Seventy-seven years ago, US leaders suffered from a failure of imagination. This particular failure had profound implications. The early 20th century was a tumultuous time of strikes and pickets and tragic deaths – of immigrant women burned alive in sweatshops, of rail-thin children toiling in mills and of mine workers put on trial for trying to improve their desperate lots. In this moment, moved by the voices and activism of thousands of working people, federal legislators recognized the need for change. They began to imagine a world where workers were protected and valued, where someone who put their sweat and care into a job would not perish from poverty or overwork. And they enacted legislation – the Fair Labor Standards Act – that would codify this vision, guaranteeing every worker basic minimum standards.