Working Pictures

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Compilation of tapes from around the country on the state of the labor movement. We are told that labor groups are increasingly using television to help their cause.

0:00 Introductory clips. Clinton Hoch, corporate executive. Says that their job as a business is not to make a product, but to make a profit. Employees talk about how their place is terrible to work but that they are too poor to be able to leave.

1:00 Titles, explanatory notes.

1:40 “From Bedside to Bargaining Table.” By Tami Gold and Lyn Goldfarb, Jersey City, NJ. Woman says that hospitals are in it for the money and that they don’t care about anything else. Nurses wages are very low compared to the profits the hospitals are making (and the amounts the doctors are making). Now, nurses are having to do more and getting paid less. Douglas Lewis: “It is finally recognized that health care is a business.” He talks about the business strategy of growth for his company, which owns many health care operations.

7:25 “IBP Meatpackers.” By Georgia Hull, Iowa City, IA. Congressional hearings. There are indications that this company is hiring employees and keeping them until they had worked for one year (when they would gain benefits) and then firing them.

11:56 “The American Connection.” By American Labor Education Center, Washington, D.C. South African apartheid and U.S. Labor. Protesters urge us to boycott Shell oil because of Shell’s business operations in South Africa.

16:00 “Adam’s Harvesters Speak Out.” By David Smith and Dave Olive, Tampa, FL. Farm workers are described as living in “modern day slavery.” Worker describes his living and working conditions. He never makes more than $10/day picking fruit.

18:20 “The Bottom Line.” By Sally Kingsbury and Lori Cohen, Shutesbury, MA. We learn that many jobs are moving south for cheaper labor. Southern laborer:

“We live day to day down here…day to day…we can’t just put 50, 60 dollars in the bank.” He says that wages have gone significantly down since the 1960s. He is always poor enough that he cannot afford to find another job or do anything to improve his situation. Another man claims that “children in South Carolina have been deliberately undereducated to support the cheap labor force.” Worker: “They’ve just got us.”

26:55 Black.

27:26 Working Pictures: Labor in the 80’s Part 2. “Life in Rhode Island Mills.” By Institute for Labor Studies and Research, Providence, RI. “I’ve always thought that a union that knows where it came from is a union that knows where its going.”

30:15 “We Made a Difference: Organizing at Boston University.” By Carol Yourman, Cambridge, MA. Union-busting. Threats to employees who were planning to unionize. Glitches at 32:35.

32:47 “Unfair Skies: The ICAHN Takes Over.” By Committee for Labor Access, Chicago, IL. Chicago TWA flight attendants claim that TWA demanded greater concessions from females in the strike, including a 20% lowering in pay plus more working and longer stays away from home plus reduced benefits. The company has said that women are not breadwinners and can afford to limit their pay. USA Today has rated TWA worst carrier for passenger complaints and maintenance checks.

36:53 “The Canterbury Tale in the Coal Fields.” By Steffi Domike / Mon Valley Media, Pittsburgh, PA. Coal workers on strike talk about hardships they have endured. Billboard: “Canterbury Coal Co – We’re not willing to let our husbands die. Accepting your contract would be suicide!”

42:22 Black.

42:50 “Accept the Next Job Offer You Get.” By Laurie Beth Clark, Madison, WI. This tape is acted, not a documentary. Woman tries to explain why she hasn’t been able to find a job, while another woman gives unemployment statistics, basically trying to show us that is impossible for everyone to have a job. Job hunter complains about being treated like a mass product.

46:06 “Changing Tactics for Challenging Times.” By Sheila Tarr, Chicago, IL. Man talks about labor needing to unite. “Bricks, mortar, and machinery do not make decisions – people do…and those people put their pants on the same way we do.”

48:07 “OPEIU vs. AMI: San Diego Healthcare Workers.” By Labor Link TV, San Diego, CA.

49:29 “The Road to Haymarket.” By Committee for Labor Access, Chicago, IL. Haymarket centennial, 1986. Woman gives fiery speech.

52:05 Credits.

53:30 End.



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