide independent assurance that the executive board has, in its financial statements, presented a “true and fair” view of our association’s financial performance and position.

Originally required to show service fee payers – non members required to pay dues but would have otherwise chosen not too – that 90% of our expenses were chargeable towards the cost of representation whether they were a full member or service fee payer.  Over the years, this fair share fee audit showed our chargeable expenses typically fell between 94 and 96% of our total budget, well above the 90% threshold.

In June of 2018, when the Supreme Court in Janus v. ASFCME ruled we could only collect dues from people who voluntarily chose to be a member we were no longer required to perform a fair share fee audit.  To be transparent with the membership, our executive board still felt it was important to have an outside certified public account conduct an audit to ensure we are utilizing solid accounting methods and that the money is where we say it is.  You can find a copy of our 2018-2019 Financial Audit with June 30, 2019 Year-End Financial declaration here.

The Story of Unions: Francis Perkins

When Frances Perkins was a little girl, she asked her parents why nice people could be poor. Her father told her not to worry about those things, and that poor people were poor because they were lazy and drank. Eventually, she went to Mount Holyoke College, and majored in physics. In her final semester, she took a class in American economic history and toured the mills along the Connecticut River to see working conditions. She was horrified. Eventually, instead of teaching until she married, she earned a masters degree in social work from Columbia University. In 1910, Perkins became Executive Secretary of the New York City Consumers League. She campaigned for sanitary regulations for bakeries, fire protection for factories, and legislation to limit the working hours for women and children in factories to 54 hours per week. She worked mainly in New York State’s capital, Albany. Here, she made friends with politicians, and learned how to lobby.

On March 25th, 1911, Frances was having tea with friends when they heard fire engines. They ran to see what was happening, and witnessed one of the worst workplace disasters in US history. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was devastating, killing 146 people, mostly young women and girls. Frances watched as fire escapes collapsed and fireman ladders couldn’t reach the women trapped by the flames. She watched 47 workers leap to their deaths from the 8th and 9th floors.

Poignantly, just a year before these same women and girls had fought for and won the 54 hour work week and other benefits that Frances had championed. These women weren’t just tragic victims, they were heroes of the labor force. Frances at that moment resolved to make sure their deaths meant something.

A committee to study reforms in safety in factories was formed, and Perkins became the secretary. The group took on not only fire safety, but all other health issues they could think of. Perkins, by that time a respected expert witness, helped draft the most comprehensive set of laws regarding workplace health and safety in the country. Other states started copying New York’s new laws to protect workers.

Perkins continued to work in New York for decades, until she was asked by President Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 to serve as Secretary of Labor. She told him only if he agreed with her goals: 40-hour work week, minimum wage, unemployment and worker’s compensation, abolition of child labor, federal aid to the states for unemployment, Social Security, a revitalized federal employment service, and universal health insurance. He agreed. Similar to what she had worked for in New York, her successes became the New Deal, and changed the country and its workers forever.

So while you may not know her name, you certainly know her legacy.