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American Labor At A Crossroads47:02
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With guest host Jane Clayson.

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

Labor Day is a time to dust off the grill and gather with friends and family.  But it’s also a time to celebrate, and think about, the American labor force.  And to look how the economy, how technology, is changing work.  Wages are stagnating.  Manufacturing jobs disappearing.  Technology upending whole industries.  Many people who hold jobs that once put them squarely in the middle class are finding it hard to stay afloat.  There are small pockets of the country that are thriving, and large pockets that are not.  This hour, On Point: Labor activist Van Jones and others on the American labor force.
-- Jane Clayson

Guests

Van Jones,co- host of CNN's "Crossfire." Former green jobs adviser for President Barack Obama. Founder of Rebuild the Dream and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Author of "Rebuild the Dream" and 'The Green Collar Economy." (@VanJones68)

Barry Bluestone, dean and professor in the school of public policy and urban affairs at Northeastern University. Author of "Growing Prosperity." (@BarryBluestone)

Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. (@aijenpoo)

From The Reading List

T Magazine: The Nannies' Norma Rae — "You don’t have to be down on your knees scraping congealed crème fraîche off marble tiles to see that there’s something not quite right about this picture. Ai-jen Poo was a recent Columbia University graduate in 1998 when she got incensed about the status of New York’s domestic workers and started organizing them into something resembling a union. It’s not that easy to organize domestic workers, even the ones who are fluent in English, because their workplaces are scattered among thousands of individual apartments and town houses and no one keeps a list of their names."

TIME: Labor Leader Urges Obama to Go Big on Immigration — "Obama has been under pressure from liberals to work around congressional opposition to comprehensive immigration reform by issuing executive orders. Trumka said that could be politically savvy with the midterm elections approaching—so long as Obama goes far enough to energize the liberal base."

Washington Post: Bad news: Wages are down for pretty much everyone — "Real hourly wages are down for workers at all education levels in the first half of this year compared to the first half of 2013, according to the Economic Policy Institute paper. Pay fell by 1.1 percent for people with high school diplomas, by 1 percent for people with some college, 1.6 percent for people with college degrees and by 2.7 percent for people with advanced degrees. "

This program aired on September 1, 2014.

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