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A Nice Labor Day Story....

29 Aug 08 - 08:03 PM (#2425937)
Subject: A Nice Labor Day Story....
From: Amos

Here's a nice Labor Day story.

In 1980, the last year of Jimmy Carter's administration, the
Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) commissioned a
series of three 30-minute films about worker safety. These were real
pro productions, with Studs Terkel as narrator on two of the
productions. In 1981, Reagan appointed 36-year old Florida
construction executive Thorne G. Auchter, who proceeded to
systematically dismantle the agency. Evidently, the 3 films disturbed
Thorne greatly, because OSHA issued a recall, threatening to withold
OSHA funds from any organization that did not return their copies of
the films, which were promptly destroyed.

But, a few union officials defied the ban and "stole" copies so they
weren't able to be returned. Over the years, they would occasionally
show them to their troops, using the fact they banned as a way to get
them to watch the films, which have important messages about worker
rights and workplace safety. But, aside from these bootleg showings,
the video disappeared.

Public.Resource.Org got a note recently from Mark Catlan, a health and
safety expert for one of the unions for the last 28 years (he actually
started working for the union the year the film came out, and
remembers his education director stealing a copy out of his office so
it wouldn't get returned). A year ago, Mark decided the world needed
to see these films, so he found 16-mm cannisters and made them
available to us to transfer to DVCAM and then disk.

Making their public debut after 30 years are "Worker to Worker,"
"Can't Take No More," and "The Story of OSHA."

Link to YouTube at

Link to the Internet Archive at

( )

29 Aug 08 - 08:51 PM (#2425962)
Subject: RE: A Nice Labor Day Story....
From: maeve

That sounds like a fascinating story, Amos. I'm sorry I can't view them. Thanks for the thread!

30 Aug 08 - 12:46 AM (#2426077)
Subject: RE: A Nice Labor Day Story....
From: Barry Finn

Thanks Amos for the telling of this story.

When I started out in the construction trades (1971) there was no saftey, there was no OSHA. When I left the trades (2005) one of the hats I wore was the construction company's only saftey officer. It took ages for saftey to become an issue (my self included). When I started I rode from the roof to the ground by crane holding onto the side of a Gravel Bucket like most of the others who didn't want to climb 10 or 12 stories of stairs 3 or 4 times a day we took the fastest way down from the roof save jumping off of it. Today a worker would be thrown off the job site, fired & fined. It took decades for safey to become a concern with construction workers, faster to catch on in the unions but still it took a long time to take a foothold. I had never heard this story although I left the Union 3 yrs after OSHA came to be, I was still in one of the highest risk construction occupations (roofing just under Ironworking). It's criminal that this happened. I think of all the near misses & mishaps, the injuries I've witnessed & have known some that died on the job by accident, that to think that a push for saftey was derailed is just heart rendering, the injjuries & the lives lost for the sake of taking down unions is unexceptable.
One of Carters' many great achievements was OSHA. On the other hand, what a backslide for workers rights & safety, one of Reagans' many nightmares that we are still reeling from today.

Happy Labor Day


30 Aug 08 - 01:26 AM (#2426084)
Subject: RE: A Nice Labor Day Story....
From: katlaughing

That is fantastic. Hats off to the worker who made them available and to all who refused to return them.

Bill Moyers had a segment on unions, tonight, which you may view HERE.

Here's what was said:

August 29, 2008

BILL MOYERS: As we speak, the Democrats are on their way home from Denver in time for Labor Day weekend. That's a special holiday for many of them - especially the thousand or more delegates who are either active or retired members of a union, or from households with union members. Organized labor has been wandering in the wilderness for some years now, and its leaders came out in force in Denver, proclaiming: "We're back!"

GERALD MCENTEE: We have been tattooed, beaten, bruised, thrown up against walls for the last eight years!

BILL MOYERS: Last Sunday, they held a big rally for Obama, calling on him to make union organizing a priority if the Democrats take the White House.

And at the convention itself, sprinkled among the prime-time speakers were some heartfelt, personal stories from union workers including autoworker Robin Golden from Michigan.

ROBIN GOLDEN:In two weeks, I'll be unemployed. My job is being shipped to Mexico, along with the jobs of most of my 430 co-workers. That means every single member of my local union will be unemployed in two weeks.

BILL MOYERS: In past decades, the voices of the labor movement swelled the Democratic chorus. Then, Democratic presidential candidates officially opened their campaigns in the city that was the symbolic heart of union country - Detroit, then the engine of the booming auto industry. Standing in Cadillac Square on Labor Day was a Democrat's way of saying our hearts are one.

JOHN F. KENNEDY: I have come here today on a day that belongs to the working men and women of America...

BILL MOYERS: John Kennedy kicked of his campaign for president in Cadillac Square in 1960, praising unions that fought for education, for better health care, even for family farms. Kennedy declared that as unions go, so goes America.

JOHN F. KENNEDY: We share a common, deep-seated belief in the workings of free collective bargaining and in the growth of free, responsible unions, and, unlike our opponents, we don't just believe that on Labor Day.

BILL MOYERS: These were the golden years for organized labor. Union bargaining power helped lift other worker's boats - and the yachts of their employers - in a rising tide of prosperity that moved millions of families into the middle class.

But that seems now another age, another world. Union membership has plummeted from Kennedy's day - down to less than 8% of the private sector workforce. Millions of union jobs have been lost to cheap labor abroad, and to consumers who demand cheaper prices. Corporations have warred relentlessly on unions, in league with a conservative movement that regards business as its own ATM machine. Collusion between government and corporations in the global economy has left workers to fend for themselves. The results have been disastrous.

Job security - slashed. Pensions - slashed. Healthcare benefits - slashed. In a golden age of profit-taking and extravagant wealth for CEOs, compensation for employees, as a share of the total economy, has reached a new low.

And even with the Democratic party, labor's place at the table can not be taken for granted. President Bill Clinton after all championed NAFTA, the trade deal that sent manufacturing jobs overseas. Barack Obama has wavered on his opposition to reopening NAFTA. Democrats in Congress are being inundated with money from corporations. And in Denver this week, those same corporations were hosting lavish parties - captured here by ABC News' Investigative Unit shelling out millions to wine and dine Democratic officials.

BRIAN ROSS: "Lobbyists gone wild!"

BILL MOYERS: A house divided can hardly be called the home of working people.

So for all the rhetoric and cheer in Denver, workers have little to celebrate this Labor Day -- they've been falling farther behind for years now. But across the country, there are growing signs of defiance:

You see it as California nurses pushed for universal health care... you see it as workers march in Los Angeles for a living see it in immigrants fighting back against a system that hires them to pick and prepare our food, yet pays them pitiful wages and treats them as criminals.

It just might be that that same spirit of anger roused by injustice...that old and enduring hunger of working men and women for a better just might be the spark that catches fire, lighting the way once again for politicians returning to Cadillac Square on Labor Day.

That's it for the JOURNAL. We'll see you again next week. I'm Bill Moyers.

30 Aug 08 - 02:43 AM (#2426106)
Subject: RE: A Nice Labor Day Story....
From: GUEST,Jack the Sailor

Awesome Amos! Thanks! I'm a fan of Studs!