tv After Words Steven Greenhouse Beaten Down Worked Up CSPAN January 6, 2020 12:00am-1:01am EST
upcoming book fairs and festivals, what's her previous festival coverage, click the book fairs tab on the website. tv .org. >> book tv continues now on "c-span2". television for serious readers. >> this program is available a sneak podcast. all afterwards programs can be seen on book tv scum. >> steve winghouse think so much for coming in talk about your new book down and worked up. it was a real pleasure to read it and i look forward to having some time to talk about it. it. >> thank you this week speak with you.
>> so would i think about this book i see it is really having three major parts. after started you introduce the situation now, you do a really good job icing i think of talking about your stories about how workers struggle, really they themselves let the middle class from this country to a great extent by organizing and by striking and bargaining, for a lot of adversity in my demanding policy changes. and then you go through a lot of the hard times what i call the reagan era which i think we are still in. where companies and starting with the president of the united states, really attacked or there's a lot in their unions. and then you tell a lot of hopeful stories about different creative and innovative ways that workers have been organizing in unions and other forms.
and make some policy recommendations. one of the things i had to say is a lot of folks like this are criticized because they come up short on the policy recommendations but i hope we really get into that because you really made quite a few i thought, interesting suggestions on what might be done to restore the boys and power of workers in this country. but some women to start by laying out where you see things right now. what is the scotus of working people in this country and their ability to save their own lives and work. >>. steven: i covered for the new york times for 19 years one of my concerns and interviewing people over the nation is something people have no idea would unions are a do and how unions help bring us our work 40 hour workweek and pensions and a bumper sticker, and the folks that brought us the weekend. i wanted to explain to people
that unions have achieved a whole lot in american history now they are really in decline. there really been taken in on chin a sneak result, things are considerably worse for workers. then they were 30 to 40 years ago. i think that far is it too few americans realize that american workers have a bad to many ways and workers in other industrial nations on very basic things. will there only industrial nation it doesn't have a law guaranteeing work workers paid maternity leave or parental worker. no guarantee workers paid vacation the 28 nations of the european nation, to guaranteed at least four weeks paid week vacation in six weeks. for decades now, american workers have been suffering terrible wages saints technician while corporate profits have reached record levels and wall street is again, at record levels. i think a lot of workers get in their god, that something is
broken free and they're very frustrated. in my book, and nearly try to explain why things and say this, let the power in the united states is arguably the weakest has been in decades. wellington runners on unions now. the jump from more than one in three. and unions, and certainly that false but despite that, the play a key role in building middle-class. and helping giving workers a voice would a job safety, or pensions. or by bosses, bully. and unions are playing a key role in washington on an acting to care in making social security more generous. but in recent years though, unions have really been on the defensive and corporate power has really trumped the union power in many ways. so i think we a sneak nation of
figure out a way to you for personal power to help create consternation and to help which nation. for example, would a race of the sediment ration over a decade. that is the longest time in american history, that the minimum wage has brought been increased pretty nice event, i argue that that is because porkers have still the power so we congress, are unable to persuade customers and partners to raise the minimum-wage is very hard for mickens to live on 725 an hour at the federal minimum wage. some of the keys of the book is to educate leaders about the problems workers have and look at strategies to try to increase power workers to help create a more prosperous nation for millions of americans and millions of workers. >> so i think to a certain extent, on people don't even realize how few rights they have. for example, would your
suggestions is no might go away from our current system and all of us all states, the thing except montana. which workers can be fired for as says the judge many decades ago, a good reason, about reason or no reason at all. basically you have no right to talk in this country. you suggest going towards a just cause system workers could be fired if they did something wrong not just because the votes doesn't who like you are going out with. literally they fire you for that. most workers don't think it could happen to them until it does. >> to an identical for someone relatively staying, my wife and got fired yesterday at work because he came into been slide. his boss was angry about his
attitude. he wasn't smiling. and as it's not illegal. nice and it's at will employment meaning that your employer can fire you for any reason or no reason except, specifically illegal law. people realize there jobs can be very uncertain. tomei, one of the big problems in america, is scared to exercise the voices. i write about the upper big branch, mining disaster where more than it doesn't workers were killed. the workers knew about dangers in mind they were so scared of speaking up that they didn't speak up about the dangerous guessable school of minds and they exploded can all these in riverside. the voices way is it too scared to speak up. some people argue we should move
