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Labour Then and Now

September 22, 2022

I just read a book about Joe Hill. Who is Joe Hill, you’re probably wondering? He was a labour leader, in the USA, and a song writer. One of his songs includes the famous phrase “pie in the sky”. He was executed by a firing squad in 1915.

I was struck by the different labour situation in the early 1900s. At that time, hordes of unemployed men roamed the country, looking for work. Most jobs required manual labour. Employers had the advantage in this situation. The result was terrible working conditions and low wages.

In stark contrast, the labour situation now is completely different. We have record low unemployment. Both men and women work. Automation is almost everywhere. Most employees are well educated. Now, workers have the advantage. The result is better working conditions and higher wages.

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