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Season 4, Episode 229

How the labor movement can fight back against Capitalism in the U.S.

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Michael Zweig

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Michael Zweig 

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Emeritus professor of economics and the founding director of the Center for Study of Working Class Life at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Michael Zweig, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss his book “Class, Race, and Gender: Challenging the Injuries and Divisions of Capitalism.”

Zweig has been active with United University Professors Local 2190 since the beginning of the organizing efforts and victory in 1973. Zweig’s book outlines how the capitalist system has impacted the environment we are experiencing in 2023. He discussed where labor in the United States began with indentured servants and slavery. Zweig compares the differences between the British labor force and the American labor force.

Zweig also described the exploitation of the American Workers. He used a Steelworker as an example of these exploitations. The Steelworker produces a lot of product and more than what’s needed. This surplus is taken by employers and not seen by the Steelworker. He described that the idea of earning a fair share is lost on the American workers because of the Capitalist system.

Unions in 2023 have started to fight back and pull some of these exploitations away from the employers. Zweig outlined the work done by the Teamsters, and their use of practice picket lines was a great foundation for showcasing the power of the labor movement. He also spoke about how the UAW handled their negotiations with the Big Three automakers in Detroit and how this is a learning opportunity for young activists. When fighting back against the capitalist system in the United States, the labor movement has its work cut out for them, Zweig said.

To hear more from Zweig on his book, please listen to the entire show above.


America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.

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