to a god just cause employment. so workers that can only be fired for jeanette an legitimate reason. in the just call system would certainly make workers normally speak up and say would they see safety problems for encountering sexual harassment on the job. >> raising the minimum wage. it's unbelievable that we have on this long in the country that went out a minimum wage increase. in the house we raise the wage act which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. gradually for the next five years or so. and women in the practice of having subminimum wages for two porkers. will disproportionately women and people of color. in their taken advantage of and that would put millions of dollars into poor people news
pockets. working people pockets. and workers i think your.is i guess not have the power in our politics. in washington and state capitals. to just get a decent shape in the united states. in recent years. >> one thing that always kills me, is what i read some editorial pages, some business lobbyists a they complain about big labor, unions supposedly extraordinary powerful. then look at who is really powerful. who is really big. i saw in the 16 campaign cycle. business give more than $3.4 million in donations which is more than 16 and more than is much as unions which gave 213 million. according to a respect and nonpartisan group the center for responsible politics. each year wide washington corporations been just on $3 billion in lobbying which is more than 60 or six times as
unions which meant 48 million. i think that explains a lot of the things in washington. so to me, it was weird that congress rush to enact a 1 trillion-dollar corporate stacked cuts for business would corporations are already making record profits on wall street already at record levels. steven: how far can we go with this kind of income inequality. how far before we going to different direction direction. thus the question pretty. >> the actually. and that helps explain why 20 folks in congress, senate for instance, is doing nothing to raise the minimum wage because there listening to the corporate donors. steven: , talk a lot about these policy ideas but i just want to emphasize to our viewers, that i at least got so much out of this book from your story, and i think it is a great part of the book, really, the bulk of the
book is telling stories of workers today, but also throughout american history. only ask you, do you think that a lot of the stories you tell, from a hundred years ago say, really have a lot of relevant to today. so wanted to talk a little bit about the uprising of the 20000 people. tell us a little bit about the start because i thought that would have a lot of relevance to a lot of the struggles of workers go through today. and even a lot of the issues that people with say that's actually not just about work. but issues about immigrant rights. the rights of people of color in society. the minority groups printed. steven: have you. i read a lot of labor histories. as many character who was assassinated me over the years. her name was belinda. she was born in the ukraine. she was jewish.
her she was very religious, she worked writing a lot of people news kids had moved to new york. she would write letters from them. she was very literate. she did some garments red her family moved to new york from ukraine. she's very bright young lady. she is hoping to be a dr. seven day. would she arrived in new york, tony spoke to gettys and she didn't have a nice bicycle education. so what did she do, she worked in sweatshop. she was appalled the conditions. she said i sort from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. going to work, before the son came up and heavily work after the son went down. and six and seven days a week. steven: some of the officers would sexually abuse the women. they would convene the bathroom
for more than a minute or two they often had the pay for the needle and thread at work read sometimes they would have to pay five since a week to use drinking water that is making five hours a week. she said this is appalling and she thought she became an activist. she said i'm not going to take us. in this young woman in her late teens, early 20s became one of the most prominent government worker activists. people got set up and they started going on strike and there was some long strikes at one or two government factories. there is decision that there is a huge meeting a computer unit staying she we have this general strike of our government workers to try to put maximum pressure on the factories. there was a big debate. the founder of the president of the maker federation of labor deciding over the meetings and eat was kind of temporizing, well i don't know if we should have a strike. i do know if women, women
workers are really dedicated enough to their jobs. on the 23 years old, she stood up and said. i think it's time to call the general strike. i am tired of being a port working women struggling day after day and the place went bonkers and bananas. and i began what was the largest strike today by women in american history. >> this is it. to this day. steven: recalling 52 hour workweek. not even a 40 hour work week. a lot of young people thought that the 40 hour work week was handed down by god. no it was one by struggle and by thousands and millions of workers and their unions. in an uprising of 20000, the strike that lasted two months know it from new york, a lot of these women mainly jewish and italian immigrants, their families really went hungry for many weeks. but after two months, they one
in the would the 50 hour workweek down to 56 hours. the one right in the longer to pay for needle and thread and most of the factories on the would the right to join a union and have to bring unit recognition for it would the very few factories that refuse to recognize the unit was a factor in two years later, there is this horrendous tragedy there where hundred 46 workers died in a triangle fire. >> so here you have the story of a teenager, and woman in her 20s. many of the workers will teenagers are very young. overwhelmingly women. overwhelmingly immigrants and they didn't speak english. they spoke italian and yiddish, they were spies. by the high society. even though some high society women came to the right but in general, you don't have time to tell all of the details they were beaten up. and some of them will be no. physically. i've been. by dudes.
