2010 marked the 25th anniversary of two historic strikes that captured the imagination of workers across the U.S.--the victorious 18-month walkout by 1,000 frozen food workers at Watsonville Canning, and the courageous but ultimately doomed struggle of UFCW Local P-9 at the Hormel meatpacking plant in Austin, Minnesota. Peter Shapiro and Al Bradbury interview five people who partyicipated--strikers, supporters, union officers. Their reminiscences bring these dramatic struggles to life and hold lessons for us today.
Hosted by Clayton Morgareidge, this show begins with several discussions of work: how its wages are stolen, why it can be called slavery, whether work is necessary, and the value of "real" work. In the second half of the program, we hear from a human rights activist just returned from Haiti, and Bill Resnick provides an assessment of the Obama presidency and its limitations.
What is wage slavery? Why are even well-paid workers nevertheless slaves? Could work be abolished? What is the real value of work? These are the questions pondered by Old Moles Clayton Morgareidge and Frann Michel, and Poet Marge Piercy in this portmanteau segment with musical breaks by Thelonious Monk and Stephan Grapelli. The image here is a Mural at the Frederick Douglass Library/ University of Maryland by Mike Alewitz, "The Creation of Wealth." And you can find Frann's text and her sources by clicking here.
Employers often fail to pay the wages workers have earned: they commit wage theft, affecting millions of American workers. Kim Bobo is the author of Wage Theft in America, and in this interview she talks with the Old Mole's Bill Resnick about the many ways this happens, why companies get away with it, and what we can do about it.
Bobo will be speaking at an event for Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon this Thursday evening at the Friends' Meeting House, SE 43d and Stark; and on the topic of wage theft at SEIU Local 503, SE Foster and 64th Avenue on Friday evening.