Newstalgia Reference Room - an interview with Lane Kirkland then-Secretary/Treasurer of the AFofL-CIO, discussing the state of the Economy, the state of labor in the country and his recent appointment by President Ford to the blue-ribbon panel on Investigating the CIA.
December 15, 2011

Lane Kirkland - the State of the Economy and the State of the CIA had something in common - both not so good.

Initially an interview as part of series on the state of the US Economy in 1975, news of President Ford's appointment of AFofL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer (at the time) Lane Kirkland to a blue-ribbon panel investigating the CIA the day before took a brief detour. This January 6, 1975 episode of Washington Straight Talk features Lane Kirkland in conversation with reporter Paul Duke and one of the first questions to be asked was:

Paul Duke (Washington Straight Talk): “Do you feel that there is ever any justification for the CIA to spy on Americans here at home?”

Lane Kirkland (AFofL-CIO): “Well I share with, I think, most American citizens and I’m sure you are biased in favor of the Constitutional rights of American citizens against unlawful search and seizure. I want no part of any domestic Secret Police operation in this country. I have those biases and those attitudes. As to what the facts of the matter are, as to what’s actually been going on, what the truth is, I have no pre-conceived notions and I’ll deal with the facts as I see them”.

After the initial responses to the upcoming CIA panel, Kirkland is then asked about the current state of the economy and the labor force. At the time it was bad, and as was reported only a few days earlier the economic picture became more bleak than previously thought. With unemployment during the last quarter of 1974 upwards to 7 1/2% it was cause for alarm, and Kirkland feared the economy was going in free-fall.

In retrospect, those numbers look actually quite good. But even in 1975 the Union movement in this country was facing a crisis.

An interesting and informative interview with one of the key figures in the Labor Movement in later years who went on to head the AFofL-CIO after George Meany in 1979 and who faced a number of crises during the Reagan Years.

In case you knew who he was and never heard him or had no idea who he was in the first place.

That's why there's the Reference Room.

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