From the Vault: Labor Unions and Organizers 1998

On this edition of From The Vault we We celebrate Labor Day by looking back at Labor Unions and Organizers almost 20 years ago.

In 1998, Longtime Pacifica Producer Larry Bensky profiled the state of the Labor Movement by reaching out to several prominent organizers.

Remember at one point almost 40% of all US workers belonged to Unions. By 1998 it was reduced to about 15% and now in 2016 it stands at just above 11%.

When we look back at the history of Labor in America we see that in 1890 the average workweek for a typical manufacturing laborer was about 100 hours per week. In 1940 that was reduced to 5 days a week for a total of 40 hours.

I personally would have hoped for a 3-day 24 hour work week with mandatory 2 month vacation, full benefits and fully vested retirement package at full wage after 25 years by the year 2000, but we seem to have gone backwards.

Maybe if we take a look back at what we had in 1998, we can begin to see how we got to where we are today.

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