The earlier Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter had enacted or proposed laws strengthening a variety of employment requirements, together with these on occupational security and well being. Mr. Donovan withdrew or suspended them.
At the identical time, he sought to reverse decades-old legal guidelines prohibiting staff in a number of industries, just like the knitted outerwear business, from working at house, and to increase the varieties of jobs and hours that 14- and 15-year-olds may legally work.
Labor leaders mentioned such steps would foster violations of minimal wage, youngster labor and different legal guidelines. Mr. Donovan countered, “We are not cutting out any health and safety requirements meaningful to the protections of workers.” Rather, he mentioned, the Labor Department was “changing the approach” to labor follow, scrapping what he known as a regulatory “police state mentality” that had prevented some America industries from being aggressive with their international counterparts.
Mr. Donovan, nonetheless, didn’t play a central decision-making function within the Reagan administration’s greatest labor confrontation — over an unlawful strike in 1981 by many of the nation’s air site visitors controllers, for which the president fired them. The Transportation Department, not the Labor Department, took the lead on the federal government facet as a result of the controllers labored for the Federal Aviation Administration, a part of the transportation company.
Mr. Donovan, who had grown rich within the development trade earlier than becoming a member of the administration, held that his youth struggles and his working career had given him perception, he mentioned, into “what workers’ needs are and what motivates them.”
Raymond James Donovan was born on Aug. 31, 1930, within the St. Andrew’s part of Bayonne, N.J., the seventh of 12 youngsters of David and Eleanor Donovan. Both dad and mom died by the point he was 18, leaving the older youngsters to boost the youthful ones.
Ray attended St. Andrew’s School and St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, then went on to review at Holy Trinity Seminary in Alabama and the Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, graduating in 1952. But as an alternative of going into the Roman Catholic priesthood, as he had thought of, he returned to Bayonne. “It was my turn to take care of the younger ones,” he mentioned in a 1980 interview with The New York Times.