they were sent by their employers. so my question to you is today would we have these inspiring moments that we should stop mass incarceration and luck lives matter, that immigrants lives matter. that we, the dr. kids are staying that we demand the rights and by the way, the rights of other undocumented people. then young people out here in the movement about climate change, would i read your account, i thought how inspiring for young people in activist today. who are fighting in this country but i don't think in the minds of the did they have to look to the early 19th century labor unit for inspiration. we think about this. steven: is one of my themes in the book is that it's important, people working collectively and acting collectively and practicing
collectively to lift themselves up to improve their climate and to healthcare treatment of african-americans but black lives matters. the agency is very important individuals need to be willing to stick their next out and stand up and tried to demand justice. in the uprising of 20000 what was crazy, at one point, they beat her up and of her ribs, and she was leaving in a house. steven: how many ribs you have. >> shooting want to tell her parents because she thought they wouldn't let her go out and speak on some boxes. in these strikes and so then also there at earth incidents, literally in the new york tribune explaining the reporter saw this. as we come in because jesus out of these young women. then the police would come and arrest these women. let the thugs go.
will so one-sided back that it shows how the establishment, the course and a place will so alive because of workers. but even despite that the workers will able to win the strike. in the book i read about modern-day workers who use their agency to really fight for a better live. i read about a festive worker in kids' city named ( twice, he held two full-time jobs factory jobs. a little like clara, he left work at six in the morning company come back midnight they received orders and he would leave home in the morning before the son went up and he returned the second of every going to see many complaint that he works so hard try to make intimate but it doesn't see his arms most of the week. after a while he became homeless. the hours and structure growth, it was crazy somebody was missing his derrière working two full-time jobs, can hardly make
ends meet. and he became an activist and one of the leaders the 515, is the explain in the book, is the very first journalist united states write about the 517 and would began, seven years ago, the workers will demanding $15 an hour, i said that is super ambitious. despite the sky. here we are seven years later, new york and california and illinois and maryland connecticut massachusetts, district of columbia have all enacted minimum wage. so it shows that would workers are willing to stand up, would individuals are willing to stick their next out, the really penitent sheep, big change. a lot of lessons i think of today's activists would there is climate activists will black lives matters activist or me to women's activists, i learned a lot from their labor movement of old. do not write about how in the
uprising of the 20000, of the strike in 1936 in your home state and in michigan. would workers really stand up and come together, they tend to achieve historical change. and recently, my chapter the teacher strikes, and west virginia and oklahoma and arizona, and more recently in los angeles and in chicago, teachers are tired of wage freezes and being beaten down. if they were kind of prosperity have to do something to not just increase our pay, but to assure that the schools are getting the funding they need. the class-size does a balloon. we have enough money to buy modern textbooks the teacher strikes have really send a message to the nation about how worker power and trade unions help build a fair nation. steven: let's talk about strikes a sneak mechanism. >> they will very important in
building the middle class in this country. they have fallen into diffuse. talk to us, you share both information and stories in the book about how many strikes there will in the 50s and 60s and 70s like that. and then how both because the law and because of weakness in labor perhaps they have fallen into nearly complete disuse and then tell us what your thoughts are about today would we are starting to see the teachers but also hotel workers and the other workers at gm recently. right now my kid is on strike is the graduate employee at harvard. in the dna. the ta on strike. tell us about this sort of sweep and the strike, the role in history and how you see it going forward. steven: so 1940 and 50s and 60s and 70s, there will kind of far more strike than there are
today. in the 1970s, like 300 lord strikes a year. and about 13, far less. and workers have become intimidated. i think a lot of that happened in the 80s. in 1950s and 60s, there was fairly good code collaboration between employers and unions. in employers, will very prosperous after world war ii after the economy is growing, and he gave a contract. and come to 1980, unisys really felt pressure from globalization and parts of germany and japanese cars and enforced from still from elsewhere and enforce of clothing imports of tvs radios, and recession 1980. and those things really put unions in the pressure and made employer boulder. the confronting unions and that
