Union Busting In The 80s - The Happy Suits Of Doom

(Union Busting in History - At least today they wear nice suits) When the famous Patco strike unfolded and President Reagan promptly fired the strikers and crippled the union, it signaled open season on Unions and the beginning of busting,

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(Union Busting in History - At least today they wear nice suits)

When the famous Patco strike unfolded and President Reagan promptly fired the strikers and crippled the union, it signaled open season on Unions and the beginning of busting, deregulation and a general dismantling of our labor laws and the subsequent fallout that's been reverberating all over our society ever since.

In 1983 we were in the midst of strikes at Continental Airlines and Greyhound Bus. Those strikes made it clear just how damaged our labor laws had become and how the face of Union Busting had changed.

On December 4, 1983 Face The Nation ran a panel that consisted of William Wimpersinger of the International Association of Machinists, Frank Navjot of Greyhound, Studs Terkel, John Nesbitt and Stephen Cabot discussing the state of labor in the midst of Reagan.

Leslie Stahl: “Do you think there is a national management conspiracy to bust or break the unions?”

Studs Terkel: “There doesn’t have to be a conspiracy, I wish it were as simple as that. No, the climate is set and the climate of course is set by the most outrageous anti-labor administration within memory. So we have not, Apple Blossom Time but certainly Union Busting Time”.

Stahl: “Yeah but the public seems to be behind . . .not just the administration . . . .

Terkel: “That’s precisely the point. I think there’s been a lobotomy performed down through the years as Unions and labor are concerned. Ever since World War 2 . .and it’s changed. Big business has become more sophisticated in the person of Mister Cabot say, in contrast to a guy Henry Ford hired in the 30s to fight UAW, Harry Bennett, who would hire thugs and ex-cons with baseball bats to bust the heads of picketers. Today you have smiling three-piece suit guys doing the same job. So much more sophisticated and the result the young members of the workforce have no idea how the minimum wage came to be. They think it came as an apple from the hand of Eve in the garden of Eden. It was bloodied heads that did it, and guys were blacklisted and so minimum wage came to be – that’s under attack today. There’s definitely a union busting climate, no doubt in my mind."

Considering it's 26 years later - the situation hasn't changed. It has only gotten worse, thanks to the Bush Administration. The systematic dismantling of those laws which protected workers from unfair and unethical practices have only become more prevalent with time - and the affects of greed and contempt have only become more entrenched.

It's not going to go away overnight - remember that.

(Note: The broadcast begins with breaking news of U.S. raids on Syrian positions in Lebanon and then goes to the original program)

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