William P. Jones, Professor of History and Afro American Studies at UW-Madison, will present "Public Servants: How State Employees Confronted the Great Depression." During the Great Depression, many elected officials promoted public employment as a key step toward stabilizing the nation’s economy. In addition to creating jobs for the unemployed, they argued, increased access to education, health care, transportation and other public services would allow both workers and businesses to operate more efficiently and thus contribute to economic growth. At the same time, policy-makers were often ambivalent about the demands of public employees for more stable employment, better wages, and access to the public services that they provided. Drawing on his research into collective bargaining in the public sector, Professor William Jones explains how that paradox continues to inform debates over the size of government, the rights of public employees, and the relationship between workers in the public and private sectors to this day.
Funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council. with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. Any views. findings. conclusions. or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.