concessions. steven: and they go. in the 1980s, so sorry. and so, shortly after he became president in 1981, they are traffic controllers went on strike demanding very large wage increases. in a four-day workweek. they engaged in illegal strikes. if reagan it was, make my day moment. i'm not going to put up with his legal strike. even though he has been president of the field and let their very first try, he got a very tough union prepay really think he started trying to show how has brought going to let labor push him around. i fired 11000 air-traffic controllers for going on strike illegally. and he it's been about, that the union air traffic controllers union really mishandled the strike they didn't work do you get enough public support. or from the fellow union so they were really clobbered and that was a major setback for unions across the nation the really
discouraged and frightened unions from going on strike. at the same time, reagan's it cracked down the air traffic really embolden incorporate an american do you get much tougher towards unions. the really started in the 1980s, this sort of major decline in strikes. we saw it on corporations also getting more cover whenever there is union efforts and that made it much harder to unionize. big reason that white unions is about half of what it used to be in the 1980s because the corporations and ages engaging in summary surveys sophisticated tactics to prevent your workers from getting in the fire people who support him in the awe-inspiring orders and support units in the president closer plans as explained in detail if workers want to forum a union. so as he said, the numbers here really has fallen to its lowest loophole in more than half of the century. then last year something
happened. a manuscript in my book in 2019, and is, time for unions and very few strikes and the strike at 15 was the only think major going on and then three days later, as i scream the book there was this volcanic explosion and virginia with thousands of even tens of thousands of teachers wearing red search went on strike in west virginia and in charleston, and explain how these two teachers jan o'neill, and amber komar, those two people, really got the ball rolling for the future strike. >> that went out the leadership of the union migrated. steven: like they thought in west virginia, and allowed to bargain collectively with their districts. the kind of have to beg the state legislature. . [screaming]. the law is against them really. steven: to give them raises yes. and there was a very conservative legislature there
was cutting corporate taxes, cutting taxes to the original really created a freeze in educational statewide and on teacher salary. in this teacher saw that the governor of west virginia, it is like explaining the smoke, it was the richest man in west virginia the only billionaire. he said i'm going to give your race, just 1 percent a year for five years. and the teachers will really upset about that because they have 48 or pay loophole of the state. the worst. their health care premiums often went up to 300 or 500 or $700 a year. so it might $400 year, while health premiums would often go up more than that. and these two ladies, two teachers, they started a facebook page. it started slowly but won't the governor said, will going to give you this tiny raise. the facebook page exploded.
thousands and tens of thousands of teachers jointed and all of a sudden they had this big movement. and people will like, they were set up. it was like we are set up and will not going to take it anymore. and it - [inaudible conversation] steven: that he was turning up and turning up and getting worse and worse and they couldn't afford, they were moving back because they were getting raises. they saw these text reps for the rich and they said, we call, recalling the rug going to tolerate this anymore. what a strike that would raise in there would the ability for tough care premium they were going up so much and they forced the governor and the of course that state registered to the state, and year after year, stuff starting the education budget. >> and then teachers follow suit and multiple other states.
the surprise many of our viewers. unions are supposed to be week. steven: oklahoma. one of the reddest states in the union. the high school studies teacher there was watching tv and some of the teachers will doing in west virginia and said we could do that here in oklahoma there was a huge strike it oklahoma and the one double digit racist in arizona, would teachers come in the forum of the teachers who let the let the strike in west virginia and learned some lessons there and it is really an effort by the teachers and happen in los angeles and in chicago in the system is broken. the government has brought spinning enough on our schools. we are tired of prosperity for schools. where our kids are falling behind. class sizes are getting bigger. we have obsolete textbooks. the teachers really went on strike to fight not just for raises for themselves but for a
better school system but not finding not just for ourselves will fighting for the community. the strike, the reasons that these strikes, very interesting aspects with the day the strike began, the unit news chief negotiator was jim said the strike was not frustrated is for all megan news. also concerned about factories moving overseas and so are we. we are very unhappy about this huge for factory in ohio closing and dozens of workers losing their jobs and samson, who have close the plant because demand for the cars made with the chevy cruze, is declining. the gym close that pat plant but hey, kevin opened a plant and mexico the makes the chevy chris. in one of the starker said where art not going to tolerate this anymore. we want to to stop jobs moving overseas. they said, american public and
your concern about the future of jobs for your kids and your grandkids is orally. and they said, general motors, one of the biggest most iconic companies and corporations in the united states, 7 percent of the workers at gm, temps. and they made $15 an hour. and we've got affixes. these gym importers are making on the mark than many mcdonald's workers. that's not fair. . . .
