"I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process."–President Benjamin Harrison (Republican), 1891.
I am surprised to quote President B. Harrison positively. He was President of the United States during one of our worst periods of corporate excesses. Workers had no rights and labored for many hours while paid pennies. Workers’ protests were squelched by violence.
By the 1970s, the American labor force generally was in good shape. Workers in many jobs received good pay with full bennies (read that: health insurance paid mostly or entirely by their employer).
The "break point" came in 1981, with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Reagan, who once had been president of a union in Hollywood, the Screen Actors Guild. Reagan set about busting unions, most notably PATCO (air traffic controllers). Please stop before saying, "But then our economy took off!" The economy, under Reagan, "took off" for two main reasons. First, President Jimmy Carter had tightened the supply of money to address "stagflation." Second, Iraq invaded Iran and started a war, between two of the largest oil-producing nations, that eventually would last eight years. Reagan’s busting of unions had nothing to do with the economic surges of the 1980s. So-called right to work laws have stripped workers of the few protections they may have had as their unions lose grip.
Today on "Civil Discourse Now," Fernando Gomez, a subcontracted hotel worker, will discuss the recently proposed city ordinance affecting local hotel workers. We will stream "live" from 1915 Broad Ripple Avenue at 11 a.m.