Fight Against “Exploitation,” The Mayor’s Committee

The Mayor’s Committee against Exploitation

As a response to the emerging rebellion, Mayor Wagner created a Committee against Exploitation in August 1957 which drew members from government agencies, labor unions, business and community groups, including Monserrat from the Migration Division. The MCE face an daunting task, with CLC-leader Morris Iushewitz and the Migration Division’s Monserrat telling journalists upon the inauguration of this committee that they had already had “enormous files of complaints” In its first month the MCE received 500 complaints which the staff reviewed and referred to various agencies including the District Attorneys for further action. In 1959, the Committee expanded from simply handling referrals to actively pursuing their own investigations.[18]

Mayor Wagner

The Mayor’s Committee against Exploitation provided a bridge between the anti-racket labor activists and provided inter-agency support that included federal wages and hours enforcement, legal support, indictments by District Attorneys and other forms of organizational assistance.  Wagner ordered the heads of his departments to collaborate with the efforts, including the welfare department to help out striking workers left without incomes, and opened multiple office and expanded staff between 1959 and 1962.[19]The office was led by George Santiago, borrowed from the leadership of IBEW Local 3.[20]

The Mayor's Committee on the Explotation of Workers

Continue to The Industrial Unions

[18] New York City, Department of Labor, Annual Report, 1959, 33-34.

[19] New York City, Department of Labor, Annual Report, 1961, 28-29; New York City, Department of Labor, Annual Report, 1962, 9-10.

[20] Gray, Lois. "Case Study No. 7: The Puerto Rican Workers in New York." In Joint International Seminar on Adoption of Rural and Foreign Workers to Industry. Paris: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, Manpower and Social Affairs Directorate, 1965.