they are. was a fight for the whole working class of the country it was inspirational. and i have to tell you something, i don't think this got enough attention. not one person crossed the picket line. 49,000 workers, just think about our society where people say our society is so divided. political parties, race, age, people, everyone on their smartphone not paying attention
to each other and here are 50,000 workers who stuck together for over a month in one change and i don't think we appreciate that human solidarity anymore but that is what it takes to make change. >> guest: that is a great point. i think a lot of workers are frustrated and tired of wage stagnation and gm and many other companies where they hire younger workers at lower wages working next to older workers making far more and i think a ta lot of people feel the system is rigid. >> i argue in the book unfortunately donald trump had done many things against workers understand nothing to raise minimum wage.
he wants to reduce health care protection. president obama took a step to require firms to act in the worker's best interest in handling the 401 k.. and i think just as many workers turn tturned to donald trump log for a way to raise themselves to undo the system and i think that is why they have such support. one of the interesting things is the highest level in 50 years the percentage of american workers approve of unions into the highest level is among young americans, 67% of them.
they say they would vote to join the union tomorro tomorrow with, whereas just one in 16 private-sector workers so there's a crazy disconnect 56% of the workers want to join unions but only 6% of the private-sector workers join unions and they argue how the corporations fight so hard to prevent workers from forming unions. the profit maximization unions are saying that's wrong. there's too much. the labor unions are the most important vehicle to try to reduce the income inequality and
that is the reason it is increasing and i say that even though, i just saw the irishman yesterday. unions did discriminate and i think that has changed a lot. there's much less corruption. there is still too much into the legacy of discrimination against black and asian americans this way behind unions see that a key part of the future american workforce is when men and workers of color saying we battle for everyone. they've done more for any society except perhaps a wonderful military to bring workers of different races and religions together.
>> host: people who want to read this book are going to want to read it for the stories not just of the earlier ones but the more recent ones and i want to ask you this to pick out a few of those because as you know it was tough for me to resist because i lived through some of the room in my years at the afl-cio and so forth. for example, you can sort of take your pick but when i was at the afl-cio they helped the workers at the airport in los angeles organized and we used the community benefits agreement structure that was pioneered by and you talk about the story. i got to march on the picket line in over six years or something like that in las vegas and you explained really i think
effectively in detail they have an incredible model of empowering and organizing workers many immigrant workers who a hotel housekeeper has a middle-class life. we brought a lot of young people into the labor union. we think you pool threads together variously about the importance of young people organizing a different universities it's been an area of growth so talk about and pick out one or two of the stories of the innovation that you have seen workers creating through the centers that you think could be promising models going
i described francis as an example to show what a good effective unit can do to lift people into the middle-class. you can't raise three kids on $17,000 a year. you can hardly raise yourself on that. so, the union is a great example of what they can achieve. also, in the 2016 election, union strongholds have all flipped from blue to red and i explain about how a very
powerful effective union that is a great job communicating with its members, mobilizing them to get involved in elections to make phone calls and knock on doors played a key role in flipping nevada from red to blue, and i quote the president of the parent union saying they are strong in ohio, wisconsin, pennsylvania, michigan. if they do it, we do, educate them about the economy and what is going on in politics. unions in those states can do what we did in nevada. francisco garcia fled honduras and moved to the united states and she is fighting very hard for lifting other workers at herselhadherself and raising hen and i think this is a great example. so, it seems to me it has
incredible implications both for policy and for the labor movement in itself because if we didn't have to subsidize workers all around the country where the vast majority are nonunion and we the taxpayers are paying for food stamps or temporary assistance for needy families were so many others if they are just able to form their own unions they can take care of themselves and then there's the implication that you talked about in the book for the labor movement where you think they need to devote more money to organizing welcome here is the union that did that. or they need to empower their own workers to take care of themselves instead of picking up the phone and calling union staffers it sounds like the story that you tell in the buck
has implications for the labor movement itself and for policy. >> there've been these elaborate studies done showing the high percentage of wal-mart workers at amazon warehouse workers are on food stamps and those studies mentioned some pressures to adopt the $15 minimum wage so it is true they work hard and still made several food stamps and other assistance. now i read about several aspects and it is does a great job improving increasing the wages and benefits and a great job on politics but unfortunately many unions don't give do a good enh job involving the members, mobilizing and communicating with members. one of the points i make it is that it does an exemplary job and not only did she work
