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Working People

Oct 25, 2023

Over the past month, United Auto Workers have continued to ramp up their strike at the Big 3 auto companies, calling workers at more plants to hit the picket line. As Keith Brower Brown recently reported at Labor Notes, “Every Friday for the past four weeks, Big 3 CEOs have waited fearfully for UAW President Shawn Fain to announce which plants will strike next. But without warning on Wednesday [October 11], the union threw a haymaker: within 10 minutes the UAW would be shutting down the vast Kentucky Truck Plant. This plant, on 500 acres outside Louisville, is one of Ford’s most profitable—cranking out full-size SUVs and the Superduty line of commercial trucks… These 8,700 strikers join the 25,000 already walking the lines at assembly plants and parts distribution centers across the country in the union’s escalating Stand-Up Strike.” While we are waiting every day for more updates on the UAW strike as it unfolds in real time, it's important to remember that the issues within the auto industry—and the economy writ large—that led this historic moment of struggle have been brewing for decades. In this episode, we talk with Sherry Cothren, who worked for 30 years at Ford Motor Company and retired just before her plant in Toledo, Ohio, closed in 2007.  We also speak with Sherry's son, Jeremiah, an architect turned visual journalist and producer whose primary focus captures vivid histories of human rights, social justice and migration.

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Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive:

  • Jules Taylor, "Working People" Theme Song