The labor movement thrived on the strength of American industrial workers. Now the jobs are in information technology and the service sector, and U.S. manufacturers find their workers overseas. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, can organized labor survive in a post- industrial society? Also, the working poor — what it means to live on the minimum wage. And a pioneer brake-woman talks about riding the rails.
Lawrence Glickman is the author of "A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer Society." He tells Steve Paulson how the living wage differs from the minimum wage and explores the link between wages and a consumer culture. Also, Katherine Newman tells Steve Paulson about the lives of the people she studied for her book "No Shame in My Game: the Working Poor in the Inner City." She says they tend to work in the fast food industry and have to struggle with low wages, part-time hours and a lack of respect from some customers and friends.SEGMENT 2:
Labor activist Rand Wilson was communications coordinator for the Teamsters Union during its 1997 contract dispute with UPS. He tells Judith Strasser that the major issue in the dispute was the use of part-time workers in place of full-time ones, and that the labor movement is anxious to organize part-time workers in order to protect all workers. Also, Stanley Aronowitz tells Judith Strasser that the labor movement needs to re-invent itself to survive in a changing economy. Aronowitz teaches sociology at the City University of New York and is the author of "From the Ashes of the Old: American Labor and America's Future."SEGMENT 3:
Linda Niemann spent twenty years working on the railroad. She tells Jim Fleming what a brakeman does, how her male colleagues reacted to her and why the railroad is a good, stable job for a woman, as long as she's free to move around. Niemann now teaches writing at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. She's the author of "Boomer: A Railroad Memoir" and co-author (with Lina Bertucci) of "Railroad Voices."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 99-09-05-A.
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