full-time cleaning rooms and raised three kids on her own, she also volunteers and goes to bat for coworkers who just may be punished for writing five minutes late or cleaning and finishing 18 rooms and the allotted hours. they fight for each other and have each other's backs. this union does a lot of organizing and gives members involved. many have lost members over the decades. they've gone from having 18,000 members to 60,000 ballots more than tripled in size. overall the union membership has declined by nearly one third so this is a model union that i think i recommend folks read in my chapter shows what the u.s. can achieve when it does
everything right. i need to mention one other aspect of the story because i think i'm the only member of congress who used to run a state workforce system and you in the book talked about one innovation might be having states administer unemployment insurance but also possibly be involved in job training programs and helping workers have access. talk about how this union has gone far beyond having them access to training but the employers and union have created one of the most inspiring job-training systems in america so that you can come in as somebody with no training and start cleaning hotel rooms and race to become a maître d' making $90,000 or something. talk about their training because as somebody worthwhile part of the story?
>> is some unions do a great job training, they have wonderful apprenticeships while everyone is going to go to college and people see a great route to become a plumbing apprentice were electrician apprentice and people who don't go to college pursue these apprenticeships they can get jobs 6 60, 70, $80,000 a year. the culinary union working with the hotel casinos have a wonderful training academy so someone that is a buffer clearing tables and making 25 or $30,000 a year can take courses to become waiters bartenders and double the salary to 50 or $60,000 a year and they are for free and then if they really want you can take them to become chefs in the triple the salary to $90,000 a year and this is all free and it's a total win-win. the hotel casinos need a
talented knowledgeable workforce and they are eager to climb up and make more money and work in more skilled jobs so this wonderful industry union cooperative effort trained several thousand workers a year to give them more skills and to enable them to raise their pay into this obese workers that started this little housekeepers were busters making not much more than minimum wage and now making 50 to 60 to 70,000. i attended some classes with a world-class teaching these people develop wine and i attended a class with an amazing pastry chef teaching how to become pastry chefs and a it's
great for the industry and for the workers and society when there are these cooperative efforts to provide the industry with the skills they need and left those that are eager to move up in the world. let's talk more broadly about this because you mentioned the policy and how we can help more access this. you mentioned the building trade and they have incredible apprenticeships where there is something everybody should go to college. really there is no economist but does the model on the future economy where they can show we need more than kind of a 50 or 60% of the workforce. we are always going to nee needt you might call these little skilled jobs that require more than high school but less than a four year degree that are the ticket to the middle class and could be of more organs to the
two industries were organized like these are. but i don't think most people know if you sign on to be an iron worker or labor or operating engineer electrician, with all the different trades you get education and work you earn while you learn and become a master at your craft, you are offered lifelong education because just with your doctor or lawyer yo hugo back again and an to learn about installing solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations and the benefits are portable because if you're a construction worker you will build one for six weeks or six months and then go to another one and each contributes to your healthcare and retirement so the question is how can we get this kind of middle-class life for more americans because i think people
look at the low unemployment rate and say why isn't everybody happy that you've told a story in youthe storyin your fight for because all those people have a job at the darn thing is had two or three jobs and still don't have a middle-class life so let's kick off the policy discussion. what are your top picks for policy changes that we ought to make so that more american workers can have a real middle-class life which is what we all want. >> for five years i was based in paris as the economic correspondent and i wrote about companies and workers in germany and italy and france and spain, to the netherlands, spain, england, and unfortunately a lot of the folks i spoke to in europe have a term mixed jobs
they would pay minimum wage without benefits or vacation. i wrote a story about mcdonald's workers in denmark that averaged $20 per hour and have great benefits with lots of vacations a year where mcdonald's workers in the u.s. average $8 an hour and often didn't have health coverage or didn't get vacation so i think that something was broken in the united states that is one of the main points in the book too often they have a lower economy with low wages and it makes it very hard for workers to make ends meet to support their families and exit hard for family work balance so we have to figure out ways to improve things for the workers, so when the book i look at various models and strategies to make things better.
