Episode

9/4 Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present And Future of American Labor w/Steven Greenhouse

September 4, 2019

On today’s show, Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt), author of, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present and Future of American Labor. Sam and Greenhouse begin their conversation distinguishing the differences between labor and union power and a brief history of how labor gained strength during the FDR New Deal era. Union strength peaked in the 1950s and helped build the American middle class as we recognize it today. Greenhouse argues that the contemporary worker has the least power he or she has had since before the National Labor Relations Rights Act, which manifests itself in workers lacking paid sick leave and mandatory time off. Likewise, the decline in union membership helped provide the slim margin of victory for Trump. Take Wisconsin, which saw a 44% decline in union membership during Scott Walker’s tenure as governor, over 177,000 workers. Given the assault on labor power over the last several decades, how can worker power reassert itself in the political landscape and rebuild strength? Greenhouse says the 2020 Democratic primary has shown a necessary change in the political discourse with candidates like Sanders centering policy proposals on union expansion. Sam and Greenhouse also consider policies like card check to make union organizing simpler. Sam and Greenhouse conclude their conversation discussing the extinction of labor reporting in American journalism. 

And in the Fun Half: mass shooter designed schools are under construction, the right is saying don’t challenge the lawful gun owners, or they’ll kill, Meghan McCain is so tired of liberals “virtue signaling” about mass shootings and not wanting to be killed, some Sam career advice, building coalitions across the left spectrum of politics, the best clips from PMQ at the yesterday’s House of Commons session in the UK, Mike Pence is in Ireland and loving his stay (at a Trump resort), Hasan Minhaj surprises PM Trudeau with criticism of Canada’s arm sales to Saudi Arabia, Ben Shapiro minimizes Trump’s insane idea to nuke hurricanes, plus your calls and IMs!

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