one way is i think our campaign finance system is very broken as i said corp. for outspend unions and worker groups and that's why the minimum wage is stock and why there is a huge attack on health coverage for all. we have to fix our campaign finances so it isn't so dominated by the rich or by corporations. i think there is something really wrong when someone to cod give $100 million for a huge voice to have say been a school teacher or nurse steelworker we passed hr one would have public financing and it would be matched 6-1 and some cities and states have done that.
let me ask i counted 17 proposals. i thought it was terrific. for her five of them are covered by what we are working through in the house right now protecting their rights to organize act that we have passed through the education labor committee which i'm the vice chair of. talk about briefly what happens when the workers try to form a union and if you had to name quickly three or four that need to change so that the workers can form the union today, what would they need to be? >> we have a disconnect they say they would like to join the union but only one out of 16 are in the union. it is such an effective job of beating back the union. i have a line in the book that has been picked up saying the
united states is the only industrial nation corporations fight harder to beat back the unions and corporations than any other country. they fire workers, spy on workers. they say no punishment whatsoever and often take years to win back the jobs of those supporting the union. i argue in the book something is broken when corporations can repeatedly break the law and keep out a union and only have a so we need stricter penalties to discourage them from doing that. only one workplace at the time bike industrywide bargaining that gives much more clout than they bargained they have to
figure out a way. we have to figure out a way to give the workers more power. they can't unionize because they are independent contractors. they make less than the minimum wage, they have all these drivers driving 60 or 70 hours a week and somebody falling asleep at the wheel during dangerous thing for the city enacted a law that creates the minimum compensation. they say something is broken for tens of thousands of workers and we want to do what we think is fair for both the industry and
for the drivers to help ensure they can make a decent living and not have to work 70 hours a week. >> one of the things i think your book does an effective job at doing is showing that there is the agency of the individual, there's the solidarity of the groups of workers coming together often thousands of shares across the stage whenever the examples are. we are not different from europe because god ordained i it or the invisible hand. it's the states and cities make the policy that caused these things. so to wrap up, you think there's hope for the workers in america and if so, why because we only have about a minute left and i want to let you leave us on an up note.
>> i'm feeling more hope than a few years ago. there's been a strike workers were showing. we are fed up and we want bett better. even donald trump is calling for paid family leave, something republicans have opposed for years and years. younger workers are standing up, graduate studenupon graduate stn my professional journalism think there is the sense that something is broken in the workplace and about collective action working together to protest how they were mishandling i think they really see that there are benefits to the collective action to working together to improve to create a fairer society. >> i feel like your book really
lays out how we could have a more hopeful future if we enact policies that could unleash all of this energy we see around the country so that they can come up with their own solutions to organize and have a voice to work again so thank you for your buck an in for this conversatio. >> thanks for doing this with me. great talking with you. >> this program is available as a podcast. all "after words" tokens can be available on the website booktv.org.
here's a portiohere is a portio. >> we were the first state to pass to stand your ground ball which i think is the most racist jim crow law that we have ever seen in america. and it's sad because regrettably and unfortunately we've gotten used to the police killing us ka sandbox being held accountable. but the stand your ground ball made it where anyone can tell us
and still not be held accountable. remember the statistic i talked about where black people on death row set the quickest way to get it to death row in america is to be a person of color and killing white person. yet when a white person kills a person of color often times they are not even arrested. all they have to say is stand your ground so that would certainly be the first to get rid of stand your ground. it was a solution looking for a problem. they brought the legislature and said now you have the license to use the instruments that they are selling you and don't worry